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ON THE PLEASURES
OF THE

uma~uil A ~u

i1 ~

BY

J. ADDISON;
I' OLLOWBD liT .A.

CRITICAL

EXAMINATIO~
OF TBB

STYLE

t"n tho four first Essay8 J


BY

mw<n- m ma. A u mo

D. D. and F. R. S. Edin

.
Printed by & for Du VEilG~I. & C.

ANTWERP.

1828.
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KONINKL.
BIB LffffHEF.K .

'IE 'S UAGE


..., . ~

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. :ADVERTISEMENT.
--ect@>t--

AT a time when the study of the english

language is becoming so general , and a taste


for its literature is spreading with such
rapidity, the few sheets now offered to the
public , cannot , it is hoped, fail to meet
with a favourable reception. They may be
regarded. as forming a work , both classical
and elementary.
The names which appear in the title-page ,
names so well known, and so j_ustly app~eciated
by every admire~ of british literature, are
alone sufficient to attract the attention of the
lettered world. The elegant ease, and graceful harmony of Addison's compositions have
ever been universally acknowledged ; it is
therefore unnecessary, it would be impertinent,

to enter now into a laboured ~ulogy of his


merits. His style may be considered as form~
ing a medium between the native and
unadorned narrative of Swift, and the impos- ing and measured diction of Johnson. The
reputation of Blair as a writer , and a critic ,
is likewise founded on too firm a basis to
require any comment here~

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To those who are not insensible to tb.e pleasure experienced by every: well cpnstitutcd
mind on perusing the works of a known and
admired author, as well as to such as are
ambitious of attaining a certain degree of accuracy and elegance in their compositions ,
the present pamphlet cannot hut prove acceptable. It is the first of a se1ies which the editors
intend preparing for publication , should this
first essay meet with encouragement.
There are many, who though not without
taste for the belles lettres, do not feel disposed to lay out large sums in the purchase
of voluminous and costly works , who -are
thus deprived of all opportunity of consulting
the most approved btitish classics; and many
have doubtless experienced the difficulty and
delay , not to mention the extraordinary
expense, attending the necessity of procuring
hooks from England. These inconveniences
will be obviatecl by the plan the editors have
in contemplation; and no pains will be spared
by them to render th eir labours worthy of
the attention. and pab.onage of an enlightened
public.

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ON

THE PLEA.SUBES

OF

THE

'

mnm6n

1.

U R sight is the most perfect and most


delightful of all our senses. It fills 1the mind
with the largest vaiety of ideas, converses
with its objects at the greatest distance , and
continues the longest in action without being tired or satiated with its proper enjoyments.
The sen~e of feeling can indeed give us a
notion .of extension , shape , and all other
ideas that enter at the eye, except colours;
but, at the same time, it is very much stl'aitened
and confined in its operations, to the number.,
bulk, and distance of its particular objects.
Our sight ~eeU14 designed to supply all these
A.

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( 2 )
defecu , and may" be considered as a more
delicate and diffusive kind of touch , that
tpreads itself over an infinite multitude of
bodies , comprehends the largest figures, and
brings into our reach some of the most 1emote
parts of the universe.
It is this sense which furnishes the imaginatio~ with its ideas; so that by the pleasures
of the imagination or fancy ( which I shall
use promiscuously) I here mean such as arise
from visible objects , either when we have
them actually in our view, or when we call
up their ideas into our minds by paintings,
statues descriptions, or any the like occasion.
we cannot, indeed , have a single image in the
fancy that did not make its first entrance
through the sight; hut we have the power
of retaining , altering and compounding those
images which we have once received, into
all the varieties of picture and vision that
are most agreeable to the imagination : for,
by this faculty, a man in a dungeon is capable
of entertaining himself with scenes and landscapes more beautiful than any that can be
found in t.he whole compaas of nature~
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( 3 )
The re are few words in the ~:::. :3lis!t language which are employed in a more loose
and uncircumscribed sense than those of the
Fancy and the Imagination. I therefore
thought it necessary to fix and determine the
notion of these two words, as I intend to
make use of them in the thread of my following
lpeculations , that the reader may conceive
rightly what is the subject lvbich I proceed
upon. I must therefore desire him to remember that, by the pleasures of the imagination,
I mean only such pleasures as arise originally
from sight, and that I divide these pleasures
into l\'VO kinds: My design being fust of all
to discourse of those primary pleasures of
the imagination, which entirely proceed from
such objects as are before our eyes ; and, in
the next phice, to speak of those se~ondary
pleasures of the imagination '"hich flow f1om
the ideas of visible objects, when the objects
are not actually before the eye, but are called up into our memories , or formed into
_a greeable visions of things that are either
absent or fictious.
The pleasures of the imagination , taken
in their full extent, are not so gross as those

