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THE END OF THE FOURTH PART
quera Achilles. Admiration is the passion soul that feeling, which is called love. Their which Homer would excite in favour of the causes have made the subject of this fourth Greeks, and he has done it by bestowing on part. them the virtues which have but little to do with love. This short digression is perhaps not wholly beside our purpose, where our business is to shew, that objects of great dimensions are incompatible with beauty, the more incompatible as they are greater; whereas the PART V. -SECTION I. small, if ever they fail of beauty, this failure is not to be attributed to their size.
NATURAL objects affect us, by the laws of
that connection which Providence has esta SECTION XXV.
blished between certain motions and configurations of bodies, and certain consequent feelings in our mind. Painting affects in the same
manner, but with the superadded pleasure of With regard to colour, the disquisition is imitation. Architecture affects by the laws of almost infinite; but I conceive the principles nature, and the law of reason; from which latter jaid down in the beginning of this part are result the rules of proportion, which make a sufficient to account for the effects of them all, work to be praised or censured, in the whole or as well as for the agreeable effects of transpa- in some part, when the end for which it was rent bodies, whether fluid or solid. Suppose designed is or is not properly answered. But I look at a bottle of muddy liquor, of a blue or as to words; they seem to me to affect us in a red colour: the blue or red rays cannot pass manner very different from that in which we clearly to the eye, but are suddenly and une- are affected by natural objects, or by painting qually stopped by the intervention of little or architecture; yet words have as consideraopaque bodies, which without preparation ble a share in exciting ideas of beauty and of change the idea, and change it too into one the sublime as any of those, and sometimes a disagreeable in its own nature, conformable to much greater than any of them; therefore an the principles laid down in sect. 24. But when inquiry into the manner by which they excite the ray passes without such opposition through such emotions, is far from being unnecessary the glass or liquor, when the glass or liquor arc in a discourse of this kind. quite transparent, the light is sometimes softened in the passage, which makes it more agreeable even as light; and the liquor reflecting all the rays of its proper colour evenly, it
SECTION II. has such an effect on the eye, as smooth opaque bodies have on the eye and touch. So that the THE COMMON EFFECT OF POETRY, NOT BY pleasure here is compounded of the softness of the transmitted and the evenness of the reflected light. This pleasure may be heightened by The common notion of the power of poetry the common principles in other things, if the and eloquence, as well as that of words in ordishape of the glass which holds the transpa- nary conversation, is, that they affect the mind rent liquor be so judiciously varied, as to pre- by raising in it ideas of those things for which sent the colour gradually and interchangeably, custom has appointed them to stand. To exaweakened and strengthened with all the variety mine the truth of this notion, it may be requiwhich judgment in affairs of this nature shall site to observe that words may be divided into suggest. On a review of all that has been said three sorts. The first are such as represent of the effects, as well as the causes of both, it many simple ideas united by nature to form will appear, that the sublime ard beautiful are some one determinate composition, as man, built on principles very different, and that their horse, tree, castle, &c. These I call aggre. affections are as different: the great has ter- gade words. The second, are they that stand rour for its basis; which, when it is modified, for one simple idea of such compositions, and causes that emotion in the mind, which I have no more; as red, blue, round, square, and the called astonishment; the beautiful is founded like. These I call simple abstract words. The on mere positive pleasure, and excites in the third, are those, which are forraed by an union,
RAISING IDEAS OF THINGS.
