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réason and refleetion, appears so natural in the mind of man.
It is observable, that the great charm of poetry consists in lively pictures of the sublime passions, magnania mity, courage, disdain of fortune ; of those of the tena der affections, love and friendship; which warm the heart, and diffuse over it similar sentiments and emotions. And though all kinds of passion, even the most disagreeable, such as grief and anger, are observed, when excited by poetry, to convey a satisfaction, from a mechanism of nature, not easy to be explained: Yet those more elevated or softer affections have a peculiar influence, and please from more than one cause or principle. Not to mention, that they alone interest us in the fortune of the persons represented, or communicate any esteem and affection for their character.
And can it possibly be doubted, that this talent itself of poets, to move the passions, this PATHETIC and SUBLIME of sentiment, is a very considerable merit; and being enhanced by its extreme rarity, may exalt the person possessed of it, above every character of the age in which he lives? The prudence, address, steadiness, and benign government of AUGUSTUS, adorned with all the splendour of his noble birth and imperial crown, render him but an unequal competitor for fame with ViRGIL, who lays nothing into the opposite scale but the divine beauties of his poetical genius,
The very sensibility to these beauties, or a DELICA CY of taste, is itself a beauty in any character; as conveying the purest, the most durable, and most innocent of all enjoyments.
These are some instances of the several species of merit, that are valued fo: the immediate pleasure which they communicate to the person possessed of them. No
views of utility or of future beneficial consequences en, ter into this sentiment of approbation; yet is it of a kind similar to that other sentiment, which arises from views of a public or private utility. The same social sympathy, we may observe, or fellow-feeling with human happiness or misery, gives rise to both; and this analogy, in all the parts of the present theory, may justly be regarded as a confirmation of it.
pltcit OE QUALITIES IMMEDIATELY, AGREEABLE, TO (1.
3: OTHERSTR.) et bobinud
As the mutual shocks, in society, and the oppositions of interest and self-love, have constrained mankind to establish the laws of justice; in order to preserve the advantages of mutual assistance and protection: In like manner, the eternal contrarieties, in company, of mens pride and self-conceit, have introduced the rules of GOOD-MANNERS or POLITENESS; in order to facilitate the intercourse of minds, and an undisturbed commerce and conversation. Among well-bred people, a mutual deference is affected: Contempt of others disguised: Authority concealed : Attention given to each in his turn: And an easy stream of conversation maintained, without vehemence, without interruption, with out eagerness for victory, and without any airs of superiority. These attentions and regards are immediately agreeable to others, abstracted from any consideration
* It is the nature, and, indeed, the definition of virtue, that it is a quality of the mind agresable to or approved of by every one, who considers or contemplates it. But some qualities produce pleasure, because they are useful to society, or useful or agreeable to the person himself; others produce it more immediately: Which is the case with the class of virtues here considered
s of utility or beneficial tendencies. They conciliate affection, promote esteem, and extremely enhance the merit
of the person, who regulates his behaviour by them. 2Many of the forms of breeding are arbitrary and - casual: But the thing expressed by them is still the sesame. A SPANIARD goes out of his own house before his guest,ito signify that he leaves him master of all. In other countries, the landlord walks out last, as a common mark of deference and regard. To' ipo . But, in order to render a man perfect good company, he must have WIT and INGENUITY as well as good. manners. What wit is; it may not be easy to define; but it is easy surely to determine, that it is a quality im. mediately agreeable to others, and communicating, on its first appearance, a lively joy and satisfaction to every one who has any compréhension of it. The most profound metaphysies, indeed, might be employed, in explaining the various kinds and species of wít; and many classes of it, which are now received on the sole testimony of taste and sentiment, might, perhaps, be resolved into more general principles. But this is sufficient for our present purpose, that it does affect taste and sentiment; and bestowing an immediate enjoyment, is a sure source of approbation and affection. ; ; *
In countries, where men pass most of their time in conversation, and visits, and assemblies, these companion able qualities, so to speak, are of high estimation, and form a chief part of personal merit. In countries, where men live a more domestic life, and either are employed in business, or amuse themselves in a párrower circle of ac quaintance, the more solid qualities are chiefly regarded. Thus, I have often observed, that, among the FRENCH, the first questions, with regard to a stranger, are, Is he polite 8 Has he wit? In our own country, the chick
praise bestowed, is always that of a good-natured, sensible fellow. improved...,'
In conversation, the lively spirit of dialogue is agreeäble, even to those who desire not to have any share in
the discourse : Hence the teller of long stories, or the "pompous déclaimer, is very little approved of. But most
men desire likewise their turn in the conversation, and - tegard, with a very evil eye, that loquacity, which de. prives them of a right they are naturally so jealous of.
There is a sort of harmless liars, frequently to be met with in company, who deal much in the marvellous.
Their usual intention is to please and entertain ; but-as men are most delighted with what they conceive to be truth, these people mistaké extremely the means -of pleasing, and incur universal blame. Some indulgence, however, to lying or fiction, is given in humorous stories, because it is there really agreeable and entertaining; and truth is not of any importance...in
Eloquence, genius of all kinds, even good sense, and sound reasoning, when it arises to an eminent degree, and is employed upon subjects of any considerable dignity and nice discernment; all these endowments seem immediately agreeable, and have a merit distinct from their usefulness. Rarity, likewise, 'which so much enhances the price of every thing, must set an additional value on these noble talents of the human mind. 5 Modesty may be understood in different senses, even abstracted from chastity, which has been already treated of. It sometimes means that tenderness and nicety of honour, that apprehension of blame, that dread of intrusion or injury. towards others, that PUDOR, which is the proper guardian of every kind of virtue, and a sure preservative against vice and corruption. But its most usual meaning is when it is opposed to impudence and arro