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CHA P. II.
EMOTIONS AND PASSIONS.
F all the feelings raised in us by external objects, thofe only of the eye and the ear are honoured with the name of paffion or emotion: the most pleasing feelings of taste, or touch, or fmell, afpire not to that honour. From this obfervation appears the connection of emotions and paffions with the fine arts, which, as obferved in the introduction, are all of them calculated to give pleasure to the eye or the ear; never once condefcending to gratify any of the inferior fenfes. The defign accordingly of this chapter is to delineate that connection, with the view chiefly to ascertain what power the fine arts have to raise emotions and paffions. To thofe who would excel in the fine arts, that branch of know-ledge is indifpenfible; for without it the critic, as well as the undertaker, ignorant of any rule, have nothing left but to abandon themselves to chance. Deftitute of that branch of knowledge, in vain will either pretend to foretell what effect his work will have upon the heart.
The principles of the fine arts, appear in this view to open a direct avenue to the heart of man.
The inquifitive mind beginning with criticism, the moft agrecable of all amufements, and finding no obstruction in its progrefs, advances far into the fenfitive part of our nature; and gains imperceptibly a thorough knowledge of the human heart, of its defires, and of every motive to action; a fcience, which of all that can be reached by man, is to him of the greatest importance.
Upon a fubject fo comprehenfive, all that can be expected in this chapter, is a general or flight furvey and to fhorten that furvey, I propofe to handle feparately fome emotions more peculiarly connected with the fine arts. Even after that circumfcription, fo much matter comes under the prefent chapter, that, to avoid confufion, I find it neceffary to divide it into many parts and tho' the first of thefe is confined to fuch causes of emotion or paffion as are the moft.common and the most general; yet upon examination I find this fingle part fo extenfive, as to require a fubdivifion into feveral fections. Human nature is a complicate machine, and is unavoidably fo in or der to answer its various purposes. The public indeed have been entertained with many fyftems of human nature that flatter the mind by their fimplicity according to fome writers, man is entirely a selfish being; according to others, univerfal benevolence is his duty: one founds morality upon fympathy folely, and one upon utility. If any of these systems were copied from nature,
the present subject might be foon difcuffed. But the variety of nature is not fo easily reached: and for confuting such Utopian systems without the fatigue of reasoning, it appears the best method to take a furvey of human nature, and to fet before the eye, plainly and candidly, facts as they really exist.
Caufes unfolded of the Emotions and Paffions.
Difference between Emotion and Paffion.Causes that are the most common and the most general.Paffion confidered as productive of Action.
HESE branches are fo interwoven, that they cannot be handled feparately.. It is a fact univerfally admitted, that no emotion or paffion ever starts up in the mind without a cause: if I love a perfon, it is for good qualities or good offices: if I have refentment against a man, it must be for fome injury he has done me: and I cannot pity any one who is under no diftrefs of body nor of mind.
The circumftances now mentioned, if they raise an emotion or paffion, cannot be entirely indifferC 2
ent; for if fo, they could not make any impresfion. And we find upon examination, that they are not indifferent: looking back upon the foregoing examples, the good qualities or good offices that attract my love, are antecedently agreeable; if an injury did not give uneafinefs, it would not occafion refentment against the author: nor would the paffion of pity be raised by an object in diftrefs, if that object did not give pain.
What is now faid about the production of emotion or paffion, refolves into a very fimple propofition, That we love what is agreeable, and hate what is difagreeable. And indeed it. is evident, that a thing must be agreeable or. difagreeable, before it can be the object either of love or of hatred.
This fhort hint about the caufes of paffion and emotion, leads to a more extenfive view of the fubject. Such is our nature, that upon perceiving certain external objects, we are inftantaneously confcious of pleasure or pain: a gently-flowing river, a smooth extended plain, a fpreading oak, a towering hill, are objects of fight that raife pleafant emotions: a barren heath, a dirty marsh, a rotten carcafe, raife painful emotions. Of the emotions thus produced, we inquire for no other caufe but merely the prefence of the object.
The things now mentioned, raife emotions by means of their properties and qualities: to the einction raifed by a large river, its fize, its force, and
and its fluency, contributes each a fhare: the regularity, propriety, and convenience, of a fine building, contribute each to the emotion raifed by the building.
If external properties be agreeable, we have reason to expect the fame from those which are internal; and accordingly power, difcernment, wit, mildness, fympathy, courage, benevolence, are difagreeable in a high degree: upon perceiving these qualities in others, we inftantaneously feel pleasant emotions, without the slightest act of reflection, or of attention to confequences. It is almost unneceffary to add, that certain qualities opposite to the former, such as dulness, peevishness, inhumanity, cowardice, occafion in the fame manner painful emotions.
Senfible beings affect us remarkably by their actions. Some actions raise pleasant emotions in the fpectator, without the leaft reflection; fuch as graceful motion, and genteel behaviour. But as intention, a capital circumftance in human actions, is not visible, it requires reflection to difcover their true character: I fee one delivering a purse of money to another, but I can make nothing of that action, till I learn with what intention the money is given if it be given to discharge a debt, the action pleases me in a flight degree; if it be a grateful return, I feel a ftronger emotion; and the pleafant emotion rifes to a great height, when it is the intention of the gi C 3