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Achilles. Yet we love Priam more than Agamemnon, and Hector more than bis conqueror Achilles. Admiration is the passion which Homer would ex. cite in favour of the Greeks: and he has done it by bestowing on 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 small, if ever they fail of beauty, failure is not to be attributed to their size.
SECT. XXV.-OF COLOUR. With regard to colour, the disquisition is almost infinite; but, I conceivė, the principles laid down in the beginning of this part are sufficient to account for the effects of them all, as well as for the agreeable effects of transparent bodies, whether Anid or solid. Suppose I look at a bottle of muddy liquor, of a blue or red colour : the blue or red rays cannot pass clearly to the eye, but are suddenly and unequally stopped by the intervention of little opaque bodies, which, without preparation, change the idea, and change it, too, into one disagreeable in its own nature, conformable to the principles laid down in Sect. 24. But when the ray passes without such opposition through the glass or liquor, when the glass or liquor is quite transparent, the light is some. thing 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 has such an effect on the eye as smooth opaque bodies have on the eye and touch ; so that the 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 principles in other things, if the shape of the glass which holds the transparent liquor be so judiciously varied as to present the colour gradually and interchangeably weakened and strengthened with all the variety which judgment, in affairs of this nature, shall sug. gest. On a review of all that has been said of the effects, as well as the causes of both, it will appear that the sublime and beautiful are built on principles very different, and that their affections are as different: the great has terror for its basis, which, when it is modified, causes that emotion in the mind which I have called astonishment: the beautiful is founded on mere positive pleasure, and excites in the soul that feeling which is called love. Their causes have made the subject of this Fourth Part.
SECT. I.-OF WORDS.
NATURAL objects affect us by the laws of that connexion which Providence has established between certain motions and configurations of bodies, and certain consequent feelings in our minds. Painting affects in the same manner, but with the superadded pleasure of imitation. Architecture affects by the laws of nature, and the law of reason : from which latter result the rules of proportion, which make a work to be praised or censured, in the whole or in some part, when the end for which it was designed is or is not properly answered. But as to words, they seem to me to affect us in a manner very different from that in which we are affected by natural objects, or by painting or architecture; yet words bave as considerable a share in exciting ideas of beauty and of the sublime, as any of those, and sometimes a much greater than any of them: therefore an inquiry into the manner by which they excite such emotions is far from being unne. cessary in a discourse of this kind.
sect. II.-THE COMMON EFFECT OF POETRY,
NOT BY RAISING IDEAS OF THINGS.
The common notion of the power of poetry and eloquence, as well as that of words in ordinary conversation, is, that they affect the mind by rais. ing in it ideas of those things for which custom has appointed them to stand. To examine the truth of this notion, it may be requisite to observe, that words may be divided into three sorts. The first are such as represent many simple ideas united by nature, to form some one determinate composition, as man, horse, tree, castle, &c. These I call aggre. gate words. The second are they that stand for one simple idea of such compositions, and no more; as red, blue, round, square, and the like. These I call simple abstract words. The third are those which are formed by a union, an arbitrary union, of both the others, and of the various relations between them, in greater 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 more curious distinctions; but these seem to be natural, and enough for our purpose; and they are disposed in that order in which they are commonly taught, and in which the mind gets the ideas they are substituted for. I shall begin with the third sort of words, compound abstracts, such as virtue, bouour, persuasion, docility. Of these I am convinced, that, whatever power they may have on the passions, they do not derive it from any representation raised in the mind of the things for which they stand. As compositions they are not real essences, and hardly cause, I think, any real ideas. Nobody, I believe, immediately on hearing the sounds, virtue, liberty, or honour, conceives any precise notions of the particular mode of action and thinking, together with the mixed and simple ideas, and the several relations of them, for which these words are substituted; neither has he any general idea compounded of them; for if he had, then some of those particular ones, though indistinct, perhaps, and confused, might come soon to be perceived. But this, I take it is hardly ever the case; for, put yourself upon analysing one of these words, and you must reduce it from one set of general words to another, and then into the simple abstracts and aggregates, in a much longer series than may be at first imagined, before any real idea emerges to light, before you come to discover any thing like the first principles of such compositions; and, when you have made such a discovery of the original ideas, the effect of the composition is utterly lost. A train of thinking of this sort is much too long to be pursued in the ordinary ways of conversation : nor is it at all necessary that it should. Such words are in reality but mere sounds; but they are sounds, which being used on particular occasions, wherein we receive some good, or suffer some evil; or see others affected with good or evil; or which we hear applied to other interesting things or events; and, being applied in such a variety of cases, that we know readily by habit to what things they belong, they produce in the mind, whenever they are afterward mentioned, effects similar to those of their occasions. The sounds being often used without reference to any particular occasion, and carrying still their first impressions, they at last utterly lose their connexion with the particular occasions that gave rise to them; yet the sound, without any annexed notion, continues to operate as before.
SECT. III.-GENERAL WORDS BEFORE IDEAS.
MR, LOCKE has somewhere observed, with his usual sagacity, that most general words, those belonging to virtue and vice, good and evil, especially, are taught before the particular modes of action, to which they belong, are presented to the mind; and with them the love of the one and the abhorrence of the other; for the minds of children are so ductile, that a nurse, or any person about a child, by seeming pleased or displeased with any thing, or even any word, may give the dispositions of the child a similar turn. When, afterward, the several occurrences in life come to be applied to these words, and that which is pleasant often appears under the name of evil, and what is disagreeable to nature is called good and virtuous, a strange con. fasion of ideas and affections arises in the minds of many, and an appearance of no small contradiction between their notions and their actions. There are many who love virtue and who detest vice, and this not from hypocrisy or affectation, who not with standing, very frequently act ill and wickedly in particulars without the least remorse; because these particular occasions never came into view when the passions on the side of virtue were so warmly affected by certain words heated originally