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appear from the very nature of association. What we term association, it will be recollected, does not so much express a state of the mind, a thought, a feeling, a passion, as it does a principle or law of the mind; in other words, the circumstance under which a new state of mind takes place. Association, therefore, as Mr. Stewart intimates, does not of itself originate or create anything, but acts in reference to what is already created or originated. Something must be given for it to act upon. If it imparts beauty to one object, it must find it in another. If the beauty exists in that other object in consequence of association, it must have been drawn from some other source still more remote. If, therefore, association merely takes the beauty on its wings, if we may be allowed the expression, and transfers it from place to place, there must, of necessity, be somewhere an original or intrinsic beauty which is made the subject of such transfer.
9 41. Objects may become beautiful by association merely. In accordance with what has thus far been said on this whole subject, it will be kept in mind, that some of the forms of which matter is susceptible are pleasing of themselves and originally; also that we are unable to behold certain colours, and to listen to certain sounds, and to gaze upon particular expressions of the countenance, and to contemplate high intellectual and moral excellence, without emotions in a greater or less degree delightful. At the same time, it must be admitted, that, in the course of our experience, we find a variety of objects that seem, as they are presented to us, to be unattended with any emotion whatever ; objects that are perfectly indifferent. And yet these objects, however wanting in beauty to the great mass of men, are found to be invested, in the minds of some, with a charm allowedly not their own. These objects, which previously excited no feelings of beauty, may become beautiful to us in consequence of the associations which we attach to them. That is to say, when the objects are beheld, certain former pleasing feelings peculiar to ourselves are recalled.
The lustre of a spring morning, the radiance of a summer evening, may of themselves excite in us a pleasing emotion; but, as our busy imagination, taking advantage of the images of delight which are before us, is ever at work and constantly forming new images, there is, in combination with the original emotion of beauty, a superadded delight. And if, in these instances, only a part of the beauty is to be ascribed to association, there are some others where the whole is to be considered as derived from that source.
Numerous instances can be given of the power of association, not only in heightening the actual charms of objects, but in spreading a sort of delegated lustre around those that were entirely uninteresting before. Why does yon decaying house appear beautiful to me, which is indifferent to another? Why are the desolate fields around it clothed with delight, while others see in them nothing that is pleasant ? It is because that house formerly detained me as one of its inmates at its fireside, and those fields were the scenes of many youthful sports. When I now behold them, after so long a time, the joyous emotions which the remembrance of my early days call up within me are, by the power of association, thrown around the objects which are the cause of the remembrances.
$42. Further illustrations of associated feelings. He who travels through a well-cultivated country town cannot but be pleased with the various objects which he beholds; the neat and comfortable dwellings; the meadows that are peopled with flocks and with herds of cattle; the fields of grain, intermingled with reaches of thick and dark forest. The whole scene is a beautiful one; the emotion we suppose to be partly original; a person, on being restored to sight by couching for the cataract, and having had no opportunity to form associations with it, would witness it for the first time with delight. But a considerable part of the pleasure is owing to the associated feelings which arise on beholding such a scene; these dwellings are the abode of man; these fields are the place of his labours, and amply reward him for his toil; here are contentment, the interchange of heartfelt joys, and ancient truth."
Those who have travelled over places that have been signalized by memorable events will not be likely to suspect us of attributing too great a share of our emotions to association. It is true that, in a country so new as America, we are unable to point so frequently as an European might do, to places that have witnessed achievements and sufferings of such a character as to become sacred in a nation's memory. But there are some such consecrated spots. With whatever emotion or want of emotion the traveller may pass by other places of our wild and stormy coast, he would do violence to the finest impulses of the heart if he did not stop at the Rock of Plymouth, the landing-place of the Pilgrim Fathers. Not because there is anything in the scenery either of the ocean or the land which presents claims upon him more imperative, or so much so as that of some other places. But there is a moral power, the spirit of great achievements, hovering around the spot (explainable on the principles of association, and on them alone), which spreads itself over the hard features of the soil, and illuminates the bleakness of the sky, and harmonizes what would be otherwise rugged and forbidding into a scene of touching loveliness and beauty.
