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particulars to generals, from things to words, in such a manner as to answer the purposes of life; nor is it necessary that we should.
THE EFFECT OF WORDS.
EXAMPLES THAT WORDS MAY AFFECT
Ir words have all their possible extent of power, three effects arise in the mind of the hearer. The first is, the sound ; the second,
SECTION V. the picture, or representation of the thing signified by the sound; the third is, the affection of the soul produced by one or by both of the fore
WITHOUT RAISING IMAGES. going. Compounded abstract words, of which we have been speaking, (honour, justice, I find it very hard to persuade several that liberty, and the like,) produce the first and their passions are affected by words from the last of these effects, but not the second. whence they have no ideas; and yet harder to Simple abstracts, are used to signify some one convince them, that in the ordinary course of simple idea without much adverting to others conversation we are sufficiently understood which may chance to attend it, as blue, green, without raising any images of the things conhot, cold, and the like; these are capable of cerning which we speak. It seems to be an affecting all three of the purposes of words; as odd subject of dispute with any man, whether the aggregate words, man, castle, horse, &c. he has ideas in his mind or not. of this, at are in a yet higher degree. But I am of opi- first view, every man in his own forum, ought nion, that the most general effect even of these to judge without appeal. But, strange as it words, does not arise from their forming pic. may appear, we are often at a loss to know tures of the several things they would repre- what ideas we have of things, or whether we sent in the imagination; because, on a very have any ideas at all upon some subjects. It diligent examination of my own mind, and get- even requires a good deal of attention to be ting others to consider theirs, I do not find that thoroughly satisfied on this head. Since I wrote once in twenty times any such picture is formed, these papers, I found two very striking inand when it is, there is most commonly a par- stances of the possibility there is, that a man ticular effort of the imagination for that purpose. may hear words without having any idea of the But the aggregate words operate, as I said of things which they represent, and yet afterwards the compound-abstracts, not by presenting any be capable of returning them to others, comimage to the mind, but by having from use bined in a new way, and with great propriety, the same effect on being mentioned, that their energy, and instruction. The first instance is original has when it is seen. Suppose we that of Mr. Blacklock, a poet blind from his were to read a passage to this effect: “The birth. Few men blessed with the most perfect river Danube rises in a moist and mountainous sight can describe visual objects with more soil in the heart of Germany, where winding spirit and justness than this blind man; which to and fro, it waters several principalities, cannot possibly be attributed to his having a until, turning into Austria, and leaving the clearer conception of the things he describes walls of Vienna, it passes into Hungary; there than is common to other persons. Mr. Spence, with a vast flood, augmented by the Saave and in an elegant preface which he has written tó the Drave, it quits Christendom, and rolling the works of this poet, reasons very ingenithrough the barbarous countries which border ously, and, I imagine, for the most part, very on Tartary, it enters by many mouths in the righủy, upon the cause of this extraordinary Black sea."
." In this description, many things phænomenon; but I cannot altogether agree are mentioned, as mountains, rivers, cities, with him, that some improprieties in language the sea, &c. But let any body examine him- and thought, which occur in these poems, have self, and see whether he has had impressed on arisen from the blind poet's imperfect concephis imagination any pictures of a river, moun- tion of visual objects, since such improprieties, tain, watery soil, Germany, &c. Indeed, it is and much greater, may be found in writers even impossible, in the rapidity and quick succes- of an higher class than Mr. Blacklock, and who sion of words in conversation, to have ideas notwithstanding possessed the faculty of seeing both of the sound of the word, and of the thing in its full perfection. Here is a poet doubtless represented; besides, some words, expressing as much affected by his own descriptions, as real essences, are so mixed with others of a any that reads them can be ; and yet he is af. general and nominal import, tha is imprac- fected with this strong enthusiasm by things of cicable to jump from sense to thought, from which he neither has, nor can possibly havo
