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tures feel a similar, a kindred plea- of this existence, that thy foftening soul
coast “ Taking it, then, for granted, Some helpless bark: whilst sacred Pity that in the contemplation of many The general eye, or Terror's icy hand
melts scenes of distress, both imaginary Smites their distorted limbs, or horreng and real, a gratification is felt, let us hair, endeavour to account for it, by While every mother closer to her breaft mentioning some of those princi. Catches her child; and, pointing where ples, woven into the web of hu- Foam through the shattered vessel, ihrieks man nature, by its benevolent
aloud, Creator, on which that gratification As one poor wretch, that spreads his pia depends.
“ Dr. Akenside, with his accuf. For succour, swallowed by the roaring tomed strength and brilliancy of
As now another, dashed against the rock, colouring, describes, and accounts Drops lifeless down. O deemelt thou infor it in the following manner.
deed will make no apology for the length No kind endearment here, by nature of the quotation.
To mutual terror, and compassion's tears? « Behold the ways
No sweetly melting fuftness, which atof heaven's eternal destiny to man!
tracts For ever juit, benevolent, and wife!
O'er all that edge of pain, the social That Virtue's awful steps, kowe'er pur. To this their proper action, and their
end ?" By vexing fortune, and intrusive pain, Should never be divided from her chaste, The Poet pursues the sentiment in Her fair attendant, Pleasure. Need Turge the same animated imagery, deThy tardy thought, through all the varie ous round
fcribing the strong, but pleasurable
fersations, which the soul feels, in tion. The cause assigned by Mr. reading the sufferings of heroes, Addison, the fense of our own fe who nobly died in the cause of li- curity, may be supposed to have berty, and their country :
some share in the mass of feelings
That of Dr. Akentide may be al“ When the pious band of youths, who fought for freedom, and lowed to have a still larger proportheir fires,
tion. Let us attempt to trace fome Lie Gde by side in gore.”
of the rest.
6. There are few principles in Or, in the strong movemonts of in- human nature of more general and dignation and revenge againit the important influence, than that of tyrant, who invades that liberty, sympathy. A late ingenious writ. and enslaves that country.
er, led by the fashionable idea of • When the patriot's tear
fimplifying all the springs of huStarts from thine eye, and thy extended man nature into one iource, has, in
his beautiful Theory of Moral SenIn fancy hurls the thunderbolt of Jove, timents, endeavoured to analyfe a To fire the impious wreath on Philip's very large number of the feelings
brow, Or dash O&avius from his trophied car;
of the heart into sympathetic vibraSay-Dues thy secret soul repine to taste
tion. Though it appears to me The big diftress? Or, would'nt thou then most probable, that the human exchange
mind, like the human body, polThose heart-ennobling sorrows for the lot feffes various and distinct springs of Of him, who fits amid the gaudy herd of mute barbarians, bending to his nod,
action and of happiness, yet he has And bears alost his gold-invested front, fhewn, in an ainazing diversity of And says within himself, “I am a king, instances, the operation and im. And wherefore should the clamorous voice portance of this principle of human of woe
nature. Intrude upon mine ear ?"
Let us apply it to our
present subject. * The sentiment of this charm- “ We naturally sympathize with ing and moral poet is, that sympa- the passions of others. But, if the thetic feelings are virtuous, and passions they appear to feel be not therefore pleasant. And from the those of mere distress alone; if
, whole, he deduces this important midst the scenes of calamity, they conclufion; that every virtuous display fortitude, generofity, and emotion must be agreeable, and that forgiveness ; if,“ rifing fuperior this is the sanction, and the reward to the cloud of ills which covers of virtue. The thought is amic them,” they nobly stand firm, col. ble. The conclusion noble. But lected, and patient; here, a full still the solution appears to me to higher source of pleasure opens be imperfect.
upon us, from complacence, admi. “ We have already said, that the ration, and that unutterable fym. pleasure ariting from the contem- pathy, which the heart feels with plation of diftreisful scenes is a com- virtuous and heroic minds. By the pounded feeling, arising from feveral operation of this principle, we place distinct sources in the human breatt. ourselves in their fruation; we The kind and degree of the sensa- feel, as it were, some share of that tion must depend upon the various conscious integrity and peace, which hlendings of the feveral ingredi- they must enjoy. Hence, as before ents which enter into the compofi- observed, the pleasure will vary,
Eoth as to its nature and degree, ac- term. How agreeable it is, to have
and complex feeling, in which, as
children sometimes seem to feel The gratification we are at. from torturing flies and lesser anitempting to account for, depends mals. They have not yet formed also, in a very confiderable degree, an idea of the pain they inflict. upon a principle of human nature, It is, indeed, of unspeakable confeimplanted in it for the wifest ends; quence, that this practice be checkthe exercise which it gives to the ed as toon and as effectually as posmind, by routing it to energy and fible, because it is so important, feeling.' Nothing is so infupports that they learn to connect the ideas able, as that languor and ennui, of pleasure and pain, with the mofor the full expression of which, tions and actions of the animal creour language does not afford a ation. And, to this principle may 1785.
