« AnteriorContinuar »
tion of extension, shape, and all other ideas to be acquired. It is but opening the eye, that enter at the eye, except colours ; but at and the scene enters. The colours paint them, the same time it is very much strained, and selves on the fancy, with very little attention confined in its operations, to the number, of thought or application of mind in the be. bulk, and distance of its particular objects. holder. We are struck, we know not how, Our sight seems designed to supply all these with the symmetry of any thing we see, and defects, and may be copridered as a more de- inmediately assent to the beauty of an object, licate and diffusive kind of touch, that spreads without inquiring into the particular causes itself over an infinite multitude of bodies, com- and occasions of it. prehends the largest figures, and brings into! A man of a polite imagination is let into a our reach some of the most remote parts of the great many pleasures that the vulgar are not universe.
capable of receiving. He can converse with It is this sense which furnishes the imagina- a picture, and find an agreeable companion tion with its ideas ; so that by the pleasures in a statue. He meets with a secret refreshof the imagination,' or 'fancy,' (which I shall ment in a description, and often feels a greatuse promiscuously) I here mcan such as arise er satisfaction in the prospect of fields and from visible objects, either when we have them meadows, than another does in the posses. actually in our view, or when we call up their sion. It gives him, indeed, a kind of pro, ideas into our minds by paintings, statues, de-perty in every thing he sees, and makes the scriptions, or any the like occasion. We can- most rude uncultivated parts of nature ad. not indeed have a single image in the fancy ininister to his pleasures : so that he looks that did not make its first entrance through upon the world as it were in another light, the sight; but we have the power of retaining and discovers in it a multitude of charms, altering, and compounding those images, which that conceal theinselves from the generality of we have once received, into all the varieties of mankind. picture and vision that are most agreeable to There are indeed but very few who know the imagination : for by this faculty a man in how to be idle and innocent, or have a relish a dungeon is capable of entertaining himself of any pleasures that are not criminal; every with scenes and landscapes more beautiful than diversion they take is at the expense of some any that can be found in the whole compass one virtue or another, and their very first step of nature.
out of business is into vice or folly. A man There are few words in the English language should endeavour, therefore, to make the which are employed jo a more loose and un-sphere of his innocent pleasures as wide as circumscribed sense than those of the fancy possible, that he may retire into them with and the imagination. I therefore thought it safety, and find in them such .a satisfaction necessary to fix and determine the notion of as a wise man would not blush to take. Of these two words, as I intend to make use of this nature are those of the imagination, which them in the thread of my following specula- do not require such a bent of thought as is tions, that the reader inay conceive rightly necessary to our more serious employments, what is the subject which I proceed upon. Inor, at the same time, suffer the mind to sink must therefore desire him to remember, that into that negligence and remissness, which by 'the pleasures of the imagination,' I mean are apt to accompany our more sensual de only such pleasures as arise originally from lights, but, like a gentle exercise to the facutsight, and that I divide these pleasures into ties, awaken them from sloth and idleness. two kinds : my design being first of all to without putting them upon any labour or diri. discourse of those primary pleasures of the ficulty. imagination, which entirely proceed from such We might here add, that the pleasures of objects as are before our eyes ; and in the the fancy are more conducive to health than next place to speak of those secondary plea- those of the understanding, which are worked sures of the imagination which flow from the out by dint of thinking, and attended with ideas of visible objects, when the objects are too violent a labour of the brain. Delightful, not actually before the eye, but are called scenes, whether in nature, painting, or poetry. up into our memories or formed into agreea- have a kindly influence on the body, as well ble visions of things that are either absent or as the mind; and not only serve to clear and fictitious.
