Puslapio vaizdai

speech is the most powerful of all the means by which one human being can display itself to another, the objects of the eye must so far yield preference to thofe of the ear. With respect to inanimate objects of fight, founds may be fo contrived as to raise both terror and mirth be yond what can be done by any such object. Mufic has a commanding influence over the mind, especially in conjunction with words. Objects of fight may indeed contribute to the fame end, but more faintly; as where a love-poem is rehearsed in a fhady grove, or on the bank of a purling ftream. But founds, which are vastly more ductile and various, readily accompany all the focial affections expreffed in a poem, efpecially emotions of love and pity.

Mufic having at command a great variety of emotions, may, like many objects of fight, be made to promote luxury and effeminacy; of which we have inftances without number, especially in vocal mufic. But, with respect to its pure and refined pleasures, mufic goes hand in hand with gardening and architecture, her fifterarts, in humanizing and polifhing the mind *; of which none can doubt who have felt the charms of mufic. But, if authority be requi red, the following paffage from a grave hiftorian, eminent for folidity of judgment, must have the greatest weight. Polybius, fpeaking of the people of Cynaetha, an Arcadian tribe, has See Chapter 24.

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the following train of reflections. "As the "Arcadians have always been celebrated for "their piety, humanity, and hospitality, we are "naturally led to inquire, how it has happened "that the Cynætheans are diftinguished from the "other Arcadians, by favage manners, wicked"nefs, and cruelty. I can attribute this differ"ence to no other caufe, but a total neglect a

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mong the people of Cynætha, of an institution "established among the ancient Arcadians with a "nice regard to their manners and their climate: "I mean the difcipline and exercise of that ge




nuine and perfect mufic, which is useful in


every state, but neceffary to the Arcadians; "whofe manners, originally rigid and auftere, "made it of the greatest importance to incorporate this art into the very effence of their "vernment. All men know that, in Arcadia, "the children are early taught to perform hymns "and fongs compofed in honour of their gods. "and heroes; and that, when they have learned "the mufic of Timotheus and Philoxenus, they "affemble yearly in the public theatres, dancing "with emulation to the found of flutes, and act


ing in games adapted to their tender years. "The Arcadians, even in their private feafts, "never employ hirelings, but each man fings in "his turn. They are also taught all the military


steps and motions to the found of inftruments, "which they perform yearly in the theatres, at 66 the public charge. To me it is evident, that


"thefe folemnities were introduced, not for idle pleasure, but to foften the rough and tubborn


temper of the Arcadians, occafioned by the "coldness of a high country.

But the Cynæ

have become fo

"theans, neglecting these arts, "fierce and favage, that there is not another city "in Greece fo remarkable for frequent and great enormities. This confideration ought "to engage the Arcadians never to relax in any degree, their mufical difcipline; and it


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ought to open the eyes of the Cynætheans, "and make them fenfible of what importance it "would be to restore mufic to their city, and every difcipline that may foften their man


ners; for otherwife they can never hope to "fubdue their brutal ferocity *."

No one will be surprised to hear fuch influence attributed to mufic, when, with respect to another of the fine arts, he finds a living instance of an influence no lefs powerful. It is unhappily indeed the reverse of the former; for it has done more mischief by corrupting British manners, than mufic ever did good by purifying thofe of Arcadia.

The licentious court of Charles II. among its many disorders, engendered a pest, the virulence of which fubfifts to this day. The English comedy, copying the manners of the court, became abominably licentious; and continues fo with ve

Polybius, lib. 4. cap. 3.

D 4


ry little foftening. It is there an established rule, to deck out the chief characters with every vice in fashion, however grofs. But, as fuch characters viewed in a true light would be disgustful, care is taken to difguife their deformity under the embellishments of wit, fprightlinefs, and good humour, which in mixed company makes a capital figure. It requires not much thought to discover the poisonous influence of fuch plays. A young man of figure, emancipated at last from the severity and reftraint of a college-education, repairs to the capital disposed to every fort of excefs. The playhouse becomes his favourite amusement; and he is enchanted with the gaiety and fplendour of the chief perfonages. The difguft which vice gives him at first, foon wears off, to make way for new notions, more liberal in his opinion; by which a fovereign contempt of religion, and a declared war upon the chastity of wives, maids, and widows, are converted from being infamous vices to be fashionable virtues. The infection fpreads gradually through all ranks, and becomes univerfal. How gladly would I liften to any one who fhould undertake to prove, that what I have been defcribing is chimerical! but the diffoluteness of our young men of birth will not fuffer me to doubt of its reality. Sir Harry Wildair has completed many a rake; and in the Sufpicious Husband, Ranger, the humble imitator of Sir Harry, has had no flight influence in fpreading that character.


What woman tinctured with the playhouse-morals, would not be the sprightly, the witty, tho' diffolute Lady Townly, rather than the cold, the fober, though virtuous Lady Grace? How odious ought writers to be who thus employ the talents they have from their Maker molt traitoroufly against himself, by endeavouring to corrupt and disfigure his creatures! If the comedies of Congreve did not rack him with remorfe in his laft moments, he must have been loft to all fenfe of virtue. Nor will it afford any excufe to fuch writers, that their comedies are entertaining; unless it could be maintained, that wit and fprightlinefs are better fuited to a vicious than a virtuous character. It would grieve me to think fo; and the direct contrary is exemplified in the Merry Wives of Windfor, where we are highly entertained with the conduct of two ladies, not more remarkable for mirth and spirit than for the strictest purity of manners.

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Caufes of the Emotions of Joy and Sorrow.


HIS fubject was purpofely referved for a feparate fection, because it could not, with perfpicuity, be handled under the general head. An emotion accompanied with defire is termed

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