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such works among us at present. There mount Athos, had it been cut into the figure were indeed many greater advantages for of the hero, according to the proposal of building in those times, and in that part of Phidias, * with a river in one hand, and a the world, than have been met with ever city in the other. since. The earth was extremely fruitful; Let any one reflect on the disposition of men lived generally on pasturage, which mind he finds in himself at his first entrance requires a much smaller number of hands into the Pantheon at Rome, and how the than agriculture. There were few trades imagination is filled with something great to employ the busy part of mankind, and and amazing; and, at the same time, confewer arts and sciences to give work to men sider how little, in proportion, he is afof speculative tempers; and what is more fected with the inside of a Gothic cathedral, than all the rest, the prince was absolute; though it be five times larger than the so that when he went to war, he put himself other; which can arise from nothing else at the head of the whole people, as we find but the greatness of the manner in the one, Semiramis leading her three millions to the and the meanness in the other. field, and yet overpowered by the number I have seen an observation upon this subof her enemies. It is no wonder, therefore, ject in a French author, which very much when she was at peace, and turning her pleased me. It is Monsieur Freart's Paralthoughts on building, that she could accom- lel of the ancient and modern Architecture. plish such great works, with such a prodi- I shall give it the reader with the same gious multitude of labourers; besides that, terms of art which he has made use of. 'I in her climate there was small interruption am observing,' says he, 'a thing which, in of frosts and winters, which make the my opinion, is very curious, whence it pronorthern workmen lie half the year idle. I ceeds, that in the same quantity of supermight mention, too, among the benefits of fices, the one manner seems great and the climate, what historians say of the earth, magnificent, and the other poor and trifling; that it sweated out a bitumen, or natural the reason is fine and uncommon. kind of mortar, which is doubtless the same then, that to introduce into architecture with that mentioned in holy writ, as con- this grandeur of manner, we ought so to tributing to the structure of Babel: “Slime proceed, that the division of the principal they used instead of mortar.'
inembers of the order may consist but of In Egypt we still see their pyramids, few parts, that they be all great, and of a which answer to the descriptions that have bold and ample relievo, and swelling; and been made of them; and I question not but that the eye, beholding nothing little and a traveller might find out some remains of mean, the imagination may be more vigorthe labyrinth that covered a whole pro- ously touched and affected with the work vince, and had a hundred temples disposed that stands before it. For example, in a among its several quarters and divisions. cornice, if the gola or cymatium of the
The wall of China is one of these eastern corona, the coping, the modillions, or denpieces of magnificence, which makes a telli
, make a noble show by their graceful figure even in the map of the world, al- productions, if we see none of that ordinary though an account of it would have been confusion, which is the result of those little thought fabulous, were not the wall itself cavities, quarter rounds of the astragal, and still extant.
I know not how many other intermingled We are obliged to devotion for the noblest particulars, which produce no effect in buildings that have adorned the several great and massy works, and which very countries of the world. It is this which has unprofitably take up place to the prejudice set men at work on temples and public of the principal member, it is most certain places of Worship, not only that they might, that this manner will appear solemn and by the magnificence of the building, invite great; as, on the contrary, that it will have the Deity to reside within it, but that such but a poor and mean effect, where there is stupendous works might, at the same time, a redundancy of those smaller ornaments, open the mind to vast conceptions, and fit which divide and scatter the angles of the it to converse with the divinity of the place. sight into such a multitude of rays, so For every thing that is majestic imprints an pressed together that the whole will apawfulness and reverence on the mind of the pear but a confusion.' beholder, and strikes in with the natural Among all the figures of architecture, greatness of the soul.
