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as is requisite to forward the transition of the passions. Hence arises the artifice of the oblique narration, employed inthe Odysey and Æneid; where the hero is introduced, at first, near the period of his designs, and afterwards shows us, as it were in perspective, the more diftant events and causes. By this means, the reader's curiosity is immediately excited : The events follow with rapidity, and in a very close connexion : And the con.cern is preserved alive, and, by means of the near relation of the objects, continually increases, from the beginning to the end of the narration.

The same rule takes place in dramatic poetry; nor is it ever permitted, in a regular composition, to introduce an actor, who has no connexion, or but a small one, with the principal personages of the fable. The spectator's concern must not be diverted by any scenes, disjoined and separated from the rest. This breaks the course of the passions, and prevents that communication of the several emotions, by which one scene adds force to another, and transfuses the pity and terror, which it excites, upon each succeeding scene, 'till the whole produces that rapidity of movement, which is peculiar to the theatre. How must it extinguish this warmth of affection to be entertained, on a sudden, with a new action and new personages, nowise related to the former; to find so sensible a breach or vacuity in the course of the passions, by means of this breach in the connection of ideas ; and instead of carrying the sympathy of one scene into the following, to be obliged every moment, to excite a new concern, and take party in a new scene of action ?

To return to the comparison of history and epic poetry, we may conclude, from the foregoing reasonings, that as a cere tain unity is requisite in all productions, it cannot be wanting to history, more than to any other ; that in history, the connexion among the several events, which unites them into one body, is the relation of cause and effect, the same which takes, place in epic poetry; and that in the latter composition, this connexion is only required to be closer and more sensible, on account of the lively imagination and strong passions, which must be touched by the poet in his narration. The PeloponNESIAN war is a proper subject for history, the siege of ATHENs for an epic poem, and the death of ALCIBIADES for. a tragedy.

As the difference, therefore, between history and epic poetry consists only in the degrees of connexion, which bind together those several events, of which their subject is compofed, it will be difficult, if not impossible, by words, to determine ex-actly the bounds which separate them from each other. That: is a matter of taste more than of reasoning; and perhaps, this unity may often be discovered in a subject, where, at first view, and from an abstract confideration, we should leaftexpect to find it.

'Tis evident, tħat Homer, in the courfe of his narration, exceeds the first proposition of his subject; and that the anger of ACHILLES, which caused the death of Hector, is not the fame with that which produced so many ills to the GREEKS. But the strong connexion between these two movements, the quick transition from one to another, the contrast * between

• Contrast or contrariety is a connexion among ideas, which may, perhaps, be considered as a mixture of caufation and resemblance. Where two obje&ts are contrary,, the one destroys the other, i. e. is the cause of its annihilation, and the idea of the annihilation of an object implies the idea of its former existence.

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the effects of concord and discord among the princes, and the natural curiosity which we have to see Achilles in action, after such long repose; all these causes carry on the reader, and produce a sufficient unity in the subject. .

It may be objected to Milton, that he has traced up his causes to too great a distance, and that the rebellion of the angels produces the fall of man by a train of events, which is both very long and very casual. Not to mention that the creation of the world, which he has related at length, is no more the cause of that catastrophe, than the battle of PharSALIA, or any other event, that has ever happened. But if we consider, on the other hand, that all these events, the rebellion of the angels, the creation of the world, and the fall of man, resemble each other, in being miraculous and out of the common course of nature; that they are supposed to be contiguous in time; and that being detached from all other events, and being the only original facts, which revelation difcovers, they strike the eye at once, and naturally recall each other to the thought or imagination: If we consider all these circumstances, I say, we shall find that these parts of the action have a sufficient unity to make them be comprehended in one fable or narration. To which we may add, that the rebellion of the angels and the fall of man have a peculiar resemblance, as being counterparts to each other, and presenting to the reader the same moral, of obedience to our Creator.

These loose hints I have thrown together, in order to excite the curiosity of philosophers, and beget a suspicion at least, if not a full persuasion, that this subject is very copious, and that many operations of the human mind depend on the connexion or association of ideas, which is here explained. Particularly

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the sympathy between the passions and imagination will, perhaps, appear remarkable ; while we observe that the affections. excited by one object, pass easily to another connected with it;. but transfuse themselves with difficulty, or not at all, along different objects, which have no manner of connexion together. By introducing, into any composition, personages and actions, foreign to each other, an injudicious author loses that communication of emotions, by which alone he can interest the heart, and raise the passions to their proper height and period. The full explication of this principle and all its consequences would lead us into reasoning too profound and too copious for. this enquiry. 'Tis sufficient, at present, to have established this conclufion, that the three connecting principles of all ideas are the relations of Resemblance, Contiguity, and Caufation.

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S E C TI O N

IV.

SCEPTICAL DOUBTS CONCERNING the OPERATIONS OF THE UNDER

STANDING

PART I. A LL the objects of human reason or enquiry may natu

A rally be divided into two kinds, viz. Relations of Ideas and Matters of Fact. Of the first kind are the sciences of Geometry, Algebra, and Arithmetic; and in short, every affirmation, which is either intuitively or demonstratively certain. That the square of the hypothenuse is equal to the square of the two sides, is a proposition, which expresses a relation between these figures. That three times five is equal to the half of thirty, expresses a relation between these numbers. Propofitions of this kind are discoverable by the mere operation of thought, without dependence on what is any where existent in the universe. Though there never were a circle or triangle in nature, the truths demonstrated by EUCLID, would for ever retain their certainty and evidence.

Matters of fact, which are the second objects of human reason, are not ascertained in the same manner; nor is our evidence of their truth, however great, of a like nature with the foregoing. The contrary of every matter of fact is still pof

sible;

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