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It is a singular fact, that in reading the most terrible events with which the pages of history are filled, we not only bear to read, but take delight in the perusal of those incidents which would be too affecting, were they immediately described to us by an eye-witness; and which would excite insufferable anguish were we ourselves spectators of the scenes. The cool narration of those vices, follies, intrigues, cruelties, oppressions, of which the history of states and kingdoms is chiefly composed, is just sufficient to awaken within us a degree of horror, indig nation, and sympathy, which is not inconsistent with the pleasure we take in the gratification of curiosity. We feel also self-approbation, which is far from being unpleasant, in the perception that we are always interested in the cause of the innocent, the weak, and the oppressed; that we can detest vice, and rejoice in the triumphs of virtue.

Nor does the professed Historian descend to those minutia, which, in scenes of this kind, have the strongest hold upon the mind. His narrative consists in a general representation of facts. He tells us of thousands and tens of thousands who were destroyed, or led into captivity, or reduced to extreme distress by pestilence and famine, without expatiating upon

minuter circumstances, which are absolutely necessary to compose an interesting picture. Thus are we much more affected with the parting of Hector from Andromache, than with the conflagration of Troy ; and we sympathize more deeply with the fate of this hero, when his lifeless body was dragged at the chariot-wheels of his proud conqueror, although it was insensible to pain, than with all the real distresses of the Trojan war. We suffer more from the simple story of Le Fevre, than from the reports of an hospital; and the countryman's pathetic lamentations over his dead ass, have called forth tears of commiseration, which much more extensive distress will not always produce.

We shall now advert to other causes, which have also a powerful influence in exciting or directing our affections; and have some relation both with the sympathy of our natures, and with the association of ideas and affections already noticed; these are

§15. Imitative Tones and Representations.

We are so constituted as to be strongly affected by the representation of particular states and situations, notwithstanding we may be con vinced that they are imaginary or artificial. Mere tones, attitudes, gestures, imitating or resem bling any of those produced by one or other of the passions and affections, are calculated to excite correspondent feelings and emotions, in susceptible minds. Like musical instruments attuned to the same key, our feelings are made to vibrate with the vibrations of surrounding objects. Even the Voice and Accents of inferior animals, expressive either of fear, or pain, or lamentation, or joy, or affection, have a tendency to render us apprehensive, cheerful, melancholy, or sympathizing. Rude and harsh sounds not only create unpleasant sensations, but suggest unpleasant and foreboding ideas, in all those who have not corrected their sensations by their reason. It is from this kind of associa tion probably, that the croaking of the raven, and the scream of a night owl, are so universally deemed ominous of mischief, by the ignorant. The sprightly music of the feathered


songsters inspires an exhilarating vivacity. The solitary and melodious notes of the nightingale, the cooing of the turtle dove, &c. have always furnished imagery for Poets, in their descriptions of the tender passion of love, or sympathetic sorrow. The bleating of the sheep, and lowing of the kine, &c. although they possess no real melody in themselves, yet as they denote the affection of the dam for its offspring, they universally inspire a pleasing sympathetic tenderness.

The principal charms of the Music, which aims at a higher character than that of difficult or rapid execution, consist in the imitation of those tones and movements which are most intimately connected with the passions and affections of the soul; which exhilarate the spirits, and excite to the sprightly or graceful dance; arouse and animate to martial deeds; induce a bewitching melancholy; or diffuse a pleasing se'renity over the mind;-which charm by displaying something like the power of persuasive eloquence without words,-by holding a kind of conversation without ideas,-and by exciting whatever disposition the artist pleases, without suggesting a motive.

It has been occasionally remarked, in our

Analysis, that the powerful influence of any exciting cause, manifests itself by Emotions correspondent to the nature of the passions; to seize these external appearances, or to imitate the expressive looks, attitudes, and gestures peculiar to each, is the professed object of the statuary and historic painter; and to do justice to these characteristic emotions, constitutes the difficulty and excellence of their art. It is the professed design of the Artist to excite some emotion, or call forth some particular affection, correspondent to the nature of his object. Although the power of the sculptor is confined to forms and attitudes principally, yet how interesting may these be rendered to the spectator! Who can contemplate the Apollo Belvedere, the Venus de Medicis, without admiring the human shape in its characteristic beauties? or the dancing Fawns, without partaking of their vivacity? Or the Farnese Hercules, without a degree of awe? or the Laocoon and his sons, without a mixture of compassion and horror? Or any of these, without being astonished at the skill, ingenuity, or sublimity of the artist? The enthusiastic encomiums bestowed upon the paintings of celebrated masters; the eagerness with which their labours are purchased; the wealth and renown which the most distinguished of them enjoy;

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