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ness, that the ill effects of darkness or black- dispose a man to sleep, let these sounds cease ness seem rather mental than corporeal; and suddenly, and the person immediately awakes : I own it is true, that they do so; and so do all that is, the parts are braced up suddenly, and those that depend on the affections of the finer he awakes. This I have often experienced parts of our system. The ill effects of bad myself, and I have heard the same from obweather appear often no otherwise, than in a serving persons. In like manner, if a person melancholy and dejection of spirits; though in broad day light were falling asleep, to in without doubt, in this case, tha bodily organs troduce a sudden darkness would prevent his suffer first, and the mind through these organs. sleep for that time, though silence and dark
ness in themselves, and not suddenly intro duced, are very favourable to it. This I knew
only by conjecture on the analogy of the senses SECTION XVII.
when I first digested these observations; but I
have since experienced it. And I have often THE EFFECTS OF BLACKNESS.
experienced, and so have a thousand others,
that on the first inclining towards sleep, we BLACKNESS is but a partial darkness ; and have been suddenly awakened with a most therefore it derives some of its powers from violent start; and that this start was generally being mixed and surrounded with coloured preceded by a sort of dream of our falling bodies. In its own nature, it cannot be con- down a precipice: whence does this strange sidered as a colour. Black bodies, reflecting motion arise, but from the too sudden relaxanone, or but a few rays, with regard to sight, tion of the body, which by some mechanism in are but as so many vacant spaces dispersed nature restores itself by as quick and vigorous among the objects we view. When the eye an exertion of the contracting power of the lights on one of these vacuities, after having muscles! The dream itself is caused by this been kept in some degree of tension by the relaxation : and it is of too uniform a nature to play of the adjacent colours upon it, it sud- be attributed to any other cause. The parts denly falls into a relaxation; out of which it relax too suddenly, which is in the nature of as suddenly recovers by a convulsive spring. falling; and this accident of the body induces To illustrate this ; let us consider, that when this image in the mind. When we are in a we intend to sit on a chair, and find it much confirmed state of health and vigour, as all lower than was expected, the shock is very changes are then less sudden, and less on the violent; much more violent than could be extreme, we can seldom complain of this dis thought from so slight a fall as the difference agreeable sensation. between one chair and another can possibly make. If, after descending a flight of stairs, we attempt inadvertently to take another step in the manner of the former ones, the shock is
SECTION XVIII. extremely rude and disagreeable; and by no art can we cause such a shock by the same THE EFFECTS OF BLACKNESS MODERATED. means when we expect and prepare for it. When I say that this is owing to having the Though the effects of black be painful orichange made contrar to expectation; I do ginally, we must not think they always continue not mean solely, when the mind expects. I Custom reconciles us to every thing. mean likewise, that when an organ of sense is After we have been used to the sight of black for some time effected in some one manner, if objects, the terrour abates, and the smoothness it be suddenly affected otherwise, there ensues and glossiness or some agreeable accident of a convulsive motion ; such a convulsion as is bodies so coloured, softens in some measure caused when any thing happens against the the horrour and sternness of their original expectance of the mind. And though it may nature; yet the nature of their original imappear strange that such a change as produces pression still continues. Black will always a relaxation, should immediately produce a have something melancholy in it, because the sudden convulsion; it is yet most certainly so, sensory will always find the change to it from and so in all the senses. Every one knows other colours too violent; or if it occupy the that sleep is a relaxation; and that silence, whole compass of the sight, it will then be where nothing keeps the organs of hearing in darkness; and what was said of darkness will action, is in general fittest to bring on this re- be applicable here. I do not purpose to go into axation ; yet when a sort of murmuring sounds all that might be said to illustrate this theory of the effects of light and darkness ; neither it, subjoining the exceptions which may occur will I examine all the different effects produced according to the judicious rule laid down by by the various modifications and mixtures of Sir Isaac Newton in the third book of his these two causes. If the foregoing 'obser- Opticks. Our position will, I conceive, appear vations have any foundation in nature, I con- confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt, if we ceive them very sufficient to account for all the can shew that such things as we have already phænomena that can arise from all the combi- observed to be the genuine constituents of nations of black with other colours. To enter beauty, have each of them, separately taken, into every particular, or to answer every objec- a natural tendency to relax the fibres. And if tion, would be an endless labour. We have it must be allowed us, that the appearance of only followed the most leading roads; and we the human body, when all these constituents shall observe the same conduct in our inquiry are united together before the sensory, further into the cause of beauty.
favours this opinion, we may venture, I believe, to conclude, that the passion called love is produced by this relaxation. By the same
method of reasoning which we have used in SECTION XIX.