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of sense, nor so refined as those of the understanding. The last are, indeed , more prefe
rable, because they are founded on some ne\v
knowledge or improvement iu the mind of
man ; yet it must be confessed that those of the
imagination . are as great and as transporting
as the other. A beautiful prospect delights
the soul, as much as a demonstration ; and
a description in Ilomcr has charmed .more
readers than a chapter in Ari)totle. Besides,
the pleasures of the imagination have this
advantage, ~hove those of the understanding,
that they are more obvious, and mote easy
to be acquired. It is but opening the eye and
the scene enters. The colours paint themselves
on the fancy, with very little attention of
thought or application of mind in the behol
der. We are struck, we know not how,
with the symmetry of any thing we see, and
immediately assent to the beauty of an object, without inquhing into the particular
causes and occasions of it.
A man of a polite imagination is let into a
great many pleasures that the vulgar are not
capable of recehing. He can converse with
a picture , and' find . an agreeable companion

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( 5 )
in a statue. He meets witli a secret re(reshment
in a description, and often feels a greater
satisfaction in the prospect of fields and meadows, than another does in the possession.
lt gives him , indeed, a kind .of property in
every thing he secs, and makes the most rude
'
uncultivated parts of nature administer to his
pleasures; so thatt be looks upon
the world,
.
as it were, in another light, and discovers in
it a multitude of charms, that conceal themselves from the generality of manki~d.
There are , indeed, hut very few who know
how to be idle and innocent, or have a relish
of any pleasures that are not criminal ;
every diversion they take is at the expence
of some one virtue or . another, and their
very first step out of business is into vice or
folly. A m~n should endaavour,therefore,toma
ke the sphere of his innocent pleasures as wide
as possible, that he may retire into them with
safety, and find in them such a satisfaction
as a wise man would not blush
to take. Of

this nature arE; those of the imagination, which


do not require such a bent of though.t as is necessary to our more serious employments, nor,
at' the same time ., suffer the mind to sink into
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lhal negligence and remissness, which are apt
to accompany our more sensual delights, hut,
like a gentle exercise to the faculties, awaken
them from sloth and idleness, without putting them upon any labour or difficulty.
We might here add, that the pleasures of the
fancy are more conducive to health than those
of the understanding ,which are worked out

by dint of thinking, and attended with too


violent a labour of the brain. Delightful
scenes, whether in nature, painting, or poet..
ry , have a kindly influence on the body.,
as well as the mind, and not only serve to
clear and brighten the imagination , hut are
-able to disperse grief and melancliOly, a nd to
&et the animal spirits in pleasing and agteeable
motions. For this reason, Sir Franci~ Bacon,
in his Essay upon Health, has not thought
it improper to prescribe to his reader a poem
or a prospect, where he particular}y dissuades
him from knotty and suhtile disquisitions ,
~nd advises him to pursue studies that fill the
mind with splendid and illustrious objects, as
histories, fahles, and contemplations of nature.
I have, by way of introduction, settled the
notioa of those pleasures of the- imagination

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( "1 )
wbicb are the subject of my present undertaking , and endeavoured , by several consi
derations , to recommend to my reader the
pursuit of those pleasures. I shcall next examine the several sources from whence tAese
pleasures are derived.

j>umGn ~.

c~nsider

shall first
those pleasures of the
imagination, which arise ftom the actual view
and. sq.rvey of outward objects: And these, . I
think, aJI proceed from the sight of what is
:greaJ, llncommon, Ol' beaut~ful. There may,
indeed, be something so terrible or offensive,
that the horror or lothsomness of an object
may overbear the pleasure which results from
its greatness , no.v elty, or beall f)'; but still
there will be such a mixture of d("]ight in the
very disgust it gives us, as any of these three
qualifications are m.o~t conspicuous and pre-

-vailing.
By greatness , I do not only mean the hulk
of any single object, but tl1e largeness of a
whole view, considered as one entire piece.
Such are the prospects of an open cham~ip country~ a vast uncultivated desert,