brighten the imagination, but are able to disThe pleasures of the imagivation, taken in perse grief and melancholy, and to set the the full extent, are not so gross as those of anjinal spirits in pleasing and agreeable mo. sense, nor so refined as those of the under-tions. For this reason Sir Francis Bacon, standing. The last are indeed more prefera- in his Essay upon Health, bas not thought it ble, because they are founded on some new improper to prescribe to his reader a poem knowledge or improvement in the mind of or a prospect, where he particularly disman; yet it must be confessed, that those of suades him from knotty and subtle disquisithe imagination are as great and as trans- tions, and advises him to pursue studies that porting as the other. A beautiful prospect de- fill the mind with splendid and illustrious oblights the soul as much as a demonstration ; jects, as histories, fables, and contemplations and a description in Homer has charmed more of nature. Teaders than a chapter in Aristotle. Besides, I have in this paper, by way of introducthe pleasures of the imagination have this ad- tion, settled the notion of those pleasures of vantage above those of the understanding, the imagination which are the subject of that they are more obvious, and more easy my present undertaking, and endeavoured, VOL. II.
by several considerations, to recommend to Every thing that is new or uncommon raises my reader the pursuit of those pleasures. I a pleasure in the imagination, because it fills shall in my next paper examine the several the soul with an agreeable surprise, gratifies sources from whence these pleasures are de- its curiosity, and gives it an idea of which it rived.
0. was not before possessed. We are indeed so
otten conversant with one set of objects, and
tired out with so many repeated shows of the No. 412.] Monday, June 23, 1712.
same things, that whatever is new or uncomPAPER 11.
mon contributes a little to vary hunnan life, ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION. and to divert our minds, for a while, with the
strangeness of its appearance. It serves us Gontents.Three sources of all the pleasures of the ima- for a kind of refreshment, and takes off from gination, in our survey of outward objects. How what
that satiety we are apt to complain of, in oar is great pleases the imagination. How what is new mal sately we are apt to complain oi, in our ploages the imagination. How what is beautiful in our usual and ordinary entertainments. It is this own species pleases the imagination. How what is that bestows charms on a monster, and makes beautiful in general pleases the imagination. What oth-leven the imperfections of nature please us. er accidental causes may contribute to the heightening i. of thosv pleasures.
"It is this that recommends variety, where the
mind is every instant called off to something --Divisum, sic breve het opus.-Mart. Ep. iv. 83.
new, and the attention not suffered to dwell The work, divided aptly, shorter grows.
too long, and waste itself on any particular I SHALL first sonsider those pleasures of the object. It is this, likewise, that improves what imagination which arise from the actual view is great or beautiful, and makes it afford the and survey of outward objects; and these, I mind a double entertainment. Groves, fields, think, all proceed from the sight of what is and meadows, are at any season of the year great, uncommon, or beautiful. There may, pleasant to look upon, but never so much as indeed, be something so terrible or offensive, in the opening of the spring, when they are that the horror or loathsomeness of an object all new and fresh, with their first gloss upon may overbear the pleasure which results from them, and not yet too much accustomed and its greatness, novelty, or beauty ; but still familiar to the eye. For this reason there is there will be such a mixture of delight in the nothing that more enlivens a prospect than very disgust it gives us, as any of these three rivers, jetteaus, or falls of water, where the qualifications are most conspicuous and pre-scene is perpetually shifting, and entertaining vailing.
