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sense and the sound, go naturally into union, and at the same time are concordant or harmonious; but dissimilar emotions, forced into union by these causes intimately connected, obscure each other, and are also unpleasant by discordance.
144. These premises make it easy to determine what sort of poetical compositions are fitted for music. In general, as music in all its various tones ought to be agreeable, it never can be concordant with any composition in language expressing a disagreeable passion, or describing a disagreeable object: for here the emotions raised by the sense and by the sound are not only dissimilar but opposite; and such emotions forced into union produce always an unpleasant mixture. Music accordingly is a very improper companion for sentiments of malice, cruelty, envy, peevishness, or of any other dissocial passion; witness among a thousand King John's speech in Shakspeare, soliciting Hubert to murder Prince Arthur, which, even in the most cursory view, will appear incompatible with any sort of music. Music is a companion no less improper for the description of any disagreeable object, such as that of Polyphemus in the third book of the Eneid, or that of Sin in the second book of Paradise Lost the horror of the object described and the pleasure of the music would be highly discordant.
145. With regard to vocal music there is an additional reason against associating it with disagreeable passions. The external signs of such passions are painful-the looks and gestures to the eye, and the tone of pronunciation to the ear: such tones therefore can never be expressed musically, for music must be pleasant, or it is not music.
On the other hand, music associates finely with poems that tend to inspire pleasant emotions: music, for example, in a cheerful tone, is perfectly concordant with every emotion in the same tone; and hence our taste for airs expressive of mirth and jollity. Sympathetic joy associates finely with cheerful music; and sympathetic pain no less finely with music that is tender and melancholy. All the different emotions of love, namely, tenderness, concern, anxiety, pain of absence, hope, fear, accord delightfully with music; and accordingly a person in love, even when unkindly treated, is soothed by music; for the tenderness of love still prevailing accords with a melancholy strain. This is finely exemplified by Shakspeare in the fourth act of Othello, where Desdemona calls for a song expressive of her distress. Wonderful is the delicacy of that writer's taste, which fails him not even in the most refined emotions of human nature. Melancholy music is suited to slight grief, which requires or admits consolation; but deep grief, which refuses all consolation, rejects for that reason even melancholy music.
143. Foregoing observations applied to music-Three things to be premised. 144. The sort of poetical compositions fitted for music-In what sentiments is music an improper companion; for what objects also?
Where the same person is both the actor and the singer, as in an opera, there is a separate reason why music should not be associated with the sentiments of any disagreeable passion, nor the description of any disagreeable object; which is, that such association is altogether unnatural: the pain, for example, that a man feels who is agitated with malice or unjust revenge, disqualifies him for relishing music, or any thing that is pleasing; and therefore to represent such a man, contrary to nature, expressing his sentiments in a song, cannot be agreeable to any audience of taste.
146. For a different reason music is improper for accompanying pleasant emotions of the more important kind; because these totally engross the mind, and leave no place for music, nor for any sort of amusement. In a perilous enterprise to dethrone a tyrant, music would be impertinent even where hope prevails and the prospect of success is great: Alexander attacking the Indian town, and mounting the wall, had certainly no impulse to exert his prowess in a song.
It is true that not the least regard is paid to these rules either in the French or Italian opera; and the attachment we have to operas may at first be considered as an argument against the foregoing doctrine. But the general taste for operas is no argument: in these compositions the passions are so imperfectly expressed as to leave the mind free for relishing music of any sort indifferently; and it cannot be disguised that the pleasure of an opera is derived chiefly from the music, and scarce at all from the sentiments: a happy concordance of the emotions raised by the song and by the music is extremely rare; and I venture to affirm that there is no example of it, unless where the emotion raised by the former is agreeable as well as that raised by the latter.
147. Next in order, according to the method proposed, come external effects, which lead us to passions as the causes of external effects. Two coexistent passions that have the same tendency, must be similar; they accordingly readily unite, and in conjunction have double force. This is verified by experience; from which we learn that the mind receives not impulses alternately from such passions, but one strong impulse from the whole in conjunction; and indeed it is not easy to conceive what should bar the union of passions that have all of them the same tendency.
Two passions having opposite tendencies may proceed from the same cause considered in different views. Thus a female may at once be the cause both of love and of resentment; her beauty inflames the passion of love, her cruelty or inconstancy causes resent
145. Additional reason in regard to vocal music against associating it with disagreeable passions. With what sort of poems music well associates --The various emotions that accord with music.-Desdemona-Case of a person who is at the same time singer and actor, as in an opera.
146. Why music is improper for accompanying pleasant emotions of the more important kind.
ment. When two such passions coexist in the same breast, the opposition of their aim prevents any sort of union, and accordingly they are not felt otherwise than in succession; the consequence of which must be, either that the passions will balance each other and prevent external action, or that one of them will prevail and accomplish its end. Guarini, in his Pastor Fido, describes beautifully the struggle between love and resentment directed to the same object. (Act i. Sc. 3.)
Ovid paints in lively colors the vibration of mind between two opposite passions directed to the same object. Althea had two brothers much beloved, who were unjustly put to death by her son Meleager in a fit of passion: she was strongly impelled to revenge; but the criminal was her own son. This ought to have withheld her hand; but the story is more interesting, by the violence of the struggle between resentment and maternal love. (Met. lib. 8. l. 445.)