the inquiry into the causes of the sublime, we
may likewise conclude, that as a beautiful THE PHYSICAL CAUSE OF LOVE. object presented to the sense, by causing a
relaxation of the body, produces the passion When we have before us such objects as of love in the mind; so if by any means the <scire love and complacency; the body is af- passion should first have its origin in the mind, hrad, so far as I could observe, much in the a relaxation of the outward organs will as cerwloning manner: the head reclincs something tainly ensue in a degree proportioned to the on one side ; the eye-lids are more closed than cause. usual, and the eyes roll gently with an inclinaion to the object; the mouth is a little opened, and the breath drawn slowly, with now and
SECTION XX. then a low sigh; the whole body is composed, and the haz.ds fall idly to the sides. All this is accompanied with an inward sense of melting and languor. These appearances are always It is to explain the true cause of visual proportioned 'o the degree of beauty in the beauty, that I call in the assistance of the object, and of vensibility in the observer. And other senses. If it appears that smoothness is this gradation from the highest pitch of beauty a principal cause of pleasure to the touch, and sensibility, even to the lowest of medio- taste, smell, and hearing, it will be easily adcrity and indiffi i.unce, and their correspondent mitted a constituent of visual beauty; espeeffects, ought to be kept in view, else this de- cially as we have before shewn, that this scription will seem exaggerated, which it cer- quality is found almost without exception in tainly is not. But fiom this description it is all bodies that are by general consent held almost impossible not to conclude, that beauty beautiful. There can be no doubt that bodies acts by relaxing the solids of the whole system. which are rough and angular, rouse and velliThere are all the appearances of such a relax- cate the organs of feeling, causing a sense of ation; and a relaxation somewhat below the pain, which consists in the violent tension or natural tone seems to me to be the cause of all contraction of the muscular fibres. On the positive pleasure. Who is a stranger to that contrary, the application of smooth bodies manner of expression so common in all times relaxes; gentle stroking with a smooth hand and in all countries, of being softened, relaxed, allays violent pains and cramps, and relaxes enervated, dissolved, melted away by pleasure ? the suffering parts from their unnatural tenThe universal voice of mankind, faithful to sion; and it has therefore very often no mean their feelings, concurs in affirming this uniform effect in removing swellings and obstructions. and general effect: and although some odd and The sense of feeling is highly gratified with particular instance may perhaps be found, smooth bodies. A bed smoothly laid and soft, wherein there appears a considerable degree that is, where the resistance is every way of positive pleasure, without all the characters inconsiderable, is a great luxury, disposing of relaxation, we must not therefore reject the to an universal relaxation, and inducing be conclusion we had drawn from a concu nd any thing else, that species of it called of many experiments; but we still must retain sleep.
WHY SMOOTHNESS IS BEAUTIFUL.
have affected the touch when they are rolled
backward and forward and over one another, SWEETNESS, ITS NATURE.
you will easily conceive how sweetness, which
consists in a salt of such nature, affects the Nor is it only in the touch, that smooth taste; for a single globe, (though somewhat bodies cause positive pleasure by relaxation. pleasant to the feeling,) yet by the regularity In the smell and taste, we find all things agree- of its form, and the somewhat too sudden deable to them, and which are commonly called viation of its parts from a right line, is nothing sweet, to be of a smooth nature, and that they near so pleasant to the touch as several globes, all evidently tend to relax their respective sen- where the hand gently rises to one and falls to sories. Let us first consider the taste. Since another; and this pleasure is greatly increased it is most easy to inquire into the property of if the globes are in motion, and sliding over liquids, and since all things seem to want a one another; for this soft variety prevents that fluid vehicle to make them tasted at all, I weariness, which the uniform disposition of intend rather to consider the liquid than the the several globes would otherwise produce. solid parts of our food. The vehicles of all Thus in sweet liquors, the parts of the fluid tastes are water and oil. And what determines vehicle, though most probably round, are yet the taste is some salt, which affects variously so minute, as to conceal the figure of their according to its nature, or its manner of being component parts from the nicest inquisition of combined with other things. Water and oil, the microscope; and consequently being so simply considered, are capable of giving some excessively minute, they have a sort of flat pleasure to the taste. Water, when simple, simplicity to the taste, resembling the effects is insipid, inodorous, colourless, and smooth; of plain smooth bodies to the touch; for if a it is found, when not cold, to be a great resolver body be composed of round parts excessively of spasms, and lubricator of the fibres ; this small, and packed pretty closely together, the power it probably owes to its smoothness. For surface will be both to the sight and touch as if as fluidity depends, according to the most it were nearly plain and smooth. It is clear general opinion, on the roundness, smoothness, from their unveiling their figure to the microand weak cohesion of the component parts of scope, that the particles of sugar are considerany body; and as water acts merely as a sim- ably larger than those of water or oil, and ple fluid; it follows, that the cause of its fluid consequently, that their effects from their ity is likewise the cause of its relaxing qual roundness will be more distinct and palpable ity; namely, the smoothness and slippery to the nervous papillæ of that nice organ the texture of its parts. The other fluid vehicle of tongue: they will induce that sense called astes is oil.
