Puslapio vaizdai

furdities are noted inftances, the two emotions of contempt and of laughter unite intimately in the mind, and produce externally what is termed a laugh of derifion or of fcorn. Hence objects that caufe laughter may be diftinguished into two kinds they are either rifible or ridiculous. A rifible object is mirthful only: a ridiculous object is both mirthful and contemptible. The first raises an emotion of laughter that is altogether pleasant the emotion of laughter raised by the other, is qualified with that of contempt; and the mixed emotion, partly pleafant partly painful, is termed the emotion of ridicule. The pain a ridiculous object gives me, is refented by a laugh of derifion. A rifible object, on the other hand, gives me no pain: it is altogether pleafant by a certain fort of titillation, which is expreffed externally by mirthful laughter. Ridicule will be more fully explained afterward: the prefent chapter is appropriated to the other emotion.

Rifible objects are so common, and fo well underflood, that it is unneceffary to confume paper or time upon them. Take the few following examples.

Falstaff. I do remember him at Clement's inn, like a man made after fupper of a cheese-paring. When he was naked, he was for all the world like a forked radish,› with a head fantaftically carved upon it with a knife. Second part, Henry IV. act 3. Sc. 5.

R 3


The foregoing is of difproportion. The following examples are of flight or imaginary misfortunes.

Falstaff. Go fetch me a quart of fack, put a toast in't. Have I liv'd to be carried in a basket, like a barrow of butcher's offal, and to be thrown into the Thames! Well, if I be served fuch another trick, I'll have my brains ta'en out and butter'd, and give them to a dog for a new year's gift. The rogues flighted me into the river with as little remorfe as they would have drown'd a bitch's blind pup. pies, fifteen i' th' litter; and you may know by my fize, that I have a kind of alacrity in finking: if the bottom were as deep as hell, I fhould down. I had been drown'd, but that the fhore was fhelvy and fhallow; a death that I abhor; for the water fwells a man: and what a thing should I have been when I had been fwell'd? I fhould have been a mountain of mummy.

Merry Wives of Windfor, act 3. fc. 15.

Falstaff, Nay, you fhall hear, Mafter Brook, what I' have fuffer'd to bring this woman to evil for your good. Being thus cramm'd in the basket, a couple of Ford's knaves, his hinds, were call'd forth by their mistress, to carry me in the name of foul cloaths to Datchet-lane. They took me on their fhoulders, met the jealous knave their mafter in the door, who afk'd them once or twice what they had in their basket. I quak'd for fear, left the lunatic knave would have fearch'd it; but Fate, ordaining he should be a cuckold, held his hand. Well, on went he for a fearch, and away went I for foul cloaths. But mark the fequel, Master Brook. I fuffer'd the pangs of three egregious deaths: firft, an intolerable fright, to be detected by a jealous rotten bell-wea


ther; next, to be compafs'd like a good bilbo, in the circumference of a peck, hilt to point, heel to head; and then to be ftopt in, like a ftrong diftillation, with ftinking cloaths that fretted in their own grease. Think of that, a man of my kidney; think of that, that am as fubject to heat as butter; a man of continual diffolution and thaw; it was a miracle to 'scape suffocation. And in the height of this bath, when I was more than half ftew'd in greafe, like a Dutch difh, to be thrown into the Thames, and cool'd glowing hot, in that furge, like a horse fhoe; think of that; hiffing hot; think of that, Mafter Brook. Merry Wives of Windfor, act 3.fc. 17.

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AVING difcuffed thofe qualities and circumstances of fingle objects that seem peculiarly connected with criticism, we. proceed, according to the method proposed in the chapter of beauty, to the relations of objects, beginning with the relations of resemblance and diffimilitude.

The connection that man hath with the beings around him, requires fome acquaintance with their nature, their powers, and their qualities, for regulating his conduct. To acquire a branch of knowledge fo effential to our well-being, motives alone of reason and intereft are not fufficient: nature hath providently fuperadded curiofity, a vigorous propenfity which never is at reft. It is this propensity which attaches us to every new object *; and in particular, incites us to compare objects, in order to difcover their differences and refemblances.

Refemblance among objects of the fame kind, and diffimilitude among objects of different kinds, are too obvious and familiar to gratify our curio

* See chap. 6.

fity in any degree: its gratification lies in difcovering differences, among things where refemblance prevails, and in discovering resemblances where difference prevails. Thus a difference in individuals of the fame kind of plants or animals, is deemed a difcovery; while the many particulars in which they agree, are neglected and in different kinds, any refemblance is greedily remarked, without attending to the many particulars in which they differ.

A comparison however may be too far stretched. When differences or refemblances are carried beyond certain bounds, they appear flight and trivial; and for that reafon, will not be relished by a man of taste: yet fuch propensity is there to gratify paffion, curiofity in, particular, that even among good writers, we find many comparisons too flight to afford fatisfaction. Hence the frequent inftances among logicians, of diftinctions without any folid difference: and hence the frequent inftances among poets and orators, of fimiles without any juft refemblance. With regard to the latter, I fhall confine myfelf to one inftance, which will probably amufe the reader, being a citation, not from a poet nor orator, but from a grave author writing an inftitute of law. "Our student fhall obferve, that the "knowledge of the law is like a deep well, out "of which each man draweth according to the "ftrength of his understanding. He that reach"eth deepeft, feeth the amiable and admirable


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