« ForrigeFortsett »
have affected the touch when they are rolled
backward and forward and over one another, SWEETNESS, ITS NATURE.
you will easily conceive how sweetness, which
consists in a salt of such nature, affects the Nor is it only in the touch, that smooth taste; for a single globe, (though somewhat sodies cause positive pleasure by relaxation. pleasant to the feeling) yet by the regularity In the smell and taste, we find all things agree of its form, and the somewhat too sudden de able to them, and which are commonly called viation of its parts from a right line, is nothing sweet, to be of a smooth nature, and that they near so pleasant to the touch as several globes, all evidently tend to relax their respective sen- where the hand gently rises to one and falls to sories. Let us first consider the taste. Since another; and this pleasure is greatly increased it is most easy to inquire into the property of if the globes are in motion, and sliding over liquids, and since all things seem to want a one another ; for this soft variety prevents that Auid vehicle to make them tasted at all, I weariness, which the uniform disposition of intend rather to consider the liquid than the the several globes would otherwise produce. solid parts of our food. The vehicles of all Thus in sweet liquors, the parts of the fluid tastes are water and oil. And what determines vehicle, though most probably round, are yet the taste is some salt, which affects variously so minute, as to conceal the figure of their according to its nature, or its manner of being component parts from the nicest inquisition of combined with other things. Water and oil, the microscope; and consequently being so simply considered, are capable of giving some excessively minute, they have a sort of flat pleasure to the taste. Water, when simple, simplicity to the taste, resembling the effects is insipid, inodorous, colourless, and smooth; of plain smooth bodies to the touch; for if a it is found, when not cold, to be a great resolver body be composed of round parts excessively of spasms, and lubricator of the fibres; this small
, and packed pretty closely together, the power it probably owes to its smoothness. For surface will be both to the sight and touch as if as fluidity depends, according to the most it were nearly plain and smooth. It is clear general opinion, on the roundness, smoothness, from their unveiling their figure to the microand weak cohesion of the component parts of scope, that the particles of sugar are considerany body; and as water acts merely as a sim- ably larger than those of water or oil, and ple fluid ; it follows, that the cause of its fluid- consequently, that their effects from their ity is likewise the cause of its relaxing quale roundness will be more distinct and palpable ity; namely, the smoothness and slippery to the nervous papillae of that nice organ
the texture of its parts. The other fluid vehicle of tongue: they will induce that sense called astes is oil. This too, when simple, is sweetness, which in a weak manner we disinsipid, inodorous, colourless, and smooth to cover in oil, and in a yet weaker in water; for, the touch and taste. It is smoother than insipid as they are, water and oil are in some water, and in many cases yet more relaxing. degree sweet; and it may be observed, that Oil is in some degree pleasant to the eye, the insipid things of all kinds approach more nearly touch, and the taste, insipid as it is. Water to the nature of sweetness than to that of any is not so grateful; which I do not know on other taste. what principle to account for, other than that water is not so soft and smooth. Suppose that to this oil or water were added a certain quan
SECTION XXII. tity of a specific salt, which had a power of putting the nervous papillæ of the tongue into a gentle vibratory motion; as suppose sugar dissolved in it. The smoothness of the oil, and the vibratory power of the salt, cause the IN the other senses we have remarked, tham sense we call sweetness. In all sweet bodies, smooth things are relaxing. Now it ought to apsugar, or a substance very little different from pear that sweet things, which are the smooth of sugar, is constantly found; every species of taste, are relaxing too. It is remarkable, that salt, examined by the microscope, has its own in some languages soft and sweet have but one distinct, regular, invariable form. That of name. Doux in French signifies soft as well aitre is a pointed oblong; that of sea-salt an as sweet. The Latin Dulcis, and the Italian exact cube; that of sugar a perfect globe. If Dolce, have in many cases the same double you have tried how smooth globular bodies, as signification. That sweet things are generally the marbles with wbich boys amuse themselves, relaxing, is evident; because all such, espe
cially those which are most oily, taken fre- the same manner, nothing very suddenly vaquently, or in a large quantity, very much ried, can be beautiful ; because both are oppo. enfeeble the tone of the stomach. Sweet site to that agreeable relaxation which is the smells, which bear a great affinity to sweet characteristic effect of beauty. It is thus in tastes, relax very remarkably. The smell of all the senses. A motion in a right line, is Aowers disposes people to drowsiness; and that manner of moving next to a very gentle this relaxing effect is further apparent from the descent, in which we meet the least resistprejudice which people of weak nerves receivo ance; yet it is not that manner of moving, from their use. It were worth while to exa- which, next to a descent, wearies us the least mine, whether tastes of this kind, sweet ones, Rest certainly tends to relax: yet there is a tastes that are caused by smooth oils and a species of motion which relaxes more than rest; relaxing salt, are not the originally pleasant a gentle oscillatory motion, a rising and falling. tastes. For many, which use has rendered Rocking sets children to sleep better than absuch, were not at all agreeable at first. The solute rest; there is indeed scarce any thing way to examine this is, to try what nature has at that age, which gives more pleasure that to originally provided for us, which she has un- be gently lifted up and down; the manner of doubtedly made originally pleasant; and to playing which their nurses use with