« AnkstesnisTęsti »
EMOTIONS AND PASSIONS.
F all the feelings arising from the percep
tion of external objects, those only that
arife from seeing and hearing are honoured with the name of pafion or emotion: the most pleasant feelings of taste, or touch, or smell, aspire not to that honour. We must not however infer, that every feeling of the eye or the ear is denominated a pasion or emotion. A vivid colour produces a pleasant feeling, and certain Thades of colours produce a feeling still more pleafant; fonie musical compositions of a low kind, raise feelings that may be put under the same class. But such feelings are too faint to be termed passions, or even emotions. This observation is intended to show the connection of the present chapter with the fine arts, which, as observed in the introduction, are all of them calculated to give pleasure to the eye or the ear; never once condefcending to gratify any of the inferior senses. And hence the necessity, in an undertaking like the present, of delineating the passions and emotions with such accuracy as clearly to show the causes from which they spring, and, in particular, to show how far they are under the influence
of the fine arts; for it will be obvious, that an artist can have no precise rule for conducting his operations, nor any certain prospect of success, if he cannot determine beforehand what impression his work, when finished, will make upon the heart.
A critical work that attempts to unfold the principles of the fine arts, appears in this view to be a direct avenue to the heart of man. The inquisitive mind beginning with criticisin, the most agreeable of all amusements, and finding no obstruction in its progress, advances far into the fensitive
part of our nature; and gains imperceptibly a thorough knowledge of the human heart, of its desires, and of every motive to action; a science which of all that can be reached by man, is to him of the greatest importance. Upon a fubject so comprehensive, all that can
fo be expected here, is a general or flight survey: and also to shorten this survey, I propose to handle in separate chapters fome emotions more peculiarly connected with the fine arts. Even after this circumscription, so much matter comes under the present chapter, that, to avoid confufion, I find it necessary to divide it into many parts: and though the first of these is confined to such causes of emotion or passion as are the most common and the most general; yet upon examinatior. I find this single branch fo extensive, as to require a subdivision into several sections. Human nature is a complicated machine, and must
be fo to answer its various purposes. The public indeed have been entertained with many fyItems of human nature that flatter the mind by their fimplicity: according to some writers, man is entirely a selfish being: according to others, universal benevolence is his duty: one founds morality upon sympathy folely, and one upon utility. If any of these systems were copied from nature, the present subject might be foon discussed. But the variety of nature is not fo easily reached : and for confuting such Utopian fystems without the intricacy of reafoning, it appears the best method to take a survey of human nature, and to set before the eye, plainly and candidly, facts as they really exist.
Causes unfolded of the emotions and pasions.
Difference between emotion and passion.
Causes that are the most common and the most general. Pasion considered as productive of action.
Hese branches are so interwoven that they
cannot be handled separately. It is a fact universally admitted, that no emotion nor passion VOL.I.
ever starts up in the mind, without a known cause: if I love a person, it is for good qualities or good offices : if I have resentment against a man, it must be for some injury he has done me: and I cannot pity any one, who is under no diftrefs of body nor of mind.
The circumstances now mentioned, if they cause or occasion an emotion or passion, cannot be entirely indifferent ; were they so, they could not make any impression upon us.
And we find upon examination, that they are not indifferent : looking back upon the foregoing examples, the good qualities or good offices that attract my love, are antecedently agreeable: if an injury did not give uneasiness, it would not occasion resentment against the author : nor would the passion of pity be raised by an object in distress, if that object did not give pain,
What is now said about the production of emotion or passion, resolves into a very simple proposition, That we love what is agreeable, and hate what is disagreeable. And indeed it is evident, that a thing must be agreeable or disagreeable, before it can be the object either of love or of hatred.
This short hint about the causes of passion and emotion leads us naturally to a more extenfive view of the subject. Such is the constitution of our nature, that upon perceiving certain external objects, we are instantaneously conscious of pleasure or pain : a gently-flowing river, a smooth extended plain, a spreading oak, a tower
ing hill, are objects of light that raise pleasant emotions : a barret heath, a dirty marth, a rotten carcass, raise painful emotions. Of the emotions thus produced, we inquire for no other cause but merely the presence of the object.
The things now mentioned, raife emotions by means of their properties and qualities': to the emotion raised by a large river, its size, its force, and its fluency, contribute each a share : the regularity, propriety; and convenience of a fine building, contribute to the emotion raised by it. ** If external properties be agreeable, we have réafon to expect the same from those which are internal; and accordingly power, discernment, wit, mildness, fympathy, courage, benevolence, are agreeable in a high degree : so soon as these qualities are perceived in any person, we instantaneously feel pleasant emotions, without the fightest act of reflection, or of attention to consequences. It is almost unnecessary to add, that certain qualities opposite to the former, such as dullness, peevishness, inhumanity, cowardice, occasion in the same manner painful emotions.
Sensible beings affect us remarkably by their actions. Some actions so soon as perceived, raise pleasant emotions in the spectator, without the least reflection; such as graceful motion and genteel behaviour. But as intention is a capital circumstance in human actions, it generally requires reflection to discover their true character: I fee one delivering a purse of money to another, but