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of its object is excited in the mind with an idea at Without all this it is possible for a man, after a the same time of having irretrievably lost it. This confused manner, sometimes to satisfy his own mixed sense of pleasure I have not called pain, mind of the truth of his work; but he can never because it turns upon actual pleasure, and because have a certain determinate rule to go by, nor can it is, both in its cause and in most of its effects, of he ever make his propositions sufficiently clear to a nature altogether different.
others. Poets, and orators, and painters, and Next to the general passion we have for society, those who cultivate other branches of the liberal to a choice in which we are directed by the plea- arts, have, without this critical knowledge, sucsure we have in the object, the particular passion ceeded well in their several provinces, and will under this head called sympathy has the greatest succeed : as among artificers there are many maextent. The nature of this passion is, to put us in chines made and even invented without any exact the place of another in whatever circumstance he knowledge of the principles they are governed by. is in, and to affect us in a like manner; so that It is, I own, not uncommon to be wrong in thethis passion may, as the occasion requires, turn ory, and right in practice; and we are happy that either on pain or pleasure; but with the modifi- it is so. Men often act right from their feelings, cations mentioned in some cases in sect. 11. As who afterwards reason but ill on them from printo imitation and preference, nothing more need ciple: but as it is impossible to avoid an attempt be said.
at such reasoning, and equally impossible to pre
vent its having some influence on our practice, SECT. XIX.- THE CONCLUSION.
surely it is worth taking some pains to have it
just, and founded on the basis of sure experience. I believed that an attempt to range and We might expect that the artists themselves would methodize some of our most leading passions would have been our surest guides; but the artists have be a good preparative to such an enquiry as we are been too much occupied in the practice : the going to make in the ensuing discourse. The philosophers have done little ; and what they have passions I have mentioned are almost the only ones done, was mostly with a view to their own schemes which it can be necessary to consider in our pre- and systems : and as for those called criticks, Bent design; though the variety of the passions is they have generally sought the rule of the arts in great, and worthy, in every branch of that variety, the wrong place; they sought it among poems, of an attentive investigation. The more accurately pictures, engravings, statues, and buildings. But we search into the human mind, the stronger art can never give the rules that make an art. traces we every where find of His wisdom who This is, I believe, the reason why artists in genemade it. If a discourse on the use of the parts of ral, and poets principally, have been confined in the body may be considered as an hymn to the so narrow a circle: they have been rather imitaCreator; the use of the passions, which are the tors of one another than of nature; and this with organs of the mind, cannot be barren of praise to so faithful an uniformity, and to so remote an Him, nor unproductive to ourselves of that noble antiquity, that it is hard to say
the first and uncommon union of science and admiration, model. Criticks follow them, and therefore can which a contemplation of the works of infinite do little as guides. I can judge but poorly of wiedom alone can afford to a rational mind : | any thing, whilst I measure it by no other standwhilst, referring to him whatever we find of right ard than itself. The true standard of the arts is or good or fair in ourselves, discovering his strength in every man's power; and an easy observation and wisdom even in our own weakness and imper- of the most common, sometimes of the meanest, fection, honouring them where we discover them things in nature, will give the truest lights, where charly, and adoring their profundity where we are the greatest sagacity and industry, that slights lost in our search, we may be inquisitive without such observation, must leave us in the dark, or, impertinence, and elevated without pride; we may what is worse, amuse and mislead us by false be admitted, if I may dare to say so, into the lights. In an enquiry it is almost every thing to counsels of the Almighty by a consideration of his be once in a right road. I am satisfied I have works. The elevation of the mind ought to be done but little by these observations considered the principal end of all our studies ; which if they in themselves; and I never should have taken the do not in some measure effect, they are of very little pains to digest them, much less should I have service to us. But, besides this great purpose, a ever ventured to publish them, if I was not conconsideration of the rationale of our passions seems vinced that nothing tends more to the corruption to) me very necessary for all who would affect them of science than to suffer it to stagnate. These upon solid and sure principles. It is not enough waters must be troubled, before they can exert !!) know them in general : to affect them after a their virtues. A man who works beyond the surdelicate manner, or to judge properly of any work face of things, though he may be wrong himself, designed to affect them, we should know the exact yet he clears the way for others, and may chance boundaries of their several jurisdictions; we should to make even his errours subservient to the cause prirsue them through all their variety of opera- of truth. In the following parts I shall enquire tions, and pierce into the inmost, and what might what things they are that cause in us the affecappear inaccessible, parts of our nature,
tions of the sublime and beautiful, as in this I Quod latet arcaná non énarrabile fibrá. have considered the affections themselves. I only desire one favour,-that no part of this discourse | troversy, but of a sober and even forgiving examay be judged of by itself, and independently of mination ; that they are not armed at all points the rest; for I am sensible I have not disposed for battle, but dressed to visit those who are willmy materials to abide the test of a captious con- ling to give a peaceful entrance to truth.
