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EMOTION

AND PASSIONS.

EMOTIONS AND PASSIONS. [CH. 2. upon an object in distress is painful*. Lastly, all diffocial passions, such as envy, resentment, malice, being caused by disagreeable objects, cannot fail to be painful.

A general rule for the agreeableness or diragreeableness of emotions and passions is a more difficult enterprise : it must be attempted however. We have a sense of a common nature in every species of animals, particularly in our own; and we have a conviction that this common nature is right, or perfect, and that individuals ought to be made conformable to it t. To every faculty, to every passion, and to every bodily member, is assigned a proper office and a due proportion: if one limb be longer than the other, or be disproportioned to the whole, it is wrong and disagreeable : if a pallion deviate from the common nature, by being too strong or too weak, it is also wrong and disagreeable : but as far as conformable to common nature, every emotion and every passion is perceived by us to be right, and as it ought to be ; and upon that account it must appear agreeable. That this holds true in pleasant emotions and passions, will readily be admitted : but the painful are no less natural than the other : and therefore ought not to be an exception. Thus the

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* See part 7. of this chapter.

+ See this doctrine fully explained, chap. 25. Stand. ard of Tastę.

painful emotion raised by a monstrous birth or brutal action, is no less agreeable upon reflection, than the pleasant emotion raised by a flowing river or a lofty dome: and the painful pafsions of grief and pity are agreeable, and applauded by all the world.

Another rule more simple and direct for afcertaining the agreeableness or disagreeableness of a passion as opposed to an emotion, is derived from the desire that accompanies it. If the de. fire be to perform a right action in order to produce a good effect, the passion is agreeable : If the desire be, to do a wrong action in order to produce an ill effect, the passion is disagreeable. Thus, passions as well as actions are governed by the moral sense. These rules by the wisdom of Providence coincide : a passion that is conformable to our common nature must tend to good; and a passion that deviates from our common nature must tend to ill.

This deduction may be carried a great way farther: but to avoid intricacy and obscurity, I. make but one other step. A passion which, as aforesaid, becomes an object of thought to a Spectator, may have the effect to produce a palfion or emotion in him ; for it is natural, that a social being should be affected with the passions of others. Passions or emotions thus generated, submit, in common with others, to the general law above mentioned, namely, that an agreeable object produces a pleasant emotion, and a

disagreeable

disagreeable object a painful emotion. Thus the passion of gratitude, being to a spectator an agreeable object, produceth in him the pleasant passion of love to the grateful person : and malice being to a spectator a disagreeable object, produceth in him the painful passion of hatred to the malicious person.

We are now prepared for examples of pleasant passions that are disagreeable, and of painful pasfions that are agreeable. Self-love, as long as confined within just bounds, is a passion both pleasant and agreeable : in excess it is disagreeable, though it continues to be still pleasant. Our appetites are precisely in the same condition. Resentment, on the other hand, is, in every stage of the passion, painful; but is not disagreeable unless in excess. Pity is always painful, yet always agreeable. Vanity, on the contrary, is always pleasant, yet always disagreeable. But however distinct these qualities are, they coincide, I acknowledge, in one class of passions : all vicious passions tending to the hurt of others, are equally painful and disagreeable..

The foregoing qualities of pleasant and painful, may be sufficient for ordinary subjects : but with respect to the science of criticism, it is necessary, that we also be made acquainted with the several modifications of these qualities, with the modifications at least that make the greatest figure. Even at first view one is sensible, that

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the pleasure or pain of one passion differs from that of another: how diftant the pleasure of revenge gratified from that of love? so distant, as that we cannot without reluctance admit them to be any way related. That the same quality of pleasure should be so differently modified in different passions, will not be surprising, when we reflect on the boundless variety of agreeable sounds, tastes, and smells, daily perceived. Our discernment reaches differences ftill more minute, in objects even of the same sense: we have no difficulty to distinguish different sweets, different sours, and different bitters ; honey is sweet, fo is sugar, and yet the one never is mistaken for the other: our sense of smelling is sufficiently acute, to distinguish varieties in sweetsmelling flowers without end. With respect to passions and emotions, their differences as to pleasant and painful have no limits; though we want acuteness of feeling for the more delicate modifications. There is here an analogy between our internal and external senses: the latter are sufficiently acute for all the useful purposes of life, and so are the former. Some persons indeed, Nature's favourites, have a wonderful acuteness of sense, which to them unfolds many a delightful scene totally hid from vulgar eyes. But if such refined pleasure be confined to a small number, it is however wisely'ordered that others are not sensible of the defect ; nor detracts it from their happiness that others secretly are more

happy.

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happy. With relation to the fine arts only, that qualification seems essential; and there it is termed delicacy of taste.

Should an author of such a taste attempt to describe all those varieties in pleasant and painful emotions which he himself feels, he would soon meet an invincible obstacle in the poverty of language : a people must be thoroughly refined, before they invent words for expressing the more delicate feelings; and for that reason, no known tongue hitherto has reached that perfection. We must therefore rest satisfied with an explanation of the more obvious modifications.

In forming a comparison between pleasant passions of different kinds, we conceive some of them to be gross, some refined. Thole pleasures of external sense that are felt as at the organ of sense, are conceived to be corporeal, or grofs * : the pleasure of the eye and the ear are felt to be internal; and for that reason are conceived to be more pure and refined.

The social affections are conceived by all to be more refined than the selfish. Sympathy and hu. manity are universally esteemed the finest temper of mind; and for that reason, the prevalence of the social affections in the progress of fociety, is held to be a refinement in our nature. A savage knows little of social affection, and therefore is not

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qualified

* See the Introduction.

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