any idea further than that of a bare sound : and and surely the man who says next summer, has why may not those who read his works be af- no images of such a succession, and such an fecied in the same manner that he was ; with exclusion. In short it is not only of those ideas as little of any real ideas of the things de which are commonly called abstract, and of scribed? The second instance is of Mr. Saun- ' which no image at all can be formed, but even derson, professor of mathematics in the univer- of particular real beings, that we converse sity of Cambridge. This learned man had without having any idea of them excited in the acquired great knowledge in natural philoso imagination; as will certainly appear on a phy, in astronomy, and whatever sciences de diligent examination of our own minds. Indeed, pend upon mathematical skill. What was the so little does poetry depend for its effect on the most extraordinary and the most to my pur- power of raising sensible images, that I am pose, he gave excellent lectures upon light and convinced it would lose a very considerable colours ; and this man taught others the theory part of its energy if this were the necessary of those ideas which they had, and which he result of all description. Because that union himself undoubtedly had not. But it is proba- of affecting words, which is the most powerful ble that the words red, blue, green, answered of all poetical instruments, would frequently to him as well as the ideas of the colours them- lose its force along with its propriety and con selves; for the ideas of greater or lesser de sistency, if the sensible images were always grees of refrangibility being applied to these excited. There is not perhaps in the whole words, and the blind man being instructed in Eneid a more grand and laboured passage than what other respects they were found to agree the description of Vulcan’s cavern in Etna, or to disagree, it was as easy for him to reason and the works that are there carried on. Virgil upon the words, as if he had been fully master dwells particularly on the formation of the thunof the ideas. Indeed it must be owned he der, which he describes unfinished under the could malte no new discoveries in the way of hammers of the Cyclops. But what are the experiment. He did nothing but what we do principles of this extraordinary composition ? every day in common discourse. When I wrote this last sentence, and used the words
Tres imbris torti radios, tres nubis aquose
Addiderant ; rutili tres ignis et alitis austri: every day and common discourse, I had no
Fulgores nunc terrificos, sonitumque, metumque images in my mind of any succession of time; Miscebant operi, flammisque sequacibus iras. aor of men in conference with each other; nor do I imagine that the reader will have any such This seems to me admirably sublime ; yet if ideas on reading it. Neither when I spoke of we attend coolly to the kind of sensible images red, or blue and green, as well as refrangibility, which a combination of ideas of this sort must had I these several colours, or the rays of light form, the chimeras of madmen cannot appea passing into a different medium, and there di- more wild and absurd than such a picture. verted from their course, painted before me in “Three rays of twisted showers, three of watery the way of images. I know very well that the clouds, three of fire, and three of the winged mind possesses a faculty of raising such images south wind; then mired they in the work terrific at pleasure; but then an act of the will is neces- lightnings, and sound and fear, and anger, with sary to this; and in ordinary conversation or pursuing flames.” This strango composition reading it is very rarely that any image at all is formed into a gross body; it is hammered is excited in the mind. If I say " I shall go to by the Cyclops, it is in part polished, and Italy next summer," I am well understood. partly continues rough. The truth is, if poetry Yet I believe nobody has by this painted in his gives us a noble assemblage of words correimagination the exact figure of the speaker sponding to many noble ideas, which are con passing by land or by water, or both; some- nected by circumstances of time or place, a times on horseback, sometimes in a carriage; related to each other as cause and effect, a with all the particulars of the journey. Still associated in any natural way, they may be less has he any idea of Italy the country to moulded together in any form, and perfectly which I proposed to go; or of the greenness of answer their end. The picturesque conneo the fields, the ripening of the fruits, and the tion is not demanded; because no real pio warmth of the air, with the change to this from ture is formed; nor is the effect of the de a different season, which are the ideas for scription at all the less upon this account which the word summer is substituted; but What is said of Helen by Priar and the ols least of all has he any image ,from the word men of his council, is general thought tr next; for this word stands for the idea of niany give us the highest possible ide that fata summers, with the exclusion of all but one: beauty.
Ου νεμιυίς Τρωας και ευκνημιδας Αχαιους, , lingua. There it is strictly imitation; and all Toιη δ' αμφι γυναικι πολυν χρωνον αλγεα πασ- merely dramatic poetry is of this sort. But
χειν. . Αινως δ' αθανατοισι θεης εις ωπα εοικεν.
descriptive poetry operates chiefly by substitu
tion; by means of sounds, which by custom They cry'd, no wonder such celestial charms have the effect of realities. Nothing is an For nine long years have set the world in arms; What winning graces! what majestic mien !
