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that soft and elevated melancholy, representation of fellow beings afwhich is widely different from fected. We suffer to a certain gloom or malevolence ; which is extent in their sufferings. It canserious, yet affectionate ; which not be supposed that exhibitions of sometimes prefers the stillness of misery are in themselves grateful ; solitude, and the murmur of the that sobs and groans regale our woods, to “ towered cities, and the ears, and spectacles of woe feast busy hum' of men ; the sober- our eyes. If this ever happen with suited night to the “gairish day ;'any, it must be with those only, which readily vibrates to the tones who are under the operation of the of sorrow, and yet has an ear for most dark and malignant pasthe song of gladness :
sions. Yet experience and obser
vation prove, that men in general • There is a kindly mood of melancholy, have some disposition to converse That wings the soul, and points her to
with misfortune, and find a pleathe skies. When tribulation clothes the child of sure in being moved with objects
of distress. I shall remark on the When age descends with sorrow to the fact,and the cause ; shall sketch the grave,
natural history of our sensibility 'Tis sweetly soothing sympathy to pain ;
to the sufferings of others; and A gently wakening call to health and ease.'
trace the origin of the pleasure
apparently found in compassionate, The expressions, we have recit- sympathetick feelings, excited by ed, have respect to our sympathies the presence or the representation with distress, real or imagined. It of human beings in situations difis believed to be a law of our men- ficult, trying, and calamitous. tal frame, that in certain circum- The aptitude to be moved by stances we shall derive pleasure the emotions, and to suffer with from affecting objects and repre- the sufferings of our fellow beings, sentations. The origin of this is expressed in a variety of terms pleasure has been a subject of spe- and phrases. It is called rejoicing culation ; for curiosity is necessa- with those who rejoice, and weeprily interested to disentangle it ing with those who weep. Symfrom its apparent complications ; pathy is used to indicate the state and the moral character of human of our feelings, when we enter innature is in some measure involv- to their painful sensations. We ed in the result of the inqui- are inclined to feel for all that feels, ry. The Remarker invites his or that is intimately associated with readers to join him in a brief ex- what is sensitive. An inanimate amination of this part of our con- object is regarded with interest stitution. They may find that 'on account of its connexion with light is reflected from one of the something animated. A staff, dark sides of our nature ; and see which has been long a companion a new proof of benevolence in the of our walks, is prized with a senauthor of our frame ; who has timent like affection. A dwelling, placed an ally of the unfortunate which has been a home, the seat in the strong holds of self-love, of our best enjoyments, is forsaken and ordained that pleasure shall with regret. Ruins, are objects of be raised from the bosom of un- sentiment, calling back the mind casiness.'
to the days of other years, and We are affected at the sight or seeming conscious to the actions of the mighty dead. The power agine his misery, and our souls of strong passion to convert things are attuned to correspondent viinanimate into sympathising be- brations. ings, is evinced by the personifica- The mode, the expressions, the tions of poetry. In elegiack ver- degree, and the attractiveness of ses the trees, and fountains, and this sympathy, are diversified by a rocks are described as sharing the multitude of causes within and griefs, which the muse bewails. without us. The effect is much Few persons are wholly indifferent determined by the manner,in which to the sufferings of the brute crea- the suffering is presented to our tion. The joy of the chase, cele- attention ; whether by sight, by brated with so much enthusiasm the report of an eye-witness, by in hunting songs, is not espoused the plain narrative of the historiby the pitiful so strongly, as the an, or the high-wrought fiction of fear and anguish of the animal the novelist; whether it appear in flying from its pursuers. Many
Many the tones of musick, in painting, an eye has been moistened at the sculpture, and statuary ; in the catastrophe of the high mettled descriptions of poetry, the pathetracer,' and all readers of Virgil ick addresses of eloquence, or in and Lucretius enter with fellow dramatick writings and exhibitions. feeling into those passages, where in the efforts of art to raise emothey describe, the one the sor- tion the success must vary with row of a steer for the loss of his the skill and dexterity, which are fellow, and the other the affliction exerted ; and depends on the conof a cow deprived of her calf.* formity of the characters, the inciThe dead, considered as cut off dents,the sentiments and language; from every agreeable appearance the intonations, looks, gestures, of nature, every loved connexion and attitudes to nature and truth. of life, and shut up in the cold and Numerous other circumstances are dreary tomb, are viewed with pity, known to influence the direction and though reflection teaches us that force of the sympathetick affecthese sad associations exist only in tions. The activity of the image our minds. We feel for those, ination, and sensibility of the heart, who are insensible to the circum- and delicacy of the temperament, stances that raise our emotion. are concerned in the impression The dubious prospects of the un- made by scenes of woe. Some perconscious infant, deprived of its sons are too stupid to comprehend parents; the gaiety of the maniack, any sorrows, but their own. They . laughing wild,' excite compas. witness and learn disasters with sion. The sympathy, of which we serenity undisturbed,as • Dutchmen are treating, is the fellow feeling, hear of earthquakes in Calabria.' which we have with a being like This dullness of the imaginaourselves, in situations of distress tion, which feels only what is preor under painful perturbations of sented to the senses or fixed in the mind. We are said to harmonise memory, and makes no combinawith his condition and feelings ; to tions of its own, is thought to acmake his sensations in a greater or count in part for the effect which less degree our own ; to adopt his exhibitions of fictitious distress cmotions. We see, hear, or im- produce on some persons, who do
not discover much sensibility to Beattie's Essays, p.
