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CHAPTER XIV: Custom and Habit - Henry Home, Lord Kames, Elements of Criticism, vol. 1 
Elements of Criticism, Edited and with an Introduction by Peter Jones (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). 2 vols. Vol. 1.
Part of: Elements of Criticism, 2 vols.
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Custom and Habit
Viewing man as under the influence of novelty, would one suspect that custom also should influence him? and yet our nature is equally susceptible of each; not only in different objects, but frequently in the same. When an object is new, it is enchanting: familiarity render sit in different; and custom, after a longer familiarity, makes it again desirable. Human nature, diversified with many and various springs of action, is wonderfully, and, indulging the expression, intricately constructed.1
Custom hath such influence upon many of our feelings, by warping and varying them, that we must attend to its operations if we would be acquainted with human nature. This subject, in itself obscure, has been much neglected; and a complete analysis of it would be no easy task. I pretend only to touch it cursorily; hoping, however, that what is here laid down, will dispose diligent enquirers to attempt further discoveries.
Custom respects the action, habit the agent. By custom we mean a frequent reiteration of the same act; and by habit, the effect that custom has on the agent. This effect may be either active, wit-<401>ness the dexterity produced by custom in performing certain exercises; or passive, as when a thing makes an impression on us different from what it did originally. The latter only, as relative to the sensitive part of our nature, comes under the present undertaking.
This subject is intricate: some pleasures are fortified by custom; and yet custom begets familiarity, and consequently indifference:* in many instances, satiety and disgust are the consequences of reiteration: again, tho’ custom blunts the edge of distress and of pain; yet the want of any thing to which we have been long accustomed, is a sort of torture. A clue to guide us through all the intricacies of this labyrinth, would be an acceptable present.
Whatever be the cause, it is certain that we are much influenced by custom: it hath an effect upon our pleasures, upon our actions, and even upon our thoughts and sentiments. Habit makes no figure during the vivacity of youth: in middle age it gains ground; and in old age governs without control. In that period of life, generally speaking, we eat at a certain hour, take exercise at a certain hour, go to rest at a certain hour, all by the direction of habit: nay, a particular seat, ta-<402>ble, bed, comes to be essential; and a habit in any of these cannot be controlled without uneasiness.
Any slight or moderate pleasure frequently reiterated for a long time, forms a peculiar connection between us and the thing that causes the pleasure. This connection, termed habit, has the effect to awaken our desire or appetite for that thing when it returns not as usual. During the course of enjoyment, the pleasure rises insensibly higher and higher till a habit be established; at which time the pleasure is at its height. It continues not however stationary: the same customary reiteration which carried it to its height, brings it down again by insensible degrees, even lower than it was at first: but of that circumstance afterward. What at present we have in view, is to prove by experiments, that those things which at first are but moderately agreeable, are the aptest to become habitual. Spirituous liquors, at first scarce agreeable, readily produce an habitual appetite: and custom prevails so far, as even to make us fond of things originally disagreeable, such as coffee, assa-foetida,2 and tobacco; which is pleasantly illustrated by Congreve:
For a passionate lover, methinks you are a man somewhat too discerning in the failings of your mistress.
And for a discerning man, somewhat too passionate a lover; for I like her with all her faults; nay like her for her faults. Her follies are so natural, or so artful, that they become her; and those affectations which in another woman would be odious, serve<403> but to make her more agreeable. I’ll tell thee, Fainall, she once us’d me with that insolence, that in revenge I took her to pieces, sifted her, and separated her failings; I study’d ’em, and got ’em by rote. The catalogue was so large, that I was not without hopes, one day or other, to hate her heartily: to which end I so us’d myself to think of ’em, that at length, contrary to my design and expectation, they gave me every hour less and less disturbance; till in a few days, it became habitual to me to remember ’em without being displeased. They are now grown as familiar to me as my own frailties; and in all probability, in a little time longer, I shall like ’em as well.
The way of the world, act 1. sc. 3.
