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SECT. XVII. -THE EFFECTS OF BLACKNESS.
SECT. XVIII.-THE EFFECTS OF BLACKNESS
bad weather appear often no otherwise, than in a | laxation of the body, which by some mechanism melancholy and dejection of spirits; though with in nature restores itself by as quick and vigorous out doubt, in this case, the bodily organs suffer an exertion of the contracting power of the musfirst, and the mind through these organs. cles? The dream itself is caused by this relaxation:
and it is of too uniform a nature to be attributed to any other cause. The parts relax too suddenly,
which is in the nature of falling; and this acciBLACKNESS is but a partial darkness ; and dent of the body induces this image in the mind. therefore it derives some of its powers from being When we are in a confirmed state of health and mixed and surrounded with coloured bodies. In vigour, as all changes are then less sudden, and its own nature, it cannot be considered as a co- less on the extreme, we can seldom complain of lour. Black bodies, reflecting none, or but a few this disagreeable sensation. rays, with regard to sight, are but as so many vacant spaces dispersed among the objects we view. When the eye lights on one of these vacuities, after having been kept in some degree of tension by the play of the adjacent colours upon it, it suddenly Though the effects of black be painful originfalls into a relaxation; out of which it as suddenly ally, we must not think they always continue so. recovers by a convulsive spring. To illustrate this : Custom reconciles us to every thing. After we let us consider, that when we intend to sit on a have been used to the sight of black objects, the chair, and find it much lower than was expected, terroir abates, and the smoothness and glossiness, the shock is very violent ; much more violent than or some agreeable accident, of bodies so coloured, could be thought from so slight a fall as the differ- softens in some measure the horrour and sternness ence between one chair and another can possibly of their original nature; yet the nature of the make. If, after descending a flight of stairs, we original impression still continues. Black will attempt inadvertently to take another step in the always have something melancholy in it, bemanner of the former ones, the shock is extremely cause the sensory will always find the change to rude and disagreeable: and by no art can we cause
it from other colours too violent; or if it occupy such a shock by the same means when we expect the whole compass of the sight, it will then be and prepare for it. When I say that this is owing darkness; and what was said of darkness will be to having the change made contrary to expecta applicable here. I do not purpose to go into all tion, I do not mean solely, when the mind expects. that might be said to illustrate this theory of the I mean likewise, that when any organ of sense is effects of light and darkness, neither will I exafor some time affected in some one manner, if it mine all the different effects produced by the be suddenly affected otherwise, there ensues a con- various modifications and mixtures of these two vulsive motion ; such a convulsion as is caused causes. If the foregoing observations have any when any thing happens against the expectance foundation in nature, I conceive them very suffiof the mind. And though it may appear strange cient to account for all the phenomena that can that such a change as produces a relaxation should arise from all the combinations of black with other immediately produce a sudden convulsion; it is colours. To enter into every particular, or to anyet most certainly so, and so in all the senses. swer every objection, would be an endless labour. Every one knows that sleep is a relaxation ; and we have only followed the most leading roads ; that silence, where nothing keeps the organs of and we shall observe the same conduct in our hearing in action, is in general fittest to bring on enquiry into the cause of beauty. this relaxation ; yet when a sort of murmuring sounds dispose a man to sleep, let these sounds cease suddenly, and the person immediately awakes ; that is, the parts are braced up suddenly, and he When we have before us such objects as excite awakes.