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of huge heaps of mountains , high rocks and


precipices, or a wide expanse of water, where
we are not struck wi.th the novelty or beauty
of the sight , but with that rude kind of
magnificence which appears in many of these
atupendous works of Nature. Our imagination
loves to be 1illed with an object , or to grasp
at any thing that is too big for its capaci!Y
We are flung into a pleasing astonishment at
such unbounded views, and feel a delightful
stillness and amazement in tlte soul at the
apprehensions of them. The mind of man
natutally hates every thing that looks like a
restraint upon it, and is apt to fancy itself
under a sort of confinement , when the sight
is pent up in a narrow compass, and shortned
ou every side by the. neighbou1hood of walls
-or mountains. On the contrary. a spacious
horizon is an image of liberty, " here the eye
has ,room to range abroad, to expatiate at
large on the immensity of ils views , and to
lose itself amidst the variety of objects that
offer tl1emselves to its observation. Such wide
and undetermined l)rospects are as pleasing
to the fancy, as the the speculations of eternity or infinitude are to the understanding .

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{9 )
But if there be a beauty or uncommonneas
joined with this grandeur, as in a ~roubled
ocean , a heaven adorned with stars and
meteors, or' a spacious landscafe cut out into
rivers , woods , rocks , and meadows , tile
pleasure still grows upon us, as it arises from
more than a single principle.
Every thing that is new or uncommon raises
a pleasure in the imagination, because it fills
the soul with an agl'eeable surprise, gratifies
its cul'.i osity, and gi'ves it .an idea of which
ifwas not befote possessed. We are, indeed, so
often comersant with one set of objects, and
tired out with so many repeated shows of the
same things, that whatever is new or um:ommoTi contributes a little to vary human life ,
and to divert our minds , for a while, with
the sh'angeness of its appearance: It serves us
for a kind of refreshment , and takes off ftom
that satiety we are apt to complain of in our
usual and o1dinary entertainments. It is this
that bestows charms on a monster , and makes
even the imperfections of nature please us.
It is this that 1ecommends variety, where the
mind is every instant called off to something
new, and the aUention
not. auffered to dwell
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too long , and waste itself on any part.iculn
ob ject.. It is this , likewise , that improves
what is great or beautiful , and makes it afford
the mind a double ente11ainment. Groves ,
fields , and meadows, are at any season of the
year pleasant to look upon, but never so much
as in the opening of the spring, when they
are all new and fresh, with their first gloss
.upon them, and not yet too much accustomeCI
and familiar to the eye. For this reason there
is nothiug that more enlivens a prospect than
rivers, jetleaus, or falls of water, where the
scene is perpetually shifting, and entertaining
the sight every moment witb something that
is ne'~ We are quickly tired with looking
upon hills arid valleys , where every tl1ing
continues fixed and settled in the same place
a nd posh~re, but find our thoughts a little
agitated and relieved at the sight of such
objects as are ever in motion, and sliding
away from beneath the eye of the beholder.
But there is nothing that makes its way
more directly to the soul than beauty, which
immediately diffuses a secret satisfaction and
complacency through the imagination, and
gives a finishing ~0 any thing that ia great or

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uncommon. 'The very first discoyery of it
strikes the mind with an inward joy , and
apreads a cheerfulness and delight through
all its faculties. There is not perhaps any
real beauty or deformity more in one piece
of matter than another, because we might
have been so made , that whatsoever now
appea~s loathsome to us , might have shewn
itself agreeable; but \Ye find by experience
that there are several modifications of matter
which the mind, without any previous cons-ideration, pronounces at fi.rs't sight beautiful
or deformed. Thus we see that every different
species of sensible c1eatures has its different
notions of beauty , and that each of the ia
most affected with the beauties of its own
kind. This is no where more remarkable
than in birds of the same shape and propor
tion , where we often see the mate determined in his cou1tship by the single grain or
tincture of a feather, and never discovering
any charms but in the coloqr of its species.
There is a second kind of beauty that \Ve
find in the several products of aJ'l and natwe , wl1icb does not work in the imagination
l'Vith that warmth and violence as the beau.t y

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1~

tha-t appears in our proper species, but ie


apt however to raise in us a secret delight ,

and a kind pf fondness for the places or objects in which we discover it. This consista
either in the gaiety or variety of colours, in
the syutmeb-y and propot1ion of parts , in
the atTangement and disposition of bodies ,
or in a just mixture and concurrence of all
together. Among these several kinds of beauty
the eye takes most deligl1t in colours. We
no ''V:'hete meet ,-.ith a more glorious or pleasing show in nature , than what appears in
the heavens at the rising and setting of the
sun, 'vhich is wholly made up of those different stains of light that shew thems~lves in
clouds ofa different situation. For this reason
we find the poets, who are always addtessing
themselves to the imagination , b_o trowing
more of their epithets from colours than
Crom any other topic.
As the fancy delights in every thing that
is sreat' atra:nge or beautiful ' ancl is still
more pleased, the mote it finds of these perfections in the same object, so it is capable
of receiving a new satisfaction by the assistance
of another sense. Thus, any continued sound,