an arbitrary union of both the others, and of rise to them; yet the sound, without any an the various relations between them in greater nexed motion, continues to operate as before or lesser degrees of complexity; as virtue, honour, persuasion, magistrate, and the like. These I call compound abstract words. Words, I am sensible, are capable of being classed into
SECTION III. more curious distinctions; but these seem to
GENERAL WORDS BEFORE IDEAS. be natural, and enough for our purpose; and they are disposed in that order in which they MR. LOCKE has somewhere observed, with are commonly taught, and in which the mind his usual sagacity, that most general words, gets the ideas they are substituted for. I shall those belonging to virtue and vice, good and begin with the third sort of words ; compound evil, especially, are taught before the particular abstracts, such as virtue, honour, persuasion, modes of action to whicn they belong are predocility. Of these I am convinced, that what- sented to the mind; and with them, the love ever power they may have on the passions, of the one, and the abhorrence of the other ; they do not derive it from any representation for the minds of children are so ductile, that a raised in the mind of the things for which they nurse, or any person about a child, by seeming stand. As compositions, they are not real pleased or displeased with any thing, or even essences, and hardly cause, I think, any real any word, may give the disposition of the child ideas. Nobody, I believe, immediately on a similar turn. When afterwards, the several hearing the sounds, virtue, liberty, or honour, occurrences in life come to be applied to these conceives any precise notions of the particular words, and that which is pleasant often appears modes of action and thinking, together with the under the name of evil; and what is disagreemixt and simple ideas, and the several relations able to nature is called good and virtuous; a of them for which these words are substituted; strange confusion of ideas and affections arises neither has he any general idea, compounded in the minds of many; and an appearance of of them ; for if he had, then some of those no small contradiction between their notions particular ones, though indistinct perhaps, and and their actions. There are many who love confused, might come soon to be perceived. virtue and who detest vice, and this not from But this, I take it, is hardly ever the case. hypocrisy or affectation, who notwithstanding For, put yourself upon analysing one of these very frequently act ill, and wickedly in particuwords, and you must reduce it from one set of lars without the least remorse; because these general words to another, and then into the particular occasions never came into view, simple abstracts and aggregates, in a much when the passions on the side of virtue were so longer series than may be at first imagined, warmly affected by certain words heated oribefore any real idea emerges to light, before ginally by the breath of others; and for this you come to discover any thing like the first
reason, it is hard to repeat certain sets of words, principles of such compositions; and when you though owned by themselves unoperative, with have made such a discovery of the original out being in some degree affected, especially ideas, the effect of the composition is utterly if a warm and affecting tone of voice accompalost. A train of thinking of this sort, is much nies them, as suppose, too long to be pursued in the ordinary ways of conversation, nor is it at all necessary that it
Wise, valiant, generous, good, and great. should. Such words are in reality but mere These words, by having no application, ought sounds ; but they are sounds which being used to be unoperative; but when words commonly un particular occasions, wherein we receive sacred to great occasions are used, we are some good, or suffer some evil; or see others affected by them even without the occasions. affected with good or evil; or which we hear When words which have been generally so applied to other interesting things or events; applied are put together without any rational and being applied in such a variety of cases, view, or in such a manner that they do not that we know readily by habit to what things rightly agree with each other, the style is called they belong, they produce in the mind, when- bombast. And it requires in several cases ever they are afterwards mentioned, effects much good sense and experience to be guarded similar to those of their occasions. The sounds against the force of such language ; for when peing often used without reference to any propriety is neglected, a greater number of these particular occasion, and carrying still their first affecting words may be taken into the service, impressions, they at last utterly lose their con- and a greater variety may be indulged in com nection with the particular occasions that gave bining them.
particulars to generals, from things to words, in such a manner as to answer the purposes of life; nor is it necessary that we should.
THE EFFECT OF WORDS.
EXAMPLES THAT WORDS MAY AFFECT
Ir words have all their possible extent of power, three effects arise in the mind of the hearer. The first is, the sound ; the second,
SECTION V. the picture, or representation of the thing signified by the sound; the third is, the affection of the soul produced by one or by both of the fore
WITHOUT RAISING IMAGES. going. Compounded abstract words, of which we have been speaking, (honour, justice, I find it very hard to persuade several that liberty, and the like,) produce the first and their passions are affected by words from the last of these effects, but not the second. whence they have no ideas; and yet harder to Simple abstracts, are used to signify some one convince them, that in the ordinary course of simple idea without much adverting to others conversation we are sufficiently understood which may chance to attend it, as blue, green, without raising any images of the things conhot, cold, and the like; these are capable of cerning which we speak. It seems to be an affecting all three of the purposes of words; as odd subject of dispute with any man, whether the aggregate words, man, castle, horse, &c. he has ideas in his mind or not. of this, at are in a yet higher degree. But I am of opi- first view, every man in his own forum, ought nion, that the most general effect even of these to judge without appeal. But, strange as it words, does not arise from their forming pic. may appear, we are often at a loss to know tures of the several things they would repre- what ideas we have of things, or whether we sent in the imagination; because, on a very have any ideas at all upon some subjects. It diligent examination of my own mind, and get- even requires a good deal of attention to be ting others to consider theirs, I do not find that thoroughly satisfied on this head. Since I wrote once in twenty times any such picture is formed, these papers, I found two very striking inand when it is, there is most commonly a par- stances of the possibility there is, that a man ticular effort of the imagination for that purpose. may hear words without having any idea of the But the aggregate words operate, as I said of things which they represent, and yet afterwards the compound-abstracts, not by presenting any be capable of returning them to others, comimage to the mind, but by having from use bined in a new way, and with great propriety, the same effect on being mentioned, that their energy, and instruction. The first instance is original has when it is seen. Suppose we that of Mr. Blacklock, a poet blind from his were to read a passage to this effect: “The birth. Few men blessed with the most perfect river Danube rises in a moist and mountainous sight can describe visual objects with more soil in the heart of Germany, where winding spirit and justness than this blind man; which to and fro, it waters several principalities, cannot possibly be attributed to his having a until, turning into Austria, and leaving the clearer conception of the things he describes walls of Vienna, it passes into Hungary; there than is common to other persons. Mr. Spence, with a vast flood, augmented by the Saave and in an elegant preface which he has written tó the Drave, it quits Christendom, and rolling the works of this poet, reasons very ingenithrough the barbarous countries which border ously, and, I imagine, for the most part, very on Tartary, it enters by many mouths in the righủy, upon the cause of this extraordinary Black sea."
