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beberapa restrained to any particular set of plants, but is proper
either for oaks or myrtles, and adapts itself to the prooducts of every climate. Oranges may grow wild in it; en myrrh may be met with in every hedge; and if he thinks
it proper to have a grove of spices, he can quickly comsom mand sun enough to raise it. If all this will not fur
nish out an agreeable scene, he can make several new in the species of flowers, with richer scents and higher co
lours than any that grow in the gardens of Nature. His that the concerts of birds may be as full and harmonious, and
his woods as thick and gloomy, as he pleases. He is at no more expense in a long višta than a short one, and
can as easily throw his cascades from a precipice of half uites com a mile high, as from one of twenty yards. He has his finds the
choice of the winds, and can turn the course of his ure white rivers in all the variety of meanders that are most deciastackelightful to the reader's imagination. In a word, he has can fact the modelling of nature in his own hands, and may
give her what charms he pleases, provided he does not f some di reform her too much, and run into absurdities by en1 is the pedeavouring to excel.
le slow ador
the more and
There is a kind of writing, wherein the poet quite duction to loses sight of nature, and entertains his reader's imascription ay gination with the characters and actions of such per
sons as have many of them no existence but what he bestows on them. Such are fairies, witches, magicians, dæmons, and departed spirits. This Mr. Dryden calls “the fairy way of writing;' which is, indeed, more difficult than any other that depends on the
mind of man is naturally subject. We are pleased with surveying the different habits and behaviours of foreign countries; how much more must we be delighted and surprised when we are led, as it were, into a new creation, and see the persons and manners of another species ? Men of cold fancies and philosophical dispositions object to this kind of poetry, that it has not probability enough to affect the imagination. But to this it may be answered, that we are sure, in general, there are many intellectual beings in the world besides ourselves, and several species of spirits, who are subject to different laws and economies from those of mankind; when we see, therefore, any of these represented naturally, we cannot loc upon the representation as altogether impossible; nay, many are prepossessed with such false opinions as dispose them to believe these particular delusions; at least we have all heard so many pleasing relations in favour of them, that we do not care for seeing through the falsehood, and willingly give ourselves up to so agreeable an imposture.
The antients have not much of this poetry among them; for, indeed, almost the whole substance of it owes its original to the darkness and superstition of later ages, when pious frauds were made use of to amuse mankind, and frighten them into a sense of their dutý. Our forefathers looked upon nature with more reverence and horror, before the world was enlightened by learning and philosophy, and loved to astonish themselves with the apprehensions of witchcraft, prodigies, charms, and enchantments. There was not a village in England that had not a ghost in it, the church-yards were all haunted, every large common had a circle of fairies belonging to it, and there was
scarce a shepherd to be met with who had not seen a spirit.
Among all the poets of this kind our English are much the best, by what I have yet seen ; whether it be that we abound with more stories of this nature, or that the genius of our country is fitter for this sort of poetry. For the English are naturally fanciful, and very often disposed by that gloominess and melancholy of temper, which is so frequent in our nation, to many wild notions and visions, to which others are not so liable.
Among the English, Shakespear has incomparably excelled all others. That noble extravagance of fancy, which he had in so great perfection, thoroughly qualified him to touch this weak superstitious part of his reader's imagination ; and made him capable of succeeding, where he had nothing to support him besides the strength of his own genius. There is something so wild, and yet so solemn, in his speeches of his ghosts, fairies, witches, and the like imaginary persons, that we cannot forbear thinking them natural, though we have no rule by which to judge of them; and must confess, if there are such beings in the world, it looks highly probable they should talk and act as he has represented them.
There is another sort of imaginary beings, that we sometimes meet with among the poets, when the author represents any passion, appetite, virtue or vice, under a visible shape, and makes it a person or an actor in his poeni. Of this nature are the descriptions of Hunger and Envy in Ovid, of Fame in Virgil, and of Sin and Death in Milton. We find a whole creation of the like shadowy persons in Spenser, who had an admirable talent in representations of this kind. I have discoursed of these emblematical persons in former
papers, and shall therefore only mention them in this place. Thus we see how many ways poetry addresses itself to the imagination, as it has not only the whole circle of nature for its province, but makes new worlds of its own, shows us persons who are not to be found in being, and represents even the faculties of the soul, with the several virtues and vices, in a sensible shape and character.
I shall, in my two following papers, consider in general, how other kinds of writing are qualified to please the imagination, with which I intend to conclude this essay.
ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION.
PAPER X. No. 420.
As the writers in poetry and fiction borrow their several materials from outward objects, and join them together at their own pleasure, there are others who are obliged to follow nature more closely, and w take entire scenes out of her. Such are historians, natural philosophers, travellers, geographers, and, in a word, all who describe visible objects of a real existence.
It is the most agreeable talent of a historian to be able to draw up his armies and fight his battles in
proper expressions ; to set before our eyes the divisions, cabals and jealousies of great men ; to lead us step by step into the several actions and events of his history. We love to see the subject unfolding itself by just degrees, and breaking upon us insensibly, that so we may be kept in a pleasing suspense, and have time given us to raise our expectations, and to side with one of the parties concerned in the relation. I confess this shows