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formed to be revered, the second to be beloved ; and both to be admired and immortalized.
The closing remark I have to submit is, that each of these temperaments, how widely soever they may differ from each other, is capable of being transmuted into any of the rest. Galen has particularly dwelt upon this most important fact, and has especially observed that a man of the most elevated and sanguineous constitution may be broken down into a melanchol habit by a long series of anxiety and affliction; while, on the other hand, the most restless and audacious of the bilious or choleric genus may be attuned to the sleek quiet of the phlegmatic temper by an uninterrupted succession of peacesul luxury and indulgence of what moment is this well-established fact in the nice science of education! The temperaments of boys may be born with them; but they are capable of alteration, nay, of a total reversion, both in body and mind, each of which may be made to play upon the other; the one by a discipline of gymnastic exercises, and the other by a discipline of intellectual studies. The Greeks were thoroughly aware of this mutual dependence; and hence, as we have already seen,* made gymnastic games a regular part of the tuition of the Academy; thus rearing at one and the same time, and rearing, too, in the self-same persons, a race of heroes and of sages, and turning the wild and savage luxuriance of nature to the noblest harvests cf wisdom and virtue.
ON PATHOGNOMY, OR THE EXPRESSION OF THE PASSIONS.
In our last lecture, we examined how far the state of the body has an influ'ence upon that of the mind : in the study we are now entering upon we shall take the opposite side of the question, and examine how far the state of the mind has an influence upon that of the body.
This influence, if it exist, may be either instantaneous or permanent: it may be produced by some sudden affection or emotion of the mind, exciting an abrupt change in the features, the muscles, or other soft and flexible parts of the body; or it may result from the habitual character of the moral propensity, slowly and imperceptibly operating on parts that are less pliant, and giving them a fixed and determinate cast. The former constitutes the study of Pathognomy, or of the signs, language, or expression of the passions: the latter, the study of physiognomy, or of the signs, language, or expression of the genius or temper.
Let us investigate each of these in the order in which I have now stated them; and devote our present attention to the former of the two.
Suppose a man of a mild but courageous disposition, reclining at ease, and alone, beneath some overspreading forest tree, on a summer's evening, should be suddenly surprised by the attack of a ruffian, who should attempt to rob or murder him; what would be the change of feelings and of figure he would undergo ? The tranquillity of his mind would be transmuted into horror, rage, and probably revenge, or an attempt to retaliate; while the negligent ease of his posture, the relaxed muscles of his face, the natural vermeil of his cheeks, his half-opened lips, half-closed eyelids, and easy breathing, would suddenly start into tension, energy, suffusion: he would be instantly on his feet, in an attitude of determined resistance; still trembling with fear, he would collect all his soul into a strong and desperate effort to overcome the wretch: his muscles would swell with violent rigidity; his heart contract with unusual force and frequency; his lungs heave powerfully; the whole
Series 11. Lecture xi.
visage become inflated, dark, and livid; the eyeballs roll and look wildly; the forehead be alternately knit, and worked into furrows; the nostrils would open their channels to the utmost; the lips grow full, stretch to the corners of the mouth, and disclose both rows of teeth, fixed and grinding upon each other; the hair stand on end, and the hands spasmodically clenched, or grasping and grappling with the assassin.
Now, it has been made a question whether these rapid and violent movements are instinctive signs of the passions prevailing in the mind, or voluntary muscular exertions, called for by the stress of the case, and constituting the means of resistance. Which opinion soever be adopted, it must be allowed to run parallel with the whole range of internal passions, and external expressions. And hence, the advocates for the latter principle contend, that the various transitions of feature, position, and attitude, which accompany the different emotions of the mind, and indicate their nature, are, in every instance, the effect of habit, or are suddenly called forth to operate some beneficial purpose. It is from experience alone, we are told, that we are able to distinguish the marks of the passions; that we learn, while infants, to consider smiles as expressions of kindness, because they are accompanied by endearments and acts of beneficence; and frowns, on the contrary, as proofs of displeasure, because they are followed by punishment. So in brutes, it is added, the expression of anger is nothing more than movements that precede or prepare the animal for biting; while that of fondness is a mere fawning or licking of the hand. The glare of an enraged lion is the mere consequence of a voluntary exertion to see his prey more clearly; and his grin, or snarl, the natural motion of uncasing his fangs, before he uses them.
