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comparison may be employed with success to put a subject in a strong point of view. A lively idea is formed of a man's courage, by likening it to that of a lion; and eloquence is exalted in our imagination, by comparing it to a river overflowing its banks, and involving all in its impetuous course. The same effect is produced by contrast: a man in prosperity becomes more sensible of his happiness by opposing his condition to that of a person in want of bread. Thus comparison is subservient to poetry as well as to philosophy: and, with respect to both, the foregoing observation holds equally, that resemblance among objects of the same kind, and dissimilitude among objects of different kinds, have no effect: such a comparison neither tends to gratify our curiosity, nor to set the objects compared in a stronger light: two apartments in a palace, similar in shape, .size, and furniture, make separately as good a figure as when compared; and the same observation is applicable to two similar copartments in a garden: on the other hand, oppose a regular building to a fall of water, or a good picture to a towering hill, or even a little dog to a large horse, and the contrast will produce no effect. But a resemblance between objects of different kinds, and a difference between objects of the same kind, have remarkably an enlivening effect. The poets, such of them as have a just taste, draw all their similes from things that in the main differ widely from the principal subject; and they never attempt the contrast but where the things have a common genus and a resemblance in the capital circumstances: place together a large and a small sized animal of the same species, the one will appear greater, the other less, than when viewed separately when we oppose beauty to deformity, each makes a g eater figure by the comparison. We compare the dress of different nations with curiosity, but without surprise; because they have no such resemblance in the capital parts as to please us by contrasting the smaller parts. But a new cut of a sleeve or of a pocket enchants by its novelty, and in opposition to the former fashion, raises some degree of surprise.

251. That resemblance and dissimilitude have an enlivening effect upon objects of sight, is made sufficiently evident; and that they have the same effect upon objects of the other senses, is also certain. Nor is that law confined to the external senses; for characters contrasted make a greater figure by the opposition: Iago, in the tragedy of Othello, says,

He hath a daily beauty in his life
That makes me ugly.

The character of a fop, and of a rough warrior, are nowhere more successfully contrasted than in Shakspeare:

250. The chief end of comparison: what other end?--How do we convey a strong idea of a man's courage: of a man's cloquenco?-Resemblance among objects of the same kind, and dissimilitude among objects of a different kind. The converse of this.

Hotspur. My liege, I did deny no prisoners;
But I remember, when the fight was done,
When I was dry with rage, and extreme toil,
Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword,
Came there a certain lord, neat trimly dress'd,
Fresh as a bridegroom; and his chin, new-reap'd,
Show'd like a stubble-land at harvest-home.
He was perfumed like a milliner;

And 'twixt his finger and his thumb he held
A pouncet-box, which ever and anon

He gave his nose;-und still he smiled, and talk'd:
And as the soldiers bare dead bodies by,

He call'd them untaught knaves, unmannerly,
To bring a slovenly unhandsome corse
Betwixt the wind and his nobility!

With many holiday and lady terins

He question'd me: among the rest, demanded
My pris'ners, in your Majesty's behalf.

I then all starting with my wound, being gall'd
To be 30 pester'd with a popinjay,

Out of my grief, and my impatience,
Answer'd neglectingly, I know not what:

He should, or should not; for he made ine mad,

To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet,

And talk so like a waiting gentlewoman,

Of guns, and drums, and wounds; (God save the mark!)
And telling me, the sov'reignest thing on earth

Was parmacity, for an inward bruise;

And that it was great pity, so it was,
This villainous saltpetre should be digg'd
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had destroy'd
So cowardly; and but for these vile guns
He would himself have been a soldier.

First Purt Henry IV. Act I. Sc. 4.

Passions and emotions are also inflamed by comparison. A man of high rank humbles the bystanders, even to annihilate them in their own opinion: Caesar, beholding the statue of Alexander, was greatly mortified, that now at the age of thirty-two when Alexander died, he had not performed one memorable action.

