Imágenes de páginas

contrary and furious, they overset it in the the gentle gales of the passions, which may waves. In the same manner is the mind preserve it from stagnating and corruption; assisted or endangered by the passions ; for they are necessary to the health of the reason must then take the place of pilot, mind, as the circulation of the animal spiand can never fail of securing her charge rits is to the health of the body: they keep if she be not wanting to herself. The it in life, and strength, and vigour; nor is it strength of the passions will never be ac- possible for the mind to perform its offices cepted as an excuse for complying with without their assistance. These motions are them: they were designed for subjection; given us with our being; they are little spiand if a man suffers them to get the upper rits that are born and die with us; to some hand, he then betrays the liberty of his own they are mild, easy, and gentle; to others, soul.

wayward and unruly, yet never too strong • As nature has framed the several spe- for the reins of reason and the guidance of cies of being as it were in a chain, so man judgment. seems to be placed as the middle link be “We may generally observe a pretty nice tween angels and brutes. Hence he par- proportion between the strength of reason ticipates both of Aesh and spirit by an and passion; the greatest geniuses have admirable tie, which in him occasions per- commonly the strongest affections, as, on petual war of passions; and as man inclines the other hand, the weaker understandings to the angelic or brute part of his constitu- have generally the weaker passions; and it tion, he is then denominated good or bad, is fit the fury of the coursers should not be virtuous or wicked; if love, mercy, and too great for the strength of the charioteer. good-nature prevail, they speak him of the Young men, whose passions are not a little angel: if hatred, cruelty, and envy pre- unruly, give small hopes of their ever being dominate, they declare his kindred to the considerable: the fire of youth will of course brute. Hence it was that some of the an- abate, and is a fault, if it be a fault, that cients imagined, that as men in this life mends every day; but, surely, unless a man inclined more to the angel or the brute, so, has fire in his youth, he can hardly have after their death, they should transmigrate warmth in old age. We must therefore be into the one or the other; and it would very cautious, lest, while we think to rebe no unpleasant notion to consider the gulate the passions, we should quite extinseveral species of brutes, into which we guish them, which is putting out the light may imagine that tyrants, misers, the of the soul; for to be without passion, or to proud, malicious, and ill-natured, might be be hurried away with it, makes a man changed.

equally blind. The extraordinary severity • As a consequence of this original, all used in most of our schools has this fatal passions are in all men, but appear not in effect, it breaks the spring of the mind, and all; constitution, education, custom of the most certainly destroys more good geniuses country, reason, and the like causes, may than it can possibly improve. And surely improve or abate the strength of them; it is a mighty mistake that the passions but still the seeds remain, which are ever should be so entirely subdued: for little irready to sprout forth upon the least en- regularities are sometimes not only to be couragement. I have heard a story of a borne with, but to be cultivated too, since good religious man, who having been bred they are frequently attended with the with the milk of a goat, was very modest greatest perfections. All great geniuses in public, by a careful reflection he made have faults mixed with their virtues, and on his actions; but he frequently had an resemble the flaming bush which has hour in secret, wherein he had his frisks thorns amongst lights. and capers; and if we had an opportunity "Since, therefore, the passions are the of examining the retirement of the strictest principles of human actions, we must endeaphilosophers, no doubt but we should find vour to manage them so as to retain their perpetual returns of those passions they so vigour, yet keep them under strict comartfully conceal from the public. I remem- mand; we must govern them rather like ber Machiavel observes, that every state free subjects than slaves, lest, while we inshould entertain a perpetual jealousy of its tend to make them obedient, they become neighbours, that so it should never be un- abject, and unfit for those great purposes provided when an emergency happens; in to which they were designed. For my part, like manner should reason be perpetually I must confess I could never have any reon its guard against the passions, and never gard to that sect of philosophers who so suffer them to carry on any design that may much insisted upon an absolute indifference be destructive of its security: yet, at the and vacancy from all passion; for it seems same time, it must be careful that it do not to me a thing very inconsistent, for a man so far break their strength as to render to divest himself of humanity in order to them contemptible, and consequently itself acquire tranquillity of mind; and to eradiunguarded.

cate the very principles of action, because The understanding, being of itself too it is possible they may produce ill effects. slow and lazy to exert itself into action, it I am, sir, your affectionate admirer, is necessary it should be put in motion by! Z

*T. B.'