there are none that have a greater air than In the second place we are to consider the concave and the convex; and we find greatness of manner in architecture, which in all the ancient and modern architecture, has such force upon the imagination, that a as well as in the remote parts of China, as small building, where it appears, shall give in countries nearer home, that round pilthe mind nobler ideas than any one of lars and vaulted roofs make a great part twenty times the bulk, where the manner of those buildings which are designed for is ordinary or little. Thus, perhaps, a man pomp and magnificence. The reason I take would have been more astonished with the to be, because in these figures we generally majestic air that appeared in one of Lysip- see more of the body than in those of other pus's statues of Alexander, though no bigger than the life, than he might have been with
kinds. There are, indeed, figures of bodies, on the other, which, for distinction sake, I where the eye may take in two-thirds of have called The Secondary Pleasures of the surface; but, as in such bodies the sight the Imagination. When I say, the ideas must split upon several angles, it does not we receive from statues, descriptions, or take in one uniform idea, but several ideas such-like occasions, are the same that were of the same kind. Look upon the outside once actually in our view, it must not be of a dome, your eye half surrounds it; look understood that we had once seen the very upon the inside, and at one glance you have place, action, or person, that are carved or all the prospect of it; the entire concavity described. It is sufficient that we have falls into your eye at once, the sight being seen places, persons, or actions in general, as the centre that collects and gathers into which bear a resemblance, or at least some it the lines of the whole circumference; in remote analogy, with what we find reprea square pillar, the sight often takes in but sented; since it is in the power of the a fourth part of the surface; and in a square imagination, when it is once stocked with concave, must move up and down to the particular ideas, to enlarge, compound, and different sides, before it is master of all the vary them at her own pleasure. inward surface. For this reason, the fancy Among the different kinds of representais infinitely more struck with the view of tion, statuary is the most natural, and shows the open air and skies, that passes through us something likest the object that is reprean arch, than what comes through a square, sented. To make use of a common instance: or any other figure. The figure of the rain- let one who is born blind take an image in bow does not contribute less to its magnifi- his hands, and trace out with his fingers cence than the colours to its beauty, as it is the different furrows and impressions of the very poetically described by the son of Si- chisel, and he will easily conceive how the rach: Look upon the rainbow, and praise shape of a man, or beast, may be reprehim that made it; very beautiful it is in its sented by it; but should he draw his hand brightness; it encompasses the heavens with over a picture, where all is smooth and a glorious circle; and the hands of the Most uniform, he would never be able to imagine High have bended it.'
how the several prominences and depresHaving thus spoken of that greatness sions of a human body could be shown on a which affects the mind in architecture, I plain piece of canvass, that has in it no unmight next show the pleasure that rises in evenness or irregularity. Description runs the imagination from what appears new yet farther from the things it represents and beautiful in this art! but as every be- than painting; for a picture bears a real holder has naturally greater taste of these resemblance to its original, which letters two perfections in every building which and syllables are wholly void of. Colours offers itself to his view, than of that which speak all languages, but words are underI have hitherto considered, I shall not trou- stood only by such a people or nation. For ble my readers with any reflections upon it. this reason, though men's necessities quickIt is sufficient for my present purpose to !y put them on finding out speech, writing observe, that there is nothing in this whole is probably of a later invention than paintart which pleases the imagination, but as it ing; particularly, we are told that in Ameis great, uncommon, or beautiful. O. rica, when the Spaniards first arrived there,
expresses were sent to the emperor of
Mexico in paint, and the news of his counNo. 416.) Friday, June 27, 1712.
try delineated by the strokes of a pencil, which was a more natural way than that of writing, though at the same time much
more imperfect, because it is impossible to ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION.
draw the little connections of speech, or to Contents. The secondary pleasures of the imagination. give the picture of a conjunction or an ad
The several sources of these pleasures(statuary, paint. verb. It would be yet more strange to reing, description, and music) compared together. The final cause of our receiving pleasure from these seve present visible objects by sounds that have ral sources. Of descriptions in particular. The power no ideas annexed to them, and to make of words over
the imagination. Why one reader is something like description in music. Yet it more pleased with descriptions than another.
is certain, there may be confused imperfect Quatenus hoc simile est oculis, quod mente videmus. notions of this nature raised in the imagi
Lucr. ix. 754. nation by an artificial composition of notes; So far as what we nee with our minds bears simili and we find that great masters in the art tude to what we see with our eyes.
are able, sometimes, to set their hearers in I At first divided the pleasures of the the heat and hurry of a battle, to overcast imagination into such as arise from objects their minds with melancholy scenes and that are actually before our eves, or that apprehensions of deaths and funerals, or once entered in at our eyes, and are after to lull them into pleasing dreams of groves wards called up into the mind either barely and elysiums. by its own operations, or on occasion of In all these instances, this secondary something without us, as statues, or de- pleasure of the imagination proceeds from scriptions. We have already considered that action of the mind which compares the first division, and shall therefore enter the ideas arising from the original objects VOL. II.