I cannot readily adopt this hypothesis, as applied either to man or to quadrupeds. The power of expression possessed by the latter is, doubtless, far more limited than that possessed by the former; but brutes still have expression, and that, too, in the face, as well as in the general movements of the body; and expression, moreover, dependent upon the peculiar frame or feeling of the sensory, and therefore as strictly its genuine and specific symbols, as words are the symbols of ideas. In man, indeed, the changes of the countenance seem to proceed upon a systematic provision for this purpose; they constitute a natural language, and this so perfectly, that there is not a emotion in the mind which is without its appropriate sign; while we meet with various muscles in the face, which have no other known use than that of being subservient to this important purpose: particularly those that knit the eyebrow into an energetic and irresistible meaning; and those of the angle of the mouth, employed in almost every motion of this organ expressive of sentiment; but peculiarly and forcibly called into action in that arching of the lip which is the natural sign of contempt, hatred, or jealousy.
Mr. Charles Bell, to whom we are indebted for an elegant and admirable treatise on the anatomy of expression in painting, supports this last opinion; but rejects the doctrine of instinctive expression in the face of quadrupeds; contending, that even in the passion of rage, by far the most strongly marked on the countenance, the changes which take place in the features are nothing more than motions accessory to the grand object of opposition, resistance, and defence. The inflamed eye, however, and fiery nostrils of the bull, can scarcely be ascribed to this cause; for they add nothing to the power of striking: they may, indeed, be proofs or effects of the general excitement; but to say this is to say nothing more than that they are proofs or effects of the passion they indicate, and, consequently, its natural language or expres sion. They are never employed on any other occasion. “In carnivorous animals," observes Mr. Bell, "the eyeball is terrible, and the retraction of the flesh of the lips indicates the most savage fury. But the first is merely the excited attention of the animal, and the other a preparatory exposure of the canine teeth." Now, if the first be merely excited attention, we must meet with it in every instance in which the mere attention of carnivorous animals
Essays on the Anatomy of Expression in Painting by Charles Bell, p. 84, 4to. 1806. † Ib. p. 85, 86.
and nothing but the mere attention, is called forth. But is the glaring and terrible eyeball here alluded to a mark of simple attention? Has any one ever seen it so in any animal, whether carnivorous or graminivorous, quadruped, biped, or footless? Has he ever seen it exhibited on such occasion, I will not say constantly and invariably, as upon this opinion it ought to be, but in a single case of simple attention? And in like manner, I may ask respecting the tremendous retraction of the flesh of the lips, and exposure of the teeth,-not merely of the canine teeth or tusks, as stated above, but of all the teeth of both jaws, as far as such retraction will allow,-has any one ever witnessed this movement in the action of mere seizing or biting, as, for example, in the case of devouring food? Mr. Bell himself seems sufficiently to settle this point, by telling us, in the beginning of the passage I have just quoted, that "the retraction of the flesh of the lips indicates the most savage fury." And I may add, it indicates nothing else; it is not wanted, and is never made use of, in the muscular movement of mere biting, and, consequently, is an immediate symbol of the passion called into exercise. It commences with the commencement of this passion, and is limited to its continuance and operation.
What, then, it may be asked, is the use of external expression, in instances of this kind, if it do not add to the power of defence or resistance? The proper answer must be found in the general object and intention of nature upon the whole of the case before us.