This I have often experienced myself, love and complacency, the body is affected, so far and I have heard the same from observing persons.
as I could observe, much in the following manner : In like manner, if a person in broad day-light The head reclines something on one side; the eyewere falling asleep, to introduce a sudden dark-lids are more closed than usual, and the eyes roll ness would prevent his sleep for that time, though gently with an inclination to the object ; the silence and darkness in themselves, and not sud- mouth is a little opened, and the breath drawn denly introduced, are very favourable to it. This slowly, with now and then a low sigh; the whole I knew only by conjecture on the analogy of the body is composed, and the hands fall idly to the senses when I first digested these observations; but sides. All this is accompanied with an inward I have since experienced it. And I have often ex- sense of melting and languor. These appearances perienced, and so have a thousand others, that on are always proportioned to the degree of beauty the first inclining towards sleep, we have been sud- in the object, and of sensibility in the observer. denly awakened with a most violent start; and that And this gradation from the highest pitch of this start was generally preceded by a sort of dream beauty and sensibility, even to the lowest of meof our falling down a precipice : whence does this diocrity and indifference, and their correspondent strange motion arise, but from the too sudden re-effects, ought to be kept in view, else this descrip
SECT. XIX.THE PHYSICAL CAUSE OF LOVE,
tion will seem exaggerated, which it certainly is | A bed smoothly laid, and soft, that is, where the not. But from this description it is almost impos- resistance is every way inconsiderable, is a great sible not to conclude, that beauty acts by relaxing luxury, disposing to an universal relaxation, and the solids of the whole system. There are all the inducing beyond any thing else that species of it appearances of such a relaxation; and a relaxation called sleep. somewhat below the natural tone seems to me to be the cause of all positive pleasure. Who is a
SECT. XXI.- SWEETNESS, ITS NATURE. stranger to that manner of expression so common in all times and in all countries, of being softened, Nor is it only in the touch that smooth bodies relaxed, enervated, dissolved, melted away by cause positive pleasure by relaxation. In the pleasure ? The universal voice of mankind, faith- smell and taste, we find all things agreeable to ful to their feelings, concurs in affirming this them, and which are commonly called sweet, to uniform and general effect : and although some be of a smooth nature, and that they all evidently odd and particular instance may perhaps be found, tend to relax their respective sensories. Let us wherein there appears a considerable degree of first consider the taste. Since it is most easy to positive pleasure, without all the characters of enquire into the property of liquids, and since all relaxation, we must not therefore reject the con- things seem to want a fluid vehicle to make them clusion we had drawn from a concurrence of many tasted at all, I intend rather to consider the liquid experiments; but we must still retain it, subjoining than the solid parts of our food. The vehicles of the exceptions which may occur according to the all tastes are water and oil. And what deterjudicious rule laid down by Sir Isaac Newton in mines the taste is some salt, which affects varithe third book of his Optics. Our position will, ously according to its nature, or its manner of I conceive, appear confirmed beyond any reason being combined with other things. Water and oil, able doubt, if we can shew that such things as we simply considered, are capable of giving some pleahave already observed to be the genuine consti- sure to the taste. Water, when simple, is insipid, tuents of beauty have each of them, separately inodorous, colourless, and smooth; it is found, taken, a natural tendency to relax the fibres. And when not cold, to be a great resolver of spasms, if it must be allowed us, that the appearance of and lubricator of the fibres ; this power it probathe human body, when all these constituents are bly owes to its smoothness. For as fluidity deunited together before the sensory, further favours pends, according to the most general opinion, on this opinion, we may venture, I believe, to con- the roundness, smoothness, and weak cohesion of clude, that the passion called love is produced the component parts of any body; and as water by this relaxation. By the same method of rea- acts merely as a simple fuid ; it follows that the soning which we have used in the enquiry into cause of its fuidity is likewise the cause of its rethe causes of the sublime, we may likewise con- laxing quality ; namely, the smoothness and clude, that as a beautiful object presented to the slippery texture of its parts. The other fluid vesense, by causing a relaxation of the body, pro-hicle of tastes is oil. This too, when simple, is duces the passion of love in the mind; so if by insipid, inodorous, colourless, and smooth to the any means the passion should first have its origin touch and taste. It is smoother than water, and in the mind, a relaxation of the outward organs in many cases yet more relaxing. Oil is in some will as certainly ensue in a degree proportioned to degree pleasant to the eye, the touch, and the the cause.