A walk upon the quarter-deck, tho’ intolerably confined, becomes however so agreeable by custom, that a sailor in his walk on shore, confines himself commonly within the same bounds. I knew a man who had relinquished the sea for a country-life: in the corner of his garden he reared an artificial mount with a level summit, resembling most accurately a quarter-deck, not only in shape but in size; and here he generally walked. In Minorca Governor Kane made an excellent road the whole length of the island;3 and yet the inhabitants adhere to the old road, tho’ not only longer but extremely bad.* Play or gaming, at<404> first barely amusing by the occupation it affords, becomes in time extremely agreeable; and is frequently prosecuted with avidity, as if it were the chief business of life. The same observation is applicable to the pleasures of the internal senses, those of knowledge and virtue in particular: children have scarce any sense of these pleasures; and men very little who are in the state of nature without culture: our taste for virtue and knowledge improves slowly; but is capable of growing stronger than any other appetite in human nature.
To introduce an active habit, frequency of acts is not sufficient without length of time: the quickest succession of acts in a short time, is not sufficient; nor a slow succession in the longest time. The effect must be produced by a moderate soft action, and a long series of easy touches, removed from each other by short intervals. Nor are these sufficient without regularity in the time, place, and other circumstances of the action: the more uniform any operation is, the sooner it becomes habitual. And this holds equally in a passive habit; variety in any remarkable degree, prevents the effect: thus any particular food will scarce ever become habitual, where the manner of dressing is varied. The circumstances then requisite to<405> augment a moderate pleasure, and at the long-run to form a habit, are weak uniform acts, reiterated during a long course of time without any considerable interruption: every agreeable cause that operates in this manner, will grow habitual.
Affection and aversion, as distinguished from passion on the one hand, and on the other from original disposition, are in reality habits respecting particular objects, acquired in the manner above set forth. The pleasure of social intercourse with any person, must originally be faint, and frequently reiterated, in order to establish the habit of affection. Affection thus generated, whether it be friendship or love, seldom swells into any tumultuous or vigorous passion; but is however the strongest cement that can bind together two individuals of the human species. In like manner, a slight degree of disgust often reiterated with regularity, grows into the habit of aversion, which commonly subsists for life.
Objects of taste that are delicious, far from tending to become habitual, are apt by indulgence to produce satiety and disgust: no man contracts a habit of sugar, honey, or sweet-meats, as he doth of tobacco:
Dulcia non ferimus; succo renovamur amaro.
Ovid. art. amand. l. 3.4
The same observation holds with respect to all objects that being extremely agreeable raise violent passions: such passions are incompatible with a habit of any sort; and in particular they never produce affection nor aversion: a man who at first sight falls violently in love, has a strong desire of enjoyment, but no affection for the woman:* a<407> man who is surprised with an unexpected favour, burns for an opportunity to exert his gratitude, without having any affection for his benefactor: neither does desire of vengeance for an atrocious injury, involve aversion.
It is perhaps not easy to say why moderate pleasures gather strength by custom: but two causes concur to prevent that effect in the more intense pleasures. These, by an original law in our nature, increase quickly to their full growth, and decay with no less precipitation;* and custom is<408> too slow in its operation to overcome that law. The other cause is no less powerful: exquisite pleasure is extremely fatiguing; occasioning, as a naturalist would say, great expence of animal spirits;† and of such the mind cannot bear so frequent gratification, as to superinduce a habit: if the thing that raises the pleasure return before the mind have recovered its tone and relish, disgust ensues instead of pleasure.
A habit never fails to admonish us of the wonted time of gratification, by raising a pain for want of the object, and a desire to have it. The pain of want is always first felt: the desire naturally follows; and upon presenting the object, both vanish instantaneously. Thus a man accustomed to tobacco, feels, at the end of the usual interval, a confused pain of want; which at first points at nothing in particular, tho’ it soon settles upon its accustomed object: and the same may be observed in persons addicted to drinking, who are often in an uneasy restless state before they think of the bottle. In pleasures indulged regularly, and at equal intervals, the appetite, remarkably obsequious to custom, returns regularly with the usual time of gratification; not sooner, even tho’ the object be presented. This pain of want arising<409> from habit, seems directly opposite to that of satiety; and it must appear singular, that frequency of gratification should produce effects so opposite, as are the pains of excess and of want.
