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such works among us at present. There were indeed many greater advantages for building in those times, and in that part of the world, than have been met with ever since. The earth was extremely fruitful; men lived generally on pasturage, which requires a much smaller number of hands than agriculture. There were few trades to employ the busy part of mankind, and fewer arts and sciences to give work to men of speculative tempers; and what is more than all the rest, the prince was absolute; so that when he went to war, he put himself at the head of the whole people, as we find Semiramis leading her three millions to the field, and yet overpowered by the number of her enemies. It is no wonder, therefore, when she was at peace, and turning her thoughts on building, that she could accomplish such great works, with such a prodigious multitude of labourers; besides that, in her climate there was small interruption of frosts and winters, which make the northern workmen lie half the year idle. I might mention, too, among the benefits of the climate, what historians say of the earth, that it sweated out a bitumen, or natural kind of mortar, which is doubtless the same with that mentioned in holy writ, as contributing to the structure of Babel: ‘Slime they used instead of mortar.” In Egypt we still see their pyramids, which answer to the descriptions that have been made of them; and I question not but a traveller might find out some remains of the labyrinth that covered a whole province, and had a hundred temples disposed among its several quarters and divisions. The wall of China is one of these eastern pieces of magnificence, which makes a figure even in the map of the world, although an account of it would have been thought fabulous, were not the wall itself still extant. We are obliged to devotion for the noblest buildings that have adorned the several countries of the world. It is this which has set men at work on temples and public o of worship, not only that they might, y the magnificence of the building, invite the Deity to reside within it, but that such stupendous works might, at the same time, open the mind to vast conceptions, and fit it to converse with the divinity of the place. For every thing that is majestic imprints an awfulness and reverence on the mind of the beholder, and strikes in with the natural greatness of the soul. In the second place we are to consider greatness of manner in architecture, which has such force upon the imagination, that a small building, where it appears, shall give the mind nobler ideas than any one of twenty times the bulk, where the manner is ordinary or little. Thus, perhaps, a man would have been more astonished with the majestic air that appeared in one of Lysippus's statues of Alexander, though no bigger than the life, than he might have been with
mount Athos, had it been cut into the figure of the hero, according to the proposal of Phidias," with a river in one hand, and a city in the other. Let any one reflect on the disposition of mind he finds in himself at his first entrance into the Pantheon at Rome, and how the imagination is filled with something great and amazing; and, at the same time, consider how little, in proportion, he is affected with the inside of a Gothic cathedral, though it be five times larger than the other; which can arise from nothing else but the greatness of the manner in the one, and the meanness in the other. I have seen an observation upon this subject in a French author, which very much pleased me. It is Monsieur Freart’s Parallel of the ancient and modern Architecture. I shall give it the reader with the same terms of art which he has made use of ‘I am observing,’ says he, “a thing which, in my opinion, is very curious, whence it proceeds, that in the same quantity of superfices, the one manner seems great and magnificent, and the other poor and trifling; the reason is fine and uncommon. . I say, then, that to introduce into architecture this grandeur of manner, we ought so to proceed, that the division of the principal members of the order may consist but of few parts, that they be all great, and of a bold and ample relievo, and swelling; and that the eye, beholding nothing little and mean, the imagination may be more vigorously touched and affected with the work that, stands before it. For example, in a cornice, if the gola or cymatium of the corona, the coping, the modillions, or dentelli, make a noble show by their graceful productions, if we see none of that ordinary confusion, which is the result of those little cavities, quarter rounds of the astragal, and I know not how many other intermingled particulars, which produce no effect in great and massy works, and which very unprofitably take up place to the prejudice of the principal member, it is most certain that this manner will appear solemn and great; as, on the contrary, that it will have but a poor and mean effect, where there is a redundancy of those smaller ornaments, which divide and scatter the angles of the sight into such a multitude of rays, so pressed together that the whole will appear but a confusion.” Among all the figures of architecture, there are none that have a greater air than the concave and the convex; and we find in all the ancient and modern architecture, as well as in the remote parts of China, as in countries nearer home, that round pillars, and vaulted