the sight every moment with something that is By greatness, I do not only mean the bulk new. We are quickly tired with looking upon of any single object, but the largeness of a hills and valleys, where everything conwhole view, considered as one entire piece.tinues fixed and settled in the same place and Such are the prospects of an open champaign posture, but find our thoughts a little agitated country, a 'vast uncultivated desert, of huge and relieved at the sight of such objects as are heaps of mountains, high rocks and precipices, ever in motion, and sliding away from be or a wide expanse of water, where we are not neath the eye of the beholder. struck with the novelty or beauty of the sight. But there is nothing that makes its way more bat with that rude kind of magnificence which directly to the soul than beauty, which immeappears in many of these stupendous works of diately diffuses a secret satisfaction and comNature. Our imagination loves to be filled placency through the imagination, and gives a with an object, or to grasp at any thing that is finishing to any thing that is great or uncomtoo big for its capacity. We are flung into mon. The very first discovery of it strikes a pleasing astonishment at such unbounded the mind with an inward joy, and spreads a views, and feel a delightful stillness and amaze.cheerfulness and delight through all its faculment in the soul at the apprehensions of them. ties. There is not perhaps any real beauty or The mind of man naturally hates every deformity more in one piece of matter than thing that looks like a restraint upon it, and another, because we might have been SO is apt to fancy itself under a sort of con- made, that whatsoever now appears loathfinement, when the sight is pent up in a nar- some to us might have shown itself agreearow compass, and shortened on every side by ble; but we find by experience that there are the neighbourhood of walls or mountains. On several modifications of matter, which the the contrary, a spacious horizon is an image mind, without any previous consideration, of liberty, where the eye bas room to range pronounces at first sight beautiful or deformed. abroad, to expatiate at large on the immen. Thus we see that every different species of sity of its views, and to lose itself amidst the sensible creatures has its different notions of variety of objects that offer themselves to its beauty, and that each of them is most affected observation. Such wide and undetermined with the beauties of its own kind. This is no prospects are as pleasing to the fancy as the where more remarkable than in birds of the speculations of eternity or infinitude are to same shape and proportion, where we often the understanding. But if there be a beauty see the mate determined in his courtship by of uncommonness joined with this grandeur, the single grain or tincture of a feather, and as iu a troubled ocean, a heaven adorned with dever discovering any charms but in the costars and meteors, or a spacious landscape cut lour of its species. out into rivers, woods, rocks, and meadows, the pleasure still grows upon us, as it arises
'Scit thalamo servare dem, sanctasque veretur trom more than a single principle.
Connubii legos: non illum in pectore candor
Splendida lanngo, vel honesta in vertice criste, (colours and verdure of the landscape appear Purpureusve nitor pengarum; ast agmina laté
more agreeable; for the ideas of both senses Faminea explorat cautus, maculasque requirit
recommend each other, and are pleasanter Cognatas, paribusque interlita corpora gultis : Ni faceret, pictis sylvam circum andique monstris together than when they enter the mind seConfusam aspiceres vulgo partusque biforines, parately; as the different colours of a picEt genus anbiguun, et veneris bonumenta nefand.
ture, when they are well disposed, set off one • Hinc Merula in nigro se oblectat migra marito, Hinc socium lasciva petit Philomela canorum,
an other and receive an additional beauty from Agnoscitque pares sonitus, hinc Noctua tetram the advantages of their situation. 0. Canitiem alarun, et glaucos miratur ocellos. Nempe sibi semper constat, crescitque quotannis Lucida progenies, castos confessa parcates; No. 413.] Tuesday, June 24, 1712. Dum virides inter saltus luco que sonoros Vere novo exultat, plumasque decora juventus
PAPER II. Explicat ad solem patriisque coloribus arded.'* • The feather'd husband, to his partner true,
ON THE PLEASURES OF THE DAGINATION Preserves connubial rites inviolate. With cold indifference every charm he sees,
Con!ente.-Why the necessary cause of our being pleasell The nilky whiteness of the stately neck,
with what is great, new, or beautiful, unknown. Why The shining down, proud crest, and purple wings:
the final cause more known and more useful. The final But cautious with a searching eye explores
cause of our being pleased with what is great. The The female tribes his proper mate to find,
final cause of our beiog pleased with wbat is now. The With kindred colours mark'd; did he not so,
final cause of our being pleased with what is beautiThe grove with painted monsters would abound,
ful in our own species. The final cause of our being Th' ambiguous product of unnatural love.
pleased with what is beautiful in general. The blackbird hence selects ber sooty spouse;
- Causa latet, ris est notissima The nightingale, her musical compeer,
Ouid. Met. ix. 207. Lur'd by the well-known voice: the bird of night, Smit with his dusky wings and greenish eyes,
The cause is secret, but th' effect is known.- Addison. Woos bis dun paramour. The beauteous race Speak the chaste loves of their progenitors;
Though in yesterday's paper we considerea When, by the spring invited, they exult
how every thing that is great, new, or beautiIn woods and fields, and to the sun unfold Their plumes, that with paternal colours glow.'
