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term. How agreeable it is, to have the foul called forth to exertion and fenfibility, let the Gamefter witnefs, who, unable to endure the laffitude and famenefs of unanimated luxury, runs with eagerness to the place where, probably, await him all the irritation and agony of tumultuous paffions.
"Again; it a law of our nature, that oppofite paffions, when felt in fucceffion, and, above all, when felt at the fame moment, heighten and increase each other. Eafe fucceeding pain, certainty after fafpenfe, friendship after avertion, are unfpeakably ftronger than if they had not been thus contrafted. In this conflict of feelings, the mind rifes from paffive to active energy. It is roufed to intenfe sensation; and it enjoys that peculiar, exquifite, and complex feeling, in which, as in many articles of our table, the acid and the fweet, the pleasurable and painful pungencies are fo happily mixed together, as to render the united fenfation amazingly more strong and delightful.
"We have not yet mentioned the principle of curiofity, that bufy and active power, which appears fo early, continues almost unimpaired fo long, and to which, for the wifest ends, is annexed fo great a fenfe of enjoyment. To this principle, rather than to a love of cruelty, would I afcribe that pleasure, which children fometimes feem to feel from torturing flies and leffer animals. They have not yet formed an idea of the pain they inflict. It is, indeed, of unfpeakable confequence, that this practice be checked as foon and as effectually as poffible, because it is fo important, that they learn to connect the ideas of pleafure and pain, with the motions and actions of the animal creation. And, to this principle may
both as to its nature and degree, according to the scene and characters before us. The fhock of contending armies in the field, the ocean wrought to tempeft, and covered with the wreck of fhattered veffels, --and a worthy family filently, yet nobly bearing up against a multitude of furrounding forrows, will excite very different emotions, becaufe the component parts of the pleasurable fenfation confift of very different materials. They all excite admiration; but admiration, how diverfified, both as to its degree and its caufe! Thefe feveral ingredients may, doubtlefs, be fo blended together, that the pleasure fhall make but a very fmall part of the mixed fenfation. The more agreeable tints may bear little proportion to the terrifying red, or the gloomy black.
"In many of the inftances which have been mentioned, the pleasure muft arife chiefly, if not folely, from the circumftances, or accompanyments of the scene. The fublime feelings excited by the view of an agitated ocean, relieve and foften thofe occafioned by the fhipwreck. And the awe excited by the prefence of thousands of men, acting as with one foul, and difplaying magnanimity and firmnefs, in the moft folemn trial, tempers thofe fenfations of horror and of pain, which would arise from the field of battle.
"The gratification we are attempting to account for, depends alfo, in a very confiderable degree, upon a principle of human nature, implanted in it for the wifeft ends; the exercife which it gives to the mind, by routing it to energy and feeling. Nothing is fo infupportable, as that languor and ennui, for the full expreffion of which, our language does not afford a
we also refer, no small share of that pleafure in the contemplation of diftrefsful feenes, the fprings of which, in the human heart, we are now endeavouring to open.
"To curiofity, then-to fympathy-to mental exertion-to the idea of our own fecurity-and to the ftrong feelings occafioned by viewing the actions and paffions of mankind in interefting fituations, do we afcribe that gratification, which the mind feels from the furvey of many scenes of forrow. We have called it a pleasure; but it will approach towards, or recede from pleafure, according to the nature and proportion of the ingredients, of which the fenfation is compofed. In fome cafes, pain will predomi
[ From HERON's Letters of Literature. ]
nate. In others, there will be exquifite enjoyment.
"The final caufe of this conftitution of the human mind is probably, that by means of this ftrong fenfation, the foul may be preferv ed in continual and vigorous motion-that its feelings may be kept lively and tender-that it may learn to practife the virtues it admiresand to affift thofe to whom its fympathy can reach-and that it may thus be led, by these focial exer cifes of the heart, to foften with compaffion-to expand with benevolence-and generously to affift in every cafe, in which affiftance can be given. An end this fufficient, "To affert eternal Providence, And justify the ways of God to man.”
