Imágenes de páginas

quainted with the same language, and know the mean, ing 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 perceive nothing of likeness and conformity. This 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 proper to clothe and adorn them to the best advantage. A man who is deficient in either of these respects, though he may receive the general nation 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.



PAPER VIT. No. 417.

We may observe, that any single circumstance of what we have formerly'seen often raises up a whole sèene 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, withi the picture of the fields or gardens where we first met with it, and to bring up into view. all the variety of jinages that once attended it. Our imagination takes the hint, and leads us unexpectedly into cities or theatres, plains or mcadows. We may further observe, when the fancy thus reffects on the scenes that have passed in it formerly, those which were at first pleasant to behold appcar more so upon reflection, and that the memory heightens the delightfulness of the originál. 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 dispatches 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 severa! of those that lie about it. By this means they awaken Other ideas of the same set, which inmediately determine a new dispatch of spirits, that in the same manper 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 received froin those places far sur, mounted 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.

It 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 of 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. He 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 adyantages as these help to open a man's 8

thoughts thoughts, and to enlarge his imagination, and will therefore have their influence on all kinds of writing, if the aạthor 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 Æneid is like a well ordered garden, where it is impossible to find out any part unadorned, or to cast our eyes upan a single spot that does not produce some beautiful plant or flower. But when we are in the Metamorphosis 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 ; Virgil's, what is agreeable. Nothing can be more magnificent than the figure Jupiter makes in the first Iliad, nor more charm. ing than that of Venus in the first Æneid:

H, και κυαντησιν επ' οφρυσι νευσε Κρονιαν,
Αεροσιαι δ'αρα χαιται ακερέωσαντο ανακτος
Κρατος απ' αθανατοιο μεγαν δ'ελελιξεν Ολυμπιον.

Iliad. i. 528.

He spoke, and awful bends his sable brows;
Shakes his ambrosial curls, and gives the nod,
The stamp of fate, and sanction of the God:

High heav'n with trembling the dread signal took,
And all Olympus to the centre shook,


Dirit, & avertens roseâ cervice refulsit :
Ambrosiæque comæ divinum vertice odorem
Spiracere : Pedes vestis defluxit ad imos,
Et vera incessu patuit Dea-

Æn. i, 406.

Thus having said, she turn'd and made appear
Her neck refulgent, and dishevel'd hair;
Which, flowing from her shoulders, reach'd the ground,
And widely spread ambrosial scents around :
In length of train descends her sweeping gown,
And by her graceful walk the queen of love is known.


Homer's persons are most of them godlike and terrible; Virgil has scarce admitted any into his poem who are not beautiful, and has taken particular care to make his hero so.

lumenque juvente Purpureum, et lætos oculis afflavit honores.

Æn. i. 594.

And gave

his rolling eyes a sparkling grace, And breath'd a youthful vigour on his face,


In a word, Homer fills his readers with sublime ideas, and, I believe, has raised the imagination of all the good poets that have come after him. I shall only instance Horace, who immediately takes fire at the first hint of any passage in the Iliad or Odyssey, and always Fises above himself when he has Homer in his view. Virgil has drawn together, into his Æneid, all the


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