ful, is api to affect the imagination with plea
sure, we must own that it is impossible for us There is a second kind of beauty that we to assign the necessary cause of this pleasure, fiod in the several products of art and nature, because we know neither the nature of an which does not work in the imagination with idea, nor the substance of a human soul, which that warmth and violence as the beauty that might help us to discover the conformity or appears in our proper species, but is apt how-disagreeableness of the one to the other; and ever to raise in us a secret delight, and a kind therefore, for want of such a light, all that of fondness for the places or objects in which we can do in speculations of this kind, is to we discover it. This consists either in the reflect on those operations of the soul that are gaiety or variety of colours, in the symme- most agreeable, and to range, under their try and proportion of parts, in she arrange-proper heads, what is pleasing or displeasing ment and disposition of bodies, or in a just to the mind, without being able to trace out mixture and concurrence of all together. the several necessary and efficient causes from Among these several kinds of beauty the eye whence the pleasure or displeasure arises. takes most delight in colours. We no where final causes lie more bare avd open to our meet with a more glorious or pleasing show in observation, as there are often a greater vari. nature, than what appears in the heavens atlety that belong to the same effect; and these, the rising and setting of the sun, which is though they are not altogether so satisfactory. wholly made up of those different stains of are generally more useful than the other. light that show themselves in clouds of a differ- as they give us greater occasion of admirent situation. For this reason we find the ing the goodness and wisdom of the first poets, who are always addressing themselves Contriver. to the imagination, borrowing more of their One of the final causes of our delight in epithets from colours than from any other any thing that is great may be this. The Sutopic.
preme Author of our being has so formed the As the fancy delights in every ibing that is soul of man, that nothing but himself can be great, strange, or beautiful, and is still more its last, adequate, and proper happiness., pleased the more it finds of these perfections Because, therefore, a great part of our hapin the same object, so it is capable of receiv-Ipiness must arise from the contemplation or ing a new satisfaction by the assistance of his being, that he might give our souls a just another sense. Thus, any continued sound, relish of such a contemplation, he has made as the music of birds, or a fall of water them naturally delight in the apprehepsion of awakens every moment the mind of the be- what is great or unlimited. Our admiration, holder, and makes him more attentive to the which is a very pleasing motion of the mind, several beauties of the place that lie before immediately rises at the consideration of any him. Thus, if there arises a fragrancy of object that takes up a great deal of room in smells or perfumes, they heighten the plea- the fancy, and, by consequence, will improve sures of the imagination, and make even the into the highest pitch of astonishinent and de
votion when we contemplate his nature, that
Jis neither circumscribed by time nor place, * It would seem, from his manner of introducing them, that Mr. Addison was himself the author of these fine nor to be comprehended by the largest capverses.
city of created being.
He has annered a secrer pleasure to the quainted with that great modern discovery, idea of any thing that is new or uncommon, which is at prescnt universally acknowledged that he might encourage us in the pursuit af- by all the inquirers into natural philosophy : ter knowledge, and engage us to search intonamely, that light and colours, as apprebendthe wonders of his creation ; for every new ed by the imagination, are only ideas in the idea brings such a pleasure along with it as re-mind, and not qualities that have any existence wards any pains we have taken in its acquisi- in matter. As this is a truth which bas been tion, and consequently serves as a motive to put proved incontestibly by many modern phius upon fresh discoveries.
losophers, and is indeed one of the finest specHe has made every thing that is beautiful in ulations in that science. if the English readour own species pleasant, that all creatures er would see the notion explained at large, be might be tempted to multiply their kind, and may find it in the eighth chapter of the second fill the world with inhabitants; for it is very book of Mr. Locke's Essay on Human Underremarkable, that wherever nature is crossed standing. in the production of a monster (the result of any unnatural mixture) the breed is incapa. The following letter of Steele to Addison is pe. ble of propagating its likeness, and of found printed here from the original edition of the ing a new order of creatures : so that, unless Spectator in folio. all animals were allured by the beauty of their own species, generation would be at an end, ‘MR. SPECTATOR, June 24. 1710. and the earth unpeopled.