taste, insipid as it is. Water is not so grateful ; which I do not know on what principle to account for, other than that water is not so soft
and smooth. Suppose that to this oil or water It is to explain the true cause of visual beauty, were added a certain quantity of a specifick salt, that I call in the assistance of the other senses. which had a power of putting the nervous paIf it appears that smoothness is a principal cause pillæ of the tongue into a gentle vibratory moof pleasure to the touch, taste, smell
, and hearing, tion; as suppose sugar dissolved in it. The it will be easily admitted a constituent of visual smoothness of the oil and the vibratory power beauty; especially as we have before shewn, that of the salt cause the sense we call sweetness. In this quality is found almost without exception in all sweet bodies, sugar, or a substance very little all bodies that are by general consent held beauti- different from sugar, is constantly found. Every ful. There can be no doubt that bodies which are species of salt, examined by the microscope, has rough and angular, rouse and vellicate the organs | its own distinct, regular, invariable form. That of of feeling, causing a sense of pain, which consists in nitre is a pointed oblong; that of sea-salt an exact the violent tension or contraction of the muscular cube ; that of sugar a perfect globe. If you have fibres. On the contrary, the application of smooth tried how smooth globular bodies, as the marbles bodies relaxes ; gentle stroking with a smooth with which boys amuse themselves, have affected hand allays violent pains and cramps, and relaxes the touch when they are rolled backward and forthe suffering parts from their unnatural tension ; ward and over one another, you will easily conand it has therefore very often no mean effect in ceive how sweetness, which consists in a salt of removing swellings and obstructions. The sense such nature, affects the taste; for a single globe, of feeling is highly gratified with smooth bodies. I (though somewhat pleasant to the feeling,) yet by
SECT. XX.WHY SMOOTHNESS IS BEAUTIFUL.
the regularity of its form, and the somewhat too ness to the taste, and a relaxing quality to the sudden deviation of its parts from a right line, is skin. The next thing children covet is fruit, nothing near so pleasant to the touch as several and of fruits those principally which are sweet; globes, where the hand gently rises to one and falls and every one knows that the sweetness of fruit is to another; and this pleasure is greatly increased caused by a subtile oil, and such a salt as that if the globes are in motion, and sliding over one mentioned in the last section. Afterwards custom, another; for this soft variety prevents that weari- habit, the desire of novelty, and a thousand other ness, which the uniform disposition of the several causes, confound, adulterate, and change our globes would otherwise produce. Thus in sweet palates, so that we can no longer reason with liquors, the parts of the Auid vehicle, though most satisfaction about them. Before we quit this probably round, are yet so minute, as to conceal article, we must observe, that as smooth things the figure of their component parts from the nicest are, as such, agreeable to the taste, and are found inquisition of the microscope ; and consequently, of a relaxing quality; so on the other hand, being so excessively minute, they have a sort of flat things which are found by experience to be of a simplicity to the taste, resembling the effects of plain strengthening quality, and fit to brace the fibres, smooth bodies to the touch ; for if a body be com- are almost universally rough and pungent to the posed of round parts excessively small, and packed taste, and in many cases rough even to the touch. pretty closely together, the surface will be both to We often apply the quality of sweetness, metathe sight and touch as if it were nearly plain and phorically, to visual objects. For the better smooth. It is clear from their unveiling their carrying on this remarkable analogy of the senses, figure to the microscope, that the particles of sugar we may here call sweetness the beautiful of the are considerably larger than those of water or oil, taste. and consequently, that their effects from their roundness will be more distinct and palpable to the
SECT. XXIII.- VARIATION, WHY BEAUTIFUL. nervous papillæ of that nice organ the tongue : they will induce that sense called sweetness, which ANOTHER principal property of beautiful obin a weak manner we discover in oil, and in a yet jects is, that the line of their parts is continually weaker in water; for, insipid as they are, water varying its direction ; but it varies it by a very and oil are in some degree sweet; and it may be insensible deviation ; it never varies it so quickly observed, that insipid things of all kinds approach as to surprise, or by the sharpness of its angle to more nearly to the nature of sweetness than to cause any twitching or convulsion of the optick that of any other taste.