." In this description, many things phænomenon; but I cannot altogether agree are mentioned, as mountains, rivers, cities, with him, that some improprieties in language the sea, &c. But let any body examine him- and thought, which occur in these poems, have self, and see whether he has had impressed on arisen from the blind poet's imperfect concephis imagination any pictures of a river, moun- tion of visual objects, since such improprieties, tain, watery soil, Germany, &c. Indeed, it is and much greater, may be found in writers even impossible, in the rapidity and quick succes- of an higher class than Mr. Blacklock, and who sion of words in conversation, to have ideas notwithstanding possessed the faculty of seeing both of the sound of the word, and of the thing in its full perfection. Here is a poet doubtless represented; besides, some words, expressing as much affected by his own descriptions, as real essences, are so mixed with others of a any that reads them can be ; and yet he is af. general and nominal import, tha is imprac- fected with this strong enthusiasm by things of cicable to jump from sense to thought, from which he neither has, nor can possibly havo
any idea further than that of a bare sound : and and surely the man who says next summer, has why may not those who read his works be af- no images of such a succession, and such an fecied in the same manner that he was ; with exclusion. In short it is not only of those ideas as little of any real ideas of the things de which are commonly called abstract, and of scribed? The second instance is of Mr. Saun- ' which no image at all can be formed, but even derson, professor of mathematics in the univer- of particular real beings, that we converse sity of Cambridge. This learned man had without having any idea of them excited in the acquired great knowledge in natural philoso imagination; as will certainly appear on a phy, in astronomy, and whatever sciences de diligent examination of our own minds. Indeed, pend upon mathematical skill. What was the so little does poetry depend for its effect on the most extraordinary and the most to my pur- power of raising sensible images, that I am pose, he gave excellent lectures upon light and convinced it would lose a very considerable colours ; and this man taught others the theory part of its energy if this were the necessary of those ideas which they had, and which he result of all description. Because that union himself undoubtedly had not. But it is proba- of affecting words, which is the most powerful ble that the words red, blue, green, answered of all poetical instruments, would frequently to him as well as the ideas of the colours them- lose its force along with its propriety and con selves; for the ideas of greater or lesser de sistency, if the sensible images were always grees of refrangibility being applied to these excited. There is not perhaps in the whole words, and the blind man being instructed in Eneid a more grand and laboured passage than what other respects they were found to agree the description of Vulcan’s cavern in Etna, or to disagree, it was as easy for him to reason and the works that are there carried on. Virgil upon the words, as if he had been fully master dwells particularly on the formation of the thunof the ideas. Indeed it must be owned he der, which he describes unfinished under the could malte no new discoveries in the way of hammers of the Cyclops. But what are the experiment. He did nothing but what we do principles of this extraordinary composition ? every day in common discourse. When I wrote this last sentence, and used the words
Tres imbris torti radios, tres nubis aquose
Addiderant ; rutili tres ignis et alitis austri: every day and common discourse, I had no
Fulgores nunc terrificos, sonitumque, metumque images in my mind of any succession of time; Miscebant operi, flammisque sequacibus iras. aor of men in conference with each other; nor do I imagine that the reader will have any such This seems to me admirably sublime ; yet if ideas on reading it. Neither when I spoke of we attend coolly to the kind of sensible images red, or blue and green, as well as refrangibility, which a combination of ideas of this sort must had I these several colours, or the rays of light form, the chimeras of madmen cannot appea passing into a different medium, and there di- more wild and absurd than such a picture. verted from their course, painted before me in “Three rays of twisted showers, three of watery the way of images. I know very well that the clouds, three of fire, and three of the winged mind possesses a faculty of raising such images south wind; then mired they in the work terrific at pleasure; but then an act of the will is neces- lightnings, and sound and fear, and anger, with sary to this; and in ordinary conversation or pursuing flames.” This strango composition reading it is very rarely that any image at all is formed into a gross body; it is hammered is excited in the mind. If I say " I shall go to by the Cyclops, it is in part polished, and Italy next summer," I am well understood. partly continues rough. The truth is, if poetry Yet I believe nobody has by this painted in his gives us a noble assemblage of words correimagination the exact figure of the speaker sponding to many noble ideas, which are con passing by land or by water, or both; some- nected by circumstances of time or place, a times on horseback, sometimes in a carriage; related to each other as cause and effect, a with all the particulars of the journey. Still associated in any natural way, they may be less has he any idea of Italy the country to moulded together in any form, and perfectly which I proposed to go; or of the greenness of answer their end. The picturesque conneo the fields, the ripening of the fruits, and the tion is not demanded; because no real pio warmth of the air, with the change to this from ture is formed; nor is the effect of the de a different season, which are the ideas for scription at all the less upon this account which the word summer is substituted; but What is said of Helen by Priar and the ols least of all has he any image ,from the word men of his council, is general thought tr next; for this word stands for the idea of niany give us the highest possible ide that fata summers, with the exclusion of all but one: beauty.
