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here to the body, but hang loose, that the figures may appear easy and free in their movements. The constrained posture of a French dancing master in one of Hogarth's pieces, is for that reason disagreeable; and it is also ridiculous, because the constraint is assumed as a grace.
The foregoing observation is not confined to emotions or feelings raised by still life : it holds also in what are raised by the qualities, actions, and passions, of a sensible being. Love inspired by a fine woman assumes her qualities : it is sublime, soft, tender, severe or gay, according to its cause. This is still more remarkable in emotions raised by human actions : it hath already been remarked,* that any signal instance of gratitude, beside procuring esteem for the author, raiseth in the spectator a vague emotion of gratitude, which disposeth him to be grateful; and I now further remark, that this vague emotion bath a strong resemblance to its cause, namely, the passion that produced the grateful action : courage exerted inspires the reader as well as the spectator with a like emotion of courage, a just action fortifies our love of justice, and a generous action rouses our generosity. In short, with respect to all virtuous actions, it will be found by induction, that they lead us to imitation, by inspiring emotions resembling the passions that produceth these actions. And hence the advantage of choice books and choice company.
Grief as well as joy are infectious :) the emotions they raise in a spectator resemble them perfectly. Fear is equally infectious : and hence in an army, a few taking fright, even without cause, spread the infection till it becomes an universal panic. (Pity is similar to its cause'; a parting scene between lovers or friends, produceth in the sprctator a sort of pity, which is tender like the distress : the anguish of remorse, produceth pity of a barsh kind; and if the remorse be extreme, the pity hath a mixture of horror. Anger I think is singular; for even where it is moderate, and causeth no dis. gust, it disposes not the spectator to anger in any degree. * Covetousness, cruelty, treachery, and other vicious passions, are so far from raising any emotion similar to themselves, to incite a spectator to imitation, that they have an opposite effect : they raise abhorrence, and fortify the spectator in his aversion to such actions. When anger is immoderate, it cannot fail to produce the same effect.
* Part I. of this chapter, sect. iv.
FINAL CAUSES OF THE MORE FREQUENT EMOTIONS AND
(It is a law in our nature, that we never act but by the impulse of desire; which in other words is saying, that passion, by the desire included in it, is what determines the will. Hence in the conduct of life, it is of the utmost importance, that our passions be directed to proper objects, tend to just and rational ends, and with relation to each other, be duly balanced. The beauty of contrivance, so conspicuous in the human frame, is not confined to the rational part of our nature, but is visible over the whole. Concerning the passions in particular, however irregular, headstrong, and perverse, in a slight view, they may appear, I hope to demon. strate, that they are by nature modelled and tem. pered with perfect wisdom, for the good of society as well as for private good. The subject, treated at large, would be too extensive for the present work : all there is room for are a few general ob. servations opon the sensitive part of our nature, without regarding that strange irregularity of pas. sion discovered in some individuals. Such topical irregularities, if I may use the term, cannot fairly be held an objection to the present theory : we are frequently, it is true, misled by inordinate passion ; but we are also, and perhaps no less frequently, nisled by wrong judgment.
* Aristotle, Poet. cap.xviii. sect. 3. says, that anger raiseth in the spectator a similar emotion of anger.
'In order to fulfil my engagement, it must be premised, that an agreeable cause produceth always a pleasant emotion; and a disagreeable cause, a pain. fol emotion. This is a general law of nature, which admits not a single exception : agreeableness in the cause is indeed so essentially connected with pleasure in the emotion, its effect, that an agreeable cause cannot be better defined, than by its power of producing a pleasant emotion : and disagreeableness in the cause has the same neces. sary connexion with pain in the emotion produced
From this preliminary it appears, that in order to know for what end an emotion is made pleasant or painful, we must begin with inquiring for what (end its cause is made agreeable or disagreeable. And, with respect(to inanimate objects, considered as the causes of emotions, many of them are made agreeable in order to promote our bappiness; and it proves invincibly the benignity of the Deity, that we are placed in the midst of objects for the most part agreeable. But that is not all: the bulk of such objects, being of real use in life, are made agreeable in order to excite our industry; witness a large tree, a well-dressed fallow, a rich field of grain, and others that may be named without end. On the other hand, it is not easy to specify a disagreeable object that is not at the same time hurtful: some things are made disagreeable, such as a rotten carcass, because they are noxious: others, a dirty marsh, for example, or a barren heath, are made disagreeable, in order, as above, to excite our industry. And, with respect to the few things that are neither agreeable nor disagreeable, it will be made evident, that their being left indifferent is not a work of chance but of wisdom : of such I shall have occasion to give several instances.
(Because inanimate objects that are agreeable fix our attention, and draw us to them, they in that respect are termed attractive : such objects inspire pleasant emotions, wbich are gratified by adhering to the objects, and enjoying them. Because disa greeable objects of the same kind repel us from them, they in that respect are termed repulsive: and the painful emotions raised by such objects are gratified by flying from them. Thus, in general, with respect to things inanimate, the tendency of every pleasant emotion is to prolong the pleasure; and the tendency of every painful emotion is to end the pain.
(Sensible beings considered as objects of passion, lead into a more complex theory. A sensible being thatis agreeable by its attributes, inspires us with a pleasant emotion accompanied with desire; and the question is, What is naturally the gratification of that desire ? Were man altogether selfish, his na. ture would lead him to indulge the pleasant emotion, without making any acknowledgment to the person who gives bim pleasure, more than to a
pure air or temperate clime : but as man is endued with a principle of benevolence as well as of selfishoess, he is prompted by his nature to desire the good of every sensible being that gives him pleasure; and the happiness of that being is the gratification of his desire. The final cause of desire so directed is illustrious: it contributes to a man's own happiness, by affording him means of gratification beyond what selfishness can afford; and, at the same time, it tends eminently to advance the happiness of others. This lays open a beautiful theory in the nature of man: a selfish action can only benefit myself: a benevolent action benefits myself as much as it benefits others. In a word, benevolence may not improperly be said to be the most refined selfishness; which, by the way, ought to silence certain shallow philosophers, who, ignorant of human nature, teach a disgustful doctrine, That to serve others, unless with a view to our own happiness, is weakness and folly; as if selflove only, and not benevolence, contributed to our happiness. The hand of God is too visible in the buman frame, to permit us to think seriously, that there ever can be any jarring or inconsistency among natural principles, those especially of selflove and benevolence, which govern the bulk of our actions. *
* With shallow thinkers the selfish system naturally prevails in theory, I do not say in practice. During infancy, our desires center mostly in ourselves : every one perceives intuitively the comfort of food and raiment, of a snug dwelling, and of every convenience. But that the doing good to others will make us happy, is not so evident; feeding the hungry, for example, or clothing the naked. This truth is seen but obscurely by the gross of mankind, if at all seen : the superior pleasure that accompanies the exercise of benevolence, of friend. ship, and of every social principle, is not clearly understood till it be frequently felt. To perceive the socral principle in its triumphant state, a man must forget himself, and turn his thoughts upon the character and conduct of his fellow-creatures : he will feel a secret charm in every passion that tends to the good of others, and a secret VOL. I.