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

No. 409.] Thursday, June 19, 1712. thoughts, he ought to conclude, not (as is

too usual among tasteless readers,) that the -Musæo contingere cuncta lepore. author wants those perfections which have

Lucr. Lib. i. 933.

been admired in him, but that he himself To grace each subject with enliv'ning wit.

wants the faculty of discovering them. GRATIAN very often recommends fine He should, in the second place, be very taste as the utmost perfection of an accom- careful to observe, whether he tastes the plished man.

distinguishing perfections, or, if I may be alAs this word arises very often in conver- lowed to call them so, the specific qualities sation, I shall endeavour to give some ac- of the author whom he peruses; whether count of it, and to lay down rules how we he is particularly pleased with Livy, for may know whether we are possessed of it, his manner of telling a story, with Sallust, and how we may acquire that fine taste of for entering into those internal principles writing, which is so much talked of among of action which arise from the characters the polite world.

and manners of the person he describes, Most languages make use of this meta- or, with Tacitus, for displaying those outphor, to express that faculty of the mind ward motives of safety and interest which which distinguishes all the most concealed gave birth to the whole series of transacfaults and nicest perfections in writing. We tions which he relates. may be sure this metaphor would not have He may likewise consider how differently been so general in all tongues, had there he is affected by the same thought which not been a very great conformity between presents itself in a great writer, from what that mental taste, which is the subject of he is when he finds it delivered by a perthis paper, and that sensitive taste which son of an ordinary genius; for there is as gives us a relish of every different favour much difference in apprehending a thought that affects the palate. Accordingly, we clothed in Cicero's language, and that of a find there are as many degrees of refine- common author, as in seeing an object by ment in the intellectual faculty as in the the light of a taper, or by the light of the sun. sense, which is marked out by this common It is very difficult to lay down rules for denomination.

the acquirement of such a taste as that I I knew a person who possessed the one am here speaking of. The faculty must in in so great a perfection, that, after having some degree be born with us; and it very tasted ten different kinds of tea, he would often happens, that those who have other distinguish, without seeing the colour of it, qualities in perfection are wholly void of the particular sort which was offered him; this. One of the most eminent mathemaand not only so, but any two sorts of them ticians of the age has assured me, that the that were mixed together in an equal pro- greatest pleasure he took in reading Virgil portion; nay, he has carried the experi- was in examining Æneas's voyage by the ment so far, as, upon tasting the composition map; as I question not but many a modern of three different sorts, to name the parcels compiler of history would be delighted with from whence the three several ingredients little more in that divine author than the were taken. A man of fine taste in writing bare matters of fact. will discern, after the same manner, not But, notwithstanding this faculty must in only the general beauties and imperfections some measure be born with us, there are of an author, but discover the several ways several methods for cultivating and imof thinking and expressing himself

, which proving it, and without which it will be diversify him from all other aythors, with very uncertain, and of little use to the perthe several foreign infusions of thought and son that possesses it. The most natural language, and the particular authors from method for this purpose is to be conversant whom they were borrowed.

