Nonfiction > Harvard Classics > Edmund Burke > On the Sublime and Beautiful
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Edmund Burke (1729–1797).  On the Sublime and Beautiful.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Feeling. Pain
 
 
OF feeling, little more can be said than that the idea of bodily pain, in all the modes and degrees of labour, pain, anguish, torment, is productive of the sublime,; and nothing else in this sense can produce it. I need not give here any fresh instances, as those given in the former sections abundantly illustrate a remark that, in reality, wants only an attention to nature, to be made by everybody.  1
  Having thus run through the causes of the sublime with reference to all the senses, my first observation (sect. 7) will be found very nearly true; that the sublime is an idea belonging to self-preservation; that it is therefore one of the most affecting we have; that its strongest emotion is an emotion distress; and that no pleasure 1 from a positive cause belongs to it. Numberless examples, besides those mentioned, might be brought in support of these truths, and many perhaps useful consequences drawn from them-
        Sed fugit interea, fugit irrevocabile tempus,
Singula dum capti circumvectamur amore.
  2
 
Note 1. Vide Part I. sect. 6. [back]
 

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