The appetites that respect the preservation and propagation of our species, are attended with a pain of want similar to that occasioned by habit: hunger and thirst are uneasy sensations of want, which always precede the desire of eating or drinking; and a pain for want of carnal enjoyment, precedes the desire of an object. The pain being thus felt independent of an object, cannot be cured but by gratification. Very different is an ordinary passion, in which desire precedes the pain of want: such a passion cannot exist but while the object is in view; and therefore, by removing the object out of thought, it vanisheth, with its desire, and pain of want.*
The natural appetites above mentioned, differ from habit in the following particular: they have an undetermined direction toward all objects of gratification in general; whereas an habitual appetite is directed to a particular object: the attachment we have by habit to a particular woman, differs widely from the natural passion which comprehends the whole sex; and the habitual relish for a particular dish, is far from being the same with a vague appetite for food. That difference<410> notwithstanding, it is still remarkable, that nature hath enforc’d the gratification of certain natural appetites essential to the species, by a pain of the same sort with that which habit produceth.
The pain of habit is less under our power, than any other pain that arises from want of gratification: hunger and thirst are more easily endured, especially at first, than an unusual intermission of any habitual pleasure: persons are often heard declaring, they would forego sleep or food, rather than tobacco. We must not however conclude, that the gratification of an habitual appetite affords the same delight with the gratification of one that is natural: far from it; the pain of want only, is greater.
The flow and reiterated acts that produce a habit, strengthen the mind to enjoy the habitual pleasure in greater quantity and more frequency than originally; and by that means a habit of intemperate gratification is often formed: after unbounded acts of intemperance, the habitual relish is soon restored, and the pain for want of enjoyment returns with fresh vigor.
The causes of the present emotions hitherto in view, are either an individual, such as a companion, a certain dwelling-place, a certain amusement; or a particular species, such as coffee, mutton, or any other food. But habit is not confined to such. A constant train of trifling diversions, may form such a habit in the mind, that it cannot<411> be easy a moment without amusement: a variety in the objects prevents a habit as to any one in particular; but as the train is uniform with respect to amusement, the habit is formed accordingly; and that sort of habit may be denominated a generic habit, in opposition to the former, which is a specific habit. A habit of a town-life, of country-sports, of solitude, of reading, or of business, where sufficiently varied, are instances of generic habits. Every specific habit hath a mixture of the generic; for the habit of any one sort of food, makes the taste agreeable, and we are fond of that taste, where-ever found. Thus a man deprived of an habitual object, takes up with what most resembles it; deprived of tobacco, any bitter herb will do, rather than want: a habit of punch, makes wine a good resource: accustomed to the sweet society and comforts of matrimony, the man, unhappily deprived of his beloved object, inclines the sooner to a second. In general, when we are deprived of a habitual object, we are fond of its qualities in any other object.
The reasons are assigned above, why the causes of intense pleasure become not readily habitual: but now we discover, that these reasons conclude only against specific habits. In the case of a weak pleasure, a habit is formed by frequency and uniformity of reiteration, which, in the case of an intense pleasure, produceth satiety and disgust. But it is remarkable, that satiety and disgust have<412> no effect, except as to that thing singly which occasions them: a surfeit of honey produceth not a loathing of sugar; and intemperance with one woman produceth no disrelish of the same pleasure with others. Hence it is easy to account for a generic habit in any intense pleasure: the delight we had in the gratification of the appetite, enflames the imagination, and makes us, with avidity, search for the same gratification in whatever other subject it can be found. And thus uniform frequency in gratifying the same passion upon different objects, produceth at length a generic habit. In this manner, one acquires an habitual delight in high and poignant sauces, rich dress, fine equipages, crowds of company, and in whatever is commonly termed pleasure. There concurs at the same time, to introduce this habit, a peculiarity observed above, that reiteration of acts enlarges the capacity of the mind, to admit a more plentiful gratification than originally, with regard to frequency as well as quantity.
