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king on an extraordinary appearance of regularity and art, to show the busy hand of man, which in a waste country has a fine effect by contrast.
It may be gathered from what is said above *, that wit and ridicule make not an agreeable mixture with grandeur. Diffimilar emotions have a fine effect in a slow succession ; but in a rapid succession, which approaches to coexiftence, they will not be relished : in the midst of a laboured and elevated description of a battle, Virgil introduces a ludicrous image, which is certainly out of its place :
Obvius ambuftum torrem Chorinæus ab ara
Æn. XII. 298.
The following image is no less ludicrous, nor less improperly placed :
rly placed :
Mentre fan questi i bellici stromenti
* Chap. 2. Part 4.
E qual tauro ferito, il suo dolore
Gerusal. cant. 4.1. 1.
It would, however, be too auftere to banish altogether ludicrous images from an epic poem. This poem doth not always foar above the clouds : it admits great variety ; and upon occasion can descend even to the ground without finking. In its more familiar tones, a ludicrous scene may be introduced without impropriety. This is done by Virgil * in a foot-race; the circumstances of which, not excepting the ludi. crous part, are copied from Homer t. After a fit of merriment, we are, it is true, the less difposed to the serious and sublime : but then, a ludicrous scene, by unbending the mind from severe application to more interesting subjects, may prevent fatigue, and preserve our relish entire.
. Æn. lib. 5.
+ Iliad, book 23. 1. 879.
UNIFORMITY AND VARIETY.
In attempting to explain uniformity and va. 1 riety, in order to show how we are affected by these circumstances, a doubt occurs, what method ought to be followed. In adhering close to the subject, I foresee difficulties; and yet by indulging such a circuit as may be necessary for a satisfactory view, I probably shall incur the censure of wandering.--Yet the dread of censure ought not to prevail over what is proper : beside that the intended circuit will lead to some collateral matters, that are not only curious, but of considerable importance in the science of human nature.
The necessary succession of perceptions may be examined in two different views; one with respect to order and connection, and one with respect to uniformity and variety. In the first view it is handled above *: and I now proceed to the second. The world we inhabit is replete with things no less remarkable for their variety than for their number : these, unfolded by the wonderful mechanism of external sense, furnish You I.
the mind with many perceptions; which, joined with ideas of memory, of imagination, and of reflection, form a complete train that has not a gap or interval. This train of perceptions and ideas depends very little on will. The mind, as has been observed *, is so constituted, “ That “ it can by no effort break off the succession of “ its ideas, nor keep its attention long fixed “ upon the same object :” we can arrest a perception in its course; we can shorten its natural duration, to make room for another ; we can vary the succession, by change of place or of a. musement ; and we can in some measure prevent variety, by frequently recalling the same object after short intervals : but still there must be a succession, and a change from one perception to another. By artificial means, the succession may be retarded or accelerated, may be rendered more various or more uniform, but in one shape or another is unavoidable.
The train, even when left to its ordinary course, is not always uniform in its motion; there are natural causes that accelerate or retard it considerably. The firft I shall mention, is a peculiar constitution of mind. One man is distinguished from another, by no cir. cumstance more remarkably, than his train of perceptions: to a cold fanguid temper belongs a slow course of perceptions, which
* Locke, book 2. chap. 14.
occafions dulness of apprehension and fluggishnefs in action : to a warm temper, on the contrary, belongs a quick course of perceptions, which occasions quickness of apprehenfion and activity in business. The Asiatie nations, the Chinese especially, are observed to be more cool and deliberate than the Europeans : may not the reafon be, that heat enervates by exhausting the spirits ? and that a certain degree of cold, as in the middle regions of Europe, bracing the fibres, couseth the mind, and produceth a brisk circulation of thought, accompanied with vigour in action? In youth is observable a quicker succession of perceptions than in old age: and hence, in youth, a remarkable avidity for variety of amusements, which in riper years give place to more uniform and more ledate occupation. This qualifies men of middle age for business, where activity is required, but with a greater proportion of uniformity than variety. In old age, a flow and languid succes. fion makes variety unnecessary; and for that reason, the aged, in all their motions, are generally governed by an habitual uniformity. Whatever be the cause, we may venture to pronounce, that heat in the imagination and temper, is always connected with a brisk flow of perceptions.
The natural rate of succession, depends also, in fome degree, upon the particular perceptions that compose the train. An agreeable object,