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emotion arising from a very different sourče, and derive augmentation to itself from this combination, is an extraordinary position; and as contrary to the laws of nature in the moral as in the material world. Whenever contraries act upon each other, diminution and not augmentation is the result. The pain continues to be pain so long as the character of the representation is preserved, and undergoes no conversion at all.--Eloquence, on whatever subject, is pleasing, but what then? If there were not some other circumstance, some powerful law of our nature which attached us to, and gave us an interest in, a subject highly painful, the pleasure merely arising from the display of talents would be less pleasant, because counteracted every moment by what is painful; it must inasmuch as the pain amounts to be diminished, and if the pain greatly over-balanced the pleasure, it might be entirely obliterated.
He reasons thus himself, when he converts the proposition ; observing that, if the
pleasure arising from the conduct of the representation were not predominant, the effect would be destroyed, and sorrow would absorb the mind. Before the pain had no
the pleasure to destroy any part of it; but, as if it were of the same family, very obligingly miniscered to its increase. Mr. Hume has endeavoured to avail himself of an allusion to the well-known laws of motion; but to answer his purpose he has assumed that they resemble two forces 'moving in different but not opposite directions. But their resemblance is to two forces moving in absolutely contrary directions; the effect of which is, that the greater force continues indeed to move onward in its proper direction, but with a diminution of force equal to that of the lesser.
It is further to be observed, on the theory of Hume, and indeed of both the French philosophers, that the one principle which satisfactorily accounts for the whole phænomenon must be supposed to be admitted.. If not, what is meant by the concession of
each, that the objects represented are in their nature painful to the minds of the spectators ? And why painful, but from the power of that sympathy which enters into fellow suffering ? There is no other principle in man adequate to the effect. If this be not allowed as an overpowering law of human nature, no account can be given; why a being, interested in himself, and averse to pain, should transplant into his own breast the pain of another, and court a partnership with affliction. Mr. Hume
supposed, though perhaps involuntarily, and while nature, not theory, was speaking, to have conceded something more than this; when he observes that the pleasure, notwithstanding the supposed conversion, wears the features and outward symptoms of sorTow and distress.
Again, if to the eloquence of the poet, as to its proper cause, be ascribed the pleasure, or, to speak more properly, the interest which We take in tragedy; why will not eloquence, employed on other subjects, equally interest
and captivate us ? Why will not pictures of other objects, equally just and animated, equally engage our affections? If it be said that the objects niust be in themselves interesting, then the effect is not derived wholly nor principally from the eloquence and manner of the artist, but from some other consideration, which previously interests us in the objects that are represented.
Mr. Hume has very artfully managed his illustration from facts, nor is it to be denied that the principles, to which he ascribes the whole, have their influence. But with less attachment to a preconceived theory, it is, methinks, impossible to avoid the discovery of the great master principle, even in the very
facts which he himself adduces. The notion of conversion, which he borrows from Fontenelle, is an arbitrary assùmption; and may be classed with the Cartesian notion of nature's abhorrence of a vacuum.. But if, by the delight of being moved be understood, that every passion of the soul delights in its proper exercise ; it is
true that the mind of man will, under the impulse of any affection, be moved towards the object that is united to the affection. And it is also true, that rich imagery, strong expression, the harmony of numbers, and the charms of imitation, are all grateful to the mind, independent of any end to which they are directed. It is to these that certain productions owe all their interest; but they are light auxiliaries in the grander productions of tragedy, unless so far as they are necessary to the perfection of the imitation;
without which there is no representation adapted to nature, and therefore nothing fitted to lay hold of the heart.
What Mr. Hume intends by his reference to the deserted parent, is difficult to say; when he asks the question, Who would ever think of it as a good expedient for comforting an afflicted parent, to exaggerate, with all the force of oratory, the irreparable loss which he has met with by the death of a favourite child? Certainly it were a ridiculous part to think of comforting the parent