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as the music of birds , or a fall of water ,


awakens every moment the beholder , and
makes him more attentive to the several
beauties of the place that lie before him.
Thus if there arises a fragrancy of smells or
perfumes, they heighten the pleasures of the
imagination , and make even the colours and
verdure of the landscape appear more agreeable ; for, the ideas of both senses recommend
each other, and are pleasanter
together, than.

when they enter the mind separately : as the


different colours of a picture, when they are
well disposed , set off one another , and re-ceive an additional beauty from the advantage of their situation.

mumGn 3.
THough, in the last number, we have considered how every thing that is great, new ,
or beautiful, is apt to affect the imagination
with pleaswe , we must own that it is impossible for us to assign the necessary <:ause
of this pleasure , because we know neith~r
.the nature of an idea , nor the substance of
a human soul, which might help us to dis
B

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cover the o_o nformity or disagreeableness of


the otte to the other ; and therefore , for
want of such a light, all that we can do in
speculatiqns of this kind , is to reflect on
those operationS of the soul that are most
ag~.eeahle , and to range , under their proper
heads , wh~t is pl-easing or displeasing to the
mind, witheul being able to trace out the
several necessary and efficient causes. from
'"hence the pleasure or displeasure arises.
Fwal cau-ses lie more bare and open to our
observ,a tion , as there are often a greater
va~.>iety that belong to the same effect ; and
1hese, though they are not altogether so satis
factory, are generally more useful .than the
other, as they give us gteater occasion of
admiring the goodness and wisdom of the
first contriver.
One of the final causes of our delight in
any thing that is great, may he this : The
Supreme Author of our being has so formed
the soul of man , that nothin-g but himself
can be its last, adequate , and proper happiness. .Because, therefore, a great pa11 of
our happiness must arise from the contemplation of his being ; that he might give our

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souls a just relish of such a contemplation,
he has made them naturally delig'ht in the
apprehension of what is great or unlimited.
Our admiration , which is a very pleasing
motion of the mind, immediately rises at
the consideration of any object that takes
up a great deal of room in the fancy , and,
by -consequence , will improve into the
highest pitch of astonishment and devotion
when we C(lDtemplate bis nature , that is
neither circumscrtbed by time nor plaee ,
nor to be comprehended by the largest capacity of a created being.
H e has annei:ed a secret pleasure to the idea'
of ~ny thing that is new ~r uncommon, that
he might encourage us in the pursuit alter
knowledge , and engage us to ~arch into
the wonders :Of his 'Creation; for, every new
idea brings sueh a pleasure ahmg with i't", as
rewards any pains we have taken in its acquisition , and consequently serves as a motive to put us upon fresh discoveries.
He has made every thing that is beautiful
in our own species pleasant, that all creatu~es might be tempte<l to multip'ly their
kind, and fill the world with inhabitants ;

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for it is very remarkable that wherever Nature is crossed in the production of a monster
(the result of any unnatural mixture) the
- breed is incapable of propagating its liken~ss, and of founding a cew order of creatures ; so that unless all animals were allured by the beauty of their own species , generation would be at an end , and the earth
unpeopled.
In the last place, he has made every thing
that is beautiful in all other objects pleasant,
or rather has made so many objects appear
beautiful , that he might render the whole
creation more gay and deligtful. He ha.s
given almost every thing about us the power
of raising an agreeable idea in the imagination :
so that it ~~ impossible for us to behold his
works with coldness or indifFerence , and to
survey so many beauties withou~ a secret
satisfaction and complacency. Things would
make but a poor appearance to the eye ' if
we saw them only in their proper figures and
motions ; and what reason can we assign for
their exciting in us many of those ideas which
are different from any thing that exists in
the objects themselves, (for such are light