'I would not divert the course of your disIn the last place, he has made every thing courses, when you scem bent upon obliging That is beautiful in all other objects pleasant, the world with a train of thinking. which, or rather has made so many objects appear rightly attended to, may render the life of bcautiful, that he might render the whole cre- every man who reads it more easy and happy ation more gay and delightful. He has given for the future. The pleasures of the imaginaalmost every thing about us the power of rais- tion are what bewilder life, when reason and ing an agreeable idea in the imagination: so judyment do not interpose ; it is therefore a that it is impossible for us to behold his works worthy action in you to look carefully into the with coldness or indifference, and to survey powers of fancy, that other men, from the so many beauties without a secret satisfaction knowledge of them, may improve their jovs, and complacency. Things would make but a and allay their griefs, by a just use of that fapoor appearance to the eye, if we saw them culty. I say, sir, I would not interrupt you only in their proper figures and motions: and in the progress of this discourse ; but if you wbat reason can we assign for their exciting will do me the favour of inserting this letter ir. in us many of those ideas which are different your next paper, you will do some service to from any thing that exists in the objects them the public, though not in so noble a way of selves (for such are light and colours), were it obliging, as that of improving their minds. not to add supernumerary ornaments to the Allow me, sir, to acquaint you with a design universe, and make it more agreeable to the (of which I am partly author), thongb it tends imagination ? we are every where entertained to no greater a good than that of getting mowith pleasing shows and apparitions; we dis- ney. I should not hope for the favour of a cover imaginary glories in the heavens, and in pbilosopher in this matter, if it were not atthe earth, and see some of this visionary beauty tempted under all the restrictions which you poured out upon the whole creation : but what sages put upon private acquisitions. The a rough unsightly sketch of nature should we first purpose which every good man is to prohe entertained with, did all her colouring dis- pose to himself, is the service of his prince and appear, and the several distinctions of light country; after that is done, he cannot add to and shade vanish ? In short, our souls are at himself, but he must also be beneficial to present delightfully lost and bewildered in a them. This scheme of gain is not only conpleasing delusion, and we walk about like the sistent with that end, but has its very being in enchanted hero in a romance, who sees beau- subordination to it; for no iban can be a gaintiful castles, woods, and meadows; and, at er here but at the same time he himself, or the same time, hears the warbling of birds, some other, must succeed in their dealings and the purling of streams; but, upon the with the government. It is called “The Mulfinishing of some secret spell, the fantastic tiplication Table,' and is so far calculated for scene breaks up, and the disconsolate knight the immediate service of her majesty, that the finds himself in a barren heath, or in a soli- same person who is fortunate in the lottery of tary desert. It is not improbable that some the state may receive yet further advantage in thing like this may be the state of the soul af- this table. And I am sure nothing can be ter its first separation, in respect of the ima- more pleasing to her gracious temper than to ses it will receive from matter; though in- find out additional methods of increasing their deed the ideas of colours are so pleasing and good fortune who adventure any thing in her beautiful in the imagination, that it is possible service or laying occasions for oihers to bethe soul will not be deprived of them, but per- come capable of serving their country who are haps find them excited by some other occa- at present in too low circumstances to exert sional cause, as they are at present by the dif- themselves. The manner of executing the deferent impressions of the subtle matter on the sign is by giving out receipts for half guineas Argan of sight.
received, which shall entitle the fortunate I have here supposed that my reader is ac-hearer to certain suns in the table, as is set forth at large in the proposals printed the Here easy quict, a secure retreat, twenty-third instant. There is another cir
A harmless life that knows not how to eleat,
With home-bred plenty the rich owner blces, cumstance in this design which gives me hopes
And rural pleasures crown his happiness. of your favour to it, and that is what Tully Unvex d with quarrels, undisturb'd with noise, advises, to wit, that the benefit is made as dif The country king his peaceful realm enjoys:
Cool grots, and living lakes, the tow'ry pride fusive as possible. Every one that has half a
Of meads, and streams that through the valley glide; guinea is put into the possibility, from that!
