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motions to the sound of instruments, which they perform yearly in the theatres, at the public charge. To me it is evident, that these solemnities were introduced, not for idle pleasure, but to soften the rough and stubborn temper of the Arcadians, occasioned by the coldness of a high country. But the Cynætheans, neglecting ihese arts, have become so fierce and savage, that there is not another city in Greece so remarkable for frequent and great enormities. This consideration ought to engage the Arcadians never to relax, in any degree, their musical discipline; and it ought to open the eyes of the Cynætheans, and make them sensible of what importance it would be to restore music to their city, and every discipline that may soften their manners; for otherwise they can never hope to subdue their brutal ferocity."
No one will be surprised to hear such influence attributed to music, when, with respect to another of the fine arts, he finds a living instance of an influence no less powerful. It is unhappily indeed the reverse of the former; for it has done more mischief by corrupting British manners, than music ever did good by purifying those of Arcadia.
The licentious court of Charles II., among its many disorders, engendered a pest, the virulence of which subsists to this day. The English comedy, copying the manners of the court, became abominably licentious; and continues so with very little softening. It is there an established rule, to deck out the chief characters with every vice in fashion, however gross. But, as such characters viewed in a true light would be disgustsul, care is taken to disguise their deformity under the embellishments of wit, sprightliness, and good humor, which in mixed company makes a capital figure. It requires not much thought to discover the poisonous influence of such plays A young man of figure, emancipated, at last, from the severity and restraint of a college education, repairs to the capital disposed to every sort of excess. The playhouse becomes his favorite amuse. ineni; and he is enchanted with the gayety and splendor of the chief personages. The disgust which vice gives him at first, soon wears off
, to make way for new notions, more liberal in his opinion; by which a sovereign contempt of religion, and a declared war upon the chastity of wives, maids, and widows, are converted from being infamous vices to be fashionable virtues. The infection spreads gradually through all ranks, and becomes universal. How gladly would I listen to any one who should undertake to prove, that what I have been describing is chimerical ! but the dissoluteness of our young men of birth will not suffer me to doubt its reality. Sir Harry Wildair has completed many a rake; and in the Suspicious Husband, Ranger, the humble imitator of Sir Harry, has had no slight influence in spreading that character. What woman, tinc. tured with the playhouse morals, would not be the sprightly, the witty, though dissolute Lady Townly, rather than the cold, the sober, though virtuous Lady Grace? How odious ought writers to be, who thus employ the talents they have received from their Maker
• Polybius, Lib. 4. cap. 3.
most traitorously against himself, by endeavoring to corrupt and disfigure his creatures! If the comedies of Congreve did not rack him with remorse in his last moments, he must have been lost to all sense of virtue. Nor will it afford any excuse to such writers, that their comedies are entertaining; unless it could be maintained, that wit and sprightliness are better suited to a vicious than a virtuous character. It would grieve me to think so; and the direct contrary is exemplified in the Merry Wives of Windsor, where we are highly entertained with the conduct of iwo ladies, not more remarkable for mirth and spirit than for the strictest purity of manners.
An emotion followed by desire termed a passion—The joy of gratification, an cmo
tion-An event contrary to our desire, produces pain-An unexpected event, fortunate, or unfortunate, produces joy or sorrow-A sudden removal of great pain, the highest source of joy-Why this is the case-The difficulty of accounting for the extreme pleasure that follows a cessation of bodily pain-The effect of the gradual diminution of pain.
This subject was purposely reserved for a separate section, because it could not, with perspicuity, be handled under the general nead. An emotion accompanied with desire is termed a passion; ind when the desire is fulfilled, the passion is said to be gratified. Now, the gratification of every passion must be pleasant; for nothing can be more natural than that the accomplishment of any wish or lesire should affect us with joy. I know of no exception but when a man, stung with remorse, desires to chastise and punish himself. The joy of gratification is properly called an emotion ; because it makes us happy in our present situation, and is ultimate in its nature, not having a tendency to any thing beyond. On the other hand, sorrow must be the result of an event contrary to what we desire; for if the accomplishment of desire produce joy, it is equally natural that disappointment should produce sorrow.
An event, fortunate or unfortunate, that falls out by accident, without being foreseen or thought of, and which, therefore, could not be the object of desire, raises an emotion of the same kind as that now mentioned: but the cause must be different; for there can be no gratification where there is no desire. We have not, however, far to seek for a cause : it is involved in the nature of man, that he cannot be indifferent to an event that concerns him or any of his connections: if it be fortunate, it gives him joy; if unfortunate, it gives kım sorrow.
In no situation does joy rise to a greater height, than upon the removal of any violent distress of mind or body; and in no situation does sorrow rise to a greater height, than upon the removal of what makes us happy. The sensibility of our nature serves, in part, to account for these effects. Other causes concur. One is, ihat violent distress always raises an anxious desire to be free from it; and therefore its removal is a high gratification: nor can we be possessed of any thing that makes us happy without wishing its con
tinuance; and therefore its removal, by crossing our wishes, must create sorrow. The principle of contrast is another cause: an emotion of joy arising upon the removal of pain, is increased by contrast when we reflect upon our former distress: an emotion of sorrow, upon being deprived of any good, is increased by contrast when we reflect upon our former happiness:
Jaffier. There's not a wretch that lives on common charity,
Venice Preserved, Act I. Sc. 1. It has always been reckoned difficult to account for the extreme pleasure that follows a cessation of bodily pain; as when one, for instance, is relieved from the rack. What is said explains this difficulty, in the easiest and simplest manner: cessation of bodily pain is not of itself a pleasure, for a non-ens or a negative can neither give pleasure nor pain; but man is so framed by nature as to rejoice when he is eased of pain, as well as to be sorrowful when deprived of any enjoyment. This branch of our constitution is chiefy the cause of the pleasure. The gratification of desire comes in as an accessory cause : and contrast joins its force, by increasing the sense of our present happiness. In the case of an acute pain, a peculiar circumstance contributes its part: the brisk circulation of the animal spirits occasioned by acute pain, continues after the pain is gone, and produces a very pleasant emotion. Sickness has not that effect, because it is always attended with a depression of spirits.