SECTION 1.-OF THE PASSION CAUSED BY THE
SECT. III.- OBSCURITY.
respectable; aldew, to reverence or to fear. Vereor in Latin, is what aiòow is in Greek. The Romans used the verb stupeo, a term which strongly marks
the state of an astonished mind, to express the The passion caused by the great and sublime in effect either of simple fear, or of astonishment; nature, when those causes operate most power- the word attonitus (thunder-struck) is equally esfully, is astonishment: and astonishment is that pressive of the alliance of these ideas; and do not state of the soul, in which all its motions are sus- the French etonnement, and the English astonishpended, with some degree of horrour.* In this ment and amazement, point out as clearly the case the mind is so entirely filled with its object, kindred emotions which attend fear and wonder? that it cannot entertain any other, nor by conse- They who have a more general knowledge of quence reason on that object which employs it. languages, could produce, I make no doubt, many Hence arises the great power of the sublime, that, other and equally striking examples. far from being produced by them, it anticipates our reasonings, and hurries us on by an irresistible force. Astonishment, as I have said, is the effect of the sublime in its highest degree; To make any thing very terrible, obscurity the inferiour effects are admiration, reverence, seems in general to be necessary. When we know
the full extent of any danger, when we can accustom our eyes to it, a great deal of the apprehension vanishes. Every one will be sensible of this, who
considers how greatly night adds to our dread, No passion so effectually robs the mind of all in all cases of danger, and how much the notions its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. + For of ghosts and goblins, of which none can form fear being an apprehension of pain or death, it clear ideas, affect minds which give credit to the operates in a manner that resembles actual pain. popular tales concerning such sorts of beings
, Whatever therefore is terrible, with regard to sight, Those despotick governments, which are founded is sublime too, whether this cause of terrour be on the passions of men, and principally upon
the endued with greatness of dimensions or not; for passion of fear, keep their chief as much as may be it is impossible to look on any thing as trifling, from the publick eye. The policy has been the or contemptible, that may be dangerous. There same in many cases of religion. Almost all the are many animals, who though far from being heathen temples were dark. Even in the barbalarge, are yet capable of raising ideas of the rous temples of the Americans at this day, they sublime, because they are considered as objects keep their idol in a dark part of the hut, which is of terrour. As serpents and poisonous animals of consecrated to his worship. For this purpose too almost all kinds. And to things of great dimen- the Druids performed all their ceremonies in the sions, if we annex an adventitious idea of terrour, bosom of the darkest woods, and in the shade of they become without comparison greater. A level the oldest and most spreading oaks. No person plain of a vast extent on land, is certainly no mean seems better to have understood the secret of idea; the prospect of such a plain may be as heightening, or of setting terrible things, if I may extensive as a prospect of the ocean : but can it ever use the expression, in their strongest light, by the fill the mind with any thing so great as the ocean force of a judicious obscurity, than Milton. His itself? This is owing to several causes; but it is description of Death in the second book is adowing to none more than this, that the ocean is an mirably studied; it is astonishing with what a object of no small terrour. Indeed terrour is in all gloomy pomp, with what a significant and es. cases whatsoever, either more openly or latently, pressive uncertainty of strokes and colouring, the ruling principle of the sublime. Several lan- he has finished the portrait of the king of terguages bear a strong testimony to the affinity of these ideas. They frequently use the same word,
The other shape, to signify indifferently the modes of astonishment
If shape it might be call'd that shape hod none or admiration and those of terrour. Odußoc is in Distinguishable, in member, joint, or limb; Greek, either fear or wonder; davoc is terrible or Or substance might be callid that shadow secm'd; • Part I. sect. 3, 4, 7. + Part IV. sect. 3, 4, 5, 6.
: Part IV. sect. 14, 15, 16.
SECT. IV.-OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLEAR
NESS AND OBSCURITY
REGARD TO THE
For each seemd either ; black he stood us night ; the best sorts of painting, as well as the best sorts
of poetry, are not much understood in that sphere.
But it is most certain, that their passions are very
strongly roused by a fanatick preacher, or by the In this description all is dark, uncertain, confused, ballads of Chevy-chace, or the Children in the terrible, and sublime to the last degree.