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..-( 17 )
and colours) were it noU(:) add. supernumerary
ornaments to the universe , and make it more
agreeable t(:) tile imagination? We are every
where entertained w~th pleasing shows and appariti(:)ns , we discover imaginary glories in the
heavens, and in the earth, and see some ofthis
v,isionary beauty poured out upon the whole
creation ; but what a rough unsightly sketch
of nature should we be enterta;ined with ,
did all her colmtring -disappe&ir , aticl the
several distinctions of:light and s"ha'de vanish?
In short , our souls are at present deti,g htfully lost and bewildered in a pleasing delusi,ou , and we walk ab-out like the enchanted
hero in: a t'omance who sees beautiful castles,
woods, and meadows ; and at the same time
hears the warbling of hi1 ds , and the purlrng
of streams ; hut upon the fin~shing of some
secret spell , the fantastic scene breaks up,
and. the disconsolate knight finds himself on
a barren heath , or in a solitary desert. It
is not improbable that something like this
may he the state of the soul after its first
separation, in respect of the images it will
receive from matter, though indeed the ideas
of colours ate _so pleasing and beautiful to the
BJ
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( 18 )
imagination, that it is possible the soul will
not be deprived of them , but perhaps find
them excited by some other occasional cause ,
as they are at present by the different impressions of the subtle matter on the organ of
sight.
I have here supposed that my reader is
acquainted with that great modern discovery,
which is at present universally acknowledged
by all the inquirers into natural philosophy :
namely, that light and, colours, as apprehended by the imagination , are only ideas in
the mind, and not qualities that have any
existence in matter. As this is a truth that has
been proved incontestably by many modern
philosophers, and is indeed one of the finest
speculations in that science, if the English
reader would see the notion explained at large,
he may find it in the eighth chapter of the
second hook of Mr. Locke's Essay on the
Human Understanding.

mnmGet

4.

IF we consider the works of Nature and

Art, as they are qualified to entertain the

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imagination , we shall find the last very defective , in comparison of the former ; for ,
though they m~y sometimes appear as beautiful or strange , they can have nothing in
them of that vastness and immensity , which
afFord so great an entertainment to the mind
of the beholder. The one may he as polite
and delicate as the other, but can never shew
herself so august and magnificent in the de
sign. There is something more hold and mas.
terly in the rough careless strokes of natwe,
than in the nice touches and embellishments
of art. The beauties of the most stately garden or palace lie in a na1row compass , the
imagination immediately runs them over, and
requires something else to gratify her ; hut
in the wide fields of nature, t_he sight wanders up and down without confinement, and
is fed with an infinit~ variety of images, without any certain stint or number. For this
reason we always find tbe poet in love with
a country life , where nature appears in the
greatest perfection , a11d furnishes out all
those scenes that are most apt to delight the

1magmabon.
But though there are several of those wild

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scenes , that are more delightful than any
a1tificial shows ; yet we find the works of
nature still more pleasant, t~,e more they
resemble those of a1t ; for in this ease otn
pleasure rises from a double pr1nciple; from
the agreeableness of the objects to the eye ,
and from their similitude to othet' abjects:
we are pleased as well with comparing their
beauties , as with surveying them , and can
represent them to our minds , either as copies or as originals. Hence it is 7 that we tale
delight in a prospect which is well laid out,
and diversified with fields and meadows, woods
and rivers ; in those accidental landscapes of
trees, clouds, and cities, that are sometin1es
found in the veins of marble ; in the cwious
fret-work of rooks and grottos; and in a word,
in any thing that has such a variety or regula.city as may seem the effect of design in
what we call the works of chance.
Jf the products of nature rise in value
according as they more or less resemble those
of <t1rt , we may be sure that artificial works
1eceiv:e a greater advantage
from thetr re.
semblance of such as are natural ; because
here the similitude is not only pleasant, but

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the pattern mor~ perfect. . The prettiest
landscape I ever saw , was one drawn on the
walls of a dark room, which stood opposite,
on one side , to a navigable river , and on the
other , to a park. The experiment is very
common in optics. Here , you might discover
the waves and fluctuations of the water in
strong and proper colours , with the picture
of a ship entering at one end , and sailing by
degrees through the whole piece. On an
other,. there appeared the green shadows of
trees, waving to and fro with the wind , and
herds of deer among them in miniature ,
leaping about upon the wall. I must confess ,
the novelty of such a sight may be one oc ..
casion of its pleasantness to the imagination ;
but certainly tlie chief reason is its near resemblance to nature, as it does not only, like
other pictures , give the colour and figure ,
but the motion of the things it represents.
We have before observed , that there is
generally in nature something more grand

and august, than what we meet with in the


curiosities of art. When , therefore ' we see
this imitated in any measure , it gives us a
noble1 and more exalted
kind
of
pleasure
,

