Puslapio vaizdai

specting Chimene, which, making part of the fame story, is placed here, though it properly belongs to the foregoing head. It became the duty of that lady to demand justice against her lover, for whose preservation, in other circumstances, she chearfully would have sacrificed her own life. The struggle between these opposite passions directed to the fame object, is finely expressed in the third scene of the third act :

Elvire. Il vous prive d'un pére, et vous l'aimez encore !

Chimene. C'est peu de dire aimer, Elvire, je l'adore; Ma paffion s'oppose à mon resentiment, Dedans mon ennemi je trouve mon amant, Et je sens qu'en depit de toute ma colére, Rodrigue dans mon cæur combat encore mon pére. Il l'attaque, il le presse, il céde, il se défend, Tantôt fort, tantôt foible, et tantôt triomphant; Mais en ce dur combat de colére et de flame, Il déchire mon coeur sans partager mon ame, Et quoique mon amour ait sur moi de pouvoir, Je ne consulte point pour suivre mon devoir. Je cours fans balancer où mon honneur m'oblige; Rodrigue m'est bien cher, son interêt m'affige, Mon cæur prend son parti; mais malgré son effort, Je fai ce que je suis, et que mon pére est mort.

Not less when the objects are different than when the same, are means sometimes afforded to gratify both passions; and such means are greedily embraced. In Tasso's Gerusalem, Edward and Gildippe, husband and wife, are introduced

fighting fighting gallantly against the Saracens: Gildippe receives a mortal wound by the hand of Soliman : Edward inflamed with revenge, as well as concern for Gildippe, is agitated between the two different objects. The poet * describes him endeavouring to gratify both at once, applying his right hand against Soliman, the object of his resentment, and his left hand to support his wife, the object of his love.

[merged small][ocr errors]

The influence of passion with respect to our per

ceptions, opinions, and belief.



YOnsidering how intimately our perceptions,

passions, and actions, are connected, it would be wonderful if they should have no mutual influence. That our actions are too much influenced by passion, is a known truth; but it is not less certain, though not so commonly observed, that passion hath also an influence upon our perceptions, opinions, and belief. For example, the opinions we form of men and things, are generally directed by affection: an advice given by a man of figure, hath great weight; the fame advice from one in a low condition, is utterly ne

[ocr errors]

* Canto 20. st. 97.

glected :

glected : a man of courage under-rates danger; and to the indolent, the flightest obstacle appears unsurmountable.

This subject is of great use in logic; and of still greater use in criticism, by serving to explain several principles of the fine arts that will be unfolded in the course of this work. Being too extensive to be treated here at large, some cursory illustrations must suffice; leaving the subject to be prosecuted more particularly afterward when occasion shall offer.

There is no truth more universally known, than that tranquillity and sedateness are the proper Itate of mind for accurate perception and cool deliberation; and for that reason, we never regard the opinion even of the wiselt man, when we discover prejudice or passion behind the curtain. Passion, as observed above, (page 111.), has such influence over us, 'as to give a false light to all its objects. Agreeable passions prepossess the mind in favour of their objects, and disagreeable passions, not less against their objects : woman is all perfection in her lover's opinion, while in the eye of a rival she is awkward and difagreeable: to a zealot every one of his own fect is a faint, while the most upright of a different fect, are to him children of perdition. Nor will this surprise any one who is acquainted with the world in any degree: our opinions, the result frequently of various and complicated views, are



generally so slight and wavering, as readily to be susceptible of a bias from paffion.

With this natural bias another circumstance concurs, to give passion an undue influence upon our opinions and belief; and that is a strong tendency in our nature to justify our passions as well as our actions, not to others only, but even to ourselves. This tendency is peculiarly remarkable with respect to disagreeable passions: by its influence, objects are magnified or lessened, circumstances supplied or suppressed, every thing coloured and disguised, to answer the end of juItification. Hence the foundation of self-deceit, where a man imposes upon himself innocently, and even without suspicion of a bias.

There are subordinate means that contribute to pervert the judgment, and to make us form opinions contrary to truth; of which I thall mention two that seem to be capital. First, It was formerly observed *, that though ideas seldom start up in the mind without connection, yet that ideas which correspond to the present tone of mind, are readily suggested by any flight connection: by this means, the arguments for a favourite opinion are always at hand, while we often search in vain for those that cross our inclination. Second, The mind taking delight in agreeable circumstances or arguments, is strongly impreffed with them; while those that are disagreeable


* Chap. I.


[ocr errors]

are hurried over so as scarce to make any impression: the same argument, by being relished or not relished, weighs so differently, as in truth to make conviction depend more on passion than on reasoning. This observation is fully justified by experience: to confine myself to a single instance, the numberless absurd religious tenets that at different times have peftered the world, would be altogether unaccountable but for this irregular bias of passion.

We proceed to a more pleasant task, which is, to illustrate the foregoing observations by proper exainples. Gratitude when warm, is often exerted upon the children of the benefactor; especially where he is removed out of reach by death or absence *. The passion in this case being exerted for the sake of the benefactor, requires no peculiar excellence in his children: but the practice of doing good to these children produces affection for them, which never fails to advance them in our esteem. By this means, strong connections of affection are often formed among individuals, upon the flight foundation now mentioned.

Envy is a passion, which, being altogether unjustifiable, cannot be excused but by disguising it under some more plausible name. At the same time, no passion is more eager than envy, to give its object a disagreeable appearance: it magnifies

Sce part 1. sect. I. of the present chapter.



« AnkstesnisTęsti »