Nothing long continued in the same man
ner, nothing very suddenly varied, can be beautiSECT. XXII.- SWEETNESS RELAXING, ful; because both are opposite to that agreeable
relaxation which is the characteristick effect of In the other senses we have remarked, that beauty. It is thus in all the senses. A motion in smooth things are relaxing. Now it ought to ap- a right line is that manner of moving, next to a pear that sweet things, which are the smooth of very gentle descent, in which we meet the least taste, are relaxing too. It is remarkable, that in resistance ; yet it is not that manner of moving, some languages soft and sweet have but one name. which, next to a descent, wearies us the least. Rest Dour in French signifies soft as well as sweet. The certainly tends to relax: yet there is a species of Latin Dulcis, and the Italian Dolce, have in many
motion which relaxes more than rest; a gentle cases the same double signification. That sweet oscillatory motion, a rising and falling. Rocking things are generally relaxing, is evident; because sets children to sleep better than absolute rest; all such, especially those which are most oily, taken there is indeed scarcely any thing at that age, frequently, or in a large quantity, very much which gives more pleasure than to be gently lifted enfeeble the tone of the stomach. Sweet smells, up and down; the manner of playing which their which bear a great affinity to sweet tastes, relax nurses use with children, and the weighing and very remarkably. The smell of flowers disposes swinging used afterwards by themselves as a fapeople to drowsiness; and this relaxing effect is vourite amusement, evince this very sufficiently. further apparent from the prejudice which people Most people must have observed the sort of sense of weak nerves receive from their use. It were they have had on being swiftly drawn in an easy worth while to examine, whether tastes of this 'coach on a smooth turf, with gradual ascents and kind, sweet ones, tastes that are caused by smooth declivities. This will give a better idea of the beauoils and a relaxing salt, are not the original plea- tiful, and point out its probable cause better than sant tastes. For many, which use has rendered almost any thing else. On the contrary, when one such, were not at all agreeable at first. The way to is hurried over a rough, rocky, broken road, the examine this, is to try what nature has naturally pain felt by these sudden inequalities shews why provided for us, which she has undoubtedly made similar sights, feelings, and sounds, are so contrary
, originally pleasant; and to analyse this pro- to beauty and with regard to the feeling, it is ex
: vision. Milk is the first support of our childhood. actly the same in its effect, or very nearly the same, The component parts of this are water, oil, and whether, for instance, I move my hand along the a sort of a very sweet salt, called the sugar of surface of a body of a certain shape, or whether milk. All these when blended have a great smooth such a body is moved along my hand. But to bring this analogy of the senses home to the eye: to none of the winged species, of which it is the if a body presented to that sense has such a waving least ; and perhaps his beauty is enhanced by his surface, that the rays of light reflected from it are in smallness. But there are animals, which, when a continual insensible deviation from the strongest they are extremely small, are rarely (if ever) to the weakest, (which is always the case in a sur- beautiful. There is a dwarfish size of men and face gradually unequal,) it must be exactly similar women, which is almost constantly so gross and in its effects on the eye and touch; upon the one of massive in comparison of their height, that they which it operates directly, on the other indirectly. present us with a very disagreeable image. But And this body will be beautiful if the lines which should a man be found not above two or three feet compose its surface are not continued, even so high, supposing such a person to have all the parts varied, in a manner that may weary or dissipate of his body of a delicacy suitable to such a size, the attention. The variation itself must be con- and otherwise endued with the common qualities tinually varied.
of other beautiful bodies, I am pretty well con
vinced that a person of such a stature might be SECT. XXIV.-CONCERNING SMALLNESS.