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( u)

than what we receive from the nicer and


more accurate productions of art. On this
account our English gardens are not so entertaining to the fancy as those in Frauce and
Italy, where we see a large extent of ground
covered over W'i th an agreeable mi~ture of

garden and forest, which represent every


where an artificial rudeness , much more
charming than th-at neatness and elegance
which we meet with in those of our own
country. It might, indeed, be of ill consequence to the public, as well as unprofita-ble
to private persons, to alienate so muclt ground
from pasturage , and ;t he plough , in many
puts of .a country that is so well peopled
aDd culti~ated to a far greater advantage. But
why may not a wb.ole -estate he t hrown into
a ;kind of 'g arden lhy .frequent plantations ,
that may turn as much to the prof it, as the
pleasure .of the ewner? A maTsh overgrown
with willows , or a meuntain shaded with
oaks , are n:ot only more beautiful , hut mor.e
beneficial , than when they lie bare and unadorned. Fields of corn make a pleasant pro&pect , and if the walks were a little taken
care of that li.e betw~en them, if the natural

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embroidery of th-~ meadows were h-elped and


improved by some small additions of art,
and the several rows of hedges set off by
tTees and flowers, th.at the soil was capahl'e
of receiving , a man might make a pretty
landscape of his own possessions.
Writers, who have given us an account of
China , tell us the inhabitants of that country
laugh at the plantations of our Europeans ,
which ai'e laid out by the l'llle and line ;
because , thtey say, any one may place trees
in equal 1ows a~d uniform figures. They
chQ,.ose rather to. sh:ew a genius in wo.r ks of
this nature, and, therefo1e, always c.onceal the
art by which they dire.c t tl1emselves. They
have a word, it seems , in their language , .by
which they express the particular beauty of
a plantation , that thus strikes the imagination at first sight , witnout d-iscovering what

it is that has so agre:eable an effect. Our


British gardenets , 011 the c:ontrary, inst.ead.
of humauring nature ' love to deviate r~om it
as much as possible. Our trees rikein cones,
globes, and pyramids. We se.e the marbof
the scissars upon every plant and. h11sh. I do
not know whethe~ I am.sin_gular in<my opinion,

Digltalizado por Google

( 24)

but, for my own part, I would rather look


upon a tree in all its luxuriancy and diffusion of boughs and branches , than when it is
thus cut and trimmed into a mathematical
fi
gure , and cannot but fancy that an orchard ,
in flower , looks infinitely more delightful ,
than all the little laby1inths of the most fi. nished parterre. But as our great modelers
of gardens have their magazines of plants.to
dispose of, it is very natural in them, to tear
up all the beautiful plantations of fruit trees ,
and contr!ve a plan that may most turn t~
their own profit , in taking off their ~ver
greens , and the like moveable plants , with
which their shops are plentifully stocked .

.fu~Gn 5.
HAVING already ahewn how the fancy is.
affected by the works of nature , and' afterwards considered in general , both the works
of nature and of art , how they mutually assist
and complete each other in forming such
scenes and prospects as are most apt to delight
the mind of the beholder, I shall in this
number, throw together some reflections on
,.

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( 25 )

that particular art, which has a more immediate tendency , than any other , to produce
those primary pleasures of the imagination ,
whieh have hitherto been the subject of this
discourse. The art I mean is that of architectur-e , which I shall consider only with
regard to the light in
.. which the foregoing
speculations have placed it , without entering
into those rules and maxims which the great
masters of 'architecture have laid down, and
e:I:p1ained at large , in numberless treatises
upon that subject.
Greatness , . in the works of architecture ,
. may he considered as relating to the bulk
and body of the structure , or to the manner
in which it is built. As for the first, we
find the ancients, especially among the eastern nations of the world, infinitely superior
to tb e moderns.
Not to mention the Tower of Babe[, of
wl1ich an old author says , there were foundations to be seen in his time, which, looked
like a spacious mountain; .what could be more
noble than the '"ails of Babylon, its hanging
gardens , and its temple of Jupiter Belus , that
l'Ose a. mile high by eight several stories ,

'

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( 26)

each story a furlong in height, and on the


top of which was the Babylonian observatory?
I might here , likeWise , take notice of the
huge rock that was cut into the figure of
Semiramis , with the smaller rocks that lay
by it in the shape of tributary kings ; the
prodigious basin , or artificial lake , which
took in the whole Euphrates; till such time
as a new canal was formed for its reception,
with the several trenches through which that
river was conveyed. I know there are persons who look upon some of these 'vondel's
of art -as fabulous ; but I cannot find any
ground for such a suspicion, unless it be that
we have no 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 wo1k to men of specu.lative tempers ; and, what is more than all
the rest, the Prince was absolute ; so that
~

