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when as a Roman poet, by a bold rhetorical figure, says of the memorable scene, and the memorable outcast whom it sheltered, each was to the other a consolation, and equally afflicted and overwhelmed together, they forgave the gods,

"Non ille favore
Numinis, ingenti superum protectus ab ira,
Vir serus, et Romam cupienti perdere lato
Sufficiens. Idem pelago delatus iniquo,
Hostilem in terram, vacuisque, mapalibus actus,
Nuda triumphati jacuit per regna Jugurthæ,
Et Pænos pressit cineres : solatia fati,
Carthago, Mariusque, tulit; pariterque jacentes,
Ignovere Deis."*

An old French opera, of which D'Alembert speaks, on the horrible story of Atreus and Thyestes, that story on which, as on other horrible stories of the kind, the ancients were so strangely fond of dwelling, in preference, and almost to the exclusion of more interesting pathos, concludes, after the banquet, with the vengeance of the gods on the contriver of the dreadful feast; and amidst the bolts that are falling around him on every side, Atreus cries out, as if exulting, “ Thunder, ye powerless gods, I am avenged." To Jessen that triumphant revenge, which is so sublime in this case, would be not to produce an emotion of beauty, but to produce that disgust and contempt, which we feel for petty malice. I need not allude to the multitude of other cases, to which the same remark would be equally applicable.

Whether, then, the emotions be, or be not, of a kind which may be gradual, by the omission of some circumstance, or the diminution of the vivid feeling itself, lessened down to that emotion, which we ascribe to mere beauty, it is not the less sublime, if it truly involves that species of vivid feeling, which we distinguish, with sufficient readiness, from the gentle delight of beauty, as we distinguish the sensation of a burn from that of gentle warmth, without being able to state, in words, in what circumstance, or cir stances, the difference of the feelings consists. It is the vain at tempt to define what cannot be defined, that has led to all the errors and supposed mysteries in the theory of sublimity, as it has led to similar errors in the theory of beauty. Sublimity is pot

* Lucan, Pharsalia, lib. ii. v. 85--93.

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one emotion, but various emotions, that have a certain resemblance,--the sublime in itself is nothing; or at least, it is only a mere name, indicative of our feeling of the resemblance of certain affections of our mind, excited by objects, material or mental, that agree, perhaps, in no other circumstance, but in that analogous undefinable emotion which they excite. Whatever is vast, in the material world-whatever is supremely comprehensive in intellect-whatever in morals implies virtuous affections or passions far beyond the ordinary level of humanity, or even guilt, that is ennobled, in some measure, by the fearlessness of its daring, or the magnitude of the ends, to which it has had the boldness to aspire—these and various other objects, in mind and matter, produce certain vivid feelings, which are so similar as to be classed together; and, if we speak of sublimity, merely in reference to the various objects which excite these analogous feelings, so as to make the enumeration of the objects a sort of definition of the species of emotion itself, there can be no risk of mistake, more than in saying, that sweetness is a word expressive of those sensations which sugar, honey, and various other substitutes that might be named, excite. But, if we attempt to define sweetness itself as a sensation, or sublimity itself as an emotion, we either state what is absolutely nugatory, or what is still more probably false in its general extent, however partially true ; because our attention, in our definition, will be given to some particular emotions of the class, not to anything common to the class, since there is truly no common circumstance, which words can adequately express. Hence it happens, that by this singling out of particular objects, we have many theories of sublimity, as we have of beauty; all of them founded on the supposition of an universal sublimity a parte rei, as the theories of beauty were founded on an universal beauty a parte rei. Sublimity, says one writer, is the terrible---according to another writer, it is magnitude or amplitude, which is essential to the emotion-according to another, it is mighty force or power-according to another, it is the mere suggestion of images of feelings, directly connected with that elevation in place which has given sublimity its name-according to another, it arises from a wider range of associations, all, however, centering in some prior affections of the mind, as their direct source. It very true, that terror, vastness of size, extraordinary force, high elevation, and various associate images, do produce feelings of sublimity; but it is not equally true, that any one of these feelings is itself all the other feelings. Great elevation, for example, may excite in me the emotion to which it has given the distinctive name, and it is even possible, that many great virtues, may, by a sort of poetic analogy, suggest the notion of local elevation, as snow suggests the notion of spotless innocence, or the shadow that follows any brilliant object, the notion of envy pursuing merit. But even though, in thinking of heroic virtue, the analogy of local elevation were excited,—which it surely is only in very rare cases,-this would be no reason for believing, that the heroic virtue itself is incapable of exciting emotion, till it have previously suggested height, and the feelings associated with height. It is the same with magnitude or power; they are causes of sublime feelings, not causes of the sublime, --which has no real existence,--nor of those other sublime feelings, which have no direct relation to magnitude or power. Power itself for example, is not maguitude ; nor magnitude power. The contemplation of eternity or infinity of space, is instantly, and of itself, as a mere object of thought, productive of this emotion, without any regard to my power of conceiving infinity, which may, indeed, be a subsequent cause of astonishment, but which certainly does not precede the emotion as its cause. In like manner, any great energy of mind, either in acting or bearing, though it may suggest, by analogy, magnitude, as it may suggest many other analogies, does not depend, for the emotion which it excites, on the previous sug. gestion of the analogous amplitude of size. The two primary errors, as I have already said, in all these various theories, which may be considered as confutations of each other, consist in suppos ing, first, that sublimity is one,—the sublime, to use the language of theory,—which, therefore, as suggested by ope object, may be precisely the same with the emotion suggested by other objects; and, secondly, the belief, that because certain objects have an analogy, so as to be capable, by the mere laws of association, of suggesting each other, they, therefore, do uniformly suggest each other, and excite emotion only in this way,--that because any generous sacrifice, for instance, may suggest the notion of magnitude or elevation in place-which, if it suggest them at all, it suggests only rarely,-it, therefore, must at all times suggest them, -as if it were absolutely impossible for us to see an object, without thinking of any analogous object,--to look on snow, without thinking of innocence, or on a shadow, without thinking of envy.


