Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

you, there

own in the FRIEND, and applied to a work of Wr. Wordsworth's though with a few of the words altered :

An orphic tale indeed,
A tale obscure of high and passionate thoughts

To a strange music chaunted!" “ Be assured, howerer, that I look forward anxiously to your great book on the constRICTIVE PHILOSOPHY, which you kare promised and announced : and that I will do my best to under stand it. Only I will not promise to descend into the dark care of Trophonius with to rub my own eyes, in order to make the sparks and figured flashes, which I am required to see.

“So much for myself. But as for the public, I do not hesitate a moment in advising and urging you to withdraw the Chapter from the present work, and to reserve it for your announced treutises on the Logos or communicative intellect in Man and Deity. First, because imperfectly as I understand the present Chapter, I see clearly that you have done too much, and yet not enough. You have been obliged to omit so many links, from the necessity of compression, that what remains, looks (if I may recur to my former illustration) like the fragments of the winding steps of an old ruined tower. Secondly, a still stronger argument (at least one that I am sure will be more forcible with you) is, that your readers will have both right and reason to complain of you. This Chapter, which cannot, when it is printed,

amount to so little as an hundred pages, will of necessity greatly increase the expense of the work ; and every reader who, like myself, is neither prepared or perhaps calculated for the study of so abstruse a subject so abstrusely treated, will, as I have before hinted, be almost entitled to accuse you of a sort of imposition on him. For who, he might truly observe, could from your titlepage, viz. “wy Literary Life and Dpinions,” published too us introductory to a volume of miscellaneous poems, have anticipated, or even conjectured, a long treatise on ideal Realism, which holds the same relation in abstruseness to Plotinus, as Plotinus does to Plato. It will be well, if already you have not too much of metaphysical disquisition in your work, though as the larger part of the disquisition is historical, it will doubtless be both interesting and instructive to many whose unprepared minds your speculations on the esemplastic power would be utterly unintelligible. Be assured, if you do publish this Chapter in the present work, you will be reminded of Bishop Berkley's Siris, announced as an Essay on Tur-water, which beginning with Tar ends with the Trinity, the omne scibile forming the interspace. I say in the present work. In that greater work to which you have devoted so many years, and study so intense and various, it will be in its proper place. Your prospectus will have described and announced both its contents and

to

their nature ; and if any persons purchase it, who feel no interest in the subjects of which it treats, they will have themselves only to blame.

I could add to these arguments one derived from pecuniary motives, and particularly from the probable effects on the sale of your present publication ; but they would weigh little with you compared with the preceding. Besides, I have long observed, that arguments drawn froin your own personal interests more often act on you as narcotics than as stimulants, and th

in money concerns you have some small portion of pignature in your moral idiosyncracy, and like these amiable creatures, must occasionally be pulled backward from the boat in order to make you enter it. All success attend you, for if hard thinking and hard reading are merits, you have deserved it.

Your affectionate, &c."

In consequence of this

very judicious letter, which produced complete conviction on my mind, I shall content myself for the present with stating the main result of the Chapter, which I have reserved for that future publication, a detailed prospectus of which the reader will find at the close of the second volume.

The IMAGINATION then I consider either as primary, or secondary. The primary IMAGINAtion I hold to be the living Power and prime Agent of all human Perception, and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I am. The secondary I consider as an echo of the former, co-existing with the conscious will, yet still as identical with the primary in the kind of its agency, and differing only in degree, and in the mode of its operation. It dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order to re-create; or where this process is rendered impossible, yet still at all events it struggles to idealize and to unify. It is essentially vital, even as all objects (as objects) are essentially fixed and dead.

FANCY, on the contrary, has no other counters to play with, but fixities and definites. The Fancy is indeed no other than a mode of Memory emancipated from the order of time and space; and blended with, and modified by that empirical phenomenon of the will, which we express by the word CHOICE. But equally with the ordinary memory it must receive all its materials ready made from the law of association.

Whatever more than this, I shall think it fit to declare concerning the powers and privileges of the imagination in the present work, will be found in the critical essay on the uses of the Supernatural in poetry and the principles that regulate its introduction : which the reader will find prefixed to the poem of The Ancient Mariner.

END OF VOLUME FIRST.

J. M. Gutch, Priater, Bristol.

1

« AnteriorContinuar »