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Mercy, and Truth, and hospitable Care,
GOLDSMITH, altered. On the other hand, we behold issuing from the same source a variety of restless and turbulent affections, which, from their characteristic violence, contribute equally, perhaps, to the unhappiness of those who possess them, and to the world on which they are exercised. To this tribe belong avarice, or the love of gain; ambition, or the love of power; pride and vanity, or the love of pomp, splendour, and ostentation; selfishness, or the love of the person, in common language, self-love: though the whole of these being of a selfish character, this latter term might, with as much propriety, apply to every one of them, as that of charity, or the love of others, to each of the preceding division.
Most of these are admirably described or allegorized by Spenser in his Faerie Queene, which will be found to afford a most powerful illustration of the general hints here offered. I would readily bring instances in proof of this remark if our time would allow : as a single example of the force of his imagination, let me especially direct your attention to his entire delineation of avarice or mammon, and particularly the following picturescue representation of his dwelling:
Both roofe and floore, and walls, were all of gold,
'HOPE I have enumerated as the second main stream that emanates from the passion of DESIRE. Try the world, examine your own hearts, and you will agree with me that this is its source. Hope must spring from desire, and cannot exist without it: as it rises in the scale it becomes trust or confidence; and confidence, according to the alliance it forms with other feelings or affections, gives birth to two very different families. United to a vigorous judgment and an ardent imagination, it produces courage, magnanimity, patience, intrepidity, enterprise; combined with vanity or self-love, the complex and mischievous brood is self-opinion, impudence, audacity, and conceit.
Hope, however, is not produced singly. It is a twin-passion, and its congenital sister is Fear. This has not been sufficiently attended to by pathognomists; but examine the general tenor and accompaninient of the passions as they rise in your hearts, and you will find the present statement correct. Hope and fear spring equally from desire—the hope of gaining the desired object, and the fear of losing it. They run the same race, though with varying degrees of strength, and terminate their joint career in the antagonist extreme points of fruition or despair; the powers of hope growing gradually more intense as it approaches the former goal, and those of fear as it approaches the latter.
I have said, that at these boundaries they terminate their respective career; but fear does not always cease with fruition. Uncertainty and change are so strongly written on all earthly enjoyments, that even in the firmest possession we have still some fear of losing them; so that we can seldom say, “What a man hath, why doth he yet fear for ?” though nothing is more pertinent than the opposite inquiry, "What a man hath, why doth he yet hope for?" Fruition without fear is reserved for, and will be, the great prerogative of a higher state of being.
Fear. however, like hope, in its progress through life, forms other alliances
* B. ii. canto vii. xxix.
than that which springs during its infancy: Combined with a sense of failure or imperfection in our own powers, it takes a right direction, and produces caution, timidity, bashfulness, diffidence, respect, and complaisance : united to friendship, love, or complacency, it engenders gratitude, devotion, reverence, veneration, and awe, which are only different degrees of the same feeling: and hence the term FEAR, in the sense we are now taking of it, becomes an apt and beautiful type of every religious affection; of desire; as love, gratitude, zeal, devotion, and awe; for we have just traced it as branching up in this direct line of descent.
The connexions of fear, moreover, like those of hope, are of a bad as well as of a good character: united to a judgment that measures its powers amiss, and entertains too mean an opinion of them, it degenerates into irresolution, doubt, cowardice, and pusillanimity: combined with a restless and irritable imagination, it begets suspicion, jealousy, dread, terror; and terror, when combined with hate, gives birth to the passion of horror. It is in this last character, as connected with the fancy or imagination, that the term Fear is for the most part employed by the dramatists; and it is to this that Collins has entirely confined himself in his celebrated ode upon the subject.
Thou to whom the world unknown,
Ah, Fear! ah, frantic FEAR!
I see, I see thee near.
The third main passion which issues from the common stock of DESIRE, ! have said, is EMULATION. This, when properly attempered, and connected with what have already appeared to be the social affections, is one of the noblest and most valuable emotions that actuates the human heart. It commences early, and often accompanies us to the closing scene of life. It inspirits the play of the infant, the task of the schoolboy, and the busy career of the man. It gives health and vigour to the first, applause and distinction to the second, and riches and honour to the third. But emulation, instead of being connected with the social, is often connected with the selfish affections ; and in this case it degenerates into rivalry, an ungenerous strife to equal or surpass a competitor where there is a chance of success; or into envy, which is a mixture of emulation and hatred, where there is not.