with the ideas we receive from the statue, readers, who are all acquainted with the picture, description, or sound, that repre- same language, and know the meaning of sents them. It is impossible for us to give the words they read, should nevertheless the necessary reason why this operation of have a different relish of the same descripthe mind is attended with so much pleasure, tions. We find one transported with a pasas I have before observed on the same oc- sage, which another runs over with coldness casion; but we find a great variety of enter- and indifference; or finding the representatainments derived from this single principle; tion extremely natural, where another can for it is this that not only gives us a relish perceive nothing of likeness and conformity. of statuary, painting, and description, but This different taste must proceed either makes us delight in all the actions and arts from the perfection of imagination in one of mimickry. It is this that makes the more than in another, or from the different several kinds of wit pleasant, which con- ideas that several readers affix to the same sists, as I have formerly shown, in the words. For to have a true relish and form affinity of ideas: and we may add, it is this a right judgment of a description, a man also that raises the little satisfaction we should be born with a good imagination, sometimes find in the different sorts of false and must have well weighed the force and wit; whether it consists in the affinity of energy that lie in the several words of a letters, as an anagram, acrostic; or of syl- language, so as to be able to distinguish lables, as in doggrel rhymes, echoes; or of which are most significant and expressive words, as in puns, quibbles; or of a whole of their proper ideas, and what additional sentence or poem, as wings and altars. The strength and beauty they are capable of final cause, probably, of annexing pleasure receiving from conjunction with others. to this operation of the mind, was to quicken The fancy must be warm, to retain the and encourage us in our searches after truth, print of those images it hath received from since the distinguishing one thing from an- outward objects, and the judgment discernother, and the right discerning betwixt our ing, to know what expressions are most ideas, depend wholly upon our comparing proper to clothe and adorn them to the them together, and observing the congruity best advantage. A man who is deficient in or disagreement that appears among the either of these respects, though he may reseveral works of nature.
ceive the general notion of a description, But I shall here confine myself to those can never see distinctly all its particular pleasures of the imagination which pro- beauties; as a person with a weak sight ceed from ideas raised by words, because may have the confused prospect of a place most of the observations that agree with that lies before him, without entering into descriptions are equally applicable to paint- its several parts, or discerning the variety ing and statuary.
of its colours in their full glory and perfecWords, when well chosen, have so great tion.
O, a force in them, that description often gives us more lively ideas than the sight of things themselves. The reader finds a scene No. 417.] Saturday, June 28, 1712. drawn in stronger colours, and painted more to the life in his imagination by the help of
PAPER VII. words, than by an actual survey of the ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION. scene which they describe. In this case, Contents.-How a whole set of ideas hang together, &c. the poet seems to get the better of nature: A natural cause assigned for it. How to perfect the he takes, indeed, the landscape after her,
imagination of a writer. Who among the ancient
poets had this faculty in its greatest perfection. Ho. but gives it more vigorous touches, height-mer excelled in imagining what is great; Virgil in ens its beauty, and so enlivens the whole imagining what is beautiful; Ovid in imagining
Our own countryman, Milton, very piece, that the images which flow from the
perfect in all these three respects. object themselves appear weak and faint,
Quem tu, Melpomene, semel in comparison of those that come from the Nascentem placido lumine videris, expressions. The reason, probably, may be, because in the survey of any object, we
Clarabit pugilem, non equus impiger, &c. have only so much of it painted on the ima
Sed quæ Tibur aquæ fertile perfluent,
Et spissæ nemorum comæ gination as comes in at the eye: but in its Fingent Æolio carmine nobilem. description, the poet gives us as free a view of it as he pleases, and discovers to us He on whose birth the lyric queen several parts, that either we did not attend
Of numbers smil'd, shall never grace
The Isthmian gauntlet, or be seen
And sbady groves, his baunts, shall know
Atterbury. presents it, he may either give us a more complex idea of it, or only raise in us such We may observe, that'any single cirideas as are most apt to affect the imagina- cumstance of what we have formerly seen tion.
often raises up a whole scene of imagery, It may
here be worth our while to exa- and awakens numberless ideas that before mine how it comes to pass that several slept in the imagination; such a particular
what is new.