And shady groves that easy Jeep invite small sum, to raise himself an easy fortune :/ And, after toilsome days, a sweet repose at night.' when these little parcels of wealth are, as it
Dryder. were, thus thrown back again into the redona
But though there are several of those wild tion of providence, we are to expect that some scenes, that are more delightful than any artiwho live under hardships or obscurity may ficial shows, yet we find the works of nature be produced to the world in the figure they still more pleasant, the more they resemble deserve by this means. I doubt pot but this I those of art: for in this case our pleasure rises last argument will have force with you; and from a double principle ; from the agreeablecannot add another to it, but what your sever
ness of the objects to the eye, and from their ity will. I fear, very little regard, which is, similitude
similitude to other objects. We are pleased as that I am,
well with comparing their beauties, as with "Sir, your greatest admirer,
surveying them, and can represent them to our RICHARD STEELE,'
miods, either as copies or originals. Hence it
is that we take delight in a prospect which is No. 414.] Wednesday, June 25, 1712. well laid out. and diversified with fields and
I meadows, woods and rivers : in those accidenPAPER IV.
tal landscapes of trees, clouds, and cities, that ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION. are sometimes found in the veins of marble ; Contents. The works of nature more pleasant to the ima
in the curious fret-work of rocks and grottos ; gination than those of art. The works of nature still and, in a word, in any thing that hath such a more pleasant, the more they resemble those of art. The variety or regularity as may seem the effect of works of art more pleasut, the more they resemble design in what we call the works of chance. those of nature. Our English plantations and gardens considered in the foregoing light.
If the products of nature rise in value ac
cording as they more or less resemble those of -Alterius sic Altera poscit opem res, et conjurat alnice.
art, we may be sure that artificial works re
Hor. Ars Poet. v. 414.ceive a greater advantage from their resemBut mutually they need each other's help.
blance of such as are natural; because here
Roscommon. the similitude is not only pleasant, but the If we consider the works of nature and art pattern more perfect. The prettiest landscape as they are qualified to entertain the imagina
I ever saw, was one drawn on the walls of a tion, we shall find the last very defective in
in dark room, which stood opposite on one side comparison of the former; for though they
ch therto a navigable river, and on the other to a inay sometimes appear as beautiful or strange,
park The experiment is very common in op
tics. Here you might discover the waves and they can have nothing in them of that vast
fluctuations of the water in strong and proper ness and immensity, which afiord so great an
Icolours, with a picture of a ship entering at entertainment to the mind of the beholder.
one end, and sailing by degrees through the The one may be as polite and delicate as the
whole piece. On another there appeared the other, but can never show herself so august
green shadows of trees, waving to and fro with and magnificent in the design. There is something more bold and masterly in the
the wind, and herds of deer among them in rough careless strokes of nature, than in the
miniature leaping about upon the wall. I
"must confess the novelty of such a sight may nice touches and embellishments of art. Theli
be one occasion of its pleasantness to the imabeauties of the most stately garden or palace
gination ; but certainly its chief reason is its lie in a narrow compass, the imagination im
nearest resemblance to natnre, as it does not mediately runs them over, and requires something else to gratify her; but in the wide fields only
Mul only like other pictures give the colour and
figure, but the motions of the things it repreof nature, the sight wanders up and down/ngur
sents. without confinement, and is fed with an infinite
| We have before observed, that there is gevariety of images, without any certain stint or number. For this reason we always find the he
nerally in nature something more grand and poet in love with the country life, where nature
august than what we meet with in the cu
Triosities of art. When, therefore, we see this appears in the greatest perfection, and fur
limitated in any measure, it gives us a nobler Dishes out all those scenes that are most apt to
and more exalted kind of pleasure than what delight the imagination.
we receive from the nicer and more accurate * Scriptorum chorus omnis amat nemus, et fugit urbes.'| productions of art. On this account our Eng.
Hor. Lib. 2. Ep. 8. 77.
lish gardens are not so entertaining to the " To grottos and to groves we run,
fancy as those in France and Italy, where we To ease and silence, ev'ry muse's son.' Pope.
see a large extent of ground covered over with • Hic secura quies, et nescia fallere vita,
an agreeable mixture of garden and forest, Dives opum variarum; hic latis otia fundis,
which represent every where an artificial rudeSpelunce, vivique lacus; hic frigida Tempe, Dlugitueque boum, mollesque sub arbore somni.? ness, much more charming than that neatness
Virg. Georg. ii. 476. / and elegancy which we meet with in those of