"Our stage, thank heaven, refufes the infipidity of the French drama; and requires an action, a business, a vigour, to which the run of Gerontes and Damons, which all their comedies are ftuffed with, are mere ftrangers. Moliere, in attempting to introduce laughter into the French comedy, has blundered upon mere
farce; for it is the character of that nation always to be in extremes. In fhort, if we except Fontaine, I know of no writer in the French language who has real claim to poetical merit. Their language is not the language of verfe; nor are their thoughts, or their costume, thofe of poetry. Fontaine ufes their language familiarly, in which way only it can be used to advantage. His thoughts are likewife in the style of mere familiar humour. Comic tales may be well written in French, but nothing else. Their profe writers, I readily allow, yield to none in the world; but of their poetry the bon mot faid by one of themfelves to Voltaire, which was, Les François n'ont pas la tête epique, may be with great justice enlarged thus, Les François n'ont pas la téte poetique.
tion when applied to the beauty of objects, or to any of thofe qualities that are perceived by a good taste.
"But though fome of the qualities that please a good tafte refemble the fecondary qualities of body, and therefore may be called occult qualities, as we only feel their effect, and have no more knowledge of the cause, but that it is fomething which is adapted by nature to produce that effect; this is not always the cafe.
Our judgment of beauty is in many cafes more enlightened. A work of art may appear beautiful to the most ignorant, even to a child. It pleases, but he knows not why. To one who understands it perfectly, and perceives how every part is fitted with exact judgment to its end, the beauty is not myfterious; it is perfectly comprehended; and he knows wherein it confifts, as well as how it affects him.
2. We may obferve, that, though all the taffes we perceive by the palate are either agreeable, or difagreeable, or indifferent; yet, among thofe that are agreeable, there is great diverfity, not in degree only, but in kind. And as we have not generical names for all the different kinds of tafte, we diftinguish them by the bodies in which they are found.
"In like manner, all the objects of our internal tafle are either beautiful, or difagreeable, or indifferent; yet of beauty there is a great diverfity, not only of degree, but of kind: the beauty of a demontiration, the beauty of a poem, the beauty of a palace, the beauty of a piece of mufic, the beauty of a fine woman, and many more that might be named, are different kinds of beauty; and we have no names to diftinguifh
them but the names of the different objects to which they belong.
"As there is fuch diverfity in the kinds of beauty as well as in the degrees, we need not think it ftrange that philofophers have gone into different fyftems in analyfing it, and enumerating its fimple ingredients. They have made many just obfervations on the fubject; but, from the love of fimplicity, have reduced it to fewer principles than the nature of the thing will permit, having had in their eye fome parti cular kinds of beauty, while they overlooked others.
"There are moral beauties as well as natural; beauties in the objects of fenfe, and in intellectual objects; in the works of men, and in the works of God; in things inanimate, in brute animals, and in rational beings; in the conftitution of the body of man, and in the conftitution of his mind. There is no real excellence which has not its beauty to a difcerning eye, when placed in a proper point of view; and it is as difficult to enumerate the ingredients of beauty as the ingredients of real excellence.
"3. The taste of the palate may be accounted moft juft and perfect, when we relifh the things that are fit for the nourishment of the body, and are difgufted with things of a contrary nature. The manifeft intention of nature in giving us this fenfe, is, that we may difcern what it is fit for us to eat and to drink, and what it is not. Brute animals are directed in the choice of their food merely by their taste. Led by this guide, they chufe the food that nature intended for them, and feldom make mistakes, unless they be pinched by hunger, or deceived by artificial compofitions. In infants likewife the talte is commonly found and
tred; if he was drunk, or married; he fpoke a fentiment: if a lady was angry, or pleafed; in love, or out of it; a prude, or a coquet; make room for a fentiment! If a fervant girl was chid, or received a prefent from her mittrefs; if a valet received a purfe, or a horfewhipping; good heavens, what a fine fentiinent!
"This fault I fay was infinitely more abfurd than that of Congreve; for a peasant may blunder on wit, to whofe mind fentiment is totally heterogeneous. Belides, Congreve's wit is all his own; whereas most of the faid fentiments may be found in the Proverbs of Solomon.
"No wonder then this way of writing was foon abandoned even by him who was its chief leader. Goldsmith in vain tried to stem the torrent by oppofing a barrier of low humour, and dulinefs and abfurdity, more dull and abfurd than English fentimental comedy itfelf.
66 It is very much to the credit of that excellent writer Mr. Colman, that, while other dramatifts were loft in the fashion of fentiment, his comedies always prefent the happieft mediums of nature; without either affectation of fentiment, or affectation of wit. That the able tranflator of Terence fhould yet have fufficient force of mind to keep his own pieces clear of the declamatory dulnefs of that ancient, is certainly a matter deferving of much applaufe. The Jealous Wife, and the Clandestine Marriage, with others of his numerous dramas, may be mentioned as the most perfect models of comedy we have to all the other requifites of fine comic writing they always add just as much fentiment and wit as does them good. This happy hedium is the most difficult to hit in all com
pofition, and most declares the hand of a mafter.