the calamities of real life. In a
novel or a tragedy the picture is accompany prosperous fortunes, or completely finished in all its parts, a dissipated life, are at variance and we are made acquainted, not with a sentimental, participating only with every circumstance on heart. Accustomed to live for selfwhich the distress turns, but with gratification, their affections begin the sentiments and feelings of ev- and end at home. They have few ery character with respect to his of those feelings, which prompt situation. In real life we see, in us to claim kindred with the fallen general, only detached scenes of and the unhappy. Shall the tear of the tragedy ; and the impression pity dim that eye, which is kindled is slight, unless the imagination with joy? Shall the gloom of symfinishes the characters and supplies pathetick sorrow be allowed to gathe incidents that are wanting.' ther on minds, which good fortune There is a cold, unfeeling temper- enables to dwell in the day-light ament, an icy hardness, whose of perpetual cheerfulness? Shall pulse never throbs with tender he, who is intent on pleasure, turn sensations. Others are as much aside from his porsuit to behold a too easily moved. They have sight of distress? Shall the soft a morbid delicacy, which may indolence of his mind be disturbed well make them wish to avoid by images of misery ; or the noise the sights and sounds of mises of his mirth be interrupted by the ry. A readiness to be affect- cries of affliction ? If he must ed by images of sorrow is a char- contract acquaintance with misforacteristick of the female heart. tune, let it be only the mimick When was woman ever wanting sorrow and fictitious woe of train compassion ? Connexion with gedy and romance, which it will ourselves, our private affections, cost him no pain nor trouble to our interests, and experience, has compassionate. There is a laugha necessary influence upon this ing tribe, who cannot be expected class of feelings. He jests at
· He jests at to be very pitiful. So long as they scars, who never felt a wound. have no affliction of their own, they
He talks to me,' says the weep- retain a constarit disposition to wit, ing mother, he talks to me, who humour, and ridicule, to the comnever had a son. In the near re- edy and farce of life. It has been lations of life, our sympathy with said of this temper, that a certain others is often identified with per- degree of vanity, or light pride, is sonal suffering. What they feel necessary to feed and support it; we feel, perhaps without the miti- and though it is never, perhaps, gations and supports, which they ex- allied to dark envy or atrocious perience, and in a greater degree malignity, it is never entirely free than they. Selfishness, in its dif- from a share of sordid selfishness; ferent forms, is an aptagonist of for as the
perpetual smile of gaiety compassion. Pride keeps us at a can only flow from the heart, which distance from vulgar and inelegant is perpetually at ease, it can only distress. Avarice hærdens the flow from that, which carries the (mind against the compunctious ingredients of perpetual ease alvisitings of nature,' though it will ways within itself; and these are allow us to weep at artificial mis- affections, which never diverge far ery, which does not need a friend. from its own centre.', The gaiety of disposition, or the Novelty, education, custom, fashselfishness of temper, that often ion, habit exert their influence on this part of our constitution. When vulgar know nothing of refinethe revolutionary scaffold in Paris ments of feeling, which belong to was daily smoking with the blood the cultivated. Customs and manof its victims, the spectacle lost its ners increase or diminish the susinterest with the people. The ceptibility. Roman gentlemen and monster, Robespierre, who then ladies enjoyed the fights of gladiagoverned, in the latter days of histors in the bloody arena. power, is said to have procured the The opinion of merit and procondemnation and execution of priety always enters into our symDine young and beautiful girls, pathies. Selfish, frivolous, and who presented a chaplet to the excessive sorrows, unbecoming the Prussian commander at Verdun, character of the subject, whether merely to rouse the wearied at- real or feigned, indicative of pusiltention of the populace by a more lanimity or atrocity, we refuse to affecting exhibition. The events partake. In real life we revere and of Europe, and especially in one love those persons, who appear to country of it, for the last sixteen feel much for others, and little for years, consisting of a succession themselves ; who are at once afof crimes and horrours, of civil fectionate and humane, patient and massacres, and bloody wars, have magnanimous. These are some operated by excess of stimulus to of the properties and operations of impair the sensibility of mankind. our sympathetick feelings. Are Age debilitates the feelings ; and these feelings ever productive of the professions, which occasion a pleasure ? What is the cause of familiarity with sufferings, tend to this pleasure? What is their convert the humanity, which at value and use in respect to charfirst was instinct and emotion, into acter and enjoyment? principle and habit. The rude
For the Anthology.
