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computations of the same time: but however imperfect, it is the only measure by which we naturally calculate time; and this measure is applied on all occasions, without regard to any casual variation in the rate of succéffion.

This natural measure of time would however be tolerable, did it labour under no other imperfection, but the ordinary variations that happen in the succession of our perceptions : but in many particular circumstances, it is much more fallacious. And in order to explain this distinctly, an analysis will be necessary. Time is computed at two different periods; one while it is passing, another after is past : these computations shall be considered separately, with the errors to which each of them is liable. Beginning with the conpitation of time while it is pafling, it is a common and trite observation, That to lovers absence appears immeasurably long, every minute an hour, and every day a year : the same computation is made in every case where we long for a distant event; as where one is in expectation of good news, or where a profligate heir watches for the death of a rich ancestor. Opposite to these are instances not fewer in number: to a criminal the interval between sentence and execution appears miserably short: and the fame holds in every case where one dreads an approaching event, of which even a schoolboy can bear witness: the hour allowed him for play, moves, in his apprehension, with a very swife pace; before



he is thoroughly engaged, the hour is gone. A


computation founded on the number of ideas,
will never produce estimates so regularly oppo-
site to each other; for our wishes do not produce
a flow fucceffion of ideas, nor our fears a quick
fucceflion. What then moves nature, in the ca-
ses mentioned, to desert her ordinary measure,
for one very different? I know not that this
question ever has been resolved; the false esti-
mares I have suggested being so common and fa-
miliar, that no writer has thought of their cause,
And indeed, to enter upon this matter without
preparation, might occasion fome difficulty; to
encounter which, we luckily are prepared, by
what is said upon the power of passion to bias the
mind in its perceptions and opinions. Among
the circumstances that terrify a condemned cri-
minal, the short time he has to live is one; which
time, by the influence of terror, is made to ap-
pear still shorter than it is in reality, In the fame
manner, among the distresses of an absent lover,
the time of separation is a capital circumstance,
which for that reason is greatly magnified by his
anxiety and impatience; he imagines that the
time of meeting comes on very slow, or rather
that it will never come: every minute is thought
of an intolerable length. Here is a fair, and I
hope fatisfactory, reason, why time is thought to
be tedious when we long for a future event, and
not less fleet when we dread the event. This
reason is confirmed by other instances. Bodily


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pain fixt to one part, produceth a flow train of perceptions, which, according to the common measure of time, ought to make it appear short : yet we know, that in such a state time has the

орposite appearance; and the reason is, that bodily pain is always attended with a degree of impatience, which makes us think every minute to be an hour. The same holds where the pain shifts from place to place; but not fo remarkably, because such a pain is not attended with the fame degree of impatience. The impatience a man hath in travelling through a barren country, or in bad roads, makes him think, during the journey, that time goes on with a very flow pace. We shall see afterward, that a very different computation is made when the journey is at an end.

How ought it to stand with a person who apprehends bad news? It will probably be thought, that the case of this person resembles that of a criminal, who, terrified at his approaching execution, believes every hour to be but a minute : yet the computation is directly opposite. Reflecting upon this difficulty, there appears one capital circumstance in which the two cases differ: the fate of the criminal is determined ; in the case under consideration, the person is still in suspense. Every one knows how distressful sufpense is to us : we wish to get rid of it at any rate, even at the expence of bad news.

This case therefore, upon a more narrow inspection, resembles that of bodily pain: the present distress

in both cases, makes the time appear extremely tedious.

The reader probably will not be displeased, to have this branch of the subject illustrated in a pleasant manner, by an author who is acquainted with every maze of the human heart, and who bestows ineffable grace and ornament upon every subject he handles ; Rosalinda. I pray you, what is't a clock?

Orlando. You should ask me, what time o' day; there's no clock in the forest.

Rof. Then there is no true lover in the forest; else, sighing every minute, and groaning every hour, would detect the lazy foot of Time, as well as a clock.

Orla. Why not the swift foot of Timę? Had not that been as proper ?

Ros. By no means, Sir. Time travels in diverse paces with diverse persons. I'll tell you who Time ambles withal, who Time trots withal, who Time gallops withal, and who he stands still withal.

Orla. I pr’y thee whom doth he trot withal ?

Ref. Marry, he trots hard with a young maid, between the contract of her marriage, and the day it is folem. nized : if the interim bę but a se'ennight, Time's pace iş so hard that it seems the length of seven years.

Orla. Who ambles Time withal ?

Ros. With a priest that lacks Latin, and a rich man that hath not the gout: for the one fleeps easily, because he cannot ftudy: and the other lives merrily, because he feels no pain : the one lacking the burden of lean and wasteful learning ; the other knowing no bur: then of heavy tedious penury.

These Time ambles withal.




Orla. Whom doth he gallop withal? Rof. With a thief to the gallows: for though he go as softly as foot can fall, he thinks himself too soon there.

Orla. Whom stays it still withal ?

Ref. With lawyers in the vacation : for they sleep between term and term, and then they perceive not how Time moves.

As you like it, a&t 3. fc. 8.


The natural method of computing present time, shows how far from truth we may be led by the irregular influence of passion: nor are our eyes immediately opened when the scene is paft; for the deception continues while there remain any traces of the passion. But looking back upon past time when the joy or distress is no longer remembered, the computation we make is very different: in this situation, we coolly and deliberately make use of the ordinary measure, viz. the course of our perceptions. And I shall now proceed to the errors that this measure is subjected to. Here we must distinguish between a train of perceptions, and a train of ideas: real objects make a strong impression, and are faithfully remembered: ideas, on the contrary, however entertaining at the time, are apt to escape a subsequent recollection. Hence it is, that in retrospection, the time that was employ'd upon real objects, appears longer than that employ'd upon ideas : the former are more accurately recollected than the latter; and we measure the time by the


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