roofs make a great part of those buildings which are designed for pomp and magnificence. The reason I take to be, because in these figures we generally see more of the body than in those of other kinds. There are, indeed, figures of bodies, where the eye may take in two-thirds of the surface; but, as in such bodies the sight must split upon several angles, it does not take in one uniform idea, but several ideas of the same kind. Look upon the outside of a dome, your eye half surrounds it; look upon the inside, and at one glance you have all the prospect of it; the entire concavity falls into your eye at once, the sight being as the centre that collects and gathers into it the lines of the whole circumference; in a square pillar, the sight often takes in but a fourth part of the surface; and in a square concave, must move up and down to the different sides, before it is master of all the inward surface. For this reason, the fancy is infinitely more struck with the view of the open air and skies, that passes through an arch, than what comes through a square, or any other figure. The figure of the rainbow does not contribute less to its magnificence than the colours to its beauty, as it is #. poetically described by the son of Sirach: “Look upon the rainbow, and praise him that made it; very beautiful it is in its brightness; it encompasses the heavens with a glorious circle; and the hands of the Most High have bended it.” aving thus spoken of that greatness which affects the mind in architecture, I might next show the pleasure that rises in the imagination from what appears new and beautiful in this art! but as every beholder has naturally greater taste of these two perfections in every building which offers itself to his view, than of that which I have hitherto considered, I shall not trouble my readers with any reflections upon it. It is sufficient for my present purpose to observe, that there is nothing in this whole art which pleases the imagination, but as it is great, uncommon, or beautiful.
No. 416.] Friday, June 27, 1712.
PAPER VI. on The PLEASURES OF The IMAGINATION.
Contents.—The secondary pleasures of the imagination. The several sources of these pleasures (statuary, painting, description, and music) compared together. The final cause of our receiving pleasure from these several sources. Of descriptions in particular. The power of words over the imagination. Why one reader is more pleased with descriptions than another.
Quatenus hoc simile est oculis, quod mente videmus. Lucr. ix. 754.
so far as what we see with our minds bears simili. tude to what we see with our eyes.
I at first divided the pleasures of the imagination into such as arise from objects that are actually before our eyes, or that once entered in at our eyes, and are afterwards called up into the mind either barel by its own operations, or on occasion o something without us, as statues, or descriptions. We have already considered the first division, and shall therefore enter
Vol. II. 19
on the other, which, for distinction sake, I have called ‘The Secondary Pleasures of the Imagination.’ When I say the ideas we receive from statues, descriptions, or such-like occasions, are the same that were once actually in our view, it must not be understood that we had once seen the very place, action, or person, that are carved or described. It is sufficient that we have seen places, persons, or actions in general, which bear a resemblance, or at least some remote analogy, with what we find represented; since it is in the power of the imagination, when it is once stocked with particular ideas, to enlarge, compound, and vary them at her own pleasure. Among the different kinds of representation, statuary is the most natural, and shows us something likest the object that is represented. To make use of a common instance: let one who is born blind take an image in his hands, and trace out with his fingers the different furrows and impressions of the chisel, and he will easily conceive how the shape of a man, or beast, may be represented by it; but should he draw his hand over a picture, where all is smooth and uniform, he would never be able to imagine how the several prominences and depressions of a human o could be shown on a plain piece of canvass, that has in it no unevenness or irregularity. Description runs yet farther from the things it represents than painting; for a picture bears a real resemblance to its original, which letters and syllables are wholly void of. Colours speak all languages, but words are understood only by such a people or nation. For this reason, though men's necessities quickly put them on finding out speech, writing is probably of a later invention than painting; o: we are told that in America, when the Spaniards first arrived there, expresses were sent to the emperor of México in paint, and the news of his country 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 draw the little connections of speech, or to give the picture of a conjunction or an adverb. It would be yet more strange to represent visible objects by sounds that have no ideas annexed to them, and to make something like description in music. Yet it is certain, there may be confused imperfect notions of this nature raised in the imagination by an artificial composition of notes: and we find that great masters in the art are able, sometimes, to set their hearers in the heat and hurry of a battle, to overcast their minds with melancholy scenes and apprehensions of deaths and funerals, or to lull them into pleasing dreams of groves and elysiums. In all these instances, this secondary pleasure of the imagination proceeds from that action of the mind which compares the ideas arising from the original objects
