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interest is produced, not by veiling or contrasting offensive features and colours, but by so connecting them with agreeable qualities residing in the character itself, that the disagreeable effect is either entirely suppressed, or by its union with coa- ! lescing qualities, is converted into a pleasurable feeling* In particular, though Richard has no sense of justice, nor indeed of any moral obligation, he has an abundant share of those qualities which are termed intellectual. Destitute of virtue, he possesses ability. He shews discernment of character; artful contrivance in forming projects ; great address in the management of mankind; fertility of resource; a prudent command of temper; much versatility of deportment; and singular dexterity in concealing his intentions. He possesses along with these, such perfect consciousness of the superior powers of his own understanding above those of other men, as leads him not ostentatiously to treat them with contempt, but to employ them, while he really contemns their weakness, as engines of his
* See Humc's Essay on Tragedy.
ambition. Now, though these properties , are not the objects of moral approbation, and may be employed as the instruments of fraud no less than of justice, yet the native and unmingled effect which most of them produce on the spectator, independent of the principle that employs them, is an emo-1. tion of pleasure. The person possessing them is regarded with deference, with respect, and with adıniration. Thus, then, the satisfaction we receive in contemplating the character of Richard, in the various si-1 : tuations in which the poet has shewn him,'s: arises from a mixed feeling: a feeling, compounded of horror, on account of his guilt ; and of admiration, on account of his talents. By the concurrence of these two emotions the mind is thrown into a state of unusual agitation ; neither painful nor pleasant, in the extremes of pain or of pleasure, but strangely* delightful. Surprize and amazement, excited by the striking conjunctures which he himself very often occasions, and which give exercise to his talents, together with astonishment at the determined bold
aris: jects wort but impro union and i fering thy m dignati
pe. purposes from ele virtue, by
the pleasu that arising
* Latatur turbidum. Hor.
from our syn
ness and success of his guilt, give uncommon force to the general impression,
It may be apprehended, that the mixed feelings now mentioned may be termed indignation ; nor have I any objection to the use of the term. Indignation seems arise from a comparative view of two objects: the one worthy, and the other unworthy; which are, nevertheless, united; but which, on account of the wrong or impropriety occasioned by this incongruous union, we conceive should be disunited and independent. The man of merit suffering neglect or contempt, and the unworthy man raised to distinction, provoke indignation. In like manner, indignation may be provoked, by seeing illustrious talents perverted to inhuman and perfidious purposes. Nor is the feeling, for it arises from elevation of soul and consciousness of vistue, by any means disagreeable. Indeed, , the pleasure it yields us is different from that arising from other emotions of a more placid and soft character; different, for example, in a very remarkable manner, from our sympathy with successful merit.
suspence, wonder, and surprise, occasioned by the actual exertion of great abilities, under the guidance of uncontrouled inhumanity, by their awful effects, and the postures they assume, together with solicitude to see an union so unworthy dissolved, give poignancy to our indignation, and annex to it, if I may use the expression, a certain wild and alarming delight.
But, by what term soever we recognise the feeling, I proceed to illustraté, by a particular analysis of some striking scenes in the tragedy, “ that the pleasure we receive 56 from the Character of Richard, is pro“ duced by those emotions which arise in “ the mind, on beholding great intellectual “ ability employed for inhuman and perfi“ dious purposes."
1. In the first scene of the tragedy, we have the loathsome deformity of Richard displayed with such indications of mind as altogether suppress our aversion. Indeed the poet, in the beginning of Richard's soliloquy, keeps that deformity to which he would reconcile us, out of view ; nor mentions it till he throws discredit
opposite: this he does indirectly. He possesses the imagination with dislike at those einployments which are the usual concomitants of grace and beauty. The means used for this
purpose are suited to the artifice of the design. Richard does not inveigh with grave and with solemn declamation against the sports and pastime of a peaceful Court: they are unworthy of such serious assault. He treats them with irony: he scoffs at them; does not blame, but despise them.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths; Our bruised arms hung up for monuments ; Our stern alarums chang'd to merry meetings; Our dreadful marches to delightful measures. Grim-visaged war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front: And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds, To fright the souls of fearful adversaries, He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber, To the lascivious pleasing of a lute,
By thus throwing discredit on the usual attendants of grace and beauty, he lessens our esteem for those qualities; and proceeds with less reluctance to mention his own hideous appearance. Here, too, with great judgment on the part of the poet, the speech