« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
these cases, by our sense of ridiculous, we are made capable of relief from any pleasant, ingenious well-wisher, by more effectual means, than the most solemn, sedate reasoning. Nothing so properly applied to the false grandeur, either of good or evil, as ridicule: nothing will sooner prevent our excessive admiration of mixed grandeur, or hinder our being led by that, which is, perhaps, really great in such an object, to imitate also and approve what is really mean.
IT ENABLES US TO CORRECT SOME OF OUR OWN
Hartley says, “ Laughter is useful not only in respect of the good effects which it has upon the body, and the present amusement and relaxation that it affords to the mind, but also, because it puts us upon rectifying what is so amiss, or any other similar error, in one another, or in children, and has a tendency to remove many prejudices from custom and education. Thus we often laugh at children, rustics, and foreigners, when yet they act right, according to the truly natural, simple, and uncorrupted dictates of reason and propriety, and are guilty of no other inconsistency than what arises from the usurpations of custom over nature; and we often take notice of this, and correct ourselves, in consequence of being diverted by it.”
DISCOVERED BY HIS LAUGHTER. Laughter being the outward and visible sign of the laugher's joy, the breathing of the soul, a skilful observer may generally gain an insight into the structure of his mind from the nature of his laughter.
“ In order," says (I think) Addison, “to look into any person's temper, 1 generally make my first observation upon his laugh, whether he is easily moved, and what are the passages which throw him into that agreeable kind of convulsion. People are never so much unguarded as when they are pleased; and laughter being a visible symptom of some inward satisfaction, it is then, if ever, we may believe the faces. Their is, perhaps, no better index to point out to us the particularities of the mind than this, which is, in itself, one of the chief distractions of our rationality.”
When Dr. Franklin came to England to implore the attention of our government to the representations made by America, was ordered to attend at the Privy Council, when he was grossly insulted by Mr. Wedderburn. At the sallies of wit all the members of the counsel, except Lord North, were in fits of laughter. Dr. Franklin told Mr. Lee, one of his counsel, after the business was concluded, that he was indifferent to Mr. Wedderburn's speech, but that he was indeed sincerely sorry to see the lords of council before whom all the colony affairs were tried, manifest a state of mind not likely to act in a candid and impartial manner upon any future American question.
“He is a clever man,” said a lady, speaking of a gentleman whom she had never before seen, and who had not spoken a word," he always laughs in the right place.”
We all remember Shakespeare's observations upon Cassius:
“ He loves no plays,
An intelligent medical friend once said to me that he always considered wit by a powerful minded man, when in a dangerous illness, to be a bad sympton; as it was evidence of an effort to relieve itself from painful sensation.—During the French Revolution, when Danton was going from his prison to the place of execution, he talked only of the pleasures of the country.—The wellknown story of the witticism of Sir Thomas More, when his head being laid upon the block, he put his beard aside, saying, “ This has committed no treason;" is praised by Addison, as a proof of his tranquillity. Was Addison right in this inference ?
So too turbulent laughter frequently exhibits a forlorn or ill regulated mind. The women of the town often laugh: Do they ever smile?
Such are the different manifestations of joy, the nature of which is thus described by South. “ In the next place for the lightsome passion of joy: it is not that which often usurps this name; that trivial, vanishing, superficial thing, that only gilds the apprehension and plays upon the surface of the soul. It is not the mere crackling of thorns, a sudden blaze of the spirits, the exultation of a tickled fancy, or a pleased appetite. Joy is a masculine and a severe thing, the recreation of the judgment, the jubilee of reason. It is the result of a real good suitably applied. It commences upon the solidities of truth, and the substance of fruition. It does not run out in voice, but fills the soul, as God does the universe, silently and without noise.”
It is thus that an insight is gained into the mind by laughter; and, perhaps, observations upon pictures and laughter are amongst the best, if not the best mental indices. Coleridge in his Biographia Literaria says,
“ When I was at Rome, among many other visits to the tomb of Julius the Second, I went thither once with a Prussian artist, a man of genius and great vivacity of feeling. As we were gazing on Michael Angelo's Moses, our conversation turned on the horns and beard of that stupendous statue, of the necessity of each to support the other,—of the super-human effect of the former, and the necessity of the existence of both, to give a harmony and integrity both to the image and the feeling excited by it. Conceive them removed, and the statue would become un-natural without being super-natural. We called to mind the horns of the rising sun, and I repeated the noble passage from “ Taylor's Holy Dying.' That horns were the emblem of power among the Eastern nations, and are still retained as such in Abyssinia
the Achelous of the ancient Greeks—and the probable ideas and feelings that originally suggested the mixture of the human and the brute form in the figure, by which they realised the idea of their mysterious Pan, a representing intelligence blended with a darker power, deeper, mightier, and more universal than the conscious intellect of man-than intelligence ;--all these thoughts and recollections passed in procession before our minds. My companion, who possessed more than his share of the hatred which his countrymen bore to the French, had just observed to me,– A Frenchman, sir, is the only animal in the human shape, that by no possibility can lift itself up to religion or poetry :' when, lo! two French officers of distinction entered the church. • Mark you,' whispered the Prussian, the first thing, those scoundrels will notice (for they will begin by instantly noticing the statue in parts, without one moment's pause of admiration impressed by the whole) will be the horns and the beard; and the associations which they will immediately connect with them, will be those of a he-goat and a cuckold.' Never did man guess more luckily. Had he inherited a portion of the great legislator's prophetic powers, whose statue we had been contemplating, he could scarcely have uttered words more coincident with the result; for even as he had said, so it came to pass.”
Lord Bacon divides his treatise upon man as an individual into the body and mind in union, and into the body and mind considered separately. Under the first branch, or the body and mind in union, he considers how the body and mind respectively act upon each other, which he calls “ THE DOCTRINE OF IMPRESSION," and how