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reason why mufic fhould not be affociated with the fentiments of any difagreeable paffion, or the discription of any difagreeable object; which is, that fuch affociation is altogether unnatural: the pain, for example, that a man feels who is agitated with malice or unjust revenge, difqualifies him for relishing mufic, or any thing that is entertaining; and therefore to reprefent fuch a man, contrary to nature, expreffing his fentiments in a fong, cannot be agreeable to any audience of
For a different reafon, mufic is improper for accompanying pleasant emotions of the more important kind; because these totally ingrofs the mind, and leave no place for mufic, nor for any fort of amusement: in a perilous enterprise to dethrone a ty rant, music would be impertinent, even where hope prevails, and the prospect of fuccefs is great : Alexander attacking the Indian town, and mounting the wall, had certainly no impulse to exert his prowess in a fong. It is true, that not the leaft regard is paid to these rules either in the French or Italian opera; and the attachment we have to these compofitions, may at first fight be confidered as an argument against the foregoing doctrine. But the general tafte for operas is at bottom no argument in these compofitions the paffions are fo imperfectly expreffed, as to leave the mind free for relishing mufic of any fort indifferently; and it cannot be difguifed, that the pleasure of an opera is derived chiefly from the mufic, and
fcarce at all from the fentiments: a happy concordance of the emotions raised by the fong and by the mufic, is extremely rare; and I venture to affirm, that there is no example of it, unless where the emotion raised by the former is agreeable as well as that raised by the latter *.
The fubject we have run through, appears not a little entertaining. It is extremely curious to observe, in many inftances, a plurality of caufes producing in conjunction a great pleasure; in other inftances, not lefs frequent, no conjunction, but each caufe acting in oppofition. To enter bluntly upon a fubject of fuch intricacy, might gravel an acute philofopher; and yet, by taking matters in a train, the intricacy vanifheth.
Next in order, according to the method propofed, come external effects; which lead us to pasfions as the caufes of action and of external effects. Two coexiftent paffions that have the fame tendency, must be similar; they accordingly readily unite, and in conjunction have double force. This is verified by experience; from which we learn, that the mind receives not impulfes alter
* A cenfure of the fame kind is pleasantly applied to the French Ballets by a celebrated writer. " Si le Prince eft joyeux, on prend
part à fa joye, et l'on danse: s'il est trifte, on veut l'égayer, 66 et l'on danfe. Mais il y a bien d'autres fujets de danfes; les "plus graves actions de la vie fe font en danfant. Les prêtres 66 danfent, les foldats danfent, les dieux danfent, les diables danfent, on danfe jufques dans les enterremens, et tout danse à propos de tout.'
nately from these paffions, but one ftrong impulfe from the whole in conjunction; and indeed it is not eafy to conceive what fhould bar the union of paffions that have all of them the fame tendency.
Two paffions having oppofite tendencies, may proceed from the fame caufe considered in different lights. Thus a miftrefs may at once be the caufe both of love and of refentment: her beauty inflames the paffion of love; her cruelty or inconftancy causes refentment. When two fuch paffions coexift in the fame breaft, the oppofition of their aim prevents any fort of union; and accordingly, they are not felt otherwife than in fucceffion the confequence of which must be, either that the paffions will balance each other, and prevent external action, or that one of themi will prevail, and accomplish its end. Guarini, in his Paftor Fido, defcribes beautifully the ftruggle between love and refentment directed upon the fame object:
Corifca. Chi vide mai, chi mai udi più ftrana
Che l'un par l'altro (e non fo ben dir come)
E fi ftrugge, e s'avanza, e nasce, e more.
S'i' miro alle bellezze di Mirtillo
Dal piè leggiadro al graziofo volto,
vago portamento, il bel fembiante,
Gli atti, i coftumi, e le parole, e 'l guardo;
M'affale Amore con sì poffente foco
Ch'i' ardo tutta, e par, ch' ogn' altro affetto
Ed in quel punto in me forge un talento
Dall' altra parte i' mi rifento, e dico,.
A feguirlo il penfier, gli occhi a mirarlo,
Che 'l nome di Mirtillo, e l' amor mio
Odio più che la morte; e lui vorrei
Act 1, fc. 3.
Ovid paints in lively colours the vibration of mind between two oppofite paffions directed to the fame object. Althea had two brothers much beloved, who were unjustly put to death by her fon Meleager in a fit of paffion: fhe was strongly impelled to revenge; but the criminal was her own fon. This ought to have with-held her hand; but the story is more interefting, by the violence of the ftruggle between refentment and maternal love :
Dona Deûm templis nato victore ferebat;