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curs where Mr. Knight traces the pleasure we derive from witnessing executions, not to the sufferings endured, in which, he says, “we take no delight, but to the heroism and gallantry of the person executed.' How can we reconcile this to the assertion, that “it is not the actual distress, but the motives for which it is endured, that produce the interest.” At one time we are told it is the motive that affects us; at another, that it is the heroism and energy elicited by the motive.
Such are the inconsistencies that necessarily cling to all erroneous theories.
I know of no theory that can account for the interest excited by Lear's madness. It is not surely, the energy which it displays that produces this interest, for it was the result of weakness, not of energy. Had Lear more fortitude of mind to endure his misfortunes, he would not have yielded to lunacy, and, therefore the most strained reasoning cannot associate it with energy or heroism of mind. Yet, it is infinitely more interesting than the heroism of Macbeth, and even in the latter, it is not his courage or heroism that affects us at all, but the strong agitation of mind to which he was constantly a victim. Is there any thing in all Macbeth that excites a deeper interest than the following celebrated passage ?
Is this a dagger which I see before me,
As this which now I draw.
Here the whole interest is excited by the fears and terrors of Macbeth; for how attribute energy to a man whose fears create images or instruments of destruction, that existed only in his own mind. Yet these fears are more interesting to us than the boldest display of personal courage and mental energy, or the noblest descriptions of the “ dignity of human nature.” Philosophical Inquiry into the Source of Tragic
Pleasure, by M. M Dermott.
I have somewhere met with the observation, that there are persons in imaginary health who are not so deserving of ridicule as the Malades imaginaires, at whose expense that satirist of physicians, Molière, made himself so merry; but for which the vengeance of Hygæa overtook him, since he was seized, during the representation of this celebrated comedy, with an illness which afterwards carried him off. These healthy persons in their own imagination are the plethoric and corpulent, who take weight for the standard of health, and look with pity on the spare and meagre. It is to such great folks that I address this paper, and I claim no thanks from them if I should be so fortunate as to convince them of their error. I am well aware how gratifying it is to retain errors which persuade us that we are happy; for this very notion confers happiness. I know what pleasure is felt by one who is congratulated on the portliness of his corporation, and the goodly rubicundity of his visage. It is this pleasure of the corpulent that I intend to spoil. I shall prove to them that they are diseased ; and, instead of confirming them in the idea that they are pictures of health, I will strike a terror into them that shall penetrate to the very centre of their sub-pectoral protuberances. I can easily foresee how they will reward me for my pains, and I shall, therefore, reply to them in the words of the culprit, who, when the judge had commented on the heinousness of his crime, and concluded with asking him, what he thought he had deserved by it-coolly answered, “ Oh ! 'tis not worth mentioning—I desire nothing or it !”.
When the blood contains too many nutricious and oily particles, these transpire by innumerable, almost invisible pores, through the arteries and veins, and collect in the cellular substance, which covers nearly the whole body. Here they form vesicles, or small bags of fat, which become fuller and larger the more of this superabundant nutritious matter is conducted to them. In this manner the otherwise empty interstices of the body are filled up, and it acquires rotundity and corpulence. The fat deposited in these interstices has all the properties of an oil, when it appears in a fluid form. In this state fat exists in some fishes; and Pocock relates of the ostrich, that when it is dead, the Arabs shake it till its fat dissolves and is changed into an oil, which they apply externally in contractions and pains of the limbs, and also administer internally. • A person may grow fat from various causes, the principal of which consists in the use of soft, fluid, and nutritious food; such as gravy-broth, juicy flesh, a milk and farinaceous diet, and strong beer. Upon the whole, all alimentary substances which convey many fatty particles into the blood, should be avoided by people in good health.
Another cause of corpulence is want of exercise. .“ A man who lives well,” says Hippocrates, “ cannot be healthy unless he takes exercise, and attention should always be paid to keep the exercise and food in equilibrium.” It is the violation of this rule that produces corpulence, and hence corpulence has justly been described as a mark affixed by Nature upon those who transgress her precepts. In fact, we know from experience, that nothing fattens so rapidly as good eating and drinking, combined with bodily inactivity and love of ease. We see how soon horses grow fat when they are well fed and not worked. The oxen which have been used for draught, when turned into a rich pasture, are soon covered with wholesome fat. By means of abundant food and confinement, geese, turkeys, and other poultry, may be rendered prodigiously fat; and the same effect is produced by them upon man. When Demetrius Poliorcetes was kept in confinement, and yet provided for in a royal style, he acquired such corpulence that he died of it in a few ·months. • Tranquillity of mind also tends to promote corpulence when super-added to the circumstances already mentioned. Hence we rarely find that persons subject to violent passions grow fat; but in general that such as are disposed to corpulence are either volatile or not overburdened with sensibility. For the same reason much sleep encourages the increase of fat. If it be true, as some naturalists assert, that the bears, which sleep all the winter, are fat when they come forth again from their retreats, this is to be ascribed to no other cause but the torpid state in which they have passed their time. Why do carp grow so fat when enveloped in moss, unless because they are kept in a state of inactivity and stupor out of their natural element?
The absence of such passions as reduce the strength and consume the vital spirits contributes not a little to corpulence. Compare only a patient ox and a quiet gelding with an ungovernable bull and a fiery stallion, and you will find that a more weakly body and cooler blood render the former infinitely more disposed to feed than the latter. This calmer circulation of the blood is favourable to the secretion of fat in general ; and this is the reason why most persons increase very much in bulk between the ages of forty and fifty years. At that period the pulsations of the heart and the circulation are not so strong and so rapid as in the heyday of youth, and to this the cessation of the growth of the body must certainly contribute its share. A man after he has ceased to grow continues to live, as far as re