with the ideas we receive from the statue, picture, description, or sound, that represents them. It is impossible for us to give the necessary reason why this operation of the mind is attended with so much pleasure, as I have before observed on the same occasion; but we find a great variety of entertainments derived from this single principle; for it is this that not only gives us a relish of statuary, painting, and description, but makes us delight in all the actions and arts of mimickry. It is this that makes the several kinds of wit pleasant, which consists, as I have formerly shown, in the affinity of ideas: and we may add, it is this also that raises the little satisfaction we sometimes find in the different sorts of false Wit; whether it consists in the affinity of letters, as an anagram, acrostic; or of syllables, as in doggrel rhymes, echoes; or of words, as in puns, quibbles; or of a whole sentence or poem, as wings and altars. The final cause, probably, of annexing pleasure to this operation of the mind, was to quicken and encourage usin our searches after truth, since the distinguishing one thing from another, and the right discerning betwixt our ideas, depend wholly upon our comparing them together, and observing the congruity or disagreement that appears among the Several works of nature. But I shall here confine myself to those pleasures of the imagination which proceed from ideas raised by words, because most of the observations that agree with descriptions are equally applicable to painting and statuary. ords, when well chosen, have so great a force in them, that a description often gives us more lively ideas than the sight of things themselves. The reader finds a scene drawn in stronger colours, and painted more to the life in his imagination by the help of words, than by an actual survey of the scene which they describe. In this case, the poet seems to get the better of nature: he takes, indeed, the landscape after her, but gives it more vigorous touches, heightens its beauty, and so enlivens the whole piece, that the images which flow from the object themselves appear weak and faint, in comparison of those that come from the expressions. The reason, probably, may be, because in the survey of any object, we have only so much of it painted on the imaination as comes in at the eye; but in its *Scription, the poet gives us as free a View of it as he pleases, and discovers to us several parts, that either we did not attend to, or that lay out of our sight when we first beheld it. . X. we look on any object, our idea of it is, perhaps, made up of two or three simple ideas; but when the poet represents it, he may either give us a more complex idea of it, or only raise in us such ideas as are most apt to affect the imagination. It may here be worth our while to examine how it comes to pass that several
readers, who are all acquainted with the same language, and know the meaning of the words they read, should nevertheless have a different relish of the same descriptions. We find one transported with a passage, which another runs over with coldness and indifference; or finding the representation extremely natural, where another can erceivenothing of likeness and conformity. his different taste must proceed either from the perfection of imagination in one more than in another, or from the different ideas that several readers affix to the same words. For to have a true relish and form a right judgment of a description, a man should be born with a good imagination, and must have well weighed the force and energy that lie in the several words of a language, so as to be able to distinguish which are most significant and expressive of their proper ideas, and what additional strength and beauty they are capable of receiving from conjunction with others. The fancy must be warm, to retain the print of those images it hath received from outward objects, and the judgment discerning, to know what expressions are most H.P. to clothe and adorn them to the est advantage. A man who is deficient in either of these respects, though he may receive the general notion of a description, can never see distinctly, all its particular beauties; as a person with a weak sight may have the confused prospect of a place that lies before him, without entering into its several parts, or discerning the variety of its colours in their full glory and perfection. - O.
No. 417.] Saturday, June 28, 1712.
PAPER VII. ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION.
Contents.-How a whole set of ideas hang together, &c. A natural cause assigned for it. How to perfect the imagination of a writer. Who among the ancient poets had this faculty in its greatest perfection. Ho: mer excelled in imagining what is great; Virgil in imagining what is beautiful; Ovid in imagining what is new. Our own countryman, Milton, very perfect in all these three respects. Quem tu, Melpomene, semel Nascentem placido lumine videris, Illum non labor Isthmius Clarabit pugilem, non equus impiger, &c. Sed qua Tibur aqua fertile perfluent, Et spissae memorum coma, Fingent AEolio carmine nobilem. Hor. Od. iii. Lib. 4. 1.