children, analyse this provision. Milk, is the first sup- and the weighing and swinging used afterwards port of our childhood. The component parts by themselves as a favourite amusement, evince of this are water, oil, and a sort of a very sweet this very sufficiently. Most people must have salt, called the sugar of milk. All these when observed the sort of sense they have had on blended have a great smoothness to the taste, being swiftly drawn in an easy coach on a and a relaxing quality to the skin. The next smooth turf, with gradual ascents and declivithing children covet is fruit, and of fruits those ties. This will give a better idea of the beauprincipally which are sweet; and every one tiful, and point out its probable cause better, knows that the sweetness of fruit is caused by than almost any thing else. On the contrary, a subtile oil, and such salt as that mentioned when one is hurried over a rough, rocky, broin the last section. Afterwards, custom, ha- ken road, the pain felt by these sudden inequalbit, the desire of novelty, and a thousand other ities shews why similar sights, feelings, and causes, confound, adulterate, and change our sounds, are so contrary to beauty: and with palates, so that we can no longer reason with regard to the feeling, it is exactly the same in any satisfaction about them. Before we quit. its effect, or very nearly the same, whether, for this article, we must observe, that as smooth instance, I move my hand along the surface of things are, as such, agreeable to the taste, and a body of a certain shape, or whether such a are found of a relaxing quality; so, on the body is moved along my hand. But to bring other hand, things which are found by experi- this analogy of the senses home to the eye: if ence to be of a strengthening quality, and fit to a body presented to that sense has such a wavbrace the fibres, are almost universally rough ing surface, that the rays of light reflected from and pungent to the taste, and in many cases it are in a continual insensible deviation from rough even to the touch. We often apply the the strongest to the weakest, (which is always quality of sweetness, metaphorically, to visual the case in a surface gradually unequal,) it objects. For the better carrying on this re- must be exactly similar in its effects on the eye markable analogy of the senses, we may here and touch; upon the one of which it operates call sweetness the beautiful of the taste. directly, on the other indirectly. And this
body will be beautiful if the lines which compose its surface are not continued, even so
varied, in a manner that may weary or dissie SECTION XXIII.
pate the attention. The variation itself must
be continually varied. VARIATION, WHY BEAUTIFUL. ANOTHER principal property of beautiful objects is, that the line of their parts is conti
SECTION XXIV. aually varying its direction ; but it varies it by . very insensible deviation; it never varies it so quickly as to surprise, or by the sharpness of its angle to cause any twitching or convulsion To avoid a sameness which may arise from of the optic nerve. Nothing long continued in the tno frequent repetition of the same reason
ings, and of illustrations of the same nature, I greeable image. But should a man be found will not enter very minutely into every parti- not above two or three feet high, supposing cular that regards beauty, as it is founded on such a person to have all the parts of his body the disposition of its quantity, or its quantity of a delicacy suitable to such a size, and other itself. In speaking of the magnitude of bodies wise endued with the common qualities of other there is great uncertainty, because the ideas of beautiful bodies, I am pretty well convinced great and small are terms almost entirely rela- that a person of such a stature might be consitive to the species of the objects, which are dered as beautiful; might be the object of love; infinite. It is true, that having once fixed the might give us very pleasing ideas on viewing species of any object, and the dimensions com- him. The only thing which could possibly mon in the individuals of that species, we may interpose to check our pleasure is, that such observe some that exceed, and some that fall creatures, however formed, are unusual, and short of, the ordinary standard: those which are often therefore considered as something greatly exceed, are by that excess, provided monstrous. The large and gigantic, though the species itself be not very small, rather great very compatible with the sublime, is contrary and terrible than beautiful; but as in the ani- to the beautiful. It is impossible to suppose a mal world, and in a good measure in the vege- giant the object of love. When we let our table world likewise, the qualities that consti- imagination loose in romance, the ideas we tute beauty may possibly be united to things of naturally annex to that size are those of tyrangreater dimensions; when they are so united, ny, cruelty, injustice, and every thing horrid they constitute a species something different and abominable. We paint the giant ravaging both from the sublime and beautiful, which I the country, plundering the innocent traveller, have before called fine; but this kind, I ima- and afterwards gorged with his half-living gine, has not such a power on the passions, flesh: such are Polyphemus, Cacus, and either as vast bodies have which are endued others, who make so great a figure in rowith the correspondent qualities of the sub- mances and heroic poems. The cvent we lime; or as the qualities of beauty have when attend to with the greatest satisfaction is their united in a small object. The affection pro- defeat and death. I do not remember, in al duced by large bodies adorned with the spoils that multitude of deaths with which the Niad of beauty, is a tension continually relieved; is filled, that the fall of any man, remarkable for which approaches to the nature of mediocrity. his great stature and strength, touches us with But if I were to say how I find myself affected pity; nor does it appear that the author, so upon such occasions, I should say, that the well read in human nature, ever intended it sublime suffers less by being united to some.of should. It is Simoisius, in the soft bloom of the qualities of beauty, than beauty does by be- youth, torn from his parents, who