Wood, and by other little popular poems and tales that are current in that rank of life. I do not know of any paintings, bad or good, that produce
the same effect. So that poetry, with all its obPASSIONS.
scurity, has a more general, as well as a more power
ful, dominion over the passions, than the other It is one thing to make an idea clear, and art. And I think there are reasons in nature, why another to make it affecting to the imagination. the obscure idea, when properly conveyed, should If I make a drawing of a palace, or a temple, or be more affecting than the clear. It is our ignoa landscape, I present a very clear idea of those ob- rance of things that causes all our admiration, and jects ; but then (allowing for the effect of imitation, chiefly excites our passions. Knowledge and acwhich is something) my picture can at most affect quaintance make the most striking causes affect only as the palace, temple, or landscape would but little. It is thus with the vulgar; and all men have affected in the reality. On the other hand, are as the vulgar in what they do not understand. the most lively and spirited verbal description i The ideas of eternity and infinity, are among the can give raises a very obscure and imperfect idea most affecting we have: and yet perhaps there is of such objects; but then it is in my power to nothing of which we really understand so little, as raise a stronger emotion by the description than I of infinity and eternity. We do not any where could do by the best painting. This experience meet a more sublime description than this justlyconstantly evinces. The proper manner of con- celebrated one of Milton, wherein he gives the veying the affections of the mind from one to portrait of Satan with a dignity so suitable to the another, is by words; there is a great insufficiency subject : in all other methods of communication; and so far
He above the rest is a clearness of imagery from being absolutely
In shape and gesture proudly eminent necessary to an influence upon the passions, that Stood like a tower ; his form had yet not lost they may be considerably operated upon, without All her original brightness, nor appear'd presenting any image at all, by certain sounds
Less than archangel ruin'd, and ik ercess
Of glory obscur'd: as when the sun new ris'n adapted to that purpose ; of which we have a
Looks through the horizontal misty air suthicient proof in the acknowledged and powerful Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon effects of instrumental musick. In reality, a great In dim eclipse disastrous twilight sheds clearess helps but little towards affecting the
On half the nations; and with fear of change passions, as it is in some sort an enemy to all
Perpleres monarchs. enthusiasms whatsoever.
Here is a very noble picture; and in what does
this poetical picture consist? In images of a tower, SECT. (iv.]—THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
an archangel, the sun rising through mists, or in
an eclipse, the ruin of monarchs, and the revoluThere are two verses in Horace's Art of tions of kingdoms. The mind is hurried out of Poetry, that seem to contradict this opinion ; for itself, by a crowd of great and confused images ; which reason I shall take a little more pains in which affect because they are crowded and conclearing it up. The verses are,
fused. For, separate them, and you lose much of
the greatness; and join them, and you infallibly Segnius irrilant animos demissa per aures, Quam quæ sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus.
lose the clearness. The images raised by poetry
are always of this obscure kind; though in geneOn this the Abbé du Bos founds a criticism, ral the effects of poetry are by no means to be waluerein he gives painting the preference to poetry attributed to the images it raises; which point we in the article of moving the passions; principally shall examine more at large hereafter. * But paintan account of the greater clearness of the ideas it ing, when we have allowed for the pleasure of ir presents. I believe this excellent judge was led imitation, can only affect simply by the images it nto this mistake (if it be a mistake) by his system; presents; and even in painting, a judicious obto which he found it more conformable than i scurity in some things contributes to the effect of imagine it will be found to experience. I know the picture ; because the images in painting are everal who admire and love painting, and yet who exactly similar to those in nature; and in nature, ti-zard the objects of their admiration in that art dark, confused, uncertain images have a greater *.th coolness enough in comparison of that warmth power on the fancy to form the grander passions, *ith which they are animated by affecting pieces than those have which are more clear and deterof poetry or rhetorick. Among the common sort minate. But where and when this observation of people, I never could perceive that painting had may be applied to practice, and how far it shall auch influence on their passions. It is true, that be extended, will be better deduced from the
nature of the subject, and from the occasion, than | idea of vast power, is extremely remote from that from any rules that can be given.