This too, when simple, is sweetness, which in a weak manner we disinsipid, inodorous, colourless, and smooth to cover in oil, and in a yet weaker in water; for, the touch and taste. It is smoother than insipid as they are, water and oil are in some water, and in many cases yet more relaxing. degree sweet; and it may be observed, that Oil is in some degree pleasant to the eye, the insipid things of all kinds approach more nearly touch, and the taste, insipid as it is. Water to the nature of sweetness than to that of ans is not so grateful; which I do not know on other taste. what principle to account for, other than that water is not so soft and smooth. Suppose that to this oil or water were added a certain quan
SECTION XXII. tity of a specific salt, which had a power of putting the nervous papillæ of the tongue into a gentle vibratory motion; as suppose sugar dissolved in it. The smoothness of the oil, and the vibratory power of the salt, cause the In the other senses we have remarked, tha. sense we call sweetness. In all sweet bodies, smooth things are relaxing. Now it ought to ap sugar, or a substance very little different from pear that sweet things, which are the smooth of sugar, is constantly found; every species of taste, are relaxing too. It is remarkable, that salt, examined by the microscope, has its own in some languages soft and sweet have but one distinct, regular, invariable form. That of name. Doux in French signifies soft as well nitre is a pointed oblong; that of sea-salt an as sweet. The Latin Dulcis, and the Italian exact cube ; that of sugar a perfect globe. If Dolce, have in many cases the same doublo you have tried how smooth globular bodies, as signification. That sweet things are generally the marbles with which boys amuse themselves, relaxing, is evident; because all such, espe
cially those which are most oily, taken fre- the same manner, nothing very suddenly vaquently, or in a large quantity, very much ried, can be beautiful ; because both are oppo. enfeeble the tone of the stomach. Sweet site to that agreeable relaxation which is the smells, which bear a great affinity to sweet characteristic effect of beauty. It is thus in tastes, relax very remarkably. The smell of all the senses. A motion in a right line, is Aowers disposes people to drowsiness; and that manner of moving next to a very gentle this relaxing effect is further apparent from the descent, in which we meet the least resistprejudice which people of weak nerves receivo ance; yet it is not that manner of moving, from their use. It were worth while to exa- which, next to a descent, wearies us the least mine, whether tastes of this kind, sweet ones, Rest certainly tends to relax: yet there is a tastes that are caused by smooth oils and a species of motion which relaxes more than rest; relaxing salt, are not the originally pleasant a gentle oscillatory motion, a rising and falling. tastes. For many, which use has rendered Rocking sets children to sleep better than absuch, were not at all agreeable at first. The solute rest; there is indeed scarce any thing way to examine this is, to try what nature has at that age, which gives more pleasure that to originally provided for us, which she has un- be gently lifted up and down; the manner of doubtedly made originally pleasant; and to playing which their nurses use with children, analyse this provision. Milk, is the first sup- and the weighing and swinging used afterwards port of our childhood. The component parts by themselves as a favourite amusement, evince of this are water, oil, and a sort of a very sweet this very sufficiently. Most people must have salt, called the sugar of milk. All these when observed the sort of sense they have had on blended have a great smoothness to the taste, being swiftly drawn in an easy coach on a and a relaxing quality to the skin. The next smooth turf, with gradual ascents and declivithing children covet is fruit, and of fruits those ties. This will give a better idea of the beauprincipally which are sweet; and every one tiful, and point out its probable cause better, knows that the sweetness of fruit is caused by than almost any thing else. On the contrary, a subtile oil, and such salt as that mentioned when one is hurried over a rough, rocky, broin the last section. Afterwards, custom, ha- ken road, the pain felt by these sudden inequalbit, the desire of novelty, and a thousand other ities shews why similar sights, feelings, and causes, confound, adulterate, and change our sounds, are so contrary to beauty: and with palates, so that we can no longer reason with regard to the feeling, it is exactly the same in any satisfaction about them. Before we quit. its effect, or very nearly the same, whether, for this article, we must observe, that as smooth instance, I move my hand along the surface of things are, as such, agreeable to the taste, and a body of a certain shape, or whether such a are found of a relaxing quality; so, on the body is moved along my hand. But to bring other hand, things which are found by experi- this analogy of the senses home to the eye: if ence to be of a strengthening quality, and fit to a body presented to that sense has such a wavbrace the fibres, are almost universally rough ing surface, that the rays of light reflected from and pungent to the taste, and in many cases it are in a continual insensible deviation from rough even to the touch. We often apply the the strongest to the weakest, (which is always quality of sweetness, metaphorically, to visual the case in a surface gradually unequal,) it objects. For the better carrying on this re- must be exactly similar in its effects on the eye markable analogy of the senses, we may here and touch; upon the one of which it operates call sweetness the beautiful of the taste. directly, on the other indirectly. And this
body will be beautiful if the lines which compose its surface are not continued, even so
varied, in a manner that may weary or dissie SECTION XXIII.
