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arises not only from the display .of calamity, but from the display of an inhuman mind. For how inuch soever human nature may exhibit interesting appearances, there are dispositions in mankind, which cannot otherwise be regarded than with abhorrence. Of this sort are cruelty, malice, and revenge. They affect us in the representation in the same manner as in real life. Neither the poet nor historian, if they represent them unmixed and unconnected with other ingredients, can ever render them agreeable. Who can without pain peruse the tragedy of Titus Andronicus, or the account given by Suetonius, of the butcheries and enormities perpetrated by some of the Cæsars ?
Yet with cruelty, malice, and revenge, many useful and even excellent qualities may
be blended; of this kind are courage, independence of spirit, discernment of character, sagacity in the contrivance, and dexterity in the execution, of arduous enterprises. These considered apart, and unconnected with moral or immoral affections,
are viewed with considerable pleasure, and regarded with some respect. United with good dispositions, they produce the highest merit, and form the most exalted character. United with evil affections, though they do not lessen, yet perhaps they counteract, at least they alter the nature and tendency of our abhorrence.
We do not indeed, on their account, regard the inhuman character with less disapprobation ; on the contrary, our disapprobation is, if possible, more determined. Yet, by the mixture of different ingredients, our sensations are changed, they are not very painful; nay, if the proportion of respectable qualities be considerable, they become agreeable. The character, though highly blameable, attracts our notice, excites curiosity, and yields delight. The character of Satan in Paradise Lost, one of the most finished in the whole range of epic poetry, fully illustrates our observation: it displays inhumanity, malice, and revenge, united with sagacity, intrepidity, dexterity, and perseverance.
Of a similar kind, though with some different lineaments, is Shakespeare's King Richard the Third ; it excites indignation : indignation, however, is not a painful, but rather an agreeable feeling; a feeling too, which, if duly governed, we do not blame ourselves for indulging.
We are led imperceptibly, almost by every bond, even by opposite bonds of association, by those of contrast and resemblance, to extend these remarks. There are qualities in human nature that excite abhorrence ; and qualities also that excite disgust. We see some dispositions that are enormously, and some that are meanly shocking. Some give us pain by their atrocity, and some by their baseness. As virtuous actions may be divided into those that are respectable, and those that are amiable; so of vicious actions, some are hateful, and affect us with horror; others are vile, and produce aversion. By one class, we have an imaginary, sympathetic, and transient apprehension of being hurt; by the other, we have a similar apprehension of being polluted. We would chastise the one with painful, and the other with shameful punishment. Of the latter sort are the gross excesses and perversion of inferior appetites. They hardly bear to be named; and scarcely, by any representation, without judicious circumlocution, and happy adjuncts, can be rendered agreeable. Who can mention, without reluctance, the mere glutton, the mere epicure, and the sot ? And to these may be added the coward, the liar, the selfish and assenting parasite.
Yet the constituent parts of such characters may be so blended with other qualities of an agreeable, but neutral kind, as not only to lose their disgustful, but to gain an engaging aspect. They may be united with a complaisance that has no asperity, but that falls in readily, or without apparent constraint, with every opinion or inclination. They may be united with good humour, as opposed to moroseness, and harshness of opposition : with ingenuity and versatility, in the arts of deceit: and with faculties for genuine or even spurious wit; for the spurious requires some ability, and may, to some minds, afford amusement. Add to this, that in fully explaining the appearance, in elucidating how the mixture of different
mental qualities, in the same character, affords delight; we must recollect, as on similar occasions, that when different and even opposite feelings encounter one another, and affect us at the same time; those that prevail under the guidance of some vigorous passion, carry the rest along with them; direct them so as to receive the same tendency with themselves, and impelling the mind in the same manner, receive from their coincidence additional power*. They resemble the swell and progress of a Tartar army. One horde meets with another; they fight; the vanquished unite with the victors: incorporated with them, under the direction of a Timour or a Zingis, they augment their force, and enable them to conquer others.
Characters of the kind above-mentioned, consisting of mean and at the same time of agreeable qualities, though they meet with disapprobation, are yet regarded with some attention: they procure to themselves some attachment; they excite neither fear, envy, nor suspicion: as they are not reckoned
* Hume's Essay on Tragedy.