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standing in direct opposition to each other, yet, according to the phraseology of Longinus, the oldest writer on the subject now extant, the opposite to sublime is not the profound, but the humble, the low or the puerile. In one very remarkable passage which has puzzled several commentators not a little, ufos and Babos instead of being stated in contrast with each other, seem to be particularised as two things comprehended under some one common genus, corresponding to that expressed by the word altitudo.in Latin. Smith, in his English version, omits the second of these words entirely, acknowledging that he could not make sense of the passage as it now stands, and intimating his own approbation of a conjectural emendation of Dr. Tonstal's, who proposed (very absurdly in my opinion) to substitute pathos for bathos. Pearce, on the other hand, translates ofos a Babos, sublimitas sine altitudo; upsos is sublimity, and bathos in general, and almost universally, is applied as we use the adjective profound. “ It is possible, says Hooker, that by long circumduction “ from any one truth, all truth may be inferred. So also, by inge. “ nuity, metaphorical meaning being substituted for the literal “ meaning, the original import of words may be reversed-we “ speak of a stream of light, and of water, and thus as both are « streams, we may by forced construction make them synoni6 mous.”
Were we to proceed in this manner, Dryden's line would be reconcilable:
“ My wound's so great because it is so small,” and we should lose the zest of the exclamation from the gallery:
“Then it were greater were there none at all."
How all difficulties are done away, how all definitions, etymologies and doubts are futilized, if we consider that Longinus wrote on the sublime style, and that subsequent writers, by substantiving the sublime, and having always the idea of sublimity in their minds, blended qualities and emotions together. So familiarized is the world to the use of the term, that it is now very usual to say, I felt the sublime, which is in other words “ I was conscious of a sudden overpowering emotion of a peculiar kind, produced by a lofty, or vast or extensive, or ascending or descending off
ject, or by sudden light or darkness, these creating a vibration of the organs of sense, were conveyed to the brain, and from the sensorium to my whole frame.
The learned Dr. Crichton in his concise system of physiology and pathology observes, that “ in our ideas of external and internal impressions, the brain may be considered as the center of a great circle, and the remote extremities of the nerves as its circumference. Every impression which proceeds from the circumference to the center, is to be considered as external, and every one on the contrary, that proceeds from the center to the circumference is internal."
Magnitude, height, profundity, extent, a volcano, a cataract, the ocean, a mountain, a plane, an abyss, a pyramid, in short, whatever has a strong immediate impression and causes a sensation which swells the breast and stops thought, causes the emotion, or what Longinus's disciples term “the sublime”-he wanted a word to express a more exalted idea of the emotion than astonishment, and therefore coined "the sublime:" and unfortunately all writers from his time, not being able to get rid of the original import of the substantive sublimity, and of the adjective sublime, have exhibited ingenuity and sacrificed perspicuity. I cannot say that there is sublimity or elevation in a sea; but I admit that it occasions the emotion of sublimity. The magnet has produced the discovery of the new world, it directs the monstrous powerful vessel bearing thunder across the tempestuous ocean, in the midst of darkness, trembling, as it were, with animation; it has caused wonderful revolutions, and yet it does not create the emotion of sublimity, because it is little.
When I first beheld the mausoleum of Sheershaw, I felt this emotion; and under the influence of the first impression scrawled the following:
“ Within a stagnant pool superbly high,
And e'en in death maintains preeminence.” When I began to examine the architecture, the minarets, &c. although I calculated the vast expense, the length of time and the resources of the sovereign, I had lost the emotion or the sensation which is called the sublime.
When Mr. Burke observed that “ a vast object makes the whole capacity of the eye vibrate in all its parts, which approaches to the nature of what causes pain, and consequently must produce an idea of the sublime," this florid, captivating, energetic writer burnt, as the boys say, when a comrade is near a thing secreted. Had he pursued the vibration to the sensorium and considered the effect upon the whole frame, of which man is conscious, he would not confine himself to the mere pain of the vehicle—etonnement, stupeo, astonishment all impart an idea of the sensation and emotion occasioned by a novel object of magnitude. The term astonishment, having become familiar, loses its effect, the same as that of a sublime spectacle, and consequently “ the sublime” has been substituted, and occasioned much confusion with sublimity, which is only applicable to altitude.
