Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

of defire, raiseth an emotion of the fame kind with that now mentioned: but the cause must be different; for there can be no gratification where there is no defire. We have not however far to feek for a caufe: it is involved in the nature of man, that he cannot be indifferent to an event that concerns him or any of his connections; if it be fortunate, it gives him joy; if unfortunate, it gives him forrow.

In no fituation doth joy rife to a greater height, than upon the removal of any violent distress of mind or body; and in no fituation doth forrow rife to a greater height, than upon the removal of what makes us happy. The fenfibility of our nature ferves in part to account for these effects. Other caufes alfo concur. One is, that we can be under no violent distress without an anxious defire to be free from it; and therefore its removal is a high gratification: nor can we be poffeffed of any thing that makes us happy, without wishing its continuance; and therefore its removal, by croffing our wishes, muft create forrow. The principle of contraft is another caufe: an emotion of joy arifing upon the removal of pain, is increased by contraft when we reflect upon our former diftrefs: an emotion of forrow upon being deprived of any good, is increased by contraft when we reflect upon our former happiness :

Jaffier. There's not a wretch that lives on common charity,

[blocks in formation]

But's happier than me. For I have known
The luscious fweets of plenty: every night
Have flept with foft content about my head,
And never wak'd but to a joyful morning.
Yet now muft fall like à full ear of corn,
Whose bloffom 'fcap'd, yet's wither'd in the ripening.
Venice preferv'd, act. 1. fc. 1.

It hath always been reckoned difficult to account for the extreme pleasure that follows a ceffation of bodily pain; as when one is relieved from the rack, or from a violent fit of the ftone. What is faid, explains this difficulty in the easiest and fimpleft manner: ceffation of bodily pain is not of itself a pleasure, for a non-ens or a negative can neither give pleasure nor pain; but man is fo framed by nature as to rejoice when he is eased of pain, as well as to be forrowful when deprived of any enjoyment. This branch of our conftitution, is chiefly the cause of the pleasure. The gratification of defire comes in as an acceffory caufe: and contraft joins its force, by increafing the fenfe of our present happiness. In the cafe of an acute pain, a peculiar circumstance contributes its part: the brifk circulation of the animal fpirits occafioned by acute pain, continues after the pain is vanished, and produceth a very pleafant emotion. Sickness hath not that effect, because it is always attended with a depreffion of fpirits.

Hence it is, that the gradual diminution of acute pain, occafions a mixt emotion, partly

pleafant,

[ocr errors]

pleasant, partly painful: the partial diminution, produceth joy in proportion; but the remaining pain balanceth the joy. This mixt emotion, however, hath no long endurance; for the joy that arifeth upon the diminution of pain, foon vanisheth, and leaveth in the undisturbed poffeffion, that degree of pain which remains.

What is above obferved about bodily pain, is equally applicable to the diftreffes of the mind; and accordingly it is a common artifice, to prepare us for the reception of good news by alarming our fears.

[blocks in formation]

Sympathetic emotion of virtue, and its caufe.

NE feeling there is, which merits a deliberate view, for its fingularity, as well as utility. Whether to call it an emotion or a paffion, feems uncertain: the former it can scarce be, because it involves defire; the latter it can scarce be, because it has no object. But this feeling and its nature will be beft understood from examples. A fignal act of gratitude produceth in the spectator, not only love or esteem for the author, but alfo a feparate feeling, which hath not been much adverted to: it is a vague feeling of gratitude without an object; a feeling, however, which difpofes the fpectator to acts of graD 3

titude,

:

titude, more than upon ordinary occafions. Let any man attentively confider his own heart when he thinks warmly of any fignal act of gratitude, and he will be confcious of this feeling, as dif tinct from the esteem or admiration he has for the grateful perfon. The feeling is fingular in the following refpect, that it is accompanied with a defire to perform acts of gratitude, without having any object; though in this ftate, the mind, wonderfully bent upon an object, neglects no object upon which it can vent itself any act of kindness or good-will that would not be regarded upon another occafion, is greedily feized; and the vague feeling is converted into a real paffion of gratitude in fuch a ftate, favours are returned double.

In like manner, a courageous action produceth in a spectator the paffion of admiration directed to the author and befide this well-known paffion, a feparate feeling is raised in the fpectator; which may be called an emotion of courage, be caufe, while under its influence, he is confcious of a boldness and intrepidity beyond what is ufual, and longs for proper objects upon which to exert

this emotion:

Spumantemque dari, pecora inter inertia, votis
Optat aprum, aut fulvum defcendere monte leonem.

Eneid iv. 158.

Non

Non altramente il tauro, que l' irriti
Gelofo amor con ftimoli pungenti,
Horribilmente mugge, e co' muggiti
Gli fpirti in fe rifueglia, e l'ire ardenti:
E'l corno aguzza a i tronchi, e par ch' inuiti
Con vani colpi a' la battaglia i venti.,

So full of valour that they fmote the air
For breathing in their faces.

Taffo, canto 7. ft. 55.

Tempeft, act. 4. fc. 4.

The emotions raifed by mufic independent of words, must be all of this nature: courage roufed by martial mufic performed upon inftruments without a voice, cannot be directed to any object; nor can grief or pity raifed by melancholy mufic of the fame kind have an object..

:

For another example, let us figure fome grand. and heroic action, highly agreeable to the fpectator. Befide a fingular veneration for the author, the fpectator feels in himself an unusual dignity of character, which difpofeth him to great and noble actions and herein chiefly confifts the extreme delight every one hath in the hiftories of conquerors and heroes.

!

This fingular feeling, which may be termed the Sympathetic emotion of virtue, resembles, in one respect, the well-known appetites that lead to the propagation and prefervation of the fpecies. The appetites of hunger, thirft, and animal love, arife in the mind before they are directed to any object; and in no cafe whatever is the mind more D 4 folicitous

« AnkstesnisTęsti »