tremble for a ing joined to greatness of quantity, or any courage so ill suited to his strength; it is ano other properties of the sublime. There is ther hurried by war from the new embraces of something so overruling in whatever inspires his bride, young, and fair, and a novice to the us with awe, in all things which belong ever so field, who melts us by his untimely fate. remotely to terrour, that nothing else can stand Achilles, in spite of the many qualities of in their presence. There lie the qualities of beauty, which Homer has bestowed on his beauty either dead or unoperative; or at most outward form, and the many great virtues with exerted to mollify the rigour and sternness of which he has adorned his mind, can never the terrour, which is the natural concomitant make us love him. It may be observed, that of greatness. Besides the extraordinary great Homer bas given the Trojans, whose fate he in every species, the opposite to this, the has designed to excite our compassion, infidwarfish and diminutive ought to be consi- nitely more of the amiable social virtues than dered. Littleness, merely as such, has nothing he has distributed among his Greeks. With contrary to the idea of beauty. The humming- regard to the Trojans, the passion he chooses bird, both in shape and colouring, yields to to raise is pity; pity is a passion founded on none of the winged species, of which it is the lovo; and these lesser, and if I may say domesleast; and perhaps his beauty is enhanced by tic virtues, are certainly the most amiable. his smallness. But there are animals, which But he has made the Greeks far their supewhen they are extremely small are rarely (if riors in the politic and military virtues. The ever) beautiful. There is a dwarfish size of councils of Priam are weak; the arms of Hec. men and women, which is almost constantly tor comparatively feeble ; his courage far below so gross and massive in comparison of their that of Achilles. Yet we love Priam more than height, that they present us with a very disa- Agamemnon, and Hector more than his con
THE END OF THE FOURTH PART
quera Achilles. Admiration is the passion soul that feeling, which is called love. Their which Homer would excite in favour of the causes have made the subject of this fourth Greeks, and he has done it by bestowing on part. them the virtues which have but little to do with love. This short digression is perhaps not wholly beside our purpose, where our business is to shew, that objects of great dimensions are incompatible with beauty, the more incompatible as they are greater; whereas the PART V. -SECTION I. small, if ever they fail of beauty, this failure is not to be attributed to their size.
NATURAL objects affect us, by the laws of
that connection which Providence has esta SECTION XXV.
blished between certain motions and configurations of bodies, and certain consequent feelings in our mind. Painting affects in the same
manner, but with the superadded pleasure of With regard to colour, the disquisition is imitation. Architecture affects by the laws of almost infinite; but I conceive the principles nature, and the law of reason; from which latter jaid down in the beginning of this part are result the rules of proportion, which make a sufficient to account for the effects of them all, work to be praised or censured, in the whole or as well as for the agreeable effects of transpa- in some part, when the end for which it was rent bodies, whether fluid or solid. Suppose designed is or is not properly answered. But I look at a bottle of muddy liquor, of a blue or as to words; they seem to me to affect us in a red colour: the blue or red rays cannot pass manner very different from that in which we clearly to the eye, but are suddenly and une- are affected by natural objects, or by painting qually stopped by the intervention of little or architecture; yet words have as consideraopaque bodies, which without preparation ble a share in exciting ideas of beauty and of change the idea, and change it too into one the sublime as any of those, and sometimes a disagreeable in its own nature, conformable to much greater than any of them; therefore an the principles laid down in sect. 24. But when inquiry into the manner by which they excite the ray passes without such opposition through such emotions, is far from being unnecessary the glass or liquor, when the glass or liquor arc in a discourse of this kind. quite transparent, the light is sometimes softened in the passage, which makes it more agreeable even as light; and the liquor reflecting all the rays of its proper colour evenly, it
SECTION II. has such an effect on the eye, as smooth opaque bodies have on the eye and touch. So that the THE COMMON EFFECT OF POETRY, NOT BY pleasure here is compounded of the softness of the transmitted and the evenness of the reflected light. This pleasure may be heightened by The common notion of the power of poetry the common principles in other things, if the and eloquence, as well as that of words in ordishape of the glass which holds the transpa- nary conversation, is, that they affect the mind rent liquor be so judiciously varied, as to pre- by raising in it ideas of those things for which sent the colour gradually and interchangeably, custom has appointed them to stand. To exaweakened and strengthened with all the variety mine the truth of this notion, it may be requiwhich judgment in affairs of this nature shall site to observe that words may be divided into suggest. On a review of all that has been said three sorts. The first are such as represent of the effects, as well as the causes of both, it many simple ideas united by nature to form will appear, that the sublime ard beautiful are some one determinate composition, as man, built on principles very different, and that their horse, tree, castle, &c. These I call aggre. affections are as different: the great has ter- gade words. The second, are they that stand rour for its basis; which, when it is modified, for one simple idea of such compositions, and causes that emotion in the mind, which I have no more; as red, blue, round, square, and the called astonishment; the beautiful is founded like. These I call simple abstract words. The on mere positive pleasure, and excites in the third, are those, which are forraed by an union,
RAISING IDEAS OF THINGS.
