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distinction is entirely loft. Their general characters are widely different. Their approximations admit of the nearest resemblances.
"With respect to mere number, the difficulty is not great, in the prefent cultivated state of language, for any perfon, of a tolerable ear, to tag together lines, the mufic of which
On the PLEASURE which the MIND in many Cafes receives from contemplating SCENES of DISTRESS. By T. BARNES, D. D.
[From the fame Work. ]
Suave mari magno, turbantibus æquora ventis,
E terrâ alterius magnum fpe&tare periclum. Non quia vexari quenquam eft jucunda voluptas?
Sed quibus ipfe malis careas, quia cernere fuave eft. LUCRETIUS. HE pleafure defcribed by the poet in this motto, and of which he has mentioned fo ftriking and appofite an inftance, may perhaps, at first, feem of fo fingular and aftonishing a nature, that fome may be difpofed to doubt of its exilence. But that it does exift, in the cafe here referred to, and in many others of a fimilar kind, is an undoubted fact: and it may not appear an ufelefs or difagreeable entertainment, to trace its fource in the human breaft, together with the final caufe for which it was implanted there by our benevolent Creator.
fhall be flowing and agreeable. Hence, the multitudes of indifferent poets, who abound amongst us! But it has been justly obferved, that a state of cultivated fociety is not favourable to those bolder exertions of poetic fancy, which elevate, aftonish, and delight the mind."
"Shall I, it may be faid, feel complacency in beholding a fcene,. in which many of my fellow-creatures are agonizing with terror, whilst I can neither diminish their danger, nor, by my fympathy, divide their angui? At the fight of another's woe, does not my bofom naturally feel pain? Do I not
fhare in his fenfations? And is not this trong and exquifite fenfibility intended by my Maker to urge me on to active and immediate affistance? Thefe fenfations are indeed attended with a noble pleafure, when I can, by friendly attention, or by benevolent communication, footh the forrows of the poor mourner, fnatch him from impending danger, or fupply his preffing wants. But, in general, where my fympathy is of no avail to the wretched fufferer, I fly from the fpectacle of his mifery, unable, or unwilling to endure a pain, which is not allayed by the fweet fatisfaction of doing good."
"It will be incumbent on us, in answer to these objections, in the first place, to prove the reality of the feeling, the caufe of which, in the human conftitution, we here attempt to explore.
"Mr. Addifon, in his beautiful papers on the Pleasures of the Imagination, has obferved," that objects or fcenes, which, when real, gave difguft or pain, in defcription, often become beautiful and agreeable. Thus, even a dunghill may, by the charms of poetic imagery, excite pleafure and entertainment. Scenes
der his view, and his plaftic fancy, feizing every object that accorded to its purposes, melted and compounded it into the mafs and matter of the work, on which his brain was labouring: thus with nature in his eye, infpiration at his heart, and contempaltion ever active, fecured by folitude against external interruption, and undisturbed by worldly cares and concerns from within, the wandering bard performed what time has never equalled, and what to all pofterity will remain the standard of perfectionHunc nemo in magnis fublimitate, in parvis proprietate, fuperaverit: idem latus ac preffus, jucundus et gravis, tum copia tum brevitate mirabilis; nec poetica modo fed oratoria virtute eminentiffimus-Quintil. lib. x. "Him no one ever excelled in fublimity on great topics, in propriety on fmall ones; whether diffufed or compreffed, gay or grave, whether for his abundance, or his brevity, he is equally to be admired; nor is he fupereminent for poetical talents only, but for oratorical alfo."
"There is no doubt but Homer compofed other poems befides his Iliad and Ody ffey. Ariftotle, in his Poetics, decidedly afcribes the Margites to Homer; but as to the Ilias Minor and the Cypriacs, though it is evident thofe poems were in his hands, yet he feeins ignorant of their author; the paflage I allude to will be found in the twenty-third chapter of his Poetics: he is comparing thofe two poems with the Iliad and Odyffey, as furnishing fubjects for the drama, and oblerves that the flage could not properly draw above one or at moft two plots for tragedy from the Iliad and Odyffey refpectively; whereas many might be taken from the Cypriacs; and he enumerates to the amount of ten,
which might be found in the Ilias Minor. It is evident by the context, that he does not think either of thefe poems were compofed by Homer, and no lefs evident that he does not know to whom they are to be afcribed; their high antiquity therefore is the only point which this celebrated critic has put out of doubt.