among the writings of the inost polite auAfter having thus far explained what is thors. A man who has any relish for fine generally meant by a fine taste in writing, writing, either discovers new beauties, or and shown the propriety of the metaphor receives stronger impressions, from the which is used on this occasion, I think I masterly strokes of a great author every may define it to be that faculty of the soul time he peruses him; besides that he natuwhich discerns the beauties of an author rally wears himself into the same manner with pleasure, and the imperfections with of speaking and thinking. dislike.' If a man would know whether he Conversation with men of a polite genius is possessed of this faculty, I would have is another method for improving our natural him read over the celebrated works of an- taste. It is impossible for a man of the tiquity, which have stood the test of so greatest parts to consider any thing in its many different ages and countries, or those whole extent, and in all its variety of lights. works among the moderns which have the Every man besides those general observasanction of the politer part of our contem- tions which are to be made upon an author, poraries. If, upon the perusal of such writ-forms several reflections that are peculiar ings, he does not find himself delighted in to his own manner of thinking; so that conan extraordinary manner, or if, upon read- versation will naturally furnish us with ing the admired passages in such authors, hints which we did not attend to, and make he finds a coldness and indifference in his lus enjoy other men's varts and reflections

as well as our own. This is the best reason | No. 410.] Friday, June 20, 1712.
I can give for the observation which several
have made, that men of great genius in the

-Dum foris sunt, nihil videtur mundius,

Nec magis compositum quidquam, nec magis elegans: same way of writing seldom rise up singly, Quæ, cum amatore suo cum cænant, liguriunt. but at certain periods of time appear to

Harum videre ingluviem, sordes, inopiam:

Quam inhonestæ solæ sint domi, atque avidæ cibi, gether, and in a body; as they did at Rome

Quo pacto ex jure hesterno panem atruin vorent; in the reign of Augustus, and in Greece Nosse omnia hæc, salus est adolescentulis. about the age of Socrates. I cannot think

Ter. Eun. Act v. Sc. 4. that Corneille, Racine, Moliere, Boileau, • When they are abroad, nothing so clean and nicely La Fontaine, Bruyere, Bossu, or the Da- dressed; and when at supper with a gallant, they do but ciers, would have written so well as they ness and poverty at home, their gluttony, and how they

piddle, and pick the choicest bits; but to see their nasti. have done, had they not been friends and devour black crusts dipped in yesterday's broth, is a contemporaries.

perfect antidote against wenching.' It is likewise necessary for a man who Will HONEYCOMB, who disguises his would form to himself a' finished taste of present decay by visiting the wenches of good writing, to be well versed in the works the town only by way of humour, told us, of the best critics, both ancient and modern. that the last rainy night he, with Sir Roger I must confess that I could wish there were de Coverley, was driven into the Temple authors of this kind, who, beside the me- cloister, whither had escaped also a lady chanical rules, which a man of very little most exactly dressed from head to foot. taste may discourse upon, would enter into Will made no scruple to acquaint us, that the very spirit and soul of fine writing, and she saluted him very familiarly by his name, show us the several sources of that pleasure and turning immediately to the knight, she which rises in the mind upon the perusal said, she supposed that was his good friend of a noble work. Thus, although in poetry Sir Roger de Coverley: upon which nothing it be absolutely necessary that the unities less could follow than Sir Roger's approach of time, place, and action, with other points to salutation, with “Madam, the same, at of the same nature, should be thoroughly your service.' She was dressed in a black explained and understood, there is still tabby mantua and petticoat, without ribands; something more essential to the art, some- her linen striped muslin, and in the whole thing that elevates and astonishes the fancy, an agreeable second mourning; decent and gives a greatness of mind to the reader, dresses being often affected by the creawhich few of the critics besides Longinus tures of the town, at once consulting cheaphave considered.