neutral character. For first, we must remember,* I am sensible that this idea has met with oppo- that the idea of pain, in its highest degree, is much sition, and is likely still to be rejected by several. stronger than the highest degree of pleasure; and But let it be considered, that hardly any thing that it preserves the same superiority through all can strike the mind with its greatness, which does the subordinate gradations. From hence it is, not make some sort of approach towards infinity ; that where the chances for equal degrees of sufferwhich nothing can do whilst we are able to perceive ing or enjoyment are in any sort equal, the idea its bounds; but to see an object distinctly, and to of the suffering must always be prevalent. And perceive its bounds, is one and the same thing. A indeed the ideas of pain, and, above all, of death, clear idea is therefore another name for a little idea. are so very affecting, that whilst we remain in the There is a passage in the book of Job amazingly presence of whatever is supposed to have the power sublime, and this sublimity is principally due to of inflicting either, it is impossible to be perfectly the terrible uncertainty of the thing described : free from terrour. Again, we know by experience, In thoughts from the visions of the night, when that, for the enjoyment of pleasure, no great deep sleep falleth upon men, fear came upon me efforts of power are at all necessary; nay, we and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. know, that such efforts would go a great way Then a spirit passed before my face. The hair towards destroying our satisfaction : for pleasure of my flesh stood up. It stood still, but I could not must be stolen, and not forced upon us; pleasure discern the form thereof; an image was before follows the will; and therefore we are generally mine eyes ; there was silence ; and I heard a affected with it by many things of a force greatly voice,- Shall mortal man be more just than God? | inferiour to our own. But pain is always inflicted We are first prepared with the utmost solemnity by a power in some way superiour, because we for the vision; we are first terrified, before we are never submit to pain willingly. So that strength, let even into the obscure cause of our emotion : violence, pain, and terrour, are ideas that rush in but when this grand cause of terrour makes its upon the mind together. Look at a man, or any appearance, what is it? Is it not wrapt up in the other animal of prodigious strength, and what is shades of its own incomprehensible darkness, more your idea before reflection ? Is it that this strength awful, more striking, more terrible, than the live- will be subservient to you, to your ease, to your liest description, than the clearest painting, could pleasure, to your interest in any sense ? No; the possibly represent it? When painters have at- emotion you feel is, lest this enormous strength tempted to give us clear representations of these should be employed to the purposes of t rapine very fanciful and terrible ideas, they have, I think, and destruction. That power derives all its sublialmost always failed ; insomuch that I have been at mity from the terrour with which it is generally a loss, in all the pictures I have seen of hell, to de- accompanied, will appear evidently from its effect termine whether the painter did not intend some- in the very few cases, in which it may be possible thing ludicrous. Several painters have handled to strip a considerable degree of strength of its a subject of this kind, with a view of assembling ability to hurt. When you do this, you spoil it of as many horrid phantoms as their imagination every thing sublime, and it immediately becomes could suggest; but all the designs I have chanced contemptible. An ox is a creature of vast strength; to meet of the temptations of St. Anthony were but he is an innocent creature, extremely servicerather a sort of odd, wild grotesques, than any able, and not at all dangerous; for which reason thing capable of producing a serious passion. In the idea of an ox is by no means grand. A bul! all these subjects poetry is very happy. Its appa- is strong too: but his strength is of another kind; ritions, its chimeras, its harpies, its allegorical often very destructive, seldom (at least amongst figures, are grand and affecting; and though us) of any use in our business; the idea of a bull Virgil's Fame and Homer's Discord are obscure, is therefore great, and it has frequently a place in they are magnificent figures. These figures in sublime descriptions, and elevating comparisons. painting would be clear enough, but I fear they Let us look at another strong animal, in the two might become ridiculous.
distinct lights in which we may consider him. The
horse in the light of an useful beast, fit for the SECT. V.- POWER.
plough, the road, the draft; in every social useful
light, the horse has nothing sublime: but is it BESIDES those things which directly suggest thus that we are affected with him, whose neck is the idea of danger, and those which produce a clothed with thunder, the glory of whose nostrils similar effect from a mechanical cause, I know of is terrible, who swalloweth the ground with nothing sublime, which is not some modification of fierceness and rage, neither believeth that it is power. And this branch rises, as naturally as the the sound of the trumpet ? In this description, the other two branches, from terrour, the common stock useful character of the horse entirely disappear, of every thing that is sublime. The idea of power, and the terrible and sublime blaze out together. at first view, seems of the class of those indifferent We have continually about us animals of a strength ones, which may equally belong to pain or to plea that is considerable, but not pernicious. sure. But in reality, the affection, arising from the these we never look for the sublime ; it comes • Part I. sect. 7.