Illum non labor Isthmius
Hor. Od. iii. Lib. 4. 1.
smell or colour is able to fill the mind, on as the productions of art, whether it appear sudden, with the picture of the fields or in painting or statuary, in the great works gardens where we first met with it, and to of architecture, which are in their present bring up into view all the variety of images glory; or in the ruins of those which fourthat once attended it. Our imagination ished in former ages. takes the hint, and leads us unexpectedly Such advantages as these help to open a into cities or theatres, plains or meadows. man's thoughts, and to enlarge his imaginaWe may further observe, when the fancy tion, and will therefore have their influence thus reflects on the scenes that have passed on all kinds of writing, if the author knows in it formerly, those which were at first how to make right use of them. And pleasant to behold appear more so upon among those of the learned languages who reflection, and that the memory heightens excel in this talent, the most perfect in the delightfulness of the original. A Car- their several kinds are, perhaps, Homer, tesian would account for both these in- | Virgil, and Ovid. The first strikes the stances in the following manner:
imagination wonderfully with what is great, The set of ideas which we received from the second with what is beautiful, and the such a prospect or garden, having entered last with what is strange. Reading the the mind at the same time, have a set of Iliad, is like travelling through a country traces belonging to them in the brain, uninhabited, where the fancy is entertained bordering very near upon one another: with a thousand savage prospects of vast when, therefore, any one of these ideas deserts, wide uncultivated marshes, huge arises in the imagination, and consequently forests, misshapen rocks and precipices. despatches a flow of animal spirits to its On the contrary, the Æneid is like a wellproper trace, these spirits, in the violence ordered garden, where it is impossible to of their motion, run not only into the trace find out any part unadorned, or to cast our to which they were more particularly di- eyes upon a single spot that does not prorected, but into several of those that lie duce some beautiful plant or flower. But about it. By this means they awaken other when we are in the Metamorphoses, we ideas of the same set, which immediately are walking on enchanted ground, and see determine a new despatch of spirits, that nothing but scenes of magic lying round us. in the same manner open other neighbour Homer is in his province, when he is deing traces, till at last the whole set of them scribing a battle or a multitude, a hero or is blown up, and the whole prospect or a god. Virgil is never better pleased than garden flourishes in the imagination. But when he is in his elysium, or copying out because the pleasure we receive from these an entertaining picture. Homer's epithets places far surmounted, and overcame the generally mark out what is great; Virgil's little disagreeableness we found in them, what is agreeable. Nothing can be more for this reason there was at first a wider magnificent than the figure Jupiter makes passage worn in the pleasure traces, and, in the first Iliad, por more charming than on the contrary, so narrow a one in those that of Venus in the first Æneid, which belonged to the disagreeable ideas, 'H*** xuxusn0w sz'o puo' prves Keoviev, that they were quickly stopt up, and ren 'Αμβροσιαι δ' dered incapable of receiving any animal K42705 a7” *26**500* Hey ev"S'ombetov Oquutor.
Iliad, i. 528. spirits, and consequently of exciting any
He spoke, and awful bends his sable brows; unpleasant ideas in the memory.
Shakes his ambrosial curls, and gives the nod, It would be in vain to inquire whether the stamp of fate and sanction of the god : the power of imagining things strongly pro- High heav'n with trembling the dread signal took,
Pope. ceeds from any greater perfection in the And all Olympus to the centre shook. soul, or from any nicer texture in the brain Dixit : et avertens rosea cervice refulsit, of one man than another. But this is cer- Spiravere : pedes vestis defluxit ad imos,
Ambrosjæque come divinum vertice odorem tain, that a noble writer should be born Et vera incessu patuit dea. - Virg. Æn. i. 406. with this faculty in its full strength and vi- Thus having said, she turn'd, and made appear gour, so as to be able to receive lively ideas Her neck refulgent, and dishevell'd hair; from outward objects, to retain them long, Which; flowing from her shoulders reach'd the ground and to range them together, upon occasion, In length of train descends her sweeping gown, in such figures and representations, as are And by her graceful walk the queen of love is known. most likely to hit the fancy of the reader.
Dryden. A poet should take as much pains in form- Homer's persons are most of them godlike ing his imagination, as a philosopher in and terrible: Virgil has scarce admitted cultivating his understanding. He must any into his poem who are not beautiful, gain a due relish of the works of nature, and has taken particular care to make his and be thoroughly conversant in the various hero so. scenery of a country life.