ness and the pretension to modesty. She Our general taste in England is for epi- went on with a familiar easy air, Your gram, turns of wit, and forced conceits, friend, Mr. Honeycomb, is a little surprised which have no manner of influence either to see a woman here alone and unattended; for the bettering or enlarging the mind of but I dismissed my coach at the gate, and him who reads them, and have been care- tripped it down to my counsel's chambers; fully avoided by the greatest writers, both for lawyers' fees take up too much of a small among the ancients and moderns. I have disputed jointure to admit any other exendeavoured in several of my speculations, penses but mere necessaries.” Mr. Honeyto banish this gothic taste, which has taken comb begged they might have the honour possession among us. I entertained the town of setting her down, for Sir Roger's servant for a week together with an essay upon wit, was gone to call a coach. In the interim the in which I endeavoured to detect several of fooiman returned with ‘no coach to be had;' those false kinds which have been admired and there appeared nothing to be done but in the different ages of the world, and at trusting herself with Mr. Honeycomb and the same time to show wherein the nature his friend, to wait at the tavern at the gate of true wit consists. I afterwards gave an for a coach, or to be subjected to all the instance of the great force which lies in a impertinence she must meet with in that natural simplicity of thought to affect the public place. Mr. Honeycomb being a man mind of the reader, from such vulgar pieces of honour, determined the choice of the as have little else besides this single quali- first, and Sir Roger as the better man, took fication to recommend them. I have like- the lady by the hand, leading her through all wise examined the works of the greatest the shower, covering her with his hat, and poet which our nation, or perhaps any gallanting a familiar acquaintance through other, has produced, and particularized rows of young fellows, who winked at Sukey most of those rational and manly beauties in the state she marched off, Will Honeywhich give a value to that divine work. I comb bringing up the rear. shall next Saturday enter upon an essay on

Much importunity prevailed upon the • The Pleasures of the Imagination,' which, fair one to admit of a collation, where, after though it shall consider the subject at large, declaring she had no stomach, and having will perhaps suggest to the reader what it eaten a couple of chickens, devoured a truss is that gives a beauty to many passages of of sallet, and drank a full bottle to her the finest writers both in prose and verse. share, she sung the Old Man's Wish to As an undertaking of this nature is entirely Sir Roger. The knight left the room for new, I question not but it will be received some time after supper, and writ the folwith candour.

0. lowing billet, which he conveyed to Sukey,

[ocr errors]

and Sukey to her friend Will Honeycomb. But let my song attend. Attend may they Will has given it to Sir Andrew Freeport,

Whom youthful vigour may to sin btray;

Let them false charmers tly, and guard their hearts who read it last night to the club..

Against the wily wanton's pleasing arts;

With care direct their steps, nor turn astray “I am not so mere a country gentleman, To tread the paths of her deceitful way; but I can guess at the law business you had

Last they too late of her fell pow'r complain, at the Temple.

And all, where many mightier have been slain." If you would go down to

T. the country, and leave off all your vanities but your singing, let me know at my lodgings in Bow-street, Covent-garden, and you No. 411.) Saturday, June 21, 1712. shall be encouraged by your humble servant, ROGER DE COVERLEY.'


ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION. My good friend could not well stand the Contents – The perfection of our sight above our other raillery which was rising upon him; but to senses. The pleasures of the imagination arise origi. put a stop to it, I delivered Will Honey

nally from sight. The pleasures of the imagination

divided under two heads. The pleasures of the imagi. comb the following letter, and desired him nation in some respects equal to those of the under. to read it to the board.

standing. The extent of the pleasures of the imagina

tion. The advantages a man receives from a nilish of MR. SPECTATOR,—Having seen a trans

these pleasures. In what respect they are preferable

to those of the understanding. lation of one of the chapters in the Canticles into English verse inserted among your late

Avia Pieridum peragro loca nullius ante

'Trita solo: juvat integros accedere fonteis, papers, I have ventured to send you the Atque haurire

Lucr. Lib. i. 925. seventh chapter of the Proverbs in a poetical . In wild uncleard, to Muses a retreat, dress. If you think it worthy appearing

O'er ground untrod before I devious roam,

And deep-enamour'd, into latent springs among your speculations, it will be a suf

Presume to peep at coy virgin Naiads. ficient reward for the trouble of your constant reader,