The powerful feeling which exists on visiting such a spot, whether we call it an emotion of beauty or sublimity, or give it a name expressive of some intermediate grade, is essentially the same with that which is caused in the bosom of the traveller when he looks for the first time upon the hills of the city of Rome. There are other cities of greater extent, and washed by nobler rivers, than the one which is before him; but
upon no others has he ever gazed with so much intensity of feeling. He beholds what was once the mistress of the world; he looks upon the ancient dwelling-place of Brutus, of Cicero, and of the Cæsars. The imagination is at once peopled with whatever was noble in the character and remarkable in the achievements of that extraordinary nation; and there is a strength, a fulness of emotion, which would never have been experienced without the accession of those great and exciting remembrances. It is in connexion with the principles of this chapter, and in al
lusion to places of historical renown, that Rogers, in his Pleasures of Memory, has said, with equal philosophical truth and poetical skill,
" And hence the charms historic scenes impart ;
$ 43. Instances of national associations. The influence of association in rousing up, and in giving strength to particular classes of emotions, may be strikingly
seen in some national instances. -Every country has its favourite tunes. These excite a much stronger feeling in the native inhabitants than in strangers. The effect on the Swiss soldiers of the Ranz des Vaches, their national air, whenever they happened to hear it in foreign lands, has often been mentioned. So great was this effect, that it was found necessary in France to forbid its being played in the Swiss corps in the employment of the French government. The powerful effect of this song cannot be supposed to be owing to any peculiar merits in the composition, but to the pleasing recollections which it ever vividly brings up in the minds of the Swiss, of mountain life, of freedom, and of domestic pleasures.
The English have a popular tune called Belleisle March. Its popularity is said to have been owing to the circumstance that it was played when the English army marched into Belleisle, and to its consequent association with remembrances of war and of conquest. And it will be found true of all national airs, that they have a charm for the natives of the country, in consequence of the recollections connected with them, which they do not possess for the inhabitants of other countries.
We have abundant illustrations of the same fact in respect to colours. The purple colour has acquired an expression or character of dignity, in consequence of having been the common colour of the dress of kings ; among the Chinese, however, yellow is the most dignified colour, and evidently for no other reason than because yellow is that which is allotted to the royal family. In many countries, black is expressive of gravity, and is used particularly in seasons of distress and mourning; and white is a cheerful colour. But among the Chinese white is gloomy, because it is the dress of mourners; and in Spain and among the Venetians black has a cheerful expression, in consequence of being worn by the great.
Many other illustrations to the same purpose might be brought forward. The effect of association is not unfrequently such as to suppress entirely and throw out the original character of an object, and substitute a new one in its stead. Who has not felt, both in man and woman, that a single crime, that even one unhappy deed of meanness or dishonour, is capable of throwing a darkness and distortion over the charms of the most perfect form? The gloty seems to have departed : and no effort of reasoning or of imagination can fully restore it. $44. The sources of associated beauty coincident with those of
human happiness. It would be a pleasing task to point out more particularly some of the sources of associated beauty, if it were consistent with the plan which we propose to follow. But it has been our object throughout to give the sketch or outline of a system, rather than indulge in minuteness of specification. And as to the subject which we now allude to, it could hardly be expected that we should attempt to examine it extensively, much less exhaust it, when we consider that the sources of associated beauty are as wide and as numerous as the sources of man's happiness.
The fountains of human pleasure connected with the senses, the intellect, the morals, and the social and religious relations, are exceedingly multiplied. And whenever the happiness we experience, from whatever source it may proceed, is brought into intimacy with a beautiful object, we generally find that the beauty of the object is heightened by that circumstance. In other cases, the association is so strong, that a beauty is shed upon objects which are confessedly destitute of it in themselves. We might, therefore, dismiss this topic with the simple re