-Lumenque juventæ When he is stored with country images, Purpureum, et lætos oculis atllarat honores. if he would go beyond pastoral, and the
Virg. En. i. 594. lower kinds of poetry, he ought to acquaint And gave his rolling eyes a sparkling grace, himself with the pomp and magnificence And breath'd a youihful vigour on his face.—Dryden. cf courts. He should be very well versed in a word, Homer fills his readers with in every thing that is noble and stately in sublime ideas, and, I believe, has raised the
imagination of all the good poets that have of the imagination are of a wider and more come after him. I shall only instance Ho universal nature than those it has when race, who immediately takes fire at the first joined with sight; for not only what is great, hint of any passage in the Iliad or Odyssey, strange, or beautiful, but any thing that is and always rises above himself when he disagreeable when looked upon, pleases us has Homer in his view. Virgil has drawn in an apt description. Here, therefore, we together, into his Æneid, all the pleasing must inquire after a new principle of pleascenes his subject is capable of admitting, sure, which is nothing else but the action and in his Georgics has given us a collec- of the mind, which compares the ideas that tion of the most delightful landscapes that arise from words with the ideas that arise can be made out of fields and woods, herds from objects themselves; and why this of cattle, and swarms of bees.
operation of the mind is attended with so Ovid, in his Metamorphoses, has shown much pleasure, we have before considered. us how the imagination may be affected by For this reason, therefore, the description what is strange. He describes a miracle of a dunghill is pleasing to the imagination, in every story, and always gives us the if the image be represented to our minds sight of some new creature at the end of it
. by suitable expressions; though, perhaps, His art consists chiefly in well-timing his this may be more properly called the pleadescription, before the first shape is quite sure of the understanding than of the fancy, worn off, and the new one perfectly finish- because we are not so much delighted with ed; so that he every where entertains us thc image that is contained in the descripwith something we never saw before, and tion, as with the aptness of the description shows us monster after monster to the end to excite the image. of the Metamorphoses.
But if the description of what is little, If I were to name a poet that is a perfect common, or deformed, be acceptable to the master in all these arts of working on the imagination, the description of what is imagination, I think Milton may pass for great, surprising, or beautiful is much more one: and if his Paradise Lost falls short of so; because here we are not only delighted the Æneid or Iliad in this respect, it pro- with comparing the representation with the ceeds rather from the fault of the language original, but are highly pleased with the in which it is written, than from any defect original itself. Most readers, I believe, are of genius in the author. So divine a poem more charmed with Milton's description of in English, is like a stately palace built of Paradise, than of hell; they are both, perbrick, where one may see architecture in haps, equally perfect in their kind; but in as great a perfection as one of marble, the one the brimstone and sulphur are not though the materials are of a coarser na- so refreshing to the imagination, as the beds ture. But to consider it only as it regards of flowers and the wilderness of sweets in our present subject: What can be conceived the other. greater than the battle of angels, the ma There is yet another circumstance which jesty of Messiah, the stature and behaviour recommends a description more than all of Satan and his peers ? What more beau- the rest; and that is, if it represents to us tiful than Pandemonium, Paradise, Hea- such objects as are apt to raise a secret ferven, Angels, Adam and Eve? What more ment in the mind of the reader, and to work strange than the creation of the world, the with violence upon his passions. For, in several metamorphoses of the fallen angels, this case, we are at once warmed and enand the surprising adventures their leader lightened, so that the pleasure becomes meets with in his search after Paradise? more universal, and is several ways qualiNo other subject could have furnished a fied to entertain us. Thus in painting, it is poet with scenes so proper to strike the pleasant to look on the picture of any
face imagination, as no other poet could have where the resemblance is hit; but the pleapainted those scenes in more strong and sure increases if it be the picture of a face lively colours.
that is beautiful; and is still greater, if the
beauty be softened with an air of melanNo. 418.) Monday, June 30, 1712.
choly or sorrow. The two leading passions which the more serious parts of poetry endeavour to stir up in us, are terror and pity.
And here, by the way, one would wonder Contents.- Why any thing that is unpleasant to behold how it comes to pass that such passions as pleases the imagination when well described. Why are very unpleasant at all other times, are the imagination receives a more exquisite pleasure very agreeable when excited by proper ful. The pleasure still beightened if what is described descriptions. It is not strange, that we raises passion in the mind. Disagreeable passions should take delight in such passages as are for and grief are pleasing to the mind when excited apt to produce hope, joy, admiration, love, by description. A particular advantage the writers in or the like emotions in us, because they poetry and fiction have to please the imagination. (never rise in the mind without an inward Whai liberties are allowed them.
pleasure which attends them. But how -ferat et rubus asper amomum. Virg. Ecl. iii.89. comes it to pass, that we should take deligtit The rugged thorn shall bear the fragrant rose. The pleasures of these secondary views Ition, when we find so much uneasiness i _A
in being terrified or dejected by a descrip.