Ου νεμιυίς Τρωας και ευκνημιδας Αχαιους, , lingua. There it is strictly imitation; and all Toιη δ' αμφι γυναικι πολυν χρωνον αλγεα πασ- merely dramatic poetry is of this sort. But
χειν. . Αινως δ' αθανατοισι θεης εις ωπα εοικεν.
descriptive poetry operates chiefly by substitu
tion; by means of sounds, which by custom They cry'd, no wonder such celestial charms have the effect of realities. Nothing is an For nine long years have set the world in arms; What winning graces! what majestic mien !
imitation further than as it resembles some She moves a goddess, and she looks a queen. other thing; and words undoubtedly have no
POPE. sort of resemblance to the ideas for which they Here is not one word said of the particulars of stand. her beauty; nothing which can in the least help us to any precise idea of her person; but yet we are much more touched by this manner
SECTION VII. of mentioning her than by those long and
HOW WORDS INFLUENCE THE PASSIONS laboured descriptions of Helen, whether handed down by tradition, or formed by fancy, which
Now, as words affect, not by any original are to be met with in some authors. I am sure power, but by representation, it might be supe it affects me much more than the minute de- posed, that their influence over the passions scription which Spenser has given of Belphebe; should be but light; yet it is quite otherwise ; though I own that there are parts in that for we find by experience, that eloquence and description, as there are in all the descriptions poetry are as capable, nay indeed much more of that excellent writer, extremely fine and capable, of making deep and lively impressions poetical. The terrible picture which Lucre- than any other arts, and even than nature itself tius has drawn of religion, in order to display in very many cases. And this arises chiefly the magnanimity of his philosophical hero in from these three causes. First, that we take opposing her, is thought to be designed with an extraordinary part in the passions of others, great boldness and spirit:
and that we are easily affected and brought into Humana ante oculos fæde cum vita jaceret, sympathy by any tokens which are shewn of In terris, oppressa gravi sub religione, them; and there are no tokens which can exQuæ caput e cæli regionibus ostendebat press all the circumstances of most passions so Horribili super aspectu mortalibus instans;
fully as words; so that if a person speaks upon Primus Graius homo mortales tollere contra Est oculos ausus.
any subject, he can not only convey the subject What idea do you derive from so excellent a
to you, but likewise the manner in which he picture ? none at all, most certainly ; neither is himself affected by it. Certain it is, that
the influence of most things on our passions is has the poet said a single word which might in the least serve to mark a single limb or feature from our opinions concerning them; and these
not so much from the things themselves, as of the phantom, which he intended to represent again depend very much on the opinions of in all the horrours imagination can conceive. In reality poetry and rhetoric do not succeed in other men, convoyable for the most part by exact description so well as painting does; words only. Secondly, there are many things their business is, to affect rather by sympathy
of a very affecting nature, which can seldom than imitation; to display rather the effect
occur in the reality, but the words which repreof things on the mind of the speaker, or of
sent them often do; and thus they have an others, than to present a clear idea of the opportunity of making a deep impression and things themselves. This is their most exten
taking root in the mind, whilst the idea of the sive province, and that in which they succeed reality was transient; and to some perhaps the best.
never really occurred in any shape, to whom it is notwithstanding very affecting, as war,
death, famine, &c. Besides many ideas have SECTION VI.
never been at all presented is the senses of any men but by words, as God, angels, devils,
heaven, and hell, all of which have however a POETRY NOT STRICTLY AN IMITATIVE ART.
great influence over the passions. Thirdly, by Hence we may observe that poetry, taken words we have it in our power to make such in its most general sense, cannot with strict combinations as we cannot possibly do otherpropriety be called an art of imitation. It is wise. By this power of combining we are indeed an imitation so far as it describes the able, by the addition of well chosen circummanners and passions of men which their words
stances, to give a new life and force to the simtan express; where animi motus effert interprete ple object. In painting we may represent any