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emotion of beauty will not follow, because the mind now perceives a want of capacity to create the necessary antecedent pleasure; and with this may be joined, in the case of known objects, disappointments : while the new may fail of producing the emotion, because their effects are yet unknown.
The elements of sensation and of emotion are few. But we combine the one with the other, associating external things with our feelings, and attributing our feelings to external things, and frequently even decompounding them, until the pleasures and pains of taste become innumerable, and it is difficult to return, for a moment, to the simple elements. Associations accumulate upon our primary feelings, as the sand of the desert upon the temples of Egypt, and when we would throw them off, they continually roll back again, and hardly leave us time to read the old inscription beneath; or, like the harmony of colors, in nature, where every tree, and bough, and leaf, every item of wood and lawn, borrows so much from all the rest, that it is difficult to say what proportion of the general effect is due to each of the primary tints, or to point out a place where a simple color appears. But no matter what tie unites a pleasurable feeling with its antecedent, the experience of the senses, or the accidents of association, to the mind that perceives the relation, it becomes a source of beauty. And consequently, just as truly as men may be mistaken in judging of the relations of things, may they err in matters of taste.
The young British officer in India, who supposed himself bitten by a cobra capello, was overwhelmed for a time by the dread of sudden death; but finding himself mistaken as to the fact, and that the reptile which had alarmed him was perfectly innocuous, became immediately ashamed of measures which would have been nothing more than proper had his first belief been correct. So one may be delighted with an object which afterward he finds is not at all calculated to give the pleasure he had imputed to it. He of course changes his mind. This last opinion is correct, his former was not. The emotion will always come in the right place, but the preceding judgment may be wrong, and the emotion brought up in view of a false object; consequently, the capacities of men for enjoying and correctly judging of the beautiful must be exceedingly various, although one end is contemplated by all. The finer a person's senses are, the larger his grasp of mind, the more sensitive his feelings, the sounder his judgment, and the more extensive his knowledge, the greater and truer will be his stores of Æsthetic delight; while, on the other hand, those of duller senses, of narrow intellect, obtuse feelings, wavering judgment, and little imagination and knowledge, may seem to be utterly devoid of it. Still, even in the humblest intellect, whenever the emotion appears, it will be found in the same place, the subsequent of a judgment upon the fitness of something to give primary pleasure.
ONE EFFECT FROM APPARENTLY MANY CAUSES.
If the preceding remarks are just, the difficulty which many have experienced in dealing with the vast diversity in the objects of beauty, must be entirely obviated. Viewed through this lens, what was formerly nebulous is resolved into a number of bright points, all directing their rays to one common center. For many objects by different means are found to be productive of pleasurable feelings, feelings which are of different orders, and agree only in being pleasurable. And beauty, contemplating only the relation between the mental state and the object which causes it, may succeed the observation of a great diversity of things. Pleasant is the gratification of the love of order; and contemplation of things adapted to that end, if unimpeded by other considerations, is invariably followed by the emotion of beauty. A perception of eminent utility has the same subsequent, because there is a pleasure in seeing a thing answer the end for which it was made ; and objects of instinctive love, because of their association with an agreeable feeling. And if
the first perception of an emotion as pleasant becomes the antecedent of beauty, the recollection of that emotion must be attended by the same subsequent. Or, something in itself indifferent, or even disagreeable, may be followed by the feeling of beauty, from associan tion with pleasant things. In all these examples, and in all others that I can conceive of, where beauty exists, it will be found to be the same, and in the same immediate connection. The invariable subsequent of the same antecedent, or, in other words, one effect of one cause. For though pleasures are different, and their immediate antecedents different, the perception of the relation existing between the pleasure and its cause is the same intellectual operation in all cases, and followed by the same kind of delight. So hope and fear are also feelings following a perception of relations existing between the human spirit and objects of its cognizance. Fear of the sword, fear of rattlesnakes, fear of a steamboat explosion, and fear of ghosts, are not different emotions, although arising in view of very different objects and very different sensations. Sensation is the portal by which visitors from the external world are admitted to the mind, and emotion is the result of the judgment formed upon their character. This mental process, in many cases, hardly occupies an appreciable duration ; in others, it involves lengthened observation, reflection, and comparison.
Is, then, all we call pleasure productive of beauty? Evidently not. Those turbulent pleasures, which excite and disturb, are inconsistent with what is observed of the distinctive features of beauty, and, in experience, are not found to produce it; or at most, in a feeble degree. The turbulent and exciting features of pleasure must be removed, and a state induced upon which the mind can repose. It must be a pleasure conducing to calm the spirit, one whose recurrence can be contemplated without any alloy of agitation or disapproval. The ingredient entering into the composition of its antecedents must be harmonious. Any one discordant with the tone of the rest will ruin the general effect. But there is in almost all our emotions a degree which is pleasing. Even in grief there is a strange deep gratification, which sympathy or association sometimes revives, without its original attendant, pain. For the healthy memory is blessed with the faculty of retaining pleasures longer than pains. And that emotion in which pain was originally predominant, is frequently recalled as only a sober, sadder joy.