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the social state, that I must indulge my heart.. with a more narrow inspection of this admirable branch of the human constitution. These external signs, being all of them resolvable into colour, figure, and motion, should not naturally make any deep' impression on a spectator : and supposing them qualified for making deep impressions, we have seen above, that the effects they produce are not such as might be expected. We cannot therefore account otherwise for the operation of these external signs, but by afcribing it to the original constitution of human nature: to improve the social state, by making us instinctively rejoice with the glad of heart, weep with the mourner, and shun those who threaten danger, is a contrivance no less illustrious 'for its wisdom than for its benevolence. With respect to the external signs of distress in particular, to judge of the excellency of their contrivance, we need only reflect upon feveral other means seemingly more natural, that would not have answered the end proposed. What if the external signs of joy were disagree

able, {pectacles altogether? And yet one who has fcarce recovered from the distress of a deep tragedy, resolves coolly and deliberately to go to the very next, without the fightest obstruction from self-love. The whole mystery is explained by a single observation, That sympathy, though painful, is attractive, and attaches us to an object in distress, the opposition of self-love notwithstanding, which should prompt us to fly from it. And by this curious mechanism it is, that persons of any degree of senfibility are attracted by affliction still more than by joy.

able, and the external signs of distress agreeable ? This is no whimsical supposition, because there appears not any necessary connection between these signs and the emotions produced by them in a spectator. Admitting then the supposition, the question is, How would our sympathy operate? There is no occasion to deliberate for an answer: sympathy would be destructive, and not beneficial: for, supposing the external signs of joy disagreeable, the happiness of others would be our aversion; and supposing the external signs of grief agreeable, the distresses of others would be our entertainment. I make a second suppofition, That the external signs of distress were indifferent to us, and productive neither of pleasure nor of pain. This would annihilate the strongest branch of sympathy, that which is raised by means of sight: and it is evident, that reflective sympathy, felt by those only who have great sensibility, would not have any extensive effect. I shall draw nearer to truth in a third fupposition, That the external signs of distress being disagreeable, were productive of a pain. ful repulsive emotion. Sympathy upon that supposition would not be annihilated: but it would be rendered useless; for it would be gratified by flying from or avoiding the object, instead of clinging to it and affording relief: the condition of man would in reality be worse than if fympathy were totally eradicated; because sympaVol. I.

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thy would only serve to plague those who feel it, without producing any good to the afflicted.

Loth to quit so interesting a subject, I add a reflection, with which I shall conclude. The external signs of passion are a strong indication, that man, by his very conftitution, is framed to be open and fincere. A child, in all things obedient to the impulses of nature, bides none of its emotions: the savage and clown, who have no guide but pure nature, expose their hearts to view, by giving way to all the natural figns. And even when men learn to dissemble their sentiments, and when behaviour degene. rates into art, there still remain checks, that keep diffimulation within bounds, and prevent a great part of its mischievous effects: the total suppression of the voluntary signs during any vivid passion, begets the utmost uneasiness, whicb cannot be endured for any considerable time : this operation becomes indeed less painful by habit; but, luckily, the involuntary figos cannot, by any effort, be suppressed, nor even difsembled. An absolute hypocrisy, by which the character is concealed, and a fictitious one asfumed, is made impracticable; and nature has thereby prevented much harm to society. We may pronounce, therefore, that Nature, herself fincere and candid, intends that mankind should preserve the same character, by cultivating fimplicity and truth, and banishing every sort of diflimulation that tends to mischief.

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CHAP. XVI.

SENTIMENTS.

T VERY thought prompted by passion, is U termed a sentiment *. To have a general notion of the different passions, will not alone enable an artist to make a just representation of any passion : he ought, over and above, to know the various appearances of the same passion in different persons. Passions receive a tincture from every peculiarity of character; and for that reason it rarely happens, that a passion, in the different circumstances of feeling, of sentiment, and of expression, is precisely the same in any two persons. Hence the following rule concerning dramatic and epic compositions. That a passion be adjusted to the character, the sentiments to the passion, and the language to the sentiments. If nature be not faithfully copied in each of these, a defect in execution is perceived: there may appear some resemblance; but the picture, upon the whole, will be infipid,

through want of grace and delicacy. A painter, (in order to represent the various attitudes of the body, ought to be intimately acquainted with Ff2

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muscular motion : no less intimately acquainted with emotions and characters ought a writer to be, in order to represent the various attitudes of the mind. A general notion of the passions, in their grofler differences of strong and weak, elevated and humble, severe and gay, is far from being sufficient : pictures formed fo superficially hare little resemblance, and no espression; yet it will appear by and by, that in many instances our artists are deficient even in that super- , ficial knowledge.

In bandling the present subject, it would be endless to trace even the ordinary passions through their nice and minute differences. Mine shall be an humbler talk; which is, to select from the best writers instances of faulty sentiments, after paving the way by some general observations.

To talk in the language of music, each passion hath a certain tone, to which every sentiment proceeding from it ought to be tuned with the greatest accuracy: which is no easy work, especially where such harmony ought to be supported during the course of a long theatrical representation. In order to reach such delicacy of execution, it is necessary that a writer assume the precise character and passion of the personage represented; which requires an uncommon genius. But it is the only difficulty; for the writer, who, annihilating him. self, can thus become another person, need be in no pain about the sentiments that belong to the al.

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