Mr. Dugald Stewart, attributes the effect of horizontal extent to the influence of association and reflection, and not to the first impression, in the following paragraph, which though a long one, I extract to evince his illustration. “It will readily occur “as an objection to some of the foregoing conclusions, that hori“zontal extent as well as great altitude is an element, of the sub" lime. Upon the slightest reflection, however, it must appear "obvious, that the extension of the meaning of sublimity arises “ entirely from the natural association between elevated position " and a commanding prospect of the earth's surface.” As the most palpable measure of elevation is the extent of view which it affords--so on the other hand, an enlarged horizon recalls impressions connected with great elevation. The plain of Yorkshire, and perhaps still in a greater degree, Salisbury plain produces an emotion approaching to sublimity on the mind of a Scotchman, the first time he sees it: an emotion I am persuaded very different from what would be experienced by a Fleming or a Dutchman, and this abstracting all together from the charm of novelty. The feelings connected with the wide expanse over which his eye was accustomed to wander, from the summits of his native mountains, and which in hilly countries, are to be en
joyed exclusively, during the short intervals of a serene sky, from eminences, which in general are lost among the clouds-these feelings, are in some measure, awakened by the enlarged horizon, which now every where surrounds him; the principles of association in this, as in numberless other cases, transferring whatever emotion, is necessarily connected with a particular idea, to every thing else which is inseparably linked with it in the memory."
Perhaps it were difficult to find a sentence more calculated to perplex the intellect than this--horizontal extent and altitude are here denominated elements of the sublime and immediately after we are told of the emotions of sublimity. The Scotchman would have the emotion caused by sublimity on the first view of the ocean or an extensive plain, not by thinking of his commanding height in Scotland, but by the novelty and expanse heretofore not seen, If a man had never read or heard of the sea or a plain, he would be still more struck at the first view. I have here introduced the word struck undesignedly, which has become familiar as it conveys an idea of the feeling which a sublime or grand or extensive objeet occasions, by the shock to the sensorium.-The Dutchman would not be affected by seeing the ocean, because it was familiar to him, although it would remind him of storms, &c.
The pure and energetic style of Mr. Stewart “ deep yet clear, without o’erflowing full,” his profound erudition, his luminous illustrations, his ingenious deductions, and his high reputation, almost deterred me from venturing to differ in opinion with him, and I am apprehensive of the charge of presumption in this attempt to exercise my own judgment and to prevent the delusion of others. The effulgence of the sun is gradually softened by successive shades into a glimmering, until it fades at length into the darkness of night; and thus with much subtlety of reasoning, Mr. Stewart makes both light and darkness sublime, and by bewitching induction, we are persuaded to believe that sublimity which implies a quality, and the sublime which implies the consciousness of an emotion, are synonimous.
Though a skilful painter may produce a picture which represents a bust upwards and downwards, which ever way it is VOL. VII.
viewed, yet even Mr. Stewart cannot shake my opinion that sublimity and profundity are contraries. The picture with two heads may give me, when they are viewed either way, the emotion of agreeable surprise, and so elevation and depth may both occasion astonishment.
Mr. Blair says, that “a stream that runs within its banks, is a bcautiful object, but, when it rushes down with the impotu. osity and noise of a torrent, it presently becomes a sublime one.” It would be more appropriate to call it an astonishing one. Mr. Blair observes, that “the author of a philosophical inquiry into the origin of our ideas of the sublime and beautiful to whom we are indebted for several ingenious and original thoughts, upon this subject, proposes a formal theory upon this foundation, that terror is the source of the sublime, and that no objects have this character, but such as produce impressions of pain and danger. It is, indeed, true, that many terrible objects are highly sublime, and that grandeur does not refuse an alliance with the idea of danger. But though this is very properly illustrated by the author, (many of whose sentiments on that head I have adopted,) yet he seems to stretch his theory too far, when he represents the sublime as consisting wholly in modes of danger or of pain. For the proper sensation of sublimity, [what is here meant by a sensation of sublimity? a sensation is only caused by sublimity, the sensation ought to have another name, such as stupor, etonnement, &c.; but to proceed,] “ appears to be very distinguishable from either of those, and on several occasions to be entirely separated from them. In many grand objects there is no coincidence with terror at all, as in the magnificent prospect of wide extended plains, and of the starry firmament, or in the moral dispositions and sentiments, which we view with high admiration, and in many painful and terrible objects also, it is clear, there is no sort of grandeur. The amputation of a limb, or the bite of a snake, are exceedingly terrible, but are destitute of all claims to sublimity.” Here, again, sublimity is used as effect--fear is a sensation, terrible objects are what cause terror-a sensation--to say, that sublimity causes sublimity, is unintelligible-he proceeds, “I am inclined to think, that mighty force or power, whether accompanied with terror, or not, whe