D1g1lahzac.o por Google

( 27 )
when he went to war , he put himself at
the hP.nd of a whole people : as we find Se
nairaQlis leading her three millio~ to t'l\e
field, and yet overpowered by the number
of h~r enemi~. It is no wo~der, therefore ,
~b~u sh~ was at peace, and i~ned her
thoughts ~n building, that she could acCOJnpl~h such gre;1t works , with so prod~gi9us a ....Jlltitud~ of labourers : besides, that
i n her climate, the.re was $mall interruptipn
of frosts ~nd ~iiter, wh:,i~h make the nort\el'tl work:Rl~.O lie half the year idle. I mig\lt
~~nti~ ~~ , tyong the ,b~n~fits .of the cli:m~, what hj~toria\\5. say o f th~ ea-rth; th;at
it .~we~~~c\ out a bitu:me~ .or na~"l~\11 kind
~f ~P.l'~J', "'biPh is .d9-btless the same with
tba~ ~~tipae4 ,\n Holy vV:rit, as .c ontrihu
ti~g ~o fh~ .s trnctq.re of Babel : Sl~e .th~y

used instead of mortqr.


in ~gypt ;w~ still see tb~ir ppamicls, "'}lich
an~w:~r te th~ d~~cript.iq.llS that hav~ 4een
;m.IJ.~~ of JMJ. ; aad .I quesHo~ net., b.ut a
tra.~eJer mig~t find put s~me remains of the
'
labyrinth that cov~red a whole proviq.~e, ~nd
b~d ~ h11<ndr.ed. t~~ples disposed amp,n g its

several quarter~ and divisions

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( 28 )

The wall of China is one of these eastern


pieces of magnificence, which makes a figure
even in the map of the world, althou~h 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
places of worship , not only that they might,
by the magnificence of the building , invite
the Deity to 1eside 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 imp1ints an
awfulness and reverence on the mind of the
beholder, and strikes in with the natural
greatness of the soul.
In the seco~d place , we are to consider
greatness ~~ manJter in architecture, which
ltas such fo1ce upon the imagination , . that
a small building , where it appears , shall
give the mind nobler ideas than one of
.twenty times the bulk, where the manner
is ordinary or little. Thus, perhaps, a man

Digitalizado por Google

( ,9)
would have be~!) m<n:e 41tonishe.d with th.e
-m~j~tic air that appeared in one 9f
Lysippus' statues of Al~~~nJ.der, though no big
ge~ tha~ the life , than be might have been
with mount Atbos, had it been cut int9 th~
figq.re of the hero _, flCC9~di,ng to the pr9posal of Phidias , with a riv:er in
one b,nd ,

and a city in the other.


Let any one reO~ct on the dispositi.oJt of
.mincJ h e in~ iiJ. himself, at hi~ firs.t entranc~
into the P.antb~Ofl at llome ' ~d ho~ th_e
imagina~ion is 4illecl wi~h something pe,t
and '"Jlla~ing -; ,nd , at the ~'m.e time , .con-.'
sider Low little, in proportio~ ., l)e is affecJe.d
:with ~he inside of a gothic .~a~etb-al, tholJgh
it l>e 1lve tim~s larger than t)le o~b~,r .; w}J.jcb
can p-i~e from ~othing else h1;1t the greatne~
of the ma~ner ~~ t-he OQ;e, a~d. t he m~anness
in the other.
tl have .s~en an observation 1;1p.o n this sub.j.~ct in a .F:cench &\1\hor , which ve,ry :mtJ.ch
pleas~d J;D.e.
Jt is _ in Fr~a.1fs parallel
of the anc.ien,t _and ~ocJ.ern ~rchitecture.
J shall give it the reader with the saw~ terms
<Of ar:t -hiph he has ma.de use .of: .I am ob .servit;ag (saya.be) a tbipg, which , i11 JP..Y opjnC3

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" ion, is very curious, whence it proceeds,
,, that in the .same quantity of superficies, the
one mamter 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 ~anner , we ought so to proceed , that
,, the division of the principal members of
the order may consist but of few parts,
that they he all great and of a hold and
ample relievo , and swelling ; and that
the eye , beholding nothing little and mean ,
" the imagination may be more vigourously
,, touched and affected with the work that
stattds before it. For example, in a cor,> nice , if the gola o:r cynatium of the corona ,
, the coping, the modillions or d entelli , make
noble show by their graceful projections , if
'' we see none of that ordinary confusion which
ii 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

D g!

c.o por Googk

( 31 )

solemn and great: as, on the contrary, that


u it will have hut a p~o:t: , 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 hut a confusion.