A. B.

Our sight is the most perfect and most

delightful of all our senses. It fills the mind “My son, th' instruction that my words impart, with the largest variety of ideas, converses Grave on the living tablet of thy heart;

with its objects at the greatest distance, and And all the wholesome precepts that I give

continues the longest in action without being Observe with strictest reverence, and live. Let all thy homage be to Wisdom paid,

tired or satiated with its proper enjoyments. Seek her protection, and implore her aid;

The sense of feeling can indeed give us a
That she may keep thy soul from harm secure,
And turn thy footsteps from the liarlot's door,

notion of extension, shape, and all other Who with curs d charis lures the unwary in,

ideas that enter at the eye, except colours; And soothes with tiattery their souls to sin. but at the same time it is very much strained, “ Once from my window, as I cast mine eye

and confined in its operations, to the numOn those that pass'll in giddy numbers by, A youth among the foolish youths I spydd,

her, bulk, and distance of its particular Who took not sacred wisdom for his guide.

objects. Our sight seems designed to sup* Just as the sun withdrew his cooler light,

ply all these defects, and may be considered And evening soft led on the shades of nighi, He stole in covert twilight to his late,

as a more delicate and diffusive kind of And pass'd the corner near the harlot's gate; touch, that spreads itself over an infinite mu)When lo, a woman comes!

titude of bodies, comprehends the largest Loose her attire, and such her glaring dress, As aptly did the harlot's mind express;

figures, and brings into our reach some of Subtle she is, and practis'd in the arts

the most remote parts of the universe. By which the wanton conquer heedless hearts:

It is this sense which furnishes the ima-
Stubborn and loud she is; she hates her home;
Varying her place and form, she loves to roam: gination with its ideas; so that by the
Now she's within, now in the street doth stray, pleasures of the imagination,' or \fancy,'
Now at each corner stands, and waits her prey.

(which I shall use promiscuously) I here
The youth she seiz'd; and laying now aside
All modesty, the female's justest pride,

mean such as arise from visible objects, She said with an embrace, . Here at iny house either when we have them actually in our Peace-offerings are, this day I paid my vows.

view, or when we call up their ideas into our I therefore came abroad to meet my dear, And lo, in happy hour, I find thee here.

minds by paintings, statues, descriptions, My chamber I've adorn'd, and o'er my bed

or any the like occasion. We cannot indeed Are coverings of the richest tapstry spread, With linen it is deck'd from Egypt brought,

have a single image in the fancy that did And carvings by the curious artist wrought:

not make its first appearance through the It warts no glad perfume Arabia yieliis

sight; but we have the power of retaining, In all her citron groves, and spicy fields;

altering, and compounding those images, Here all her store uf richest odour ineets, I'll lay thee in a wilderness of sweets;

which we have once received, into all the Whatever to the sense can grateful be

varieties of picture and vision that are most I have collected there I want but thce.

agreeable to the imagination; for by this My husband's gone a journey far away, 2 Much gold he took abroad, and long will stay:

faculty a man in a dungeon is capable of He nam'd for his return a distant day.'

entertaining himself with scenes and land*** Upon her tongue did such smooth mischief dwell, scapes more beautiful than any that can be And from her lips such welcome flatt'ry fell, Th’unguarded youth, in silken fetters tyd,

found in the whole compass of nature. Resign'd his reason, and with ease comply'd.

There are few words in the English lanThus does the ox to his own slaughter go,

guage which are employed in a more loose And thus is senseless of the inpending blow, Thus flies the sinple bird into the snare,

and uncircumscribed sense than those of That skilful fowlers for his life prepare.