In cases of this kind, one circumstance always augments the fluctuation after balancing between two actions, a resolution to prefer one of them is an inchoated gratification of the prevailing passion, which moderates it in some degree; and that circumstance tends to give a superiority to the opposite passion: another circumstance also concurs, that this opposite passion has, by restraint, acquired in the interim some additional force.
148. Love and jealousy connected by a common object, occupy the mind alternately: when the object is considered as beautiful, love prevails: when considered as possibly unfaithful, jealousy prevails. A situation of that kind affords great scope for fluctuation of passion; which is painted to the life by several masterly hands in words as well as in colors. Shakspeare handles the same subject, but in a manner uncommon, and peculiar to himself. In Othello's soliloquy, before putting his wife to death, love and jealousy are represented, each exerting its whole force, but without any struggle. Othello was naturally inflexible; and the tenderest love could not divert him from a purpose he approved as right, not even for a moment; but every thing consistent with such a character is done to reconcile the two opposite passions: he is resolved to put her to death, but he will not shed her blood, nor so much as ruffle her skin:
Othello. It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul :-
And smooth as monumental alabaster. [Lays down the sword.
Yet she must die; else she'll betray more men.
Put out the light, and then-Put out the light!—
If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,
I can again thy former light restore,
Should I repent: but once put out thy light,
147. Coexistent passions as the causes of external effects.-Two coexistent passions having the same tendency.-Two passions of opposite tendencies proceeding from the Bame cause, considered in different views. Their effect upon action. Instance from Ovid.
I know not where is that Promethean heat
I cannot give it vital growth again;
It needs must wither.-I'll smell thee on the tree: [Kissing her.
O baliny breath, that dost almost persuade
Act V. Sc. 6.
INFLUENCE OF PASSION WITH RESPECT ΤΟ
149. CONSIDERING how intimately our perceptions, passions, and actions are mutually connected, it would be wonderful if they should have no mutual influence. That our actions are too much influenced by passion, is a known truth; but it is not less certain, though not so well known, that passion hath also an influence upon our perceptions, opinions, and belief. For example, the opinions we form of men and things, are generally directed by affection: an advice given by a man of figure, hath great weight; the same advice from one in a low condition is despised or neglected; a man of courage underrates danger; and to the indolent the slightest obstacle appears insurmountable.
150. There is no truth more universally known, than that tranquillity and sedateness are the proper state of mind for accurate perception and cool deliberation; and for that reason, we never regard the opinion even of the wisest man, when we discover prejudice or passion behind the curtain. Passion hath such influence over us, as to give a false light to all its objects. Agreeable passions prepossess the mind in favor of their objects, and disagreeable passions, no less against their objects: a woman is all perfection in her lover's opinion, while in the eye of a rival beauty, she is awkward and disagreeable when the passion of love is gone, beauty vanishes with it,-nothing left of that genteel motion, that sprightly conversation, those numberless graces, which formerly, in the lover's opinion, charmed all hearts. To a zealot every one of his own sect is a saint, while the most upright of a different sect are to him children of perdition: the talent of speaking in a friend is more regarded than
148. Love and jealousy in relation to the same object. Othello.
prudent conduct in any other. Nor will this surprise one acquainted with the world: our opinions, the result frequently of various and complicated views, are commonly so slight and wavering, as readily to be susceptible of a bias from passion.
151. With that natural bias another circumstance concurs, to give passion an undue influence on our opinions and belief; and that is a strong tendency in our nature to justify our passions as well as our actions, not to others only, but even to ourselves. That tendency is peculiarly remarkable with respect to disagreeable passions: by its influence, objects are magnified or lessened, circumstances supplied or suppressed, every thing colored and disguised, to answer the end of justification. Hence the foundation of self-deceit, where a man imposes upon himself innocently, and even without suspicion of a bias.
There are subordinate means that contribute to pervert the judgment, and to make us form opinions contrary to truth; of which I shall mention two. First, it was formerly observed, that though ideas seldom start up in the mind without connection, yet that ideas suited to the present tone of mind are readily suggested by any slight connection: the arguments for a favorite opinion are always at hand, while we often search in vain for those that cross our inclination. Second, The mind taking delight in agreeable circumstances or arguments, is deeply impressed with them; while those that are disagreeable are hurried over so as scarce to make an impression: the same argument, by being relished or not relished, weighs so differently, as in truth to make conviction depend more on passion than on reasoning. This observation is fully justified by experience to confine myself to a single instance; the numberless absurd religious tenets that at different times have pestered the world, would be altogether unaccountable but for that irregular bias of passion.
152. We proceed to a more pleasant task, which is, to illustrate the foregoing observations by proper examples. Gratitude, when warm, is often exerted upon the children of the benefactor; especially where he is removed out of reach by death or absence. (See part i. sect. i. of the present chapter.) The passion in this case being exerted for the sake of the benefactor, requires no peculiar excellence in his children: but the practice of doing good to these children produces affection for them, which never fails to advance them in our esteem. By such means, strong connections of affection are often formed among individuals, upon the slight foundation now mentioned.
Envy is a passion, which, being altogether unjustifiable, cannot be excused but by disguising it under some plausible name. At the
150. The proper state of mind for accurate perception and just deliberation.-How agreeable and disagreeable passions prepossess the mind. Instance of a lover; also of a zealot. 151. Tendency to justify our own passions. Influence of such a tendency.-Two subor dinate means that serve to pervert our judgment.