imitation further than as it resembles some She moves a goddess, and she looks a queen. other thing; and words undoubtedly have no
POPE. sort of resemblance to the ideas for which they Here is not one word said of the particulars of stand. her beauty; nothing which can in the least help us to any precise idea of her person; but yet we are much more touched by this manner
SECTION VII. of mentioning her than by those long and
HOW WORDS INFLUENCE THE PASSIONS laboured descriptions of Helen, whether handed down by tradition, or formed by fancy, which
Now, as words affect, not by any original are to be met with in some authors. I am sure power, but by representation, it might be supe it affects me much more than the minute de- posed, that their influence over the passions scription which Spenser has given of Belphebe; should be but light; yet it is quite otherwise ; though I own that there are parts in that for we find by experience, that eloquence and description, as there are in all the descriptions poetry are as capable, nay indeed much more of that excellent writer, extremely fine and capable, of making deep and lively impressions poetical. The terrible picture which Lucre- than any other arts, and even than nature itself tius has drawn of religion, in order to display in very many cases. And this arises chiefly the magnanimity of his philosophical hero in from these three causes. First, that we take opposing her, is thought to be designed with an extraordinary part in the passions of others, great boldness and spirit:
and that we are easily affected and brought into Humana ante oculos fæde cum vita jaceret, sympathy by any tokens which are shewn of In terris, oppressa gravi sub religione, them; and there are no tokens which can exQuæ caput e cæli regionibus ostendebat press all the circumstances of most passions so Horribili super aspectu mortalibus instans;
fully as words; so that if a person speaks upon Primus Graius homo mortales tollere contra Est oculos ausus.
any subject, he can not only convey the subject What idea do you derive from so excellent a
to you, but likewise the manner in which he picture ? none at all, most certainly ; neither is himself affected by it. Certain it is, that
the influence of most things on our passions is has the poet said a single word which might in the least serve to mark a single limb or feature from our opinions concerning them; and these
not so much from the things themselves, as of the phantom, which he intended to represent again depend very much on the opinions of in all the horrours imagination can conceive. In reality poetry and rhetoric do not succeed in other men, convoyable for the most part by exact description so well as painting does; words only. Secondly, there are many things their business is, to affect rather by sympathy
of a very affecting nature, which can seldom than imitation; to display rather the effect
occur in the reality, but the words which repreof things on the mind of the speaker, or of
sent them often do; and thus they have an others, than to present a clear idea of the opportunity of making a deep impression and things themselves. This is their most exten
taking root in the mind, whilst the idea of the sive province, and that in which they succeed reality was transient; and to some perhaps the best.
never really occurred in any shape, to whom it is notwithstanding very affecting, as war,
death, famine, &c. Besides many ideas have SECTION VI.
never been at all presented is the senses of any men but by words, as God, angels, devils,
heaven, and hell, all of which have however a POETRY NOT STRICTLY AN IMITATIVE ART.
great influence over the passions. Thirdly, by Hence we may observe that poetry, taken words we have it in our power to make such in its most general sense, cannot with strict combinations as we cannot possibly do otherpropriety be called an art of imitation. It is wise. By this power of combining we are indeed an imitation so far as it describes the able, by the addition of well chosen circummanners and passions of men which their words
stances, to give a new life and force to the simtan express; where animi motus effert interprete ple object. In painting we may represent any
fine figure we please; but we never can give it words, which being peculiarly devoted to pas. those enlivening touches which it may receive sionate subjects, and always used by those from words. To represent an angel in a pic- who are under the influence of any passion, ture, you can only draw a beautiful young man touch and move us more than those which far winged: but what painting can furnish out any more clearly and distinctly express the subject thing so grand as the addition of one word," the matter. We yield to sympathy what we refuse angel of the Lord?" It is true, I have here to description. The truth is, all verbal descrip no clear idea ; but these words affect the mind tion, merely as naked description, though never more than the sensible image did; which is all so exact, conveys so poor and insufficient an I contend for. A picture of Priam dragged to idea of the thing described, that it could the altar's foot, and there murdered, if it were scarcely have the smallest effect, if the speaker well executed, would undoubtedly be very did not call in to his aid those modes of speech moving; but there are very aggravating cir- that mark a strong and lively feeling in himcumstances, which it could never represent: self. Then, by the contagion of our passions, Sanguine fædantem quos ipse sacraverat ignes.
we catch a fire already kindled in another, As a further instance, let us consider those lines which probably might never have been struck of Milton, where he describes the travels of the ly conveying the passions, by those means
out by the object described. Words, by strong. fallen angels through their dismal habitation
which we have already mentioned, fully com -O'er many a dark and dreary vale
pensate for their weakness in other respects. They pass'd, and many a region dolorous; O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp;
It may be observed, that very polished lan Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and guages, and such as are praised for their supe shades of death,
riour clearness and perspicuity, are generally A universe of death.
deficient in strength. The French language Here is displayed the force of union in has that perfection and that defect. Whereas Rocks,caves, lakes,deng, bogs, fens, and shades; the oriental tongues, and in general the lan
guages of most unpolished people, have a great which yet would lose the greatest part of their force and energy of expression; and this is but effect, if they were not the
natural, Uncultivated people are but ordinary Rocks, caves, lakes, dens, bogs, fens, and observers of things, and not critical in distinshades
guishing them; but, for that reason, they admire of Death.