considered as beautiful; might be the object of
love; might give us very pleasing ideas on viewing To avoid a sameness which may arise from the him. The only thing which could possibly intertoo frequent repetition of the same reasonings, pose to check our pleasure is, that such creatures, and of illustrations of the same nature, I will not however formed, are unusual, and are often thereenter very minutely into every particular that re- fore considered as something monstrous. The gards beauty, as it is founded on the disposition large and gigantic, though very compatible with of its quantity, or its quantity itself. In speaking the sublime, is contrary to the beautiful. It is imof the magnitude of bodies there is great uncer- possible to suppose a giant the object of love. tainty, because the ideas of great and small are When we let our imagination loose in romance, the terms almost entirely relative to the species of the ideas we naturally annex to that size are those of objects, which are infinite. It is true, that having tyranny, cruelty, injustice, and every thing horrid once fixed the species of any object, and the and abominable. We paint the giant ravaging the dimensions common in the individuals of that country, plundering the innocent traveller, and species, we may observe some that exceed, and afterwards gorged with his half-living flesh: such some that fall short of, the ordinary standard : are Polyphemus, Cacus, and others, who make so those which greatly exceed are, by that excess, pro- great a figure in romances and heroick poems. vided the species itself be not very small, rather The event we attend to with the greatest satisfacgreat and terrible than beautiful: but as in the tion is their defeat and death. I do not remember, animal world, and in a good measure in the vege- in all that multitude of deaths with which the Iliad table world likewise, the qualities that constitute is filled, that the fall of any man, remarkable for beauty may possibly be united to things of greater his great stature and strength, touches us with dimensions ; when they are so united, they consti- pity; nor does it appear that the author, so well tute a species something different both from the read in human nature, ever intended it should. sublime and beautiful, which I have before called It is Simoisius, in the soft bloom of youth, torn Fine: but this kind, I imagine, has not such a power from his parents, who tremble for a courage so ill on the passions, either as vast bodies have which suited to his strength; it is another hurried by war are endued with the correspondent qualities of the from the new embraces of his bride, young and sublime, or as the qualities of beauty have when fair, and a novice to the field, who melts us by his united in a small object. The affection produced untimely fate. Achilles, in spite of the many by large bodies adorned with the spoils of beauty, qualities of beauty which Homer has bestowed on is a tension continually relieved; which approaches his outward form, and the many great virtues with to the nature of mediocrity. But if I were to say which he has adorned his mind, can never make how I find myself affected upon such occasions, Í us love him. It may be observed, that Homer should say, that the sublime suffers less by being has given the Trojans, whose fate he has designed united to some of the qualities of beauty, than to excite our compassion, infinitely more of the beauty does by being joined to greatness of quan- amiable, social virtues than he has distributed tity, or any other properties of the sublime. There among his Greeks. With regard to the Trojans, is something so over-ruling in whatever inspires the passion he chooses to raise is pity; pity is a us with awe, in all things which belong ever so passion founded on love; and these lesser, and if remotely to terrour, that nothing else can stand I may say domestick virtues, are certainly the most in their
presence. There lie the qualities of beauty amiable. But he has made the Greeks far their either dead or unoperative; or at most exerted superiours in the politick and military virtues. to mollify the rigour and sternness of the terrour, The councils of Priam are weak ; the arms of which is the natural concomitant of greatness. Hector comparatively feeble ; his courage far Besides the extraordinary great in every species, below that of Achilles. Yet we love Priam more the opposite to this, the dwarfish and diminutive, than Agamemnon, and Hector more than his conought to be considered. Littleness, merely as such, queror Achilles. Admiration is the passion which has nothing contrary to the idea of beauty. The Homer would excite in favour of the Greeks, and humming-bird, both in shape and colouring, yields he has done it by bestowing on them the virtues
which have but little to do with love. This short transparent, the light is sometimes softened in the digression is perhaps not wholly beside our pur- passage, which makes it more agreeable even as pose, where our business is to shew, that objects | light; and the liquor reflecting all the rays of its of great dimensions are incompatible with beauty, proper colour evenly, it has such an effect on the the more incompatible as they are greater; whereas eye, as smooth opaque bodies have on the
eye and the small, if ever they fail of beauty, this failure touch. So that the pleasure here is compounded is not to be attributed to their size.