Hence it is, that the gradual diminution of acute pain, occasions a mixt emotion, partly pleasant, partly painful: the partial diminution produces joy in proportion; but the remaining pain balances the joy. This mixt emotion, however, has no long endurance; for the joy that arises upon the diminution of pain, soon vanishes, and leaves in the undisturbed possession, that degree of pain which remains.
What is above observed about bodily pain, is equally applicable to the distresses of the mind; and, accordingly, it is a common artifice, to prepare us for the reception of good news by alarming our fears.
A feeling that can neither be called an emotion nor a passion-Instances of illus
tration-This feeling resembles the appetites—It is raised by virtuous actions only-T'he effect of it in promoting virtue.
ONE feeling there is that merits a deliberate view, for its singularity as well as utility. Whether to call it an emotion or a passion, seems uncertain: the former it can scarcely be, because it involves desire; the latter it can scarcely be, because it has no object. But this feeling, and its nature, will be best understood from examples. A signal act of gratitude produces in the spectator or reader, not
only love or esteem for the author, but also a separate feeling, bemg a vague feeling of gratitude, without an object--a feeling, however, that disposes the spectator or reader to acts of gratitude, more than upon an ordinary occasion. This feeling is overlooked by writers upon ethics; but a man may be convinced of its reality, by attentively watching his own heart when he thinks warmly of any signal act of gratitude: he will be conscious of the feeling, as distinct from the esteem or admiration he has for the grateful person. The feeling is singular in the following respect—that it is accompanied with a desire to perform acts of gratitude, without having any object; though in that state, the 'mind, wonderfully bent on an object
, neglects no opportunity to vent itself: any act of kindness or good will, that would pass unregarded upon another occasion, is greedily seized; and the vague feeling is converted into a real passion of gratitude: in such a state, favors are returned double.
In like manner, a courageous action produces in a spectator the passion of admiration directed to the author: and beside this wellknown passion, a separate feeling is raised in the spectator, which may be called an emotion of courage ; because, while under its in. fluence, he is conscious of a boldness and intrepidity beyond what is usual, and longs for proper objects upon which to exert ihis motion :
Spumantemque dari, pecora inter inertia, votis
Æneid, iv. 158.
Tasso, Canto 7. st. 55.
And with his foot casts up the sand on hight,
Defying his strong foe to deadly fight. Fairfax.
Tempest, Act IV. Sc. 4. The emotions raised by music, independent of words, must be all of this nature: courage roused by martial music performed upon instruments without a voice, cannot be directed to any object; nor can grief or pity raised by melancholy music of the same kind have an object.
For another example, let us figure some grand and heroic action,
highly agreeable to the spectator : beside veneration for the author, the spectator feels in himself an unusual dignity of character, which disposes him to great and noble actions: and herein chiefly consists the extreme delight every one takes in the histories of conquerors and heroes.
This singular feeling, which may be termed the sympathetic emotion of virtue, resembles, in one respect, the well-known appetites that lead to the propagation and preservation of the species. The appetites of hunger, thirst, and animal love, arise in the mind before they are directed to any object; and in no case whatever is the mind more solicitous for a proper object, than when under the influence of any of these appetites.
The feeling which I have endeavored to unfold, may well be termed the sympathetic emotion of virtue ; for it is raised in ihe spectator, or in a reader, by virtuous actions of every kind, and by no others. When we contemplate a virtuous action, which fails not to prompt our love for the author, our propensity, at the same time, to such actions, is so much enlivened, as to become for a time an actual emotion. But no man has a propensity to vice as such: on the con. trary, a wicked deed disgusts him, and makes him abhor the author; and this abhorrence is a strong antidote against vice, as long as any impression remains of the wicked action.
In a rough road, a halt to view a fine country is refreshing; and here a delightful prospect opens upon us.
It is indeed wonderful to observe what incitements there are to virtue in the human frame : justice is perceived to be our duty; and it is guarded by natural pun. ishments, from which the guilty never escape ; to perform noble and generous actions, a warm sense of their dignity and superior excellence is a most efficacious incitement.* And to leave virtue in no quarter unsupported, here is unfolded an admirable contrivance, by which good example commands the heart, and adds to virtue, the force of habit. We approve every virtuous action, and bestow our affection on the author; but if virtuous actions produced no other effect upon us, good example would not have great influence: the sympathetic emotion under consideration bestows upon good example ihe utmost influence, by prompting us to imitate what re admire. This singular emotion will readily find an object upon which to exert itself: and at any rate, it never exists without producing some effect; because virtuous emotions of that sort are, in some degree, an exercise of virtue; they are a mental exercise at least, if they appear not externally. And every exercise of virtue, internai and external, leads to habit; for a disposition or propensity of the mind, like a linb of the body, becomes stronger by exercise. Pro per means, at the same time, being ever at band, io raise this
sym pathetic emotion, its frequent reiteration may, in a good measure supply the want of a more complete exercise. Thus, by proper discipline, every person may acquire a settled habit of viriue: inter course with men of worib, histories of generous and disinterested actions, and frequent meditation upon them, keep the sympathetic
• See Essays on Morality and Natural Religion, part 1. ess. 2. ch. 1.