Delicacy of Taste and Delicacy of Passion

Delicacy of Taste and Delicacy of Passion
较难 2133

休谟(David Hume)的著名散文,解读品味之微妙与情感之微妙,感受雅逸与激情。

Delicacy of Taste and Delicacy of Passion
David Hume

There is a certain delicacy of passion to which some people are subject that makes them extremely sensible to all the accidents of life, and gives them a lively joy upon every prosperous event, as well as a piercing grief when they meet with crosses and adversity. Favours and good offices easily engage their friendship, while the smallest injury provokes their resentment. Any honour or mark of distinction elevates them above measure; but they are as sensibly touched with contempt. People of this character have, no doubt, more lively enjoyments, as well as more pungent sorrows, than men of more cool and sedate tempers. But, I believe, when every thing is balanced, there is no one that would not rather chuse to be of the latter character, were he entirely master of his own disposition. Good or ill fortune is very little at our disposal: and when a person that has this sensibility of temper meets with any misfortune, his sorrow or resentment takes entire possession of him, and deprives him of all relish in the common occurrences of life, the right enjoyment of which forms the greatest part of our happiness. Great pleasures are much less frequent than great pains, so that a sensible temper must meet with fewer trials in the former way than in the latter. Not to mention, that men of such lively passions are apt to be transported beyond all bounds of prudence and discretion, and take false steps in the conduct of life, which are often irretrievable.

There is a delicacy of taste observable in some men, which very much resembles this delicacy of passion, and produces the same sensibility to beauty and deformity of every kind, as that does to prosperity and adversity, obligations and injuries. When you present a poem or a picture to a man possessed of this talent, the delicacy of his feeling or sentiments makes him be touched very sensibly by every part of it; nor are the masterly strokes perceived with more exquisite relish and satisfaction, than the negligences or absurdities with disgust and uneasiness. A polite and judicious conversation affords him the highest entertainment. Rudeness or impertinence is as great a punishment to him. In short, delicacy of taste has the same effect as delicacy of passion: it enlarges the sphere both of our happiness and misery, and makes us sensible of pains as well as pleasures that escape the rest of mankind.

I believe, however, there is no one who will not agree with me, that notwithstanding this resemblance, a delicacy of taste is as much to be desired and cultivated, as a delicacy of passion is to be lamented, and to be remedied, if possible. The good or ill accidents of life are very little at our disposal; but we are pretty much masters what books we shall read, what diversions we shall partake of, and what company we shall keep. The ancient philosophers endeavoured to render happiness entirely independent of every thing external. That is impossible to be attained: but every wise man will endeavour to place his happiness on such objects as depend most upon himself; and that is not to be attained so much by any other means as by this delicacy of sentiment. When a man is possessed of that talent, he is more happy by what pleases his taste, than by what gratifies his appetites, and receives more enjoyment from a poem, or a piece of reasoning, than the most expensive luxury can afford.

  • 字数:591个
  • 易读度:较难
  • 来源:外教社 2016-06-28