the fancy and the imagination. I therefore Vol. II,


thought it necessary to fix and determine, to make the sphere of his innocent pleathe notion of these two words, as I intend sures as wide as possible, that he may reto make use of them in the thread of my tire into them with safety, and find in them following speculations, that the reader may such a satisfaction as a wise man would not conceive rightly what is the subject which blush to take. Of this nature are those of I proceed upon. I must therefore desire the imagination, which do not require such him to remember, that by the pleasures a bent of thought as is necessary to our of the imagination,' I mean only such plea- more serious employments, nor at the same sures as arise originally from sight, and time, suffer the mind to sink into that negthat I divide these pleasures into two kinds: ligence and remissness, which are apt to my design being first of all to discourse of accompany our more sensual delights, but, those primary pleasures of the imagination, like a gentle exercise to the faculties, which entirely proceed from such objects awaken them from sloth and idleness, as are before our eyes; and in the next without putting them upon any labour or place to speak of those secondary pleasures difficulty. of the imagination which flow from the We might here add, that the pleasures ideas of visible objects, when the objects are of the fancy are more conducive to health not actually before the eye, but are called than those of the understanding, which are up into our memories or formed into agree-worked out by dint of thinking, and attendable visions of things that are either absent ed with too violent a labour of the brain. or fictitious.

Delightful scenes, whether in nature, paintThe pleasures of the imagination, taken ing, or poetry, have a kindly influence on in the full extent, are not so gross as those the body, as well as the mind; and not only of sense, nor so refined as those of the un- serve to clear and brighten the imaginaderstanding. The last are indeed more tion, but are able to disperse grief and mepreferable, because they are founded on lancholy, and to set the animal spirits in some new knowledge or improvement in pleasing and agreeable motions. For this the mind of man; yet it must be confessed, reason Sir Francis Bacon, in his Essay upon that those of the imagination are as great Health, has not thought it improper to and as transporting as the other. A beau- prescribe to his reader a poem or a prostiful prospect delights the soul as much as pect, where he particularly dissuades him a demonstration; and a description in Ho- from knotty and subtle disquisitions, and mer has charmed more readers than a advises him to pursue studies that fill the chapter in Aristotle. Besides, the plea- mind with splendid and illustrious objects, sures of the imagination have this advan- as histories, fables, and contemplations of tage above those of the understanding, that nature. they are more obvious, and more easy to be I have in this paper, by way of introducacquired. It is but opening the eye, and tion, settled the notion of those pleasures the scene enters: The colours paint them- of the imagination which are the subject of selves on the fancy, with very little atten- my present undertaking, and endeavoured, tion of thought or application of the mind by several considerations, to recommend to in the beholder. We are struck, we know my reader the pursuit of these pleasures. not how, with the symmetry of any thing I shall in my next paper examine the sevewe see, and immediately assent to the ral sources from whence these pleasures beauty of an object, without inquiring into are derived.

O. the particular causes and occasions of it.

A man of a polite imagination is let into a great many pleasures that the vulgar are No. 412.] not capable of receiving. He can converse

Monday, June 23, 1712. with a picture and find an agreeable companion in a statue. He meets with a secret refreshment in a description, and often feels Contents.—Three sources of all the pleasures of the ima: a greater satisfaction in the prospect of gination, in our survey of outward objects. How fields and meadows, than another does in

what is great pleases the imagination. How what is

new pleases the imagination. How what is beautiful the possession. It gives him, indeed, a kind

in our own species pleases the imagination. of property in every thing he sees, and what is beautiful in general pleases the imagination. makes the most rude uncultivated parts of

What other accidental causes may contribute to the nature administer to his pleasures: so that

heightening of those pleasures. he looks upon the world as it were in an

-Divisum, sic breve fiet opus.-Mart. Ep. iv. 83. The work, divided aptly,

shorter grows. other light, and discovers in it a multitude of charms, that conceal themselves from I shall first consider those pleasures of the generality of mankind.

the imagination which arise from the actual There are indeed but very few who know view and survey of outward objects; and how to be idle and innocent, or have a re- these, I think, all proceed from the sight lish of any pleasures that are not criminal; of what is great, uncommon, or beautiful. every diversion they take is at the expense There may, indeed, be something so terriof some one virtue or another, and their ble or offensive, that the horror or loathvery first step out of business is into vice or someness of an object may overbear the folly. A man should endeavour, therefore, pleasure which results from its greatness,




« AnteriorContinuar »