of the softness of the transmitted, and the even
ness of the reflected light. This pleasure may be SECT. XXV. -OF COLOUR.
heightened by the common principles in other
things, if the shape of the glass which holds the With regard to colour, the disquisition is transparent liquor be so judiciously varied, as to almost infinite : but I conceive the principles laid present the colour gradually and interchangeably, down in the beginning of this part are sufficient to weakened and strengthened with all the variety account for the effects of them all, as well as for which judgment in affairs of this nature shall sugthe agreeable effects of transparent bodies, whe- gest. "On a review of all that has been said of the ther fluid or solid. Suppose I look at a bottle of effects as well as the causes of both, it will appear, muddy liquor, of a blue or red colour; the blue that the sublime and beautiful are built on prinor red rays cannot pass clearly to the eye, but are ciples very different, and that their affections are suddenly and unequally stopped by the interven- as different: the great has terrour for its basis; tion of little opaque bodies, which without prepa- which, when it is modified, causes that emotion ration change the idea, and change it too into one in the mind, which I have called astonishment; disagreeable in its own nature, conformably to the the beautiful is founded on mere positive pleasure, principles laid down in sect. 24. But when the and excites in the soul that feeling which is called ray passes without such opposition through the love. Their causes have made the subject of this glass or liquor, when the glass or liquor is quite fourth part.
SECTION 1.-OF WORDS.
tom has appointed them to stand. To examine the truth of this notion, it may be requisite to observe,
that words may be divided into three sorts. The NATURAL objects affect us, by the laws of first are such as represent many simple ideas united that connexion which providence has established by nature to form some one determinate compobetween certain motions and configurations of sition, as man, horse, tree, castle, &c. These I bodies
, and certain consequent feelings in our call aggregate words. The second are they that mind.
Painting affects in the same manner, but stand for one simple idea of such compositions, with the superadded pleasure of imitation. Archi- and no more; as red, blue, round, square, and tecture affects by the laws of nature, and the the like. These I call simple abstract words. The law of reason; from which latter result the rules third, are those which are formed by an union, an of proportion, which make a work to be praised arbitrary union of both the others, and of the or censured, in the whole or in some part, when various relations between them in greater or lesser the end for which it was designed is or is not degrees of complexity; as virtue, honour, persuaproperly answered. But as to words; they seem to sion, magistrate, and the like. These I call comme to affect us in a manner very different from that pound abstract words. Words, I am sensible, are in which we are affected by natural objects, or by capable of being classed into more curious distincpainting or architecture ; yet words have as con- tions; but these seem to be natural, and enough siderable a share in exciting ideas of beauty and for our purpose ; and they are disposed in that of the sublime as many of those, and sometimes a order in which they are commonly taught, and in much greater than any of them : therefore an en- which the mind gets the ideas they are substituted quiry into the manner by which they excite such for. I shall begin with the third sort of words ; emotions is far from being unnecessary in a dis- compound abstracts, such as virtue, honour, percourse of this kind.
suasion, docility. Of these I am convinced, that
whatever power they may have on the passions, SECT. 11.—THE COMMON EFFECTS OF POETRY,
they do not derive it from any representation raised in the mind of the things for which they
stand. As compositions, they are not real essences, The common notion of the power of poetry and hardly cause, I think, any real ideas. Noand eloquence, as well as that of words in ordi- body, I believe, immediately on hearing the nary conversation, is, that they affect the mind sounds, virtue, liberty, or honour, conceives any by raising in it ideas of those things for which cus- precise notions of the particular modes of action
NOT BY RAISING IDEAS OF THINGS.