an arbitrary union of both the others, and of rise to them; yet the sound, without any an the various relations between them in greater nexed motiona continues to operate as before or lesser degrees of complexity; as virtue, honour, persuasion, magistrate, and the like. These I call compound abstract words. Words, I am sensible, are capable of being classed into
SECTION III. more curious distinctions ; but these seem to
GENERAL WORDS BEFORE IDEAS. be natural, and enough for our purpose ; and they are disposed in that order in which they MR. LOCKE has somewhere observed, with are commonly taught, and in which the mind his usual sagacity, that most general words, gets the ideas they are substituted for. I shall those belonging to virtue and vice, good and begin with the third sort of words ; compound evil, especially, are taught before the particular abstracts, such as virtue, honour, persuasion, modes of action to whicn they belong are predocility. Of these I am convinced, that what- sented to the mind; and with them, the love ever power they may have on the passions, of the one, and the abhorrence of the other ; they do not derive it from any representation for the minds of children are so ductile, that a raised in the mind of the things for which they nurse, or any person about a child, by seeming stand. As compositions, they are not real pleased or displeased with any thing, or even essences, and hardly cause, I think, any real
any word, may give the disposition of the child ideas. Nobody, I believe, immediately on a similar turn. When afterwards, the several hearing the sounds, virtue, liberty, or honour, occurrences in life come to be applied to these conceives any precise notions of the particular words, and that which is pleasant often appears modes of action and thinking, together with the under the name of evil; and what is disagreemixt and simple ideas, and the several relations able to nature is called good and virtuous ; a of them for which these words are substituted; strange confusion of ideas and affections arises reither has he any general idea, compounded in the minds of many; and an appearance of of thenı ; for if he had, then some of those
no small contradiction between their notions particular ones, though indistinct perhaps, and and their actions. There are many who love confused, might come soon to be perceived. virtue and who detest vice, and this not from But this, I take it, is hardly ever the case. hypocrisy or affectation, who potwithstanding For, put yourself upon analysing one of these very frequently act ill, and wickedly in particuwords, and you must reduce it from one set of lars without the least remorse ; because these general words to another, and then into the particular occasions never came into view, simple abstracts and aggregates, in a much when the passions on the side of virtue were so longer series than may be at first imagined, warmly affected by certain words heated oribefore any real idea emerges to light, before ginally by the breath of others; and for this you come to discover any thing like the first reason, it is hard to repeat certain sets of words, principles of such compositions ; and when you though owned by themselves unoperative, with have made such a discovery of the original out being in some degree affected, especially ideas, the effect of the composition is utterly if a warm and affecting tone of voice accompalost. A train of thinking of this sort, is much nies them, as suppose, too long to be pursued in the ordinary ways of conversation, nor is it at all necessary that it
Wise, valiant, generous, good, and great. should. Such words are in reality but mere These words, by having no application, ought sounds ; but they are sounds which being used to be unoperative; but when words commonly un particular occasions, wherein we receive sacred to great occasions are used, we are some good, or suffer some evil; or see others affected by them even without the occasions. affected with good or evil; or which we hear When words which have been generally so applied to other interesting things or events; applied are put together without any rational and being applied in such a variety of cases, view, or in such a manner that they do not that we know readily by habit to what things rightly agree with each other, the style is called they belong, they produce in the mind, when- bombast. And it requires in several cases ever they are afterwards mentioned, effects much good sense and experience to be guarded similar to those of their occasions. The sounds against the force of such language ; for when being often used without reference to any propriety is neglected, a greater number of these particular occasion, and carrying still their first affecting words may oe taken into the service, impressions, they at last utterly lose their con- and a greater variety may be indulged in coma Dection with the particular occasions that gave bining them.