The Ilias Minor appears to have been a poem, which includes the taking of Troy, and the return of the Greeks. The incidents of the Æneid, as far as they refer to the Trojan ftory, feem to have been taken from this poem, and in particular the epifode of Sinon, which is amongst the dramatic fubjects mentioned by Ariftotle: the controverfy between Ajax and Ulyffes for the armour of Achilles was copied by Ovid from the fame poem. If this work is not to be given to Homer, we must believe it was written fince the Iliad, from the evidence of its title; but if the author's name was loft in Ariftotle's time, his antiquity is probably little fhort of Homer's fome fcholiafts have given this poem to Lefches; but when Lefches lived, and of what country he was, I find no account.
The Cypriacs are fuppofed to contain the love-adventures of the Trojan ladies during the fiege, and probably was a poem of fiction. Herodotus has an observation in his fecond book upon a paffage in this poem, in which Paris is faid to have brought Helen from Sparta to Troy in the fpace of three days; whereas Homer fays they were long driven about on their voyage from place to place. From this want of correfpondence in a fact of such confequence, Herodotus concludes upon fair grounds of criticism, that Homer was not author of the Cypriacs, though Pindar afcribes it to
of an English mob around their fellow-creatures, when engaged in furious battle, in which it is poffible, that fome of the combatants may receive a mortal blow, and be hurried, dreadful thought! in this awful ftate, to the bar of his Judge.
"Let us furvey the multitudes which, in every part of the king dom, always attend an execution. It may perhaps be faid, that, in all places the vulgar have little of the fenfibility and tenderness of more polifhed bofoms. But, in the last mentioned inftance, an execution, there is no exultation in the fufferings of the poor criminal. He is regarded by every eye with the moit melting compaffion. The whole affembly fympathizes with him in his unhappy fituation. An awful fillness prevails at the dreadful moment. Many are wrung with unutterable fenfations: and prayer and filence declare, more loudly than any language could, the intereft they feel in his diftrefs. Should a reprieve come to rescue him from death, how great is the general triumph and congratulation! And, probably, in this multitude you will find, not the mere vulgar herd alone, but the man of fuperior knowledge, and of more refined fenfibility; who, led by fome ftrong principle, which we with to explain, feels a pleasure greater than all the pain, great and exquifite as one fhould imagine it to be, from fuch a spectacle.
"The man who condemns many of the scenes we have already mentioned as barbarous and fhocking, would, probably, run with the greatet eagerness to fome high cliff, overhanging the ocean, to fee it fwelled into tempeft, though a poor veffel, or even a fleet of veffels, were to appear as one part of the
dreadful fcenery, now lifted to the heavens on the foaming furge, now plunged deep into the fathomlefs abyfs, and now dashed upon the rocks, where they are, in a moment, fhivered into fragments, and, with all their mariners, entombed in the wave. Or, to vary the queftion a little; Who would not be forward to ftand fafe, on the top of fome mountain or tower, adjoining to a field of battle, in which two armies meet in defperate conflict, though, probably, thoufands may foon lie before him proftrate on the ground, and the whole field prefent the mott horrid fcenes of carnage and defolation?
"That, in all these cafes, pleafure predominates in the compounded feeling, is plain from hence, becaufe you continue to furvey the fcene; whereas when pain became the ftronger fenfation, you would certainly retire. I was lately in company with a gentle man, who defcribed to me, in very glowing and picturefque colours, an engagement between two privateers, of which he had been a fpectator from one of the cliffs on the eaflern coaft of England. Several lives were loft; and the conteft was long, doubtful, and fevere. Having this fubject in my thoughts, I asked him, whether he felt ple fure in the fpectacle. He answered with great energy, that he would not have miffed the fight for a very confiderable fum. His tone and manner proved that he spoke from his heart.
