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satisfaction we receive from his punishment. Besides, it is a punishment inflicted, not by the agency of an external cause, but incurred by the natural progress of his vices.
. We are more gratified in seeing him racked with suspicion before the battle of Bosworth; listening from tent to tent, lest his soldiers should meditate treason; overwhelmed on the eve of the battle with presages of calamity, arising from inauspicious remembrance; and driven, by the dread of danger, to contemplate and be shocked at his own heinous transgressions. We are more affected, and more gratified with these, than with the death he so deservedly suffers. Richard and his conscience had long been strangers. That importunate monitor had been dismissed at a very early périod from his service ; nor had given him the least interruption in the career of his vices. Yet they were not entirely parted. Conscience was to visit him before he died, and chose for the hour of visitation the eve of his death. She comes introduced by Danger; spreads before him, in hues of infernal impression, the picture of his enormities;
shakes him with deep dismay! pierces his soul with a poisoned arrow; unnerves and forsakes him.
O coward Conscience, how dost thou afflict me!
Upon the whole, certain objects, whether they actually operate upon our senses, or be presented to the mind by imitation, are disagreeable. Yet many disagreeable objects may be so imitated, by having their deformities veiled, or by having any agreeable qualities they may possess improved or judiciously brought forward, that so far from continuing offensive, they afford us pleasure. Many actions of mankind are in their own nature horrible and disgusting. Mere deceit, mere grovelling appetite, cruelty and meanness, both in the imitation and the original, occasion pain and aversion. Yet these vices may be so represented by the skill of an ingenious artist, as to afford us pleasure. The most usual method of rendering their representation agree. able is, by setting the characters in whom they predominate in opposition to such characters as are eminent for their opposite virtues. The dissimulation, ingratitude, and inhumanity of Goneril, set in opposition to the native simplicity, the filial affection, and sensibility of Cordelia, though in themselves hateful, become an interesting spectacle. The pleasure we receive is, by having the agreeable feelings and sentiments that virtue excites, improved and rendered exquisite by contrast, by alternate hopes and fears, and even by our subdued and coinciding abhorrence of vice. For the painful feeling, overcome by delightful emotions, loses its direction and peculiar character ; but retaining its force, communicates additional energy to the prevailing sensation, and so augments its efficacy.
Another more difficult, though no less interesting method of producing the same effect is, when with scarce any attention to opposite virtues in other persons,very aggravated and heinous vices are blended and united in the same person, with agreeable intellectual qualities. Boldness, command of temper, a spirit of enterprise, united with the intellectual endowments of discernment, penetration, dexterity, and address, give us pleasure. Yet these may be employed as instruments of cruelty and oppression, no less than of justice and humanity. When the representation is such, that the pleasure arising from these qualities · is stronger than the painful aversion and abhorrence excited by concomitant vices, the general effect is agreeable. Even the painful emotion, as in the former case, losing its character, but retaining its vigor, imparts additional force to our agreeable feelings. Thus though there is no approbation of the vicious character, are, nevertheless, pleased with the representation. The soul is overshadowed with an agreeable gloom, and her powers are suspended with delightful horror. The pleasure is varied and increased, when the criminal propensities, gaining strength by: indulgence, occasion the neglect of intellectual endowments, and disregard of their assistance ; so that by
natural consequence, and without the interposition of uncommon agency from without, the vicious person becoming as incautious as he is wicked, is rendered the prey of his own corruptions: fosters those snakes in his bosom that shall devour his vitals; and suffers the most condign of all punishment, the miseries intailed by guilt.
Shakespeare, in his Richard the Third, has chosen that his principal character should be constructed according to the last of these methods; and this I have endeavoured to illustrate, by considering the manner in which Richard is affected by the consciousness of his own deformity ; by considering the dexterity of his conduct in seducing the Lady Anne; by observing his various deportment towards his seeming friends or accomplices; and finally by tracing the
progress of his vices to his downfal and utter ruin.
The other excellencies of this tragedy, besides the character of Richard, are, indeed, of an inferior nature, but not unworthy of Shakespeare. The characters of Buckingham, Anne, Hastings, and Queen Margaret,