He on whose birth the lyric queen Of numbers smil'd, shall never grace The Isthmian gauntlet, or be seen First in the fame'd Olympic race.
But him the streams that warbling flow Rich Tiber's fertile meads along, And shady groves, his haunts, shall know The master of th’ Aeolian song. ...Atterbury.
WE may observe, that any single circumstance of what we have formerly seen often raises up a whole scene of imagery, and awakens numberless ideas that before slept in the imagination; such a particular
smell or colour is able to fill the mind, on a sudden, with the picture of the fields or gardens where we first met with it, and to bring up into view all the variety of images that once attended it. Our imagination takes the hint, and leads us unexpectedly into cities or theatres, plains or meadows. We may further observe, when the fancy thus reflects on the scenes that have passed in it formerly, those which were at first pleasant to behold appear more so upon reflection, and that the memory heightens the delightfulness of the original. A Cartesian would account for both these instances in the following manner: The set of ideas which we received from such a prospect or garden, having entered the mind at the same time, have a set of traces belonging to them in the brain, bordering very near upon one another: when, therefore, any one of these ideas arises in the imagination, and consequently despatches a flow of animal spirits to its proper trace, these spirits, in the violence of their motion, run not only into the trace to which they were more particularly directed, but into several of those that lie about it. By this means they awaken other ideas of the same set, which immediately determine a new despatch of spirits, that in the same manner open other neighbouring traces, till at last the whole set of them is blown up, and the whole prospect or garden flourishes in the imagination. But because the pleasure we receive from these places far surmounted, and overcame the little disagreeableness we found in them, for this reason there was at first a wider passage worn in the pleasure traces, and, on the contrary, so narrow a one in those which belonged to the disagreeable ideas, that they were quickly stopt up, and rendered incapable of receiving any animal spirits, and consequently of exciting any unpleasant ideas in the memory. t would be in vain to inquire whether the power of imagining things strongly proceeds from any greater perfection in the soul, or from any nicer texture in the brain of one man than another. But this is certain, that a noble writer should be born with this faculty in its full strength and vigour, so as to be able to receive lively ideas from outward objects, to retain them long, and to range them together, upon occasion, in such figures and representations, as are most likely to hit the fancy of the reader. A poet should take as much pains in forming his imagination, as a philosopher in cultivating his understanding. e must gain a due relish of the works of nature, and be thoroughly conversant in the various scenery of a country life. When he is stored with country images, if he would go beyond pastoral, and the
lower kinds of poetry, he ought to acquaint
himself with the pomp and magnificence of courts. He should be very well versed in every thing that is noble and stately in
the productions of art, whether it appear in painting or statuary, in the great works of architecture, which are in their present glory; or in the ruins of those which flourished in former ages. Such advantages as these help to open a man's thoughts, and to enlarge his imagination, and will therefore have their influence on all kinds of writing, if the author knows how to make right use of them. And among those of the learned languages who excel in this talent, the most perfect in their several kinds are, perhaps, Homer, Virgil, and Ovid. The first strikes the imagination wonderfully with what is great, the second with what is beautiful, and the last with what is strange. Reading the Iliad, is like travelling through a country uninhabited, where the fancy is entertained with a thousand savage prospects of vast deserts, wide uncultivated marshes, huge forests, misshapen rocks and precipices. On the contrary, the AEneid is like a wellordered garden, where it is impossible to find out any part unadorned, or to cast our eyes upon a single spot that does not produce some beautiful plant or flower. But when we are in the Metamorphoses, we are walking on enchanted ground, and see nothing but scenes of magic lying round us. Homer is in his province, when he is describing a battle or a multitude, a hero or a god. Virgil is never better pleased than when he is in his elysium, or copying out an entertaining picture. Homer's epithets generally mark out what is great; W. what is agreeable. Nothing can be more magnificent than the figure i. makes in the first Iliad, nor more charming than that of Venus in the first AEneid. 'H xx, ovavior. v or' ocevr" vowri Keow, ev, 'A4322.7 x. 3' x 2- 22 ra. refer row to avox re;