Hence it appears, that tho’ a specific habit cannot be formed but upon a moderate pleasure, a generic habit may be formed upon any sort of pleasure, moderate or immoderate, that hath variety of objects. The only difference is, that a weak pleasure runs naturally into a specific habit; whereas an intense pleasure is altogether averse to such a habit. In a word, it is only in singular cases that a moderate pleasure produces a generic habit;<413> but an intense pleasure cannot produce any other habit.
The appetites that respect the preservation and propagation of the species, are formed into habit in a peculiar manner: the time as well as measure of their gratification are much under the power of custom; which, by introducing a change upon the body, occasions a proportional change in the appetites. Thus, if the body be gradually formed to a certain quantity of food at stated times, the appetite is regulated accordingly; and the appetite is again changed, when a different habit of body is introduced by a different practice. Here it would seem, that the change is not made upon the mind, which is commonly the case in passive habits, but upon the body.
When rich food is brought down by ingredients of a plainer taste, the composition is susceptible of a specific habit. Thus the sweet taste of sugar, rendered less poignant in a mixture, may, in course of time, produce a specific habit for such mixture. As moderate pleasures, by becoming more intense, tend to generic habits; so intense pleasures, by becoming more moderate, tend to specific habits.
The beauty of the human figure, by a special recommendation of nature, appears to us supreme, amid the great variety of beauteous forms bestow’d upon animals. The various degrees in which individuals enjoy that property, render it an<414> object, sometimes of a moderate, sometimes of an intense passion. The moderate passion, admitting frequent reiteration without diminution, and occupying the mind without exhausting it, turns gradually stronger till it becomes a habit. Nay, instances are not wanting, of a face, at first disagreeable, afterward rendered indifferent by familiarity, and at length agreeable by custom. On the other hand, consummate beauty, at the very first glance, fills the mind so as to admit no increase. Enjoyment lessens the pleasure;* and if often repeated, ends commonly in satiety and disgust. The impressions made by consummate beauty, in a gradual succession from lively to faint, constitute a series opposite to that of faint impressions waxing gradually more lively, till they produce a specific habit. But the mind, when accustomed to beauty, contracts a relish for it in general, tho’ often repelled from particular objects by the pain of satiety: and thus a generic habit is formed, of which inconstancy in love is the necessary consequence; for a generic habit, comprehending every beautiful object, is an invincible obstruction to a specific habit, which is confined to one.
But a matter which is of great importance to the youth of both sexes, deserves more than a cursory view. Tho’ the pleasant emotion of beauty dif-<415>fers widely from the corporeal appetite, yet when both are directed to the same object, they produce a very strong complex passion:† enjoyment in that case must be exquisite; and therefore more apt to produce satiety, than in any other case whatever. This is a never-failing effect, where consummate beauty in the one party, meets with a warm imagination and great sensibility in the other. What I am here explaining, is true without exaggeration; and they must be insensible upon whom it makes no impression: it deserves well to be pondered by the young and the amorous, who in forming the matrimonial society, are too often blindly impelled by the animal pleasure merely, enflamed by beauty. It may indeed happen after the pleasure is gone, and go it must with a swift pace, that a new connection is formed upon more dignified and more lasting principles: but this is a dangerous experiment; for even supposing good sense, good temper, and internal merit of every sort, yet a new connection upon such qualifications is rarely formed: it commonly, or rather always happens, that such qualifications, the only solid foundation of an indissoluble connection, are rendered altogether invisible by satiety of enjoyment creating disgust.
One effect of custom, different from any that have been explained, must not be omitted, because<416> it makes a great figure in human nature: Tho’ custom augments moderate pleasures, and lessens those that are intense, it has a different effect with respect to pain; for it blunts the edge of every sort of pain and distress, faint or acute. Uninterrupted misery, therefore, is attended with one good effect: if its torments be incessant, custom hardens us to bear them.
