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be one object; and the emotion it produceth is rather one complex emotion than different emotions combined.
With respect to co-existent emotions produced by different objects of sight, it must be observed, that however intimately connected such objects may be, there cannot be a concordance among them like what is perceived in some sounds. Different objects of sight, meaning objects that can exist each of them independent of the others, never mix nor incorporate in the act of vision: each object is perceived as it exists, separately from others; and each raiseth an emotion different from that raised by the other. And the same holds in all the causes of emotion or passion that can exist inde. pendent of each other, sounds only excepted.
To explain the manner in which such emotions exist, similar emo. tions must be distinguished from those that are dissimilar. Two emotions are said to be similar when they tend each of them to produce the same tone of mind; cheerful emotions, however differ. ent their causes may be, are similar; and so are those which are melancholy. Dissimilar emotions are easily explained by their opposition to what are similar: pride and humility, gaiety and gloomi. ness, are dissimilar emotions.
Emotions perfectly similar readily combine and unite,* so as in a manner to become one complex emotion; witness the emotions produced by a number of flowers in a parterre, or of trees in a wood. Emotions that are opposite, or extremely dissimilar, never combine or unite the mind cannot simultaneously take on opposite tones; it cannot at the same instant be both joyful and sad, angry and satisfied, proud and humble: dissimilar emotions may succeed each other with rapidity, but they cannot exist simultaneously.
Between these two extremes, emotions unite more or less, in proportion to the degree of their resemblance, and the degree in which their causes are connected. Thus the emotions produced by a fine landscape and the singing of birds, being similar in a considerable degree, readily unite, though their causes are little connected. And the same happens where the causes are intimately connected, though the emotions themselves have little resemblance to each other; an example of which is a mistress in distress, whose beauty gives pleasurc, and her distress pain: these two emotions, proceeding from different views of the object, have little resemblance to each other; and yet so intimately connected are their causes, as to force them into a sort of complex emotion, partly pleasant, partly painful. This clearly explains some expressions common in poetry, a sweet distress, a pleasant pain.
It was necessary to describe with some accuracy, in what manner similar and dissimilar emotions co-exist in the mind, in order to explain their different effects, both internal and external. This subject, though obscure, is capable to be set in a clear light; and it
*It is easier to conceive the manner of co-existence of similar emotions than to describe it. They cannot be said to mix or incorporate, like concordant sounds; their union is rather of agreement or concord; and therefore I have chosen the words in the text, not as sufficient to express clearly the manner of their co-existence, but only as less liable to exception than any other I can find.
merits attention, not only for its extensive use in criticism, but for the nobler purpose of deciphering many intricacies in the actions of men. Beginning with internal effects, I discover two, clearly distinguishable from each other, both of them produced by pleasant emotions that are similar; of which, the one may be represented by addition in numbers, the other by harmony in sounds. Two plea. sant emotions that are similar, readily unite when they are co-existtent; and the pleasure felt in the union, is in the sum of the two pleasures: the same emotions in succession are far from making the same figure; because the mind, at no instant of the succession, is conscious of more than a single emotion. This doctrine may aptly be illustrated by a landscape comprehending hills, vallies, plains, rivers, trees, &c.: the emotions produced by these several objects, being similar in a high degree, as falling in easily and sweetly with the same tone of mind, are in conjunction extremely pleasant. This multiplied effect is felt from objects even of different senses, as where a landscape is conjoined with the music of birds and odour of flowers; and results partly from the resemblance of the emotions, and partly from the connexion of their causes; whence it follows, that the effect must be the greatest where the causes are intimately connected, and the emotions perfectly similar. The same rule is obviously applicable to painful emotions that are similar and coexistent.
The other pleasure arising from pleasant emotions similar and co-existent, cannot be better explained than by the foregoing example of a landscape, where the sight, hearing, and smelling, are employed beside the accumulated pleasure above-mentioned, of so many different similar emotions, a pleasure of a different kind is felt from the concord of these emotions. As that pleasure resembles greatly the pleasure of concordant sounds, it may be termed the Harmony of Emotions. This harmony is felt in the different emotions occasioned by the visible objects; but it is felt still more sensibly in the emotions occasioned by the objects of different senses, as where the emotions of the eye are combined with those of the ear. The former pleasure comes under the rule of addition : this comes under a different rule. It is directly in proportion to the degree of resemblance between the emotions, and inversely in proportion to the degree of connexion between the causes: to feel this pleasure in perfection, the resemblance between the emotions cannot be too strong, nor the connexion between their causes too slight. The former condition is self-evident; and the reason of the latter is, that the pleasure of harmony is felt from various similar emotions, distinct from each other, and yet sweetly combining in the mind; which excludes causes intimately connected, for the emotions produced by them are forced into one complex emotion. This pleasure of concord or harmony, which is the result of pleasant emotions, and cannot have place with respect to those that are painful, will be farther illustrated when the emotions produced by the sound of words and their meaning are taken under consi. deration.*
The pleasure of concord from conjoined emotions, is felt evers where the emotions are not perfectly similar. Though love be a pleasant passion, yet by its softness and tenderness it resembles in a considerable degree the painful passion of pity or of grief; and for that reason, love accords better with these passions than with what are gay and sprightly. I give the following example from Catullus, where the concord between love and grief has a fine effect even in so slight a subject as the death of a sparrow.