"Cultivation may, indeed, have produced fome minuter differences in the tafte and feelings of different minds. Thofe, whofe fenfibilities have not been refined by education or fcience, may feel the pleafure in a more grofs and brutal form. But do not the most polished na
perty and dominion were in feveral instances decided by referring to this Homeric chart. Another evidence of Homer's travels he derives from his lively delineations of national character, which he obferves are marked with fuch precifion, and fupported throughout with fuch confiftency, as not to allow us to think that he could have acquired fuch knowledge of mankind from any other fource but his own obferva
"It is more than probable Homer did not commit his poems to writing it is mere conjecture whether that invention was actually in existence at the time he lived: there is nothing in his works that favours this conjecture, and in fuch a cafe filence is fomething more than negative. The retention of fuch compofitions is certainly an astonishing effort of the human memory; but inftances are not wanting of the like nature in early and uncivilized states, and the memory is capable of being expanded by habit and exercife to an extraordinary and almost unlimited compafs. Unwritten compofitions were always in verfe; and metre was certainly used in aid of memory. It must not however be taken for a confequence that writing first came into ufe, when Pherecy des and Cadmus firft compofed in profe as fome have imagined; for it undoubtedly obtained before their time, and was probably brought into Greece from Phoenicia.
"The engraving of the laws of Draco is fuppofed to have been the first application of that art; but it was a work of labour, and required the tool of the artist, rather than the hand of the penman. Thales and Pythagoras left us no writings behind them, though they fpread
their learning over Greece, and from their fchools peopled it with philofophers. The unwritten drama was long in existence before any compofitions of that fort were committed to writing. Solon's laws were engraved in wood or stone, and there appears to have been but one table of them. Of Lycurgus's regulations there was no written re. cord; the mind of the judge was the depofitary of the law. Draco published his laws in Olym. xxxix; Pififtratus died in Olymp. Ixiii: a century had nearly paffed between the publication of thefe laws and the first inftitution of a public li brary at Athens: great advances no doubt were made within that period in the art of writing; nevertheless it was by no means an operation of facility in Piliftratus's time, and this compilation of Homer's Iliad and Odyffey was a work of vast labour and of royal expence. The book remained at Athens as a princely monument of his munificence and love of letters. His library was reforted to by all men of fcience in Greece, but copies of the work were not circulated till the time of the Ptolemies: even Alexander of Macedon, when he had poffeffed himself of a complete copy of his favourite poet, locked it up in the rich cheft, of which he had defpoiled king Darius, as the most worthy cafe in which he could inclofe fo ineflimable a treasure. When a copy of Homer was confidered by a prince as a poffeffion fo rare, it cannot be fuppofed his written works were in many hands. As for the detached thapfodies, which Lycurgus in more early times brought with him out of Afia, they must have been exceedingly imperfect, though it is to be prefumed they were in writing."
tion. The caufe affigned by Mr. 'Addifon, the fenfe of our own fecurity, may be fuppofed to have fome thare in the mafs of feelings. That of Dr. Akenfide may be allowed to have a still larger proportion. Let us attempt to trace fome of the reft.
"There are few principles in human nature of more general and important influence, than that of fympathy. A late ingenious writer, led by the fashionable idea of fimplifying all the fprings of human nature into one fource, has, in his beautiful Theory of Moral Senvery large number of the feelings timents, endeavoured to analyse a of the heart into fympathetic vibration. Though it appears to me moft probable, that the human feffes various and distinct springs of mind, like the human body, pofaction and of happiness, yet he has fhewn, in an amazing diverfity of inftances, the operation and importance of this principle of human Let us apply it to our prefent fubject.
"We naturally fympathize with the paffions of others. But, if the paffions they appear to feel be not thofe of mere diftrefs alone; if, midft the fcenes of calamity, they difplay fortitude, generofity, and forgivenefs; if, rifing fuperior to the cloud of ills which covers them," they nobly stand firm, collected, and patient; here, a stil! higher fource of pleasure opens upon us, from complacence, admiration, and that unutterable fympathy, which the heart feels with virtuous and heroic minds. By the operation of this principle, we place ourselves in their firuation; we feel, as it were, some share of that confcious integrity and peace, which they must enjoy. Hence, as before obferved, the pleasure will vary,