more, and are more affected with what they see, This idea or this affection caused by a word, and therefore express themselves in a warmer which nothing but a word could annex to the and more passionate manner. If the affection others, raises a very great degree of the sub- be well conveyed, it will work its effect without lime; and this sublime is raised yet higher by any clear idea ; often without any idea at all of what follows, a "universe of Death." Here the thing which has originally given rise to it. are again two ideas not presentable but by lan- It might be expected from the fertility of the guage ; and an union of them great and ama- subject, that I should consider poetry as it zing beyond conception; if they may properly regards the sublime and beautiful, more at be called ideas which prosent no distinct image large ; but it must be observed that in this to the mind :—but still it will be difficult to light it has been often and well handled already. conceive how words can move the passions It was not my design to enter into the criticism which belong to real objects, without represent- of the sublime and beautiful in any art, but to ing these objects clearly. This is difficult to attempt to lay down such principles as may us, because we do not sufficiently distinguish, tend to ascertain, to distinguish, and to form a in our observations upon language, between a sort of standard for them; which purposes I clear expression, and a strong expression. thought might be best effected by an inquiry These are frequently confounded with each into the properties of such things in nature, as other, though they are in reality extremely dif- raise love and astonishment in us; and by ferent . The former regards the understanding; shewing in what manner
they operated to prothe latter belongs to the passions. The one duce these passions. Words were only so far describes a thing as it is; the latter describes to be considered, as to shew upon what princiit as it is felt. Now, as there is a moving - ple they were capable of being the representatone of voice, an impassioned countenance, an tives of these natural things, and by what agitated gesture, which affect independently of powers they were able to affect us often as the things about which they are exerted, so strongly as the things they represent, and there are words, and certain dispositions of sometimes much more strongly.
A SHORT ACCOUNT
OF A LATE SHORT ADMINISTRATION.
The late administration came into employ- posed and encouraged public meetings and tree ment, under the mediation of the Duke of consultations of merchants from all parts of the Cumberland, on the tenth day of July 1765; and kingdom; by which means the truest lights was removed, upon a plan settled by the Earl have been received; great benefits have been of Chatham, on the thirtieth day of July 1766, already derived to manufactures and comhaving lasted just one year and twenty days. merce; and the most extensive prospects are In that space of time
opened for further improvement. The distractions of the British empire were Under them, the interests of our northern composed, by the repeal of the American stamp and southern colonies, before that time jarring
and dissonant, were understood, compared, But the constitutional superiority of Great adjusted, and perfectly reconciled. The pasBritain was preserved, by the act for securing sions and animosities of the colonies, by judithe dependence of the colonies.
cious and lenient measures, were allayed and Private houses were relieved from the juris- composed, and the foundation laid for a lasting diction of the excise, by the repeal of the cyder- agreement among them. lawr.
Whilst that administration provided for the The personal liberty of the subject was con- liberty and commerce of their country, as the firmed, by the resolution against general warrants. true basis of its power, they consulted its inte
The lawful secrets of business and friend- rests, they asserted its honour abroad, with ship were rendered inviolable, by the resolution temper and with firmness; by making an for condemning the seizure of papers.
advantageous treaty of commerce with Russia; The trade of America was set free from by obtaining a liquidation of the Canada bills, injudicious and ruinous impositions—its reve- to the satisfaction of the proprietors; by revinue was improved, and settled upon a rational ving and raising from its ashes the negotiation foundation-its commerce extended with fo for the Manilla ransom, which had been extinreign countries; while all the advantages were guished and abandoned by their predecessors. secured to Great Britain, by the act for repeal- They treated their sovereign with decency; ing certain duties, and encouraging, regulating, with reverence. They discountenanced, and, and securing the trade of this kingdom, and the it is hoped, for ever abolished, the dangerous British dominions in America.
and unconstitutional practice of removing miliMaterials were provided and insured to our tary officers for their votes in parliament. They manufactures—the sale of these manufactures firmly adhered to those friends of liberty, who was increased the African trade preserved had run all hazards in its cause, and provided and extended—the principles of the act of for them in preference to every other claim. navigation pursued, and the plan improved With the Earl of Bute they had no personal and the trade for bullion rendered free, secure, connection; no correspondence of councils. and permanent, by the act for opening certain They neither courted him nor persecuted him. ports in Dominica and Jamaica.
They practised no corruption; nor were they That administration was the first which pro- even suspected of it. They sold no offices