I trust, after the remarks already made, that it is unnecessary for me to repeat any arguments in confutation of the error as to one universal sublime,-an error of precisely the same kind, as that which would contend, that, because the fragrance of a violet, and the simplicity of a comprehensive theorem, are both pleasing, the theorem comprehends the fragrance, or the fragrance the mathematical demonstration. As there are many pleasures, excited by many objects, but not the pleasing,-many emotions of beauty, excited by many objects, but not the beautiful ;-50 are there many emotions of sublimity, excited by many objects, but not the sublime. The emotion, which I feel, when I think of all the ages of eternity, that, however indefinitely multiplied, are as nothing to the ages that still remain,--that which I feel, when I think of a night of tempešt on the ocean, when no light is to be seen, but the flash of guns of distress from some half-wrecked vessel ; or the still more dreadful light from the clouds above, that gleams only to shew the billows bursting over their prey, and nothing to be heard but the shriek that rises loudest, at the very moment, when it is lost at last, and forever, in one continued howl and dashing of the storm and the surge,-these feelings, though both classed as sublime, and having some resemblance, which leads to this classification, are yet, in their most important respects, very different from each other; and how different are they both, from the emotion, with which I regard some moral sublimity,--the memorable action of Arria, when she presented the dagger to her lord, or the more tranquil happiness of the elder Pætus, when, on being ordered by the tyrant to death, -as in the accustomed rites of some grateful sacrifice,-he sprinkled his blood as a libation to Jove the deliverer! It is in the moral conduct of our fellow men, that the species of sublimity is to be found, which we most gladly recognize, as the character of that glorious nature, which we have received from God,—a character which makes us more erect in mind, than we are in stature, and enables us, not to gaze on the heavens merely, but to lift to them our very wishes, and to imitate in some faint degree, and to admire at least, where we cannot imitate, the gracious perfection that dwells there. It is to mind,



therefore, that we turn, even from the sublimest wonders of magnificence, which the material universe exhibits.

“Look then abroad through Nature, to the range
Of planets, suns and adamantine spheres,
Wheeling unshaken through the void immense ;
And speak, O man, does this capacious scene,
With half that kindling majesty, dilate
Tby strong conception, as when Brutus rose
Refulgent from the stroke of Cæsar's fate,
Amid the crowd of patriots !--and his arm
Aloft extending, like eternal Jove,
When Guilt brings down the thunder, call'd aloud
On Tully's name, and shook his crimson steel,
And bade the father of his country, hail !
For, lo ! the tyrant prostrate io the dust,
And Rome again is free."*

Yet, though mind exhibits the sublimities, on which we love most to dwell, we must not, on that account, suppose, that material objects are incapable of exciting any kindred feeling ;—that, but for the accident of some mental association, the immensity of space would be considered by us with the same indifference as a single atom ;-or the whole tempest of surges, in the seemingly boundless world of waters, with as little emotion, as the shallow pool that may chance to be dimpling before our eyes.

The remarks, which I made on beauty, might, however, of themselves, have been sufficient to save you from this mistake ; and, indeed, after those remarks, it was, perhaps, superfluous in me, to repeat, in the case of sublimity, any part of the argument, which I employed on the former occasion. The further applications of it, which I have not made, you can have no difficulty in making for yourselves.

* Pleasures of Imagination, B. I. v. 487—500.

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