The antagonist passion to desire is AVERSION, which has also, like desire, different degrees of intensity, and a family of diversified characters, though in neither respect so numerous or complicated as the former.
It not unfrequently unites itself to pride, and produces, as its progeny, the jaundiced family of scorn, contempt, and disdain; the last of which is the
His looks were dreadful, and his fiery eyes,
As if he, with his looks, all men would terrify. Aversion, combined with a quick sense of being wronged, whether real or imaginary, becomes anger; anger, when violent or ungovernable, is denomi. nated rage or fury; and, when stimulated by a determination to retaliate, it assumes the name and shape of revenge. Hatred is only aversion advanced to a higher degree in the scale; and hatred, colleagued with a fixed and clandestine desire to injure, degenerates into malice; the foulest, most despicable, and most devilish of all the passions that can harass an intelligent being, and the most opposite to the character of the Divinity; for God is love, and the stamp of benevolence is imprinted on every part of creation.
De secretes beautés quel amas innombrable!
Such, then, are the numerous and diversified families that issue directly or collaterally from the passion of desire, or of aversion as its opposite. I stated this passion to be almost universal in its range, and I submit to you whether this statement has not been verified.
The two other radical sources into which we are to resolve the remaining passions of the heart are joy and sorrow : of equal weight and moment in the scale of life, but less numerous and complicated in their offspring; and which will, therefore, detain us but for a few minutes.
Joy, when pure and genuine, is a sweet and vivacious affection. It is the test and index of happiness or pleasure. Its influence, like that of gravitation, extends to remote objects; and it lightens the severest labours by its foretaste. It is the breath, the nectar of heaven, and the high reward which stimulates us to a performance of our duty while on earth.
Joy, like several of the preceding passions, has different names assigned to it, in its different stages of ascent ; at its lowest point, it is ease, content, or tranquillity; at a certain elevation, it is called delight or gladness; somewhat farther in the scale, exultation; beyond this, rapture or transport-for the terms, as applied to this passion, are synonymous; and advanced far higher, it is ecstasy-joy so overwhelming as to take away the senses, and prevent all power of utterance. Among the Greeks, however, the term ECSTASY was used in a more general sense, and applied to any overwhelming affection, whether of joy or sorrow; and Shakspeare, who has often carried it farther than the Greeks, occasionally makes it a feature of madness or mental distraction, which is not passion but disease. The following from his Hamlet is an instance of this signification :
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Combined with activity, joy produces the light-hearted family of cheerfulness, gayety, mirth, frolic, and jocularity; the best and most lively picture of which that the world has ever seen, is given by Milton in his Allegro, mirth being here placed at the head of the whole.
Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee
Possessing features in many respects similar, we meet with another lively tribe, which are equally the offspring of joy, but of joy in alliance with an ardent imagination. These are sentimentalism, characterized by romantic views or ideas of real life; chivalry, which is the sentimentalism of gallantry, caparisoned for action, and impatient to enter the burning list.
Where throngs of knights and barons bold
* Racine le fils, Poëme de la Religion.
This extravagant passion had its use in the feudal times; but it has for ages become antiquated, and in modern warfare has certainly too much gone out of fashion.
To the same tribe belongs enthusiasm, the joyous or ecstatic devotion of a high-wrought fancy to some particular cause or party, the chief of which are religion and patriotism: and under the influence of which, the body is wound up to a display of almost preternatural exploits, and an endurance of almost miraculous privations and labour.
The sprightly passion of joy gives birth also to a third tribe, in consequence of its union with novelty. It is a listening and attentive group, and consists of admiration, surprise, wonder, and astonishment: upon which I need not enlarge, except to remark that the word astonishment is, at times, made use of to express a very different feeling, produced by novelty and terror; and which is more accurately distinguished by the name of amazement. These mixed passions, however, are very apt to run into each other, as I shall have occasion to notice more at large in a subsequent study: and perhaps the most exquisite feeling a man can possess of the purely mental kind, is dea rived from a contemplation of scenery, or a perusal of history, where every thing around him is grand, majestic, and marvellous, and the terrible keeps an equal, or rather nearly an equal pace with the delightful.