252. Our opinions also are much influenced by comparison. A man whose opulence exceeds the ordinary standard, is reputed richer than he is in reality; and wisdom or weakness, if at all remarkable in an individual, is generally carried beyond the truth.

The opinion a man forms of his present distress is heightened by contrasting it with his former happiness.

Could I forget

What I have been, I might the better bear
What I am destined to. I'm not the first

That have been wretched: but to think how much
I have been happier.

Southern. I.

The distress of a long journey makes even an indifferent inn agreeable; and in travelling, when the road is good, and the horseman well covered, a bad day may be agreeable by making him sensible how snug he is.

251. Characters contrasted make a greater figure by the opposition. Examples.-Passions and emotions inflamed by comparison.--Cæsar beholding Alexander's statue.

The same effect is equally remarkable when a man opposes his condition to that of others. A ship tossed about in a storm, makes the spectator reflect upon his own ease and security, and puts these in the strongest light. A man in grief cannot bear mirth; it gives him a more lively notion of his unhappiness, and of course makes him more unhappy. Satan contemplating the beauties of the terrestrial paradise, has the following exclamation:

With what delight could I have walk'd thee round,
If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange
Of hill and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,
Now land, now sea, and shores with forest crown'd,
Rocks, dens, and caves! but I in none of these
Find place or refuge; and the more I see
Pleasures about me, so much more I feel
Torment within me, as from the hateful siege
Of contraries: all good to me becomes
Bane, and in heaven much worse would be my state.
Paradise Lost, Book IX. I. 114.

Gaunt. All places that the eye of heaven visits,
Are to the wise man ports and happy havens.
Teach thy necessity to reason thus:
There is no virtue like necessity.
Think not the King did banish thee;
But thou the King. Woe doth the heavier sit,
Where it perceives it is but faintly borne.
Go say, I sent thee forth to purchase honor;
And not, the King exiled thee. Or suppose,
Devouring pestilence hangs in our air,
And thou art flying to a fresher clime.
Look what thy soul holds dear, imagine it
To lie that way thou go'st, not whence thou comest.
Suppose the singing birds, musicians;

The grass whereon thou tread'st, the presence-floor;
The flowers, fair ladies; and thy steps, no more
Than a delightful measure, or a dance.

For snarling Sorrow hath less power to bite
The man that mocks it, and sets it light.

Bolingbroke. Oh, who can hold a fire in his hand,
By thinking on the frosty Caucasus ?

Or cloy the hungry edge of Appetite,
By bare imagination of a feast

Or wallow naked in December snow, By thinking on fantastic summer's heat? Oh, no! the apprehension of the good Gives but the greater feeling to the worse. King Richard II. Act I. Sc. 6. 253. The appearance of danger gives sometimes pleasure, sometimes pain. A timorous person upon the battlements of a high tower, is seized with fear, which even the consciousness of security cannot dissipate. But upon one of a firm head, this situation has a contrary effect; the appearance of danger heightens, by opposition, the consciousness of security, and consequently, the satisfaction that arises from security: here the feeling resembles that above mentioned, occasioned by a ship laboring in a storm.

252. Opinions influenced by comparison-Opinion of the wealth of a rich man, &Effect of opposing our condition to that of others.-A man in grief.-Satan surveying Paradise.-Quotation from Richard II.

The effect of magnifying or lessening objects by means of comparison is so familiar, that no philosopher has thought of searching for a cause. The obscurity of the object may possibly have contributed to their silence; but luckily, we discover the cause to be a principle unfolded above, which is the influence of passion over our opinions. (Chapter ii. part v.)