imagination of all the good poets that have come after him. I shall onlv instance Horace, who immediately takes fire at the first hint of any passage in the Iliad or Odyssey, and always rises above himself when he has Homer in his view. Virgil has drawn together, into his AEneid, all the pleasing scenes his subject is capable of admitting, and in his Georgics has given us a collection of the most delightful landscapes that can be made out of fields and woods, herds of cattle, and swarms of bees. Ovid, in his Metamorphoses, has shown us how the imagination may be affected by what is strange. He describes a miracle in every story, and always gives us the sight of some new creaturé at the end of it. His art consists chiefly in well-timing his description, before the first shape is quite worn off, and the new one perfectly finished; so that he every where entertains us with something we never saw before, and shows us monster after monster to the end of the Metamorphoses. If I were to name a poet that is a perfect master in all these arts of working on the imagination, I think Milton may pass for one: and if his Paradise Lost falls short of the AEneid or Iliad in this respect, it proceeds rather from the fault of the language in which it is written, than from any defect of genius in the author. So divine a poem in English, is like a stately palace built of brick, where one may see architecture in as great a perfection as one of marble, though the materials are of a coarser nature. But to consider it only as it regards our present subject: What can be conceived ater than the battle of angels, the majesty of Messiah, the stature and behaviour of Satan and his peers 2 What more beautiful than Pandæmonium, Paradise, Heaven, Angels, Adam and Eve? What more strange than the creation of the world, the several metamorphoses of the fallen angels, and the surprising adventures their leader meets with in his search after Paradise? No other subject could have furnished a poet with scenes so proper to strike the imagination, as no other poet could have H. those scenes in more strong and ively colours. O.
No. 418.] Monday, June 30, 1712.
PAPER VIII. ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION. Contents.—Why any thing that is unpleasant to behold pleases the imagination when well described. Why the imagination receives a more exquisite pleasure srom the description of what is great, new, or beauti. ful. The pleasure still heightened, if what is described raises passion in the mind. Disagreeable passions pleasing when raised by apt descriptions. Why ter. ror and grief are pleasing to the mind when excited by description. A particular advantage the writers in Yetry and fiction have to please the imagination. W. liberties are allowed them. —serat et rubus asper amomum. virg. Ecl. iii. 89. The rugged thorn shall bear the fragrant rose.
The pleasures of these secondary views
of the imagination are of a wider and more universal nature than those it has when joined with sight; for not only what is great, strange, or beautiful, but anything that is disagreeable when looked upon, pleases us in an apt description. Here, therefore, we must inquire after a new principle of pleasure, which is nothing else but the action of the mind, which compares the ideas that arise from words with the ideas that arise from objects themselves; and why this operation of the mind is attended with so much pleasure, we have before considered. For this reason, therefore, the description of a dunghill is pleasing to the imagination, if the image be represented to our minds by suitable expressions; though, perhaps, this may be more properly called the pleasure of the understanding than of the fancy, because we are not so much delighted with the image that is contained in the description, as with the aptness of the description to excite the image. But if the description of what is little, common, or deformed, be acceptable to the imagination, the description of what is great, surprising, or beautiful is much more so; because here we are not only delighted with o the o with the original, but are highly pleased with the original itself. Most readers, I believe, are more charmed with Milton's description of Paradise, than of hell; they are both, perhaps, equall perfect in their kind; but in the one the brimstone and sulphur are not so refreshing to the imagination, as the beds of flowers and the wilderness of sweets in the other. There is yet another circumstance which recommends a description more than all the rest; and that is, if it represents to us such objects as are apt to raise a secret setment in the mind of the reader, and to work with violence upon his passions. For, in this case, we are at once warmed and ey lightened, so that the pleasure becomes more universal, and is several ways qualified to entertain us. Thus in painting, it is pleasant to look on the picture of any face where the resemblance is hit; but the pleasure increases if it be the picture of a face that is beautiful; and is still greater, if the beauty be softened with an air of melancholy 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 how it comes to pass that such passions as are very unpleasant at all other times, are very agreeable when excited by proper descriptions. It is not strange, that we should take delight in such passages as are apt to produce hope, joy, admiration, loo or the like emotions in us, because they never rise in the mind without an inward
tion, when we find so much uneasines –”