The opposite of joy is Sorrow-a fruitful mother of hideous and unwelcome children: fruitful I mean on earth, but shut out with a wall of adamant from the purer regions of the skies.
Sorrow is as much distinguished by different names as any of the preceding affections, according to the height it reaches in the general scale of evil. And hence, at one point, it is sadness; at another, wo or misery; at a third, anguish; and at its extreme verge, distraction or despair.
Connected with a sense of something lost, or beyond our reach, it gives rise to regret and grief; and when in union with a feeling of guilt, it becomes remorse and repentance.
Its two bosom companions, however, are fear and fancy. When allied to the former alone, it produces the haggard progeny of care, anxiety, vexation, and fretfulness; the first of which is thus admirably described by Hawkesworth, in his ingenious but melancholy piece, entitled Life, an Ode: in which care is directly stated, as in the present case, to be a mixed breed of wo or sorrow and fear.
Who art thon, with anxious mien
When sorrow associates herself with both fear and fancy, she then produces the demon brood of dejection, gloom, vapours, moroseness, heaviness, and melancholy; all of them begotten, like the last,
In Stygian cave forlorn,
Such is the origin of melancholy, as given by Milton, in his Allegro, or Ode to Mirth ; but in his Penseroso, or Ode to Melancholy herself, he derives her from a purer source, and dresses her in the pensive character of a religious reclus The picture shows a ine imagination; but is, perhaps, less true to nature than the preceding.
Come, pensive nun, devout and pure,
Come, but keep thy wonted state,
Despair or distraction brings up the rear of the miserable and tumultuous group before us. This passion has generally been contemplated as a mingled emotion; but it is perhaps far less so than most of the rest. It is a concentration of pure, unmitigated horror, equally void of hope, fear, and all moral feeling—an awful type of the torments of the lower world. The sensorial power is hurried forward towards a single outlet, and with a rushing violence that threatens its instantaneous exhaustion from the entire frame, like the discharge of electricity accumulated in a Leyden jar when touched by a brass rod. The eye is fixed; the limbs tremble; upon the countenance hangs a wild and unutterable sullenness. The harrowed and distracted soul shrinks at nothing, and is attracted by nothing: the deepest danger and the tenderest ties have equally lost their command over it.
Despair is, hence, the most selfish of all the passions. In its overwhelming agony, and its pressing desire of gloom and solitude, it approaches to what is ordinarily called HEART-ACHE; but, generally speaking, the emotion is far more contracted and personal, and the action far more precipitous and daring. Despair, as it commonly shows itself, is either hopelessness from mortified pride, blasted expectations, or a sense of personal ruin.
The gamester, who cares for no one but himself, may rage with all the horror of despair; but the heart-ache belongs chiefly to the man of a warmer and more generous bosom, stung to the quick by a wound he least expected, or borne down not by the loss of fortune, but of a dear friend or relation, in whom he had concentrated all his hopes. The well-known picture of Beverley is drawn by the hand of a master, and he is represented as maddened by the thought of the deep distress into which his last hazard had plunged his wise and family; but if his selfish love of gaming had not triumphed over his relative love for those he had thus ruined, he would not have been involved in any such reverse of fortune ; nor, without the same selfishness, would he farther have added to their blow by a deed that was sure to withdraw him for ever from all share in their misery, and overwhelm them with an accumulated shock. While Beverley was in despair, it was his wife who was broken-hearted.*
The picture which Spenser has drawn of despair, as seated in his own wretched cave, has been praised by every one from the time of Sir Philip Sidney; but it has always appeared to me that his description of Sir Trevisan, who was fortunate enough to escape from the enchantment of this demon-power, is still more forcibly drawn in the passage where, on the commencement of his flight, he is represented as accidentally meeting with the Red Cross Knight :
He answered naught at all: but adding new
But, trembling every joynt, did inly quake,
For loe! he comes, he comes fast after mee!"
* Study of Medicine, vol. iv. p. 133, 2d edit. 1825
Faerie Queene, b. i. c. ix. 24, 25.