254. We have had occasion to see many illustrious effects of that singular power of passion; and that the magnifying or diminishing objects by means of comparison proceeds from the same cause, will evidently appear by reflecting in what manner a spectator is affected when a very large animal is for the first time placed beside a very small one of the same species. The first thing that strikes the mind is the difference between the two animals, which is so great as to occasion surprise; and this, like other emotions, magnifying its object, makes us conceive the difference to be the greatest that can be: we see, or seem to see, the one animal extremely little, and the other extremely large. The emotion of surprise arising from any unusual resemblance, serves equally to explain why at first view we are apt to think such resemblance more entire than it is in reality. And it must not escape observation, that the circumstances of more and less, which are the proper subjects of comparison, raise a perception so indistinct and vague as to facilitate the effect described: we have no mental standard of great and little, nor of the several degrees of any attribute; and the mind thus unrestrained, is naturally disposed to indulge its surprise to the utmost extent.

255. To explain the influence of comparison upon the mind, by a familiar example: take a piece of paper, or of linen tolerably white, and compare it with a pure white of the same kind: the judgment we formed of the first object is instantly varied; and the surprise occasioned by finding it less white than was thought, produceth a hasty conviction that it is much less white than it is in reality withdrawing now the pure white, and putting in its place a deep black, the surprise occasioned by that new circumstance carries us to the other extreme, and makes us conceive the object first mentioned to be a pure white: and thus experience compels us to acknowledge that our emotions have an influence even upon our eyesight. This experiment leads to a general observation, That whatever is found more strange or beautiful than was expected, is judged to be more strange or beautiful than it is in reality. Hence a common artifice, to depreciate beforehand what we wish to make a figure in the opinion of others. ✈

256. The comparisons employed by poets and orators are of the

253. Appearance of danger.

254. The effect of magnifying or lessening objects by comparison, explained.-Effect of seeing, for the first time. a very large animal placed beside a very small one of the same species. The emotion of surprise arising from any unusual resemblance.


255. Influence of comparison on the mind illustrated.-General observation; common artifice.

kind last mentioned; for it is always a known object that is to be magnified or lessened. The former is effected by likening it to soine grand object, or by contrasting it with one of an opposite character. To effectuate the latter, the method must be reversed: the object must be contrasted with something superior to it, or likened to something inferior. The whole effect is produced upon the principal object, which by that means is elevated above its rank, or depressed below it.

In accounting for the effects that any unusual resemblance or dissimilitude hath upon the mind, no cause has been mentioned but surprise; and to prevent confusion, it was proper to discuss that cause first. But surprise is not the only cause of the effect described: another concurs which operates perhaps not less powerfully, namely, a principle in human nature that lies still in obscurity, not having been unfolded by any writer, though its effects are extensive; and as it is not distinguished by a proper name, the reader must be satisfied with the following description. Every man who studies himself or others, must be sensible of a tendency or propensity in the mind, to complete every work that is begun, and to carry things to their full perfection. There is little opportunity to display that propensity upon natural operations, which are seldom left imperfect; but in the operations of art, it hath great scope: it impels us to persevere in our own work, and to wish for the completion of what another is doing we feel a sensible pleasure when the work is brought to perfection; and our pain is no less sensible when we are disappointed. Hence our uneasiness, when an interesting story is broke off in the middle, when a piece of music ends without a close, or when a building or garden is left unfinished. The same propensity operates in making collections, such as the whole works good and bad of any author. A certain person attempted to collect prints of all the capital paintings, and succeeded except as to a few. La Bruyere remarks, that an anxious search was inade for these; not for their value, but to complete the set.*

257. The final cause of the propensity is an additional proof of its existence: human works are of no significancy till they be completed; and reason is not always a sufficient counterbalance to indolence: some principle over and above is necessary, to excite our industry, and to prevent our stopping short in the middle of the


The examples above given, are of things that can be carried to an end or conclusion. But the same uneasiness is perceptible with respect to things that admit not any conclusion: witness a series that has no end, commonly called an infinite series. The mind moving along such a series, begins soon to fee. an uneasiness, which becomes more and more sensible, in continuing its progress without hope of an end.

256. How poets and orators magnify a known object; how they depress it-Surprise, not the only cause of the effect which any unusual resemblance or dissimilitude has upon the mind-Another cause described.-Great scope in operations of art. Examples.

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