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OF QUALITIES IMMEDIATELY AGREEABLE
W HOEVER has passed an evening with serious. melan choly people, and has observed how suddenly the conversation was animated, and what sprightliness diffused itself over the countenance, discourse, and behaviour of every one, on the accession of a good-humoured, lively companion ; such a one will easily allow, that CHEERFULNESS carries great merit with it, and naturally conciliates the good-will of mankind. No quality, indeed, more readily communicates itself to all around; because no one has a greater propensity to display itself, in jovial talk and pleasant entertainment. The flame spreads through the whole circle ; and the most sullen and morose are often caught by it. That the melancholy hate the merry, even though HORACE says it, I have some difficulty to allow; because I have always observed, that, where the jollity is moderate and decent, serious people are so much the more delighted, as it dissipates the gloom, with which they are commonly oppressed, and gives them an unsusual enjoyment.
From this influence of cheerfulness, both to communicate itself, and to engage approbation, we may perceive, that there is another set of mental qualities, which, without any utility or any tendency to farther good, either of the community or of the possessor, diffuse 'a satisfaction on the beholders, and procure friendship and regard. Their immediate sensation, to the person pose sessed of them, is agreeable: Others enter into the same humour, and catch the sentiment, by a contagion or nam tural sympathy: And as we cannot forbear loving whatever pleases, a kindly emotion arises towards the person, who communicates so much satisfaction. He is a more animating spectacle : His presence diffuses over us more serene complacency and enjoyment: Our imagination, entering into his feelings and disposition, is affected in a more agreeable manner, than if a melancholy, dejected, süllen, anxious temper' were presented to us. Hence the affection and approbation, which attend the former : The aversion and disgust, with which we regard the latter * : "
Few men would envy the character, which CÆSAR gives of CASSIUS..
Bu m a 'ns - He loves no play,
As thou do'st, ANTHONY: He hears no music: ! - Seldom he smiles; and smiles in such a sort, ic "As if he mock'd himself, and scorn'd bis spirit . bac:That could be mov'd to smile at any thing. 'n Not only such men, as CÆSAR adds, are commonly dangerous, but also, having little enjoyment within themselves, they can never become agreeable to others, or contribute to social entertainment. In all polite fiations and ages, a relish for pleasure, if accompanied with temperance and deceney, is esteemed a considerable merit, even in the greatest men ; and becomes still more requisite in those of inferior rank and character. It is an agreeable representation, which a FRENCH Writer gives
term} LI I
.0M 1.81 11! * See NOTE [K K.)
of the situation of his own mind in this particular, Virs tues I lovey says he, without austerity a pleasure without effeminaey s and life without feaning its end IT bigor
Whor is not struek ( with any signal instance of GREATNESS of MIND or Dignity of Character i with elevation of sentiment, disdain of slavery, and with that noble pride and spirit which arises from conscious virtue ? 2: The sublime, says LONGINUS, is often nothing but the echo or image of magnanimitys and wkere this quality appears in any one, even though a syllable be not uttered, it excites our applause and admiration stas may be observed of the famous silence of AJAX in the ODYSSEY, which expresses more noble disdain and re« solute indignation than any language can convey the fa sett
Were I ALEXANDER, said PARMENID, 1 would go cept of these offers made by DARIUS. So would I too, replied ALEXANDER, Wêre I PARMENIO. This saging is admirable, says LONGINUS, from a like principle Ici,
Go! cries the same hero to his soldiers, when they refused to follow him to the INDIĘS, go tell your counttrymen, that you left ALEXANDER completing the con. quest of the world. “ ALEXANDER,” said the prince of CONDE, who always admired this passage, abandoned
by his soldiers, among Barbarians, not yet fully sube
dued, felt in himself such a dignity and right of emr "pire, that he could not believe it possible, that any one I would refuse to obey him. Whether in EUROPE OR
in Asia, among GREEKS OF PERSIANS, all was indife 4ferent to him: Wherever he found men, he fancied So he should find subjects.'i ori tratta di minore 15 "i 11
A m spus -2712 1911*** J'aime la vertes sans rudesse i: 311:291441 Idco
“ J'aime le plaisir, sans molesse ;
..limani St EvREMOND. m f Cap. 9.
The confident of MEDEA in the tragedy recommends caution and submission and enumerating all the distresses of that unfortunate heroine, asks her, what she has to support her against her numerous and implacable enemies ?- Myself, replies she ; Myself, I say, and it is enough. BOILEAU justly recommends this passage as an instance of true sublime *..nd your bod tai vioasa · When Phocion; the modest, the gentle PHOCION, Was led to execution, he turned to one of his fellow-sufferers, who was lamenting his own hard fate, Is it not glory enough for you, 'says he; that you die with PHÓCION+?. · Place in opposition the picture which Taeitus draws of VITELLIUS, fallen from empire, prolonging his ignom miny from a wretched love of life, delivered over to the merciless rabble ; tossed, buffeted, and kicked amon bout'; constrained, by their holding a poignard- under his chin, to raise his head, and expose himself to every contumely. What abject infamy! What low humiliation! Yet even here, says the historian, he discovered some symptoms of a mind not wholly degenerate. To a tribune, who insulted him, he replied, I am still your emperor I. " . .. . ; ; s' i - We never excuse the absolute want of spirit and dignity of character, or a proper sense of what is due to one's self, in society and the common intercourse of life. This vice constitutes what we properly call meanness'; when a man can submit to the basest slavery, in order to gain his ends ; fawn upon those who abuse him; and degrade himself by intimacies and familiarities with una, deserving inferiors. A certain degree of generous pride or self-value is so requisite, that the absence of it in the
PLUTARCH in Paoc.
* Reflection X. sur LONGIN. See NOTE [LL.]
immediately agreeable to Ourselves. 303 mind displeasęs, after the same manner as the want of a nose, eye, or any of the most material features of the face or member of the body *. ;. DIT
The utility of COURAGE, both to the public and si to the person possessed of it, is an obvious foundation: of merit : But to any one who duly considers of the matter, it will appear that this quality has a peculiaris lustre, which it derives wholly from itself, and from that noble elevation inseparable from it. Its figure,,, drawn by painters and by poets, displays in each fea-y: ture, a sublimity and daring confidence; which catches the eye, engages the affections, and diffuses, by sympathy, a like sublimity of sentiment over every spectator.ir
Under what shining colours, does DEMOSTHENES Trepresent PHILIP ;, where the orator apologizes for his: own administration, and justifies that pertinacious love of liberty, with which he had inspired the ATHENIANS. “ I beheld PHILIP,” says he," he with whom was your “ contest, resolutely, while in pursuit of empire and do“minion, exposing himself to every wound ; his eye “goared, his neck wrested, his arm, his thigh pierced, “whatever part of his body fortune should seize son, " that cheerfully relinquishing; provided that, with “ what remained, he might live in honour and renowner: “ And shall it be said, that he, born in PELLA, ásplace “ heretofore mean and ignoble, should be inspired with “so high an ambition and thirst of fame : While you, “ ATHENIANS,” &c. These praises texcite the most: lively, admiration; but the views presented by the oraab tor carry us not, we see, beyond the hero himself, nor ever regard the future advantageous consequences of his valour.
vis • See NOTE (MM.]
. f Hrocarona i