Man, by his constitution, is designed for society and mental intercourse. But what is to draw him to his fellows? to strip him of timidity and reserve, and fix him in communion and confidence? The language of expressionthe natural characters of the countenance-the softened cheek-the smiling lip-the beaming eye-the mild and open forehead-the magic play of the features in full harmony with each other;-which tell him, and, where artifice does not mimic nature, tell him infallibly, that the mind to which they belong is all sympathy, benevolence, and friendship, and will assuredly return the confidence it meets with. But we have sufficiently seen in the last two lectures, that the mind is not always thus constituted; that at times it is the storehouse of rage, revenge, malevolence, suspicion, and jealousy; and that to confide in it would be misery and ruin. How is a man to be on his guard on such an occasion? He again looks at the countenance, and, instead of being attracted, he is instantly repelled: the characters are now hideous; and the Almighty, as formerly upon Cain, has set a mark upon the forehead, that it may be known.
Such, then, is the real use of that instinctive language of the features which is perpetually interpreting the condition of the mind; a language of the highest importance, and of universal comprehension; and which, if ever disguised and fallacious, is almost infinitely less so than that of the lips or language. Its characters are most perfect in mankind; but they are occasionally to be traced in quadrupeds: below which class, however, the signs of the passions, whether sought for in the face, or in any other organ, grow gradually more indistinct; or, perhaps, from our knowing less of the manners and expression of the inferior classes, they appear so to ourselves, though not so in reality to others of the same kinds.
In contemplating, then, the passions, or other affections of the mind, as cognizable by external characters, they easily resolve themselves into two descriptions-the ATTRACTIVE and the REPULSIVE; the signs of which are to be
De Rer. Nat. ii. 349
sought for in man, and the nobler ranks of quadrupeds, chiefly in the face, but considerably also in the attitudes and motions of the body, while, in other animals, we are so little acquainted with these signs, as to be incapable of offering any very satisfactory or extensive opinion upon the subject.
In the ATTRACTIVE AFFECTIONS, the features, limbs, and muscles are uniformly soft and pliant-in the REPULSIVE, as uniformly tense, and for the most part rigid. The characters of the latter, therefore, are necessarily more marked and imposing than those of the former, though both are equally true to their purpose. And in more definitely answering the question, whether the characters in either case be the effect of habit or voluntary exertion to execute the feeling of the mind at the moment, or whether they be the mind's natural and instinctive symbols; it may be still farther observed, that in all instances they are the latter, and in a few instances both; for it by no means follows, that they are not instinctive symbols, because they serve at the same time to ward off our danger, or to inflict retaliation on an assailant. In the attractive feelings or passions, they are perhaps, for the most part, instinctive signs alone for the natural language of dimples, smiles, laughter, a lively, sparkling eye, or that softened outline, and uniform sweep of the whole figure, which every one knows to be indicative of tranquillity and repose, is so clear to every one, that he who runneth may read it, and be assured of finding a contented and happy companion, if not a propitious season for a suit the heart is set upon. And although in a few of the repulsive passions, as rage, terror, and revenge, I have already given examples of their being mixed modes, in the greater number of even this last class they are probably as simple instincts as in the whole of the former. For what other use than that of mere instinctive indications can we possibly assign to tears, sighs, frowns, erection of the hair of the head, or the dead paleness, shivering, and horripilation, the creeping cold, that makes the multitude of the bones to tremble, under the influence of severe terror or dismay?
In all this, there is one fact peculiarly worthy of attention; and that is, the admirable simplicity which runs through the whole; so that the same muscles are not unfrequently made use of to produce different and even opposite effects: and this, too, by variations, and shades of variations, so slight, that it is difficult, and in some cases almost impossible, to seize them with the pencil. When Peter of Cortona was engaged on a picture of the iron age, for the royal palace of Pitti, Ferdinand II., who often visited him, and witnessed the progress of the piece, was particularly struck with the exact representation of a child in the act of crying. "Has your majesty," said the painter, "a mind to see how easy it is to make this very child laugh?" The king assented; and the artist, by merely depressing the corner of the lips, and inner extremity of the eyebrows, which before were elevated, made the little urchin, which at first seemed breaking its heart with weeping, seem equally in danger of bursting its sides with immoderate laughter. After which, with the same ease, he restored the figure to its proper passion of sorrow.