The changes made in forming habits, are curious. Moderate pleasures are augmented gradually by reiteration, till they become habitual; and then are at their height: but they are not long stationary; for from that point they gradually decay, till they vanish altogether. The pain occasioned by want of gratification, runs a different course: it increases uniformly; and at last becomes extreme, when the pleasure of gratification is reduced to nothing:
The effect of custom with relation to a specific habit, is display’d through all its varieties in the use of tobacco. The taste of that plant is at first extremely unpleasant: our disgust lessens gradually, till it vanish altogether; at which period the taste is<417> neither agreeable nor disagreeable: continuing the use of the plant, we begin to relish it; and our relish improves by use, till it arrive at perfection: from that period it gradually decays, while the habit is in a state of increment, and consequently the pain of want. The result is, that when the habit has acquired its greatest vigor, the relish is gone; and accordingly we often smoke and take snuff habitually, without so much as being conscious of the operation. We must except gratification after the pain of want; the pleasure of which gratification is the greatest when the habit is the most vigorous: it is of the same kind with the pleasure one feels upon being delivered from the rack, the cause of which is explained above.* This pleasure however is but occasionally the effect of habit; and however exquisite, is avoided as much as possible because of the pain that precedes it.
With regard to the pain of want, I can discover no difference between a generic and a specific habit. But these habits differ widely with respect to the positive pleasure: I have had occasion to observe, that the pleasure of a specific habit decays gradually till it turn imperceptible; the pleasure of a generic habit on the contrary, being supported by variety of gratification, suffers little or no decay after it comes to its height. However it<418> may be with other generic habits, the observation, I am certain, holds with respect to the pleasures of virtue and of knowledge: the pleasure of doing good has an unbounded scope, and may be so variously gratified that it can never decay: science is equally unbounded; our appetite for knowledge having an ample range of gratification, where discoveries are recommended by novelty, by variety, by utility, or by all of them.
In this intricate enquiry, I have endeavoured, but without success, to discover by what particular means it is that custom hath influence upon us: and now nothing seems left, but to hold our nature to be so framed as to be susceptible of such influence. And supposing it purposely so framed, it will not be difficult to find out several important final causes. That the power of custom is a happy contrivance for our good, cannot have escaped any one who reflects, that business is our province, and pleasure our relaxation only. Now satiety is necessary to check exquisite pleasures, which otherwise would engross the mind and unqualify us for business. On the other hand, as business is sometimes painful and is never pleasant beyond moderation, the habitual increase of moderate pleasure, and the conversion of pain into pleasure, are admirably contrived for disappointing the malice of Fortune, and for reconciling us to whatever course of life may be our lot:<419>
As the foregoing distinction between intense and moderate, holds in pleasure only, every degree of pain being softened by time, custom is a catholicon7 for pain and distress of every sort; and of that regulation the final cause requires no illustration.
Another final cause of custom will be highly relished by every person of humanity, and yet has in a great measure been overlooked; which is, that custom hath a greater influence than any other known cause, to put the rich and the poor upon a level: weak pleasures, the share of the latter, become fortunately stronger by custom; while voluptuous pleasures, the share of the former, are continually losing ground by satiety. Men of fortune, who possess palaces, sumptuous gardens, rich fields, enjoy them less than passengers do. The goods of Fortune are not unequally distributed: the opulent possess what others enjoy.
And indeed, if it be the effect of habit, to produce the pain of want in a high degree while there<420> is little pleasure in enjoyment, a voluptuous life is of all the least to be envied. Those who are habituated to high feeding, easy vehicles, rich furniture, a crowd of valets, much deference and flattery, enjoy but a small share of happiness, while they are exposed to manifold distresses. To such a man, enslaved by ease and luxury, even the petty inconveniencies in travelling, of a rough road, bad weather, or homely fare, are serious evils: he loses his tone of mind, turns peevish, and would wreak his resentment even upon the common accidents of life. Better far to use the goods of Fortune with moderation: a man who by temperance and activity hath acquired a hardy constitution, is, on the one hand, guarded against external accidents; and, on the other, is provided with great variety of enjoyment ever at command.
