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HE five senses agree in the following particular, that nothing external is per
ceived till first it make an impression upon the organ of sense. But they differ as to our consciousness of that impression : in touching, tasting, and smelling, we are conscious of the impression; that, for example, which is made upon the hand by a stone, upon the palate by an apricot, and upon the nostrils by a rose: it is otherwise in seeing and hearing; for when I behold a tree, I am not sensible of the impression made upon my eye; nor of the impression made upon my car, when I listen to a song * This difference in the manner of perceiving external objects, distinguishes remarkably hearing and seeing from the other senses; and I am ready to show, that it distinguishes still more remarkably the feelings of the former from those of the latter : a feeling pleasant or painful cannot exist but in the
because in tasting, touching, and smelling, we are conscious of the impreffion made upon the organ, we are disposed to place also
upon it the pleasant or painful feeling caused by that impression: but with respect to seeing and hearing, being insensible of the organic impression, we are not misled to assign a wrong
See the Appendix, $13. VOL. I. А
place to the pleasant or painful feelings caused by that impression; and therefore we naturally place them in the mind, where they really exist: upon that account, they are conceived to be more refined and spiritual, than what are derived from tasting, touching, and smelling; for the latter feelings seeming to exist externally at the organ of sense, are conceived to be merely corporeal.
The pleasures of the eye and the ear being thus elevated above those of the other external senses, acquire so much dignity as to make them a laudable entertainment. They are not, however, fet upon a level with those that are purely intellectual; being not less inferior in dignity to intellectual pleasures, than superior to the organic or corporeal: they indeed resemble the latter, being like them produced by external objects; but they also resemble the former, being like them produced without any sensible organic impression. Their mixt nature and middle place between organic and intellectual pleasures, qualify them to associate with both : beauty heightens all the organic feelings, as well as those that are intellectual : harmony, though it aspires to inflame devotion, disdains not to improve the relish of a banquet.
The pleafures of the eye and ear have other valuable properties beside those of dignity and elevation: being sweet and moderately exhilarating, they are in their tone equally distant from the turbulence of passion, and the languor of inaction; and by that tone are perfectly well qualified, not only to revive the spirits when funk by sensual gratification, but also to relax them when overstrained in any violent pursuit. Here is a remedy provided for many distresses; and to be convinced of its falutary effects, it will be sufficient to run over the following particulars. Organic pleasures have naturally a short duration ; when prolonged, they lose their relih; when indulged to excess, they beget satiety and disgust : and to relieve us from such uneasiness, nothing can be more happily contrived than the exhilarating pleasures of the eye and ear, which take place imperceptibly, without much varying the tone of mind. On the other hand, any intense exercise of the intellectual powers, becomes painful by overstraining the mind : ceffation from such exercise gives not instant relief; it is neceffary that the void be filled with some amusement, gently relaxing the spirits *: organic pleasure, which hath no relish but while we are in vigour, is ill qualified for that office; but the finer pleafures of sense, which occupy without exhausting the mind, are excellently well qualified to restore its usual tone after severe application to study or business, as well as after fatiety from fensual gratification.
* Du Bos judiciously observes, that filence doth not tend 10 calm an agitated mind; but that soft and how music hath a fine effect.
Our first perceptions are of external objects, and our first attachments are to them. Organic pleasures take the lead: but the mind, gradually ripening, relisheth more and more the pleasures of the eye and ear; which approach the purely mental, without exhausting the spirits; and exceed the purely sensual, without danger of fatiety. The pleasures of the eye and ear have accordingly a natural aptitude to draw us from the immoderate gratification of sensual appetite; and the inind, once accustomed to enjoy a variety of external objects without being conscious of the organic impression, is prepared for enjoying internal objects where there cannot be an organic impression. Thus the author of nature, by qualifying the human mind for a succession of enjoyments from the lowest to the highest, leads it by gentle steps from the most groveling corporeal pleasures, for which only it is fitted in the beginning of life, to those refined and sublime pleasures which are suited to its maturity.
This succession, however, is not governed by unavoidable necessity : the God of nature offers it to us, in order to advance our happiness; and it is sufficient, that he hath enabled us to carry it on in its natural course. Nor has he made our task disagreeable or difficult : on the contrary, the transition is fweet and easy, from corporeal pleasures to the more refined pleasures of sense; and not less so, from these to the exalted pleasures of morality and religion. We stand there
fore engaged in honour, as well as interest, to fecond the purposes of nature, by cultivating the pleasures of the eye and ear, those especially that require extraordinary culture *, such as are inspired by poetry, painting, sculpture, music, gardening, and architecture. This chiefly is the duty of the opulent, who have leisure to improve their minds and their feelings.
The fine arts are contrived to give pleasure to the eye and the ear, disregarding the inferior senses. A taste for these arts is a plant that grows naturally in many foils; but, without culture, scarce to perfection in any soil : it is susceptible of much refinement; and is, by proper care, greatly improved. In this respect, a talte in the fine arts goes hand in hand with the moral sense, to which indeed it is nearly allied : both of them discover what is right and what is wrong : fashion, temper, and education, have an influence upon both to vitiate them, or to preserve them pure and untainted: neither of them are arbitrary or local; being rooted in human nature, and governed by principles common to all men. The fine arts
• A taste for natural objects is born with us in perfection : to relish a fine countenance, a rich landscape, or a vivid colour, culture is unnecessary, The observation holds equally in natural founds, such as the singing of birds, or the murmuring of a brook. Nature here, the artificer of the object as well as of the percipient, hath suited them to each other with great accuracy. But of a poem, a cantata, a picture, and other artificial productions, a true relich is not commonly attained without study and practice.