The nerves that influence the expression take their rise almost entirely from one common quarter, the medulla oblongata, or that lower portion of the brain from which the spinal marrow immediately issues;* and as all their chief ramifications associate in the act of respiration, we can readily see why the lungs, the heart, and the chest, in general, should so strikingly participate in all the changes of expression, and work up alternately sighs, crying, laughter, convulsions, and suffocation.f
*See Series 1. Lecture. xv. p. 160.
This subject has been of late perspicuously and admirably pursued by Mr. Bell, in a series of com munications to the Philosophical Transactions, and especially in the volume for 1822, p. 284, who closes his remarks as follows:-"To those I address, it is unnecessary to go farther than to indicate that the nerves treated of in these papers are THE INSTRUMENTS OF EXPRESSION, from the smile upon the infant cheek to the last agony of life. It is when the strong man is subdued, by this mysterious influence of soul and body, and when the passions may be truly said TO TEAR THE BREAST, that we have the most afflict ing picture of human frailty, and the most unequivocal proof that it is the order of functions which we have been considering that is then affected. In the first struggles of the infant to draw breath, in the man recovering from a state of suffocation, and in the agony of passion, when the breast labours from the influence at the heart, the same system of parts is affected, the same nerves, the same muscles; and the
I have said, that under the repulsive passions the muscles and features are for ever on the stretch; though the tension is often irregular, and alternately softens and stiffens. This general remark will apply to grief, pain, and agony; rage, suspicion, and jealousy; horror, despair, and madness; though, as I have formerly observed, this last affection cannot with strict propriety be introduced among the passions, being a mental disease rather than a mental emotion.
Let me justify this remark by a few illustrations. "A man in great PAIN," observes Mr. Burke," has his teeth set; his eyebrows are violently contracted; his forehead is wrinkled; his eyes are dragged inwards, and rolled with great vehemence; his hair stands on end; his voice is forced out in short shrieks and groans; and the whole fabric totters."*
In GRIEF, there is still more violence and tension, though the tension is irregular and alternating. Where the grief is of long continuance, and deeply rooted, it gives a pale and melancholy cast to the countenance; an air of reserve to the manner; and an emaciation to the entire form; as though the sad sufferer were fondly nursing the viper passion that devours his bosom. Such is the exquisite description of Viola, as given of herself in the Twelfth Night :
She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i' th' bud,
Feed on her damask cheek. She pined in thought;
At other times, the passion is characterized by a mingled tumult of agitation, restlessness, and bitter bewailing. Such is the general picture of Constance, in King John; who thus, among other exclamations, weeps over the ill-fated Prince Arthur:
Grief fills the room up of my absent child;
IN RAGE, there is the same tension, but the same irregular agitation of the muscles. "The features," as Mr. Bell justly observes, "are unsteady; the eyeballs are seen largely; they roll, and are inflated. The front is alternately knit and raised in furrows, by the motion of the eyebrows; the nostrils are inflated to the utmost; the lips are swelled, and, being drawn, open the corners of the mouth;† the muscles are strongly marked. The whole visage is sometimes pale, sometimes inflated, dark, and almost livid; the words are delivered strongly through the fixed teeth; the hair is fixed on end, like one distracted; and every joint should seem to curse and ban." Perhaps the finest picture of this mighty passion ever presented to the world is to be found in Tasso's description of the combat between Tancred and Argante but it is too long for quotation, and would lose half its spirit if given in any other language than the original.
It is in the features of rage that the higher kinds of quadrupeds make the nearest approach to this form of expression in man. The bull terribly denotes it, by his inflamed eye, wide and breathing nostrils, and the prone position of his sturdy head, waiting the due moment to strike his antagonist to the ground. But of all quadrupeds, not perhaps excepting the lion, the warhorse exhibits the loftiest and most imposing character. The noblest and truest description of him that has ever been painted is in the book of Job.
symptoms or characters have a strict resemblance. These are not the organs of breathing merely, but of natural and articulate language also, and adapted to the expression of sentiment, in the workings of the countenance and of the breast; that is, by signs as well as by words,"
Sublime and Beautiful, part iv. sec. 3. Cause of Pain and Fear. ↑ Anatomy of Painting, p. 139.