pate the attention. The variation itself must
be continually varied. VARIATION, WHY BEAUTIFUL. ANOTHER principal property of beautiful objects is, that the line of their parts is conti
SECTION XXIV. aually varying its direction ; but it varies it by . very insensible deviation; it never varies it so quickly as to surprise, or by the sharpness of its angle to cause any twitching or convulsion To avoid a sameness which may arise from of the optic nerve. Nothing long continued in the tno frequent repetition of the same reason
ings, and of illustrations of the same nature, I greeable image. But should a man be found will not enter very minutely into every parti- not above two or three feet high, supposing cular that regards beauty, as it is founded on such a person to have all the parts of his body the disposition of its quantity, or its quantity of a delicacy suitable to such a size, and other itself. In speaking of the magnitude of bodies wise endued with the common qualities of other there is great uncertainty, because the ideas of beautiful bodies, I am pretty well convinced great and small are terms almost entirely rela- that a person of such a stature might be consie iive to the species of the objects, which are dered as beautiful; might be the object of love; infinite. It is true, that having once fixed the might give us very pleasing ideas on viewing species of any object, and the dimensions com- him. The only thing which could possibly mon in the individuals of that species, we may interpose to check our pleasure is, that such observe some that exceed, and some that fall creatures, however formed, are unusual, and short of, the ordinary standard: those which are often therefore considered as something greatly exceed, are by that excess, provided monstrous. The large and gigantic, though the species itself be not very small, rather great very compatible with the sublime, is contrary and terrible than beautiful; but as in the ani- to the beautiful. It is impossible to suppose a mal world, and in a good measure in the vege- giant the object of love. When we let our table world likewise, the qualities that consti- imagination loose in romance, the ideas we tute beauty may possibly be united to things of naturally annex to that size are those of tyrangreater dimensions; when they are so united, ny, cruelty, injustice, and every thing horrid they constitute a species something different and abominable. We paint the giant ravaging both from the sublime and beautiful, which I the country, plundering the innocent traveller, have before called fine; but this kind, I ima- and afterwards gorged with his half-living gine, has not such a power on the passions, flesh: such are Polyphemus, Cacus, and either as vast bodies have which are endued others, who make so great a figure in rowith the correspondent qualities of the sub- mances and heroic poems. The event we lime; or as the qualities of beauty have when attend to with the greatest satisfaction is their united in a small object. The affection pro- defeat and death. I do not remember, all duced by large bodies adorned with the spoils that multitude of deaths with which the Iliad of beauty, is a tension continually relieved; is filled, that the fall of any man, remarkable for which approaches to the nature of mediocrity. his great stature and strength, touches us with But if I were to say how I find myself affected pity; nor does it appear that the author, so upon such occasions, I should say, that the well read in human nature, ever intended it sublime suffers less by being united to some of should. It is Simoisius, in the soft bloom of the qualities of beauty, than beauty does by be- youth, torn from his parents, who tremble for a ing joined to greatness of quantity, or any courage so ill suited to his strength; it is ano other properties of the sublime. There is ther hurricd by war from the new embraces of something so overruling in whatever inspires his bride, young, and fair, and a novice to the us with awe, in all things which belong ever so field, who melts us by his untimely fate. remotely to terrour, that nothing else can stand Achilles, in spite of the many qualities of in their presence. There lie the qualities of beauty, which Homer has bestowed on his beauty either dead or unoperative; or at most outward form, and the many great virtues with exerted to mollify the rigour and sternness of which he has adorned his mind, can never the terrour, which is the natural concomitant make us love him. It may be observed, that of greatness. Besides the extraordinary great Homer has given the Trojans, whose fate he in every species, the opposite to this, the has designed to excite our compassion, infidwarfish and diminutive ought to be consi- nitely more of the amiable social virtues than dered. Littleness, merely as such, has nothing he has distributed among his Greeks. With contrary to the idea of beauty. The humming- regard to the Trojans, the passion he chooses bird, both in shape and colouring, yields to to raise is pity; pity is a passion founded on none of the winged species, of which it is the love; and these lesser, and if I may say domesleast; and perhaps his beauty is enhanced by tic virtues, are certainly the most amiable. his smallness. But there are animals, which But he has made the Greeks far their supewhen they are extremely small are rarely (if riors in the politic and military virtues. The ever) beautiful. There is a dwarfish size of Councils of Priam are weak; the arms of Hecmen and women, which is almost constantly tor comparatively feeble ; his courage far below so gross and massive in comparison of their that of Achilles. Yet we love Priam more than height, that they present us with a very disa- Agamemnon, and Hector more than his com