I shall close this chapter with an article more delicate than abstruse, namely, what authority custom ought to have over our taste in the fine arts. One particular is certain, that we chearfully abandon to the authority of custom things that nature hath left indifferent. It is custom, not nature, that hath established a difference between the right hand and the left, so as to make it awkward and disagreeable to use the left where the right is commonly used. The various colours, tho’ they affect us differently, are all of them agreeable in their purity: but custom has regulated that matter in another manner; a black skin upon a human being, is to<421> us disagreeable; and a white skin probably no less so to a negro. Thus things, originally indifferent, become agreeable or disagreeable by the force of custom. Nor will this be surprising after the discovery made above, that the original agreeableness or disagreeableness of an object, is, by the influence of custom, often converted into the opposite quality.
Proceeding to matters of taste, where there is naturally a preference of one thing before another; it is certain, in the first place, that our faint and more delicate feelings are readily susceptible of a bias from custom; and therefore that it is no proof of a defective taste, to find these in some measure influenced by custom: dress and the modes of external behaviour, are regulated by custom in every country: the deep red or vermilion with which the ladies in France cover their cheeks, appears to them beautiful in spite of nature; and strangers cannot altogether be justified in condemning that practice, considering the lawful authority of custom, or of the fashion as it is called: it is told of the people who inhabit the skirts of the Alps facing the north, that the swelling they universally have in the neck is to them agreeable. So far has custom power to change the nature of things, and to make an object originally disagreeable, take on an opposite appearance.
But as to every particular that can be denominated proper or improper, right or wrong, cu-<422>stom has little authority, and ought to have none. The principle of duty takes naturally place of every other; and it argues a shameful weakness or degeneracy of mind, to find it in any case so far subdued as to submit to custom.
These few hints may enable us to judge in some measure of foreign manners, whether exhibited by foreign writers or our own. A comparison between the ancients and the moderns, was some time ago a favourite subject: those who declared for ancient manners, thought it sufficient that these manners were supported by custom: their antagonists, on the other hand, refusing submission to custom as a standard of taste, condemned ancient manners as in several instances irrational. In that controversy, an appeal being made to different principles, without the slightest attempt to establish a common standard, the dispute could have no end. The hints above given tend to establish a standard for judging how far the authority of custom ought to be held lawful; and for the sake of illustration, we shall apply that standard in a few instances.
Human sacrifices, the most dismal effect of blind and grovelling superstition, wore gradually out of use by the prevalence of reason and humanity. In the days of Sophocles and Euripides, traces of that practice were still recent; and the Athenians, through the prevalence of custom, could without disgust suffer human sacrifices to be represented in<423> their theatre, of which the Iphigenia of Euripides is a proof. But a human sacrifice, being altogether inconsistent with modern manners as producing horror instead of pity, cannot with any propriety be introduced upon a modern stage. I must therefore condemn the Iphigenia of Racine,8 which, instead of the tender and sympathetic passions, substitutes disgust and horror. Another objection occurs against every fable that deviates so remarkably from improved notions and sentiments; which is, that if it should even command our belief by the authority of history, it appears too fictitious and unnatural to produce a perception of reality:* a human sacrifice is so unnatural, and to us so improbable, that few will be affected with the representation of it more than with a fairy tale. The objection first mentioned strikes also against the Phedra of that author: the queen’s passion, for her stepson, transgressing the bounds of nature, creates aversion and horror rather than compassion. The author in his preface observes, that the queen’s passion, however unnatural, was the effect of destiny and the wrath of the gods; and he puts the same excuse in her own mouth. But what is the wrath of a heathen God to us Christians? we acknowledge no destiny in passion; and if love be unnatural, it never can be relished. A supposition like what our author lays hold of, may possibly co-<424>ver slight improprieties; but it will never engage our sympathy for what appears to us frantic or extravagant.