"By the School for Scandal the ftyle of Congreve was again brought into fabion; and fentiment made way for wit, and delicate humour. That piece has indeed the beauties of Congreve's comedies, without their faults: its plot is deeply enough perplexed, without forcing one to labour to unravel it; its incidents fufficient, without being too numerous; its wit pure; its fituations truly dramatic. The characters however are not quite so strong as Congreve's; which may be regarded as the principal fault of this excellent piece. Leffer faults are Charles's fometimes blundering upon fentiments; nay fometimes upon what are the worst of all fentiments, fuch as are of dangerous tendency,, as when Rowley advifes him to pay his debts, before he makes a very liberal prefent, and fo to act as an honeft man ere he acts as a generous one.
"Rowley. Ah, fir, I wish you would remember the proverb
"Charles. Be juft before you are generous.-Why fo I would if I could, but Juftice is an old lame hobbling beldame, and I can't get her to keep pace with Generofity for the foul of me."
"This fentiment, than which nothing can be more falfe and immoral, is always received by the filly audience with loud applause, whereas no reprobation can be too fevere for it. A leffer blemish lies in the verses tagged to the end of the play, in which one of the cha racters addreffes the audience. The verfes are an absurdity, the address a fill greater; for the audience is by no good actor fuppofed to be prefent: and any circumstance that contributes to destroy the apparent reality
this, we shall fee that it is as eafy to account for the variety of taftes, though there be in nature a stand ard of true beauty, and confequent. ly of good tafte; as it is to account for the variety and contrariety of opinions, though there be in nature a ftandard of truth, and confequently of right judgment.
6. Nay, if we speak accurately and ftrictly, we fhall find, that, in every operation of tafle, there is judgment implied.
"When a man pronounces a poem or a palace to be beautiful, he affirms fomething of that poem or that palace; and every affirmation or denial expreffes judgment. For we cannot better define judgment, than by faying that it is an affirmation or denial of one thing concerning another. I had occafion to fhow, when treating of judgment, that it is implied in every perception of our external fenfes. There is an immediate conviction and belief of the existence of the quality perceived, whether it be colour, or found, or figure; and the fame thing holds in the perception of beauty or deformity.
"If it be faid that the perception of beauty is merely a feeling in the mind that perceives, with out any belief of excellence in the object, the neceffary confequence of this opinion is, that when I fay Virgil's Georgics is a beautiful poem, I mean not to fay any thing of the poem, but only fomething concerning myfelf and my feelings. Why fhould I ufe a language that expreffes the contrary of what I
merely a feeling in the perfon that perceives it, find themselves under a neceffity of expreffing themselves, as if beauty were folely a quality of the object, and not of the percipient.
"My language, according to the neceffary rules of conftruction, can bear no other meaning but this, that there is fomething in the poem, and not in me, which I call beauty. Even those who hold beauty to be
"No reafon can be given why all mankind fhould exprefs themfelves thus, but that they believe what they fay. It is therefore contrary to the univerfal fenfe of man-" kind, expreffed by their language, that beauty is not really in the object, but is merely a feeling in the perfon who is faid to perceive it. Philofophers fhould be very cautious in oppofing the common fenfe of mankind; for, when they do, they rarely mifs going wrong.
Our judgment of beauty is not indeed a dry and unaffecting judg ment, like that of a mathematical or metaphyfical truth. By the conftitution of our nature, it is accompanied with an agreeable feeling or emotion, for which we have no other name but the fenfe of beauty. This fenfe of beauty, like the perceptions of our other fenfes, implies not only a feeling, but an opinion of fome quality in the object which occafions that feeling.
"In objects that please the tafte, we always judge that there is fome real excellence, fome fuperiority to those that do not pleafe. In fome cafes, that fuperior excellence is diftinctly perceived, and can be pointed out; in other cafes, we have only a general notion of fome excellence which we cannot defcribe. Beauties of the former kind may be compared to the primary qualities perceived by the external fenfes ; thofe of the latter kind, to the fe'condary.
7. Beauty or deformity in an object, refults from its nature or ftructure. To perceive the beauty, therefore, we must perceive the na