we also refer, no small share of that nate. In others, there will be ex. pleasure in the contemplation of quitite enjoyment. distressful feenes, the springs of " The final cause of this conftiwhich, in the human heart, we are tution of the human mind is pronow endeavouring to open.
bably, that by means of this strong " To curiosity, then-to sympa- sensation, the foul may be preserva thy-to mental exertion—to the ed in continual and vigorous moidea of our own security-and to tion—that its feelings may be kept the strong feelings occafioned by lively and tender-that it may learn viewing the actions and passions of to practise the virtues it admiresmankind in interesting situations, do and to aslist those to whom its symwe ascribe that gratification, which pathy can reach-and that it may the mind feels from the survey of thus be led, by these social exer many scenes of sorrow. We have cises of the heart, to soften with called it a pleasure ; but it will ap- compassion--to expand with beneproach towards, or recede from plea- volence--and generously to aslift in fure, according to the nature and every case, in which asistance can proportion of the ingredients, of be given. An end this sufficient, which the sensation is composed. “ To allert eternal Providence, In some cases, pain will predomi- And justify the ways of Gud to man.”
[ From Heron's Letters of Literature. ] OUR opinion of the co- farce ; for it is the character of that
medy of Le Mechant 1 nation always to be in extremes. heartily subscribe to, though Mr. In short, if we except Fontaine, I Gray has pronounced it the best co- know of no writer in the French medy he ever read. It is perfectly language who has real claiin to poin the style of the French tragedy, etical merit. Their language is not inactive, and declamatory. Yet I the language of verfe ; nor are do not wonder at Mr. Gray's fa- their thoughts, or their costume, vourable opinion of it, when he ad. those of poetry. Fontaine uses their mired the hilly declamation of Ra- language familiarly, in which way cine so much as to begin a tragedy only it can be used to advantage. in his very manner; which how. His thoughts are likewise in the ever he was fo fortunate as not to style of mere familiar humour. Cogo through with.
mic tales may be well written in "Our stage, thank heaven, refuses French, but nothing else. Their the infipidity of the French drama; prose writers, I readily allow, yield and requires an action, a business, a to none in the world; but of their vigour, to which the run of Ge- poetry the bon mot faid by one of rontes and Damons, which all their themielves to Voltaire, which was, comedies are stuffed with, are mere Les François n'ont pas la tête estrangers. Moliere, in atteinping pique, may be with great justice en. to introduce laughterinto the French larged thus, Les François n'ont pas comedy, has blundered upon inere la tête poerique.
" In English comedy Congreve, written without a strong character I believe, stands without a rival. in it, witness Douglas. The chaHis plots have great depth and art; racters of tragedy therefore cannot perhaps too much : his characters have too much truth: but those of are now and strong: his wit genu- comedy ought to resemble the paintine; and to exuberant, that it has cd scenes, which, if examined too been alledged as his only fault, that nearly, are inare daubings; but at he makes all his characters inherit a proper dittınce have the very his own wit. Yet this fault will truth of nature, while the beauties not be imputed by adepts, who of more delicate paintings would know that the dialogue of our co- not be perceived. medy cannot poffibly be too spirited “ Sentimental comedy, as it is and epigrammatic, for it requires called, though of late birth in Enga language as well as characters land, is yet the comedy of Menanstronger than nature.
der and of Terence. Terence is "Shakspeare excelsin the strength quite full of sentiment, and of a of his characters and in wit ; but tenderness which accompanies its as plot must be regarded as an er and so barren of wit and humour, sential of good comedy, he must not that I only remember two paffages be erected as a model in the comic in his fix comedies that provoke a academy ; a loss sufficiently com- . smile ; for a smile is all they can pensated by the reflection, that it provoke. The one is that scene were vain to place him as a model which passes after the eunuch is whose beauties transcend all imita- supposed to have ravilhed a young tion.
lady. This is the only proof of “ Tragedy and comedy both the humour of Terence : and the ought certainly to approach as near only sample of his wit we have in the truth of life as possible ; info- the reply of an old miser to one much that we may imagine we are who he expected brought him tida placed with Lc Diable Boiteux on ings of a legacy, but who instead the roof of the house, and per- thereof makes very gravely a most ceive what passes within. This rule ral observation to the impatient old in tragedy cannot be too ftri&tly ob- man, who peevishly retorts,“What! ferved, though it has escaped al- haft thou brought nothing here but most every writer of modern tra- one maxim ?” gedy; the characters of which speak “ Sentimental comedy bore & fimiles, bombalt, and every thing very short sway in England. In except the language of real life; deed it was incompatible with the so that we are eternally tempted to humour of an English audience, exclaim, as Falstaff does to Pistol, who go to a coinedy to laugh, and “ Pr’ythee speak like a man of this not to cry. It was even more abworld."
furd, it may be added, in its faults “ In comedy this rule ought by than that of which Congreve is the no means to be adhered to; as infi- model ; for sentiments were spoken pidity is the worst fault writing can by every character in the piece, have; but particularly comedy; whercas one sentimental character whose chief quality it is to be poig- was surely enough. If a man met nant. Now poignancy cannot be with his mistress, or left her ; if he effected without itrong character; was suddenly favoured by fortune, but an excellent tragedy may be
or suddenly the object of her ha.