+ Vide Part III. sect. 21.
upon us in the gloomy forest, and in the howling so strongly does it inhere in our constitution, that wilderness, in the form of the lion, the tyger, the very few are able to conquer it, but by mixing panther, or rhinoceros. Whenever strength is much in the business of the great world, or by only useful
, and employed for our benefit or our using no small violence to their natural disposipleasure
, then it is never sublime ; for nothing tions. I know some people are of opinion, that can act agreeably to us, that does not act in con- no awe, no degree of terrour, accompanies the formity to our will; but to act agreeably to our idea of power; and have hazarded to affirm, that will, it must be subject to us, and therefore can we can contemplate the idea of God himself withnever be the cause of a grand and commanding out any such emotion. I purposely avoided, when conception. The description of the wild ass, in I first considered this subject, to introduce the
Job, is worked up into no small sublimity, merely idea of that great and tremendous Being, as an | by insisting on his freedom, and his setting man- example in an argument so light as this ; though
kind at defiance; otherwise the description of it frequently occurred to me, not as an objection such an animal could have had nothing noble to, but as a strong confirmation of, my notions in in it. Who hath loosed (says he) the bands of this matter. I hope, in what I am going to say, the wild ass ? whose house I have made the wil- I shall avoid presumption, where it is almost imderness, and the barren land his dwellings. He possible for any mortal to speak with strict proscorneth the multitude of the city, neither re- priety. I say then, that whilst we consider the gardeth he the voice of the driver. The range Godhead merely as he is an object of the underof the mountains is his pasture. The magnificent standing, which forms a complex idea of power, description of the unicorn and of leviathan, in wisdom, justice, goodness, all stretched to a dethe same book, is full of the same heightening gree far exceeding the bounds of our comprehencircumstances : Will the unicorn be willing to sion, whilst we consider the Divinity in this refined serve thee ? canst thou bind the unicorn with his and abstracted light, the imagination and passions band in the furrow ? wilt thou trust him because are little or nothing affected. But because we bis strength is great ?- Canst thou draw out le- are bound, by the condition of our nature, to asriathan with an hook? will he make a covenant cend to these pure and intellectual ideas, through with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for the medium of sensible images, to judge of these erer? shall not one be cast down even at the divine qualities by their evident acts and exersight of him? In short, wheresoever we find tions, it becomes extremely hard to disentangle strength, and in what light soever we look upon our idea of the cause from the effect by which we power, we shall all along observe the sublime the are led to know it. Thus when we contemplate concomitant of terrour, and contempt the attend the Deity, his attributes and their operation, comant on a strength that is subservient and innoxious. ing united on the mind, form a sort of sensible The race of dogs, in many of their kinds, have image, and as such are capable of affecting the generally a competent degree of strength and imagination. Now, though in a just idea of the swiftness ; and they exert these and other valuable Deity, perhaps none of his attributes are predoqualities which they possess, greatly to our con- minant, yet, to our imagination, his power is by venience and pleasure. Dogs are indeed the far the most striking. Some reflection, some comtøst social, affectionate, and amiable animals of paring, is necessary to satisfy us of his wisdom, his the whole brute creation ; but love approaches justice, and his goodness. To be struck with his much nearer to contempt than is commonly power, it is only necessary that we should open imagined ; and accordingly, though we caress our eyes. But whilst we contemplate so vast an durs, we borrow from them an appellation of the object, under the arm, as it were, of almighty most despicable kind, when we employ terms of power, and invested upon every side with omniTi proach; and this appellation is the common presence, we shrink into the minuteness of our mark of the last vileness and contempt in every own nature, and are, in a manner, annihilated belanguage. Wolves have not more strength than fore him. And though a consideration of his several species of dogs; but, on account of their other attributes may relieve, in some measure, our unmanageable fierceness, the idea of a wolf is not apprehensions; yet no conviction of the justice despicable; it is not excluded from grand de- with which it is exercised, nor the mercy with rriptions and similitudes. Thus we are affected which it is tempered, can wholly remove the terby strength, which is natural power. The power rour that naturally arises from a force which nowhich arises from institution in kings and com- thing can withstand. If we rejoice we rejoice manders, has the same connexion with terrour. with trembling: and even whilst we are receiving Sovereigns are frequently addressed with the title benefits, we cannot but shudder at a power which of dread majesty. And it may be observed, that can confer benefits of such mighty importance. Foung persons, little acquainted with the world, when the prophet David contemplated the wonand who have not been used to approach men in ders of wisdom and power which are displayed in pwwer, are commonly struck with an awe which the economy of man, he seems to be struck with takes away the free use of their faculties. When a sort of divine horroúr, and cries out, Fearfully I prepared my seat in the street, (says Job,) the and wonderfully am I made ! An heathen poet young men suw me, and hid themselves. Indeed, so has a sentiment of a similar nature; Horace looks tatural is this timidity with regard to power, and upon it as the last effort of philosophical fortitude,