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anc : it ought not naturally to have any effect, other than to fwell that emotion, by making it more pleasant or more painful than it commonly is. And this conjecture is confirmed by experience, as well as by language, which is built
upon experience: when a man meets a friend unexpectedly, he is said to be agreeably surprised; and when he meets an enemy unexpectedly, he is said to be disagreeably surprised. It appears, then, that the sole effect of surprise is to swell the emotion raised by the object. And this effect can be clearly explained: a tide of connected perceptions, glides gently into the mind, and produceth no perturbation; but an object breaking in unexpectedly, sounds an alarm, rouses the mind out of its calm state, and directs its whole attention upon the object, which, if agreeable, becomes doubly fo. Several circumstances concur to produce this effect: on the one hand, the agitation of the mind, and its keen attention, prepare it in the most effectual manner for receiving a deep impression : on the other hand, the object, by its sudden and unforeseen appearance, makes an impression, not gradually, as expected objects do, but as at one stroke with its whole force. The circumstances are precisely similar where the object is in itself disagreeable.
The pleasure of novelty is easily distinguished from that of variety: to produce the latter, a plurality of objects is necessary; the former arises from a circumstance found in a single object. A
gain, where objects, whether coexistent or in fucceflion, are sufficiently diversified, the pleasure of variety is complete, though every single object of the train be familiar : but the pleasure of novelty, directly opposite to familiarity, requires no diversification.
There are different degrees of novelty, and its effects are in proportion. The lowest degree is found in objects that are surveyed a second time after a long interval; and that in this case an object takes on some appearance of novelty, is certain from experience: a large building of many parts varioully adorned, or an extensive field embellished with trees, lakes, temples, statues, and other ornaments, will appear new oftener than once: the memory of an object fo complex is foon loft, of its parts at least, or of their arrangement. But experience teaches, that even without any decay of remembrance, absence alone will give an air of novelty to a once familiar object; which is not surprising, because fainiliarity wears off gradually by absence : thus a person with whom we have been intimate, returning after a long interval, appears like a new acquaintance: and distance of place contributes to this appearance, not less than distance of time: a friend, for example, after a short absence in a remote country, has the same air of novelty as if he had returned after a longer interval from a place nearer home : the mind forms a connection between him and the remote country, and bestows upon him the fingularity
of the objects he has seen: for the same reason, when two things equally new and singular are presented, the spectator balances between them; but when told that one of them is the product of a distant quarter of the world, he no longer hesitates, but clings to this as the more singular: hence the preference given to foreign luxuries, and to foreign curiosities, which appear rare in proportion to their original distance,
The next degree of novelty, mounting upward, is found in objects of which we have some information at 'second hand; for description, though it contribute to familiarity, cannot altogether remove the appearance of novelty when the object itself is presented: the first light of a lion occasions fome wonder, after a thorough acquaintance with the correctest pictures and Itatues of that animal,
A new object that bears some distant resemblance to a known fpecies, is an instance of a third degree of novelty: a strong resemblance among individuals of the fame species, prevents almost entirely the effect of novelty, unless distance of place or some other circumstance concur; but where the resemblance is faint, some degree of wonder is felt, and the emotion rises in propor tion to the faintness of the resemblance.
The highest degree of wonder ariseth from unknown objećts that have no analogy to any species we are acquainted with. Shakespear in a fiz mile introduces this species of novelty :
As glorious to the fight
Romeo and Juliet,
One example of this species of novelty, deserves peculiar attention; and that is, when an object altogether new is seen by one person only, and but once. These circumstances heighten remarkably the emotion : the singularity of the condition of the spectator concurs with the singularity of the object, to inflame wonder to its highest pitch.
In explaining the effects of novelty, the place a being occupies in the scale of existence, is a circumstance that must not be omitted. Novelty in the individuals of a low class, is perceived with indifference, or with a very slight emotion: thus a pebble, however singular in its appearance, scarce moves our wonder. The emotion rises with the rank of the object; and, other circumstances being equal, is strongelt in the highest order of existence: a strange animal affects us more than a strange vegetable; and were we admitted to view superior beings, our wonder would rise proportionably; and accompanying nature in her amazing works, be completed in the contemplation of the Deity. However natural the love of novelty may be,
it is a matter of experience, that those who relih novelty the most, are careful to conceal its influence. This relish, it is true, prevails in children, in idlers, and in men of a weak mind : and yet, after all, why should one be ashamed of indulging a natural propensity? A distinction will explain this difficulty. Curiosity is a natural principle directed upon new and singular objects, in the contemplation of which its gratification consists, without leading to any end other than knowledge; and accordingly no man is ashamed to acknowledge that he loves to contemplate new and singular objects. But the man who prefers any thing merely because it is new, hath not this principle for its justification; nor indeed any good principle : vanity is at the bottom, which easily prevails upon those who have no taste, to prefer things odd, rare, or singular, in order to distinguish themselves from others. And in fact, this appetite, as above mentioned, reigns chiefly among persons of a mean taste, who are ignorant of refined and elegant pleasures.
One final cause of wonder, hinted above, is, that this emotion is intended to stimulate our curiosity. Another, somewhat different, is, to prepare the mind for receiving deep impressions of new objects. An acquaintance with the various things that may affect us, and with their properties, is essential to our well-being: nor will a slight or superficial acquaintance be fuffieient; they ought to be so deeply ingraved on