Lugete, ô Veneres, Cupidinesque,
Next as to the effects of dissimilar emotions, which we may Dissimilar guess will be opposite to what are above described. co-existent emotions, as said above, never fail to distress the mind by the difference of their tones; from which situation a feeling of harmony never can proceed: and this holds whether the causes be connected or not. But it holds more remarkably where the causes are connected; for in that case the dissimilar emotions being forced into an unnatural union, produce an actual feeling of discord. In the next place, if we would estimate the force of dissimilar emotions co-existent, we must distinguish between their causes as connected or unconnected; and in order to compute their force in the former case, subtraction must be used instead of addition; which will be evident from what follows. Dissimilar emotions forced into union by the connexion of their causes, are felt obscurely and imperfectly; for each tends to vary the tone of mind that is suited to the other; and the mind thus distracted between two objects, is at no instant in a condition to receive a deep impression from either. Dissimilar emotions proceeding from unconnected causes, are in a very different condition; for as there is nothing to force them into union, they are never felt but in succession; by which means, each hath an opportunity to make a complete impression.
This curious theory requires to be illustrated by examples. In reading the description of the dismal waste, book 1. of Paradise Lost, we are sensible of a confused feeling, arising from dissimilar motions forced into union, to wit, the beauty of the description, and the horror of the object described:
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild,
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
And with respect to this and many similar passages in Paradise Lost, we are sensible, that the emotions being obscured by each other, make neither of them that figure they would make separately. For the same reason, ascending smoke in a calm morning, which inspires stillness and tranquillity, is improper in a picture full of violent action. A parterre, partly ornamented, partly in disorder, produces a mixed feeling of the same sort. Two great armies in act to engage, mix the dissimilar emotions of grandeur and of terror.
Sembra d'alberi densi alta foresta
L'un campo, e l'altro; di tant' aste abbonda.
Bello in sì bella vista anco è l'orrore:
Gerusalemme liberala, cant. 20. st. 29 & 30.
Suppose a virtuous man has drawn on himself a great misfortune by a fault incident to human nature, and therefore venial: the re. morse he feels aggravates his distress, and consequently raises our pity to a high pitch: we at the same time blame the man; and the indignation raised by the fault he has committed is dissimilar to pity these two passions however, proceeding from the same object, are forced into a sort of union; but the indignation is so slight, as scarce to be felt in the mixture with pity. Subjects of this kind are of all the fittest for tragedy; but of that afterward.*
Opposite emotions are so dissimilar as not to admit any sort of union, even where they proceed from causes the most intimately connected. Love to a mistress, and resentment for her infidelity, are of that nature; they cannot exist otherwise than in succession, which by the connexion of their causes is commonly rapid; and these emotions will govern alternately, till one of them obtain the ascendant, or both be spent. A succession opens to me by the death of a worthy man, who was my friend as well as my kinsman: when I think of my friend I am grieved; but the succession gives me joy. These two causes are intimately connected; for the succession is the direct consequence of my friend's death: the emotions however being opposite, do not mix; they prevail alternately, perhaps for a course of time, till grief for my friend's death be banished by the
pleasures of opulence. A virtuous man suffering unjustly, is an example of the same kind: I pity him, and have great indignation at the author of the wrong. These emotions proceed from causes nearly connected; but being directed to different objects, they are not forced into union; their opposition preserves them distinct, and accordingly they are found to prevail alternately.
I proceed to examples of dissimilar emotions arising from unconnected causes. Good and bad news of equal importance arriving at the same instant from different quarters, produce opposite emotions, the discordance of which is not felt, because they are not forced into union; they govern alternately, commonly in a quick succession, till their force be spent:
Shylock. How now, Tubal, what news from Genoa? hast thou found my daughter?
Tubal. I often came where I did hear of her, but cannot find her.
Shy. Why there, there, there, there! a diamond gone, cost me two thousand ducals in Frankfort! the curse never fell upon our nation till now; I never felt it till now:-two thousand ducats in that; and other precious, precious jewels! I would my daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear! O would she were hears'd at my foot, and the ducats in her coffin! No news of them; why, so; -and I know not what's spent in the search; why, thou loss upon loss! the thief gone with so much, and so much to find the thief; and no satisfaction, no revenge, nor no il luck stirring, but what lights o' my shoulders; no sighs but o' my breathing, no tears but o' my shedding.
Tub. Yes, other men have ill luck too; Antonio, as I heard in Genoa-
Hath an argosy cast away, coming from Tripolis.
Shy. I thank God, I thank God:-Is it true, is it true?
Tub. I spoke with some of the sailors that escaped the wreck.
Shy. I thank thee, Tubal; good news, good news, ha! ha! Where? in
Tub. Your daughter spent in Genoa, as I heard, one night, fourscore ducats. Shy. Thou stick'st a dagger in me:-I shall never see my gold again: fourscore ducats at a sitting! fourscore ducats!
Tub There came divers of Antonio's creditors in my company to Venice, that swear he cannot choose but break.
Shy. I am very glad of it: I'll plague him; I'll torture him; I am glad of it. Tub. One of them shewed me a ring, that he had of your daughter for a monkey.
Shy. Out upon her! thou torturest me, Tubal: it was my Turquoise; I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor: I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.
Tub. But Antonio is certainly undone.
Shy. Nay, that's true, that's very true: Go Tubal, fee me an officer, bespeak him a fortnight before. I will have the heart of him, if he forfeit; for were he out of Venice, I can make what merchandize I will. Go, go, Tubal, and meet me at our synagogue; go, good Tubal; at our synagogue, Tubal.
Merchant of Venice, act 3. sc. 1.
In the same manner, good news arriving to a man labouring under distress, occasions a vibration in his mind from the one to the other:
Osmyn. By Heav'n thou'st rous'd me from my lethargy.