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Novelty, for example, has been mentioned by Addison, and by every writer on this subject. An object which has no other merit than that of being new, by this quality alone raises in the mind a vivid and an agreeable emotion. Hence that passion of curiosity, which prevails so generally in mankind. Objects and ideas, which have been long familiar, make too faint an impression, to give an agreeable exercise to our faculties. New and strange objects rouse the mind from its dormant state, by giving it a sudden and pleasing impulse. Hence in a great measure the entertainment we receive from fiction and romance. The emotion, raised by Novelty, is of a more lively and awakening nature, than that produced by Beauty; but much shorter in its duration. For, if the object have in itself no charms to hold our attention, the gloss, spread over it by Novelty, soon wears off.
Imitation is another source of pleasure to Taste. This gives rise to what Addison terms the Secondary Pleasures of Imagination, which form a very extensive class. For all imitation affords some Pleasure to the mind; not only the imitation of beautiful or sublime objects, by recalling the original ideas of beauty or grandeur, which such objects themselves exhibited; but even objects, which have neither beauty, nor grandeur; nay, some, which are terrible or deformed, give us pleasure in a secondary or represented view.
The pleasures of melody and harmony belong also to Taste. There is no delightful sensation we receive, either from beauty or sublimity, which is not capable of being heightened by the power of musical sound. Hence the charm of poetical numbers; and even of the concealed and looser measures of prose. Wit, humour, and ridicule open likewise a variety of pleasures to Taste, altogether different from any that have yet been considered.
At present it is not necessary to pursue any farther the subject of the Pleasures of Taste. We have opened some of the general principles; it is time now to apply them to our chief subject. If it be asked, to what class of those Pleasures of Taste, which have been enumerated, that pleasure is to be referred, which we receive from poetry, eloquence, or fine writing? The answer is, not to any one, but to them all. This pe culiar advantage writing and discourse possess; they encompass a large and fruitful field on all sides, and have power to exhibit in great perfection, not a single, set of objects only, but almost the whole of those which give pleasure to taste and imagination; whether that pleasure arise from sublimity, from beauty in its various forms, from design and art, from moral sentiment, from novelty, from harmony, from wit, humour, or ridicule. To which soever of these a person's taste is directed, from some writer or other he has it always in his power to receive the gratification of it.
It has been usual among critical writers to treat of discourse, as the chief of all the imitative arts. They compare it with painting and with sculpture, and in many respects prefer it justly before them. But we must distinguish between imitation and description. Words have no natural resemblance of the ideas or objects which they signify; but a statue or picture has a natural likeness of the original.
As far however as a poet or historian introduces into his work persons really speaking, and by words, which he puts into their mouths, represents the conversation which they might be supposed to hold; so far his art may be called imitative; and this is the case in all dramatic composition. But in narrative or descriptive works it cannot with propriety be so called. Who, for example, would call Virgil's description of a tempest in the first Eneid an imitation of a storm? If we heard of the imitation of a battle, we might naturally think of some niock fight, or representation of a battle on the stage; but should never imaginė it meant one of Homer's descriptions in the Iliad. It must be allowed at the same time, that imitation and description agree in their principal effect, that of recalling by external signs the ideas of things which we do not see. But, though in this they coincide, yet it should be remembered that the terms themselves are not synonymous; that they import different means of ra
producing the same end; and consequently make different impressions on the mind.
ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF LANGUAGE.
TO form an adequate idea of the Origin of Language, we must contemplate the circumstances of mankind in their earliest and rudest state. They were then a wandering, scattered race; no society among them except families; and family society also very imperfect, as their mode of living, by hunting or pasturage, must have separated them frequently from each other. In such a condition, how could any one set of sounds or words be universally agreed on, as the signs of their ideas? Supposing that a few, whom chance or necessity threw together, agreed by some means upon certain signs; yet by what authority could these be so propagated among other tribes or families, as to grow up in a language? One would imagine that men, must have been previously gathered together in considerable numbers, before language could be fixed and extended; and yet on the other hand there seems to have been an absolute necessity of speech previous to the formation of society. For by what bond could a multitude of men be kept together, or be connected in prosecution of any common interest, before by the assistance of speech they could communicate their wants and intentions to each Hvelgs
other? So that, how society could subsist previously to language, and how words. could rise into language before the formation of society, seem to be points attended with equal difficulty. When we consider farther that curious analogy which, prevails in the construction of almost all languages, and that deep and subtile logic, on which they are founded; difficulties increase so much upon us, on all sides, that there seems to be no small reason for referring the origin of all language to divine inspiration.
But, supposing language to have a divine original, we cannot imagine that a perfect system of it was at
once given to man. It is much more natural to suppose that God taught our first parents only such language as suited their present occasions; leaving them, as he did in other respects, to enlarge and improve it as their fu ture necessities should require. Consequently, those rudiments of speech must have been poor and narrow; and we are at liberty to inquire,' in what manner, and by what steps, language advanced to the state in which we now find it.
Should we suppose a period existed before words were invented or known; it is evident that men could have no other method of communicating their feelings, than by the cries of passion, accompanied by such motions and gestures, as were farther expressive of emotion. These indeed are the only signs which nature teaches all men, and which are understood by all. One,