Imatges de pàgina

every passion, when it swells beyond its ordinary bounds, hath a peculiar tendency to expand itself along related objects. In fact, instances are not rare, of persons, who upon all occasions are willing to sacrifice their lives and fortunes for their country. Such influence upon the mind of man hath a complex object, or, more properly speaking, a general term.*

The sense of order hath influence in the communication of passion. It is a common observation, that a man's affection to his parents is less vigorous than to his children : the order of nature in descending to children, aids the transition of the affection: the ascent to a parent, contrary to that order, makes the transition more difficult. Gratitude to a benefactor is readily extended to his children; but not so readily to his parents. The difference, however, between the natural and inverted order, is not so considerable, but that it may be balanced by other circumstances. Plinyt gives an account of a woman of rank condemned to die for a crime ; and, to avoid public shame, detained in prison to die of hunger: her life being prolonged beyond expectation, it was discovered that she was nourished by sucking milk from the breasts of her daughter. This instance of filial piety, which aided the transition, and made ascent no less easy than descent is commonly, procured a pardon to the mother, and a pension to both. The story of Androcles and the liont may be accounted for in the same manner : the admiration, of which the lion was the object, for his kindness and gratitude to Androcles, produced good-will to Androcles, and a pardon of his crime.

And this leads to other observations upon communicated passions. I love my daughter less after she is married, and my mother less after a second marriage : the marriage of my son or of my father diminishes not my affection so remarkably. The same observation holds with respect to friendship, gratitude and other passions : the love I bear my friend, is but faintly extended to his married daughter : the resentment I have against a man is readily extended against children who make part of his family; not so readily against children who are foris-familiated, especially by marriage. This difference is also more remarkable in daughters than in sons.

* See Essays on morality and natural religion, part I. ess. ii, ch. 5. † Lib. vii. cap. 36. | Aulus Gellius, lib. v. cap. 14.

These are curious facts; and, in order to discover the cause, we must examine minutely that operation of the mind by which a passion is extended to a related object. In considering two things as related, the mind is not stationary, but passeth and repasseth from the one to the other, viewing the relation from each of them perhaps oftener than once; which holds more especially in considering a relation between things of unequal rank, as between the cause and the effect, or between a principal and an accessory : in contemplating, for example, the relation between a building and its ornaments, the mind is not satisfied with a single transition from the former to the latter, it must also view the relation, beginning at the latter, and passing from it to the former. This vibration of the mind in passing and repassing between things related, explains the facts above mentioned : the mind passeth easily from the father to the daughter; but where the daughter is married, this new relation attracts the mind, and obstructs, in some measure, the return from the daughter to the father; and any circumstance that obstructs the mind in passing and repassing between its objects, occasions a like obstruction in the communication of passion. The marriage of a male obstructs less the easiness of transition ; be

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cause a male is less sunk by the relation of marriage than a female.

The foregoing instances are of passion communicated from one object to another. But one passion may be generated by another, without change of object. It in general is observable, that a passion paves the way to others similar in their tone, whether directed to the same or to a different object; for the mind, heated by any passion, is, in that state, more susceptible of a new impression in a similar tone, than when cool and quiescent. It is a common observation, that pity generally produceth friendship for a person in distress. One reason is, that pity interests us in its object, and recommends all its virtuous qualities : female beauty accordingly shows best in distress; being more apt to inspire love, than upon an ordinary occasion. But the chief reason is, that pity, warming and melting the spectator, prepares him for the reception of other tender affections; and pity is readily improved into love or friendship, by a certain tenderness and concern for the object, which is the tone of both passions. The aptitude of pity to produce love, is beautifully illustrated by Shakspeare:

Othello. Her father lov'd me; oft invited me ;
Still question’d me the story of my life,
From year to year ; the battles, seiges

, fortunes, ie
That I had past.
I ran it through, ev’n from my boyish days,
To th' very moment that he bade me tell it :
Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field ;
Of hair-breadth 'scapes in th' imminent deadly breach;
Of being taken by the insolent foe,
And sold to slavery ; of my redemption thence,
And with it all my travel's history.

All these to hear


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Would Desdemona seriously incline;
But still the house-affairs woulu draw her thence,
Which ever as she could with haste despatch,
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse : which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart,
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
But not distinctively. I did consent,
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffer'd. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs :
She swore, in faith, 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange-
'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful-
She wish'd she had not heard it:-yet she wish'd
That heaven had made her such a man :-she thank'd me,
And bade me, if I had a friend that lov'd her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story,
And that would woo her. On this hint I spake ;
She lov'd me for the dangers I had past,
And I lov’d her, that she did pity them :
This only is the witchcraft I have us’d.

Othello, Act I, Sc. 8.

In this instance it will be observed that admiration concurred with pity to produce love.

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Causes of the Passions of Fear and Anger.

Fear and anger, to answer the purposes of nature, arc happily so contrived as to operate sometimes instinctively, sometimes deliberately, according to circumstances. As far as deliberate, they fall in with the general system, and require no particular explanation : if any object have a threatening appearance, reason suggests means to avoid the danger: if a man be injured, the first thing he thinks of, is what revenge he shall take, and what means he shall employ. These particulars are no less obvious than natural. But, as the passions of fear and anger, in their instinctive state, are less familiar to us, it may be acceptable to the reader to have them accurately delineated. He may also possibly be glad of an opportunity to have the nature of instinctive passions more fully explained, than there was formerly opportunity to do. I begin with fear.

Self-preservation is a matter of too great importance to be left entirely to the conduct of reason. Nature hath acted here with her usual foresight. Fear and anger are passions that move us to act, sometimes deliberately, sometimes instinctively, according to circumstances; and by operating in the latter manner, they frequently afford security when the slower operations of deliberate reason would be too late : we take nourishment commonly, not by the direction of reason, but by the impulse of hunger and thirst; and, in the same manner, we avoid danger by the impulse of fear, which often, before there is time for

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