SILVA, No. 35.
uninspired by revelation, on an imTHE Dispensary of Garth, portant subject, in terse and muthough deservedly celebrated and sical numbers. much read at the time of its ap- 'To die, is landing on some silent shore, pearance, has of late been much Where billows never break, nor tem, beglected. This is naturally the pests roar ; fate of all works, which treat of Ere well we feel the friendly stroke, temporary topicks. Hence an au- The wise, through thought, th’insults
'tis o'er. thor, who writes for immortality,
of death defy, will always select such subjects, The fools through blest insensibility. will be interesting to posterity. 'Tis what the cowards fear, th’ unhap
The following lines from the poem py crave, above mentioned I have never
seen Sought by the wretch, and courted by
the brave. quoted. They are excellent, and it eases lovers, sets the captive free, speak the language of philosophy, · And, though a tyrant, offers liberty.
factions, which successively exer. will exist in language, as well as cised the democratick tyranny of in nature. The rules of a lan- the revolution. The celebrated guage must be supplied by itself; letter to the duke of Bedford was and the si volet usus of Horace written in 1796. Who rememanswers a thousand objections of bers not the following passage ? half-learned criticks. Priestley "The revolution harpies of France, says, “ The word means belongs to sprung from night and hell, or from the class of words, which do not that chaotick anarchy, which genechange their termination, on ac- 'rates equivocally “all monstrous, count of number ; for it is used all prodigious things," cuckoo-like alike in both numbers.' Campbell, adulterously lay their eggs, and who, in grammar, is a yet better brood over, and hatch them in the authority, is of the same opinion. nest of every neighbouring state. • No person of taste,' he remarks, These obscene harpies, who deck « will, I presume, venture so far to themselves, in I know not what violate the present usage, and con- divine attributes, but who in realiquently to shock the ears of the ty are foul and ravenous birds of generality of readers as to say, By prey (both mothers and daughters) this mean, by that mean.' Even futter over our heads, and souse Webster is ashamed to contend down upon our tables, and leave for such phrases. Yet one half nothing unrent, unrified, unravagthe lawyers and clergymen of this ed, or unpolluted with the slime metropolis are continually labour- of their filthy offal.' ing to reduce this noun means to Laharpe, at the re-opening of the obedience of common law. the Lyceum in the year 1794, after Let them turn to Lindley Mur- the fall of Robespierre, delivered a ray, who adduces examples a- discourse, conceived in a style of gainst them from fifteen authors splendid, indignant, exulting, and of the first celebrity. In vain, vehement eloquence, which is hardtherefore, am I told, that means ly inferiour to the philippicks of and amends were once trained Demosthenes, and not unlike the among regular troops,when I know declamations of Cicero against Anthat they now are enlisted in the tony. No man in France, and excorps of dragoons; and that in that cept urke in Europe, had then service they have been honoured dared to speak in such a tone of with the commands of Addison, energetick indignation of what LaAtterbury, Blackstone, Burke, harpe then first called the reign of Pope, Swift, and other literary he- monsters. We have translated the roes of the same rank.
following passage. He has been
speaking of the intrusion of the BURKE AND LAHARPE. ignorant and brutal creatures of • It is not a little curious, though Robespierre at the meetings of the not perhaps surprising, that Burke, Lyceum. “In one word,' says Lathe earliest of the anti-revolution- harpe, this irruption of our tyary enthusiasts in England, and rants, to overawe and pollute the Laharpe, the most eloquent of the peaceful festivals we here enjoy anti-jacobins in France, should have can be represented only by one seized upon precisely the same those fabulous inventions, which image, to depict the unnatural 0- enable the mind to conceive of diousnuss of the worst of those those that are real, (by the creation