Neither can I relish the catastrophe of that tragedy. A man of taste may peruse, without disgust, a Grecian performance describing a sea monster sent by Neptune to destroy Hippolytus: he considers, that such a story might agree with the religious creed of Greece; and may be pleased with the story, as what probably had a strong effect upon a Grecian audience. But he cannot have the same indulgence for such a representation upon a modern stage; because no story that carries a violent air of fiction can ever move us in any considerable degree.
In the Coëphores of Eschylus,* Orestes is made to say, that he was commanded by Apollo to avenge his father’s murder; and yet if he obey’d, that he was to be delivered to the furies, or be struck with some horrid malady: the tragedy accordingly concludes with a chorus, deploring the fate of Orestes, obliged to take vengeance against a mother, and involved thereby in a crime against his will. It is impossible for any modern to bend his mind to opinions so irrational and absurd, which must disgust him in perusing even a Grecian story. Again, among the Greeks, grossly superstitious, it was a common opinion that the<425> report of a man’s death was a presage of his death; and Orestes, in the first act of Electra,9 spreading a report of his own death in order to blind his mother and her adulterer, is even in that case affected with the presage. Such imbecility can never find grace with a modern audience: it may indeed produce some compassion for a people afflicted with absurd terrors, similar to what is felt in perusing a description of the Hottentotes; but such manners will not interest our affections, nor attach us to the personages represented.<426>
[1. ]See the note for<202> and the editor’s Introduction.
[2. ]Strongly smelling gum arabic, from Central Asia, used medicinally.
[3. ]Between 1713 and 1715 Governor Richard Kane constructed a road through Minorca, which was then under French control.
[* ]Custom is a second nature. Formerly, the merchants of Bristol had no place for meeting but the street, open to every variety of weather. An exchange was erected for them with convenient piazzas. But so rivetted were they to their accustomed place, that in order to dislodge them, the magistrates were forc’d to break up the pavement, and to render the place a heap of rough stones.
[4. ]Artis Amatoriae 3.583: “We cannot bear sweetness; let us be refreshed by bitter juices.”
[5. ]Tasso, Aminta, act 2, sc. 2: “Insipid is that sweetness, and too soon satiates when it is not seasoned with some bitterness.”
[* ]Violent love without affection is finely exemplified in the following story. When Constantinople was taken by the Turks, Irene, a young Greek of an illustrious family, fell into the hands of Mahomet II. who was at that time in the prime of youth and glory. His savage heart being subdued by her charms, he shut himself up with her, denying access even to his ministers. Love obtained such ascendant as to make him frequently abandon the army, and fly to his Irene. War relaxed, for victory was no longer the monarch’s favourite passion. The soldiers, accustomed to booty, began to murmur; and the infection spread even among the commanders. The Basha Mustapha, consulting the fidelity he ow’d his master, was the first who durst acquaint him of the discourses held publicly to the prejudice of his glory.
[* ]See chap. 2. part 3.
[† ]Lady Easy, upon her husband’s reformation, expresses to her friend the following sentiment. “Be satisfy’d; Sir Charles has made me happy, even to a pain of joy.” [Colly Cibber: Careless Husband, 1705.]
[* ]See chap. 2. part 3.
[* ]See chap. 2. part 3.
[† ]See chap. 2. part 4.
[6. ]Act 4, sc. 1.
[* ]Chap. 2. part 1. sect. 3.
[7. ]A universal formula.
[8. ]Jean Racine (1639–99): French tragedian and friend of Molière, La Fontaine, and Boileau. Iphigénie, 1674; Phèdre, 1677.
[* ]See chap. 2. part 1. sect. 7.
[* ]Act 2. [Aeschylus (525–456 b.c.): founder of Greek tragedy. Seven of his tragedies survive, of which Choephori is one.]
[9. ]Sophocles (496–406 b.c.), born in Athens. Seven of his plays survive, of which Electra is one.