Among all the figures of architecture , there
are none that have a greater air than the
convex ; and we find in all the ancient and
modern architecture , as well in the remote
parts of China , as in countries nearer home,
that round pilla1s and vaulted roofs make a
great part of those buildings which are designed for pomp and magnificence. The reason I take to he , 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 ; hut as in such
bodies. the sight must split upon several an.gles , it does not take in one uniform idea ,
hut sevePal 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 ;

>)

D1g1tahzado por Google

-.

.( 32 )
the entire concavity falls into your eyf! at once,
the sight being as. th~ centre that collects
and gathers into it the lines of the whole
~ircumference : in a squHe pillar , the sight
often takes in but a fourth part of the surface ; and in a square concave , mast move
up and down to the different sides , before
it is master of all the inwavd s.u.r(ace,. For
thi>a 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 vel'y poetically described
by the son of Sirach .: Look upon the rain-

bow, and p1Ydse kim tka.t made it ; very btautiful it is in its brightness.; it encompasse, .the
Heavens with a gl-orious eircle, and the ka,..ds
of the Most High k.ave bended it.
Having thus spoken of that greatness, w\ich
affects the mind in architecture , I tp.jght
next she\V the pleasure that rises in the im~..
gination from what appear$ new and bea\l~ifq.,l
in this art ; hut as every bellolder has natp..rally a greater taste of tbe$e two perfec;tiQPS

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-

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( 33 )
in every building which offers itself to his
'
view,
than of that which I have hitherto
considered , I shall not trouble my reader
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,
hut as it is great ,
.
uncommon , o1 beautiful,

Mum6er 6.

J,

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 barely by
its own operations , or on occasion of something wi~out us , as statues , or descriptions.
We have already considered- the first divi
sion , and shall therefore enter on the other,
which , for distinction's 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

..

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( 34 )
had once seen the very place , action , or
pe1son which a:re carved or described. It is
S-t.lOicient , that we have seen places, persons,
or actions in gene1al, which hear a resemblance , or at least some remote an~o,gy ,
wi-th what we find repr~sented. Since it is
in the power of the imagination , lvben it is
once stocked with particular ideas , to enlarg-e,
compound , and vary them at her own
pleasure.
Among the different kinds of representation , statuary is the m~st natural , and shews
us something likest the object that M repr-esented. To make use 9! a emQmon inat;mce ,
let Qne., who is born bliJJd , take 'Ul iln~ge
in his hand-, and traee out with hi~ tiogers
th,e di'ffere.n t fu.rr9ws and im.pressipJJS of the
clliS$e} , and ke will easily -~f'n~e:ie b ow tbe
Jhape of a man , 9r be;u;~ , m~y be J'epr.e
~ented by it ; hut should he d:r,aw ltis kan.d
ave.r a picture , where all is s:rpooth and \Jt\,i iorm , he would never he able to imagipe
how the several promineneies and depressi()JlS
of a humau bo~1 could be sh.e wn 0n a plain
piece of canvas, that has in it no qnevenne,s
or irregula1ity. D~cr-ipti9n r)lns y~t fa.rther

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( 35 )
from the things it represents than painting;
for, a picture b-ears a real resemblance to its
original , which letters and syllables are
lvholly 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 Of\ finding out
speech ; writing is probably of a later invention than painting : particularly , we are told
that in America , when the Spaniards first
arrived there, expresses were sent to the
Emperor of Mexico in paint , and the news
of his country delineated by the strokes of
a p encil , which was a more natural way than
that of w_riting , though at the same time much
more imperfect ' because it is impossible to
draw the little connexions of speech , or to
give the picture of a conjunction or an adverb. It would be yet more strange, to replesent visible ohj"ects by sounds that have
no ideas annexed to them , and to make something like description in music. Yet, it is
certain , the1e may be confused , imp-erfect,
notions of this nature raised in the imagination by an artificial composition of notes;
and we find 1hat great master~ in the art are

Digitalizado por Google


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( 36 )

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 necessru'Y
reason, why this operation of the mind is
attended with so much pleaswe , as I have
before observed on the same occasion ; hut
we find a great variety of entertainments derived from this 6ingle principle: for, it is tl1is
that not only gives us a relish of statuary,
painting and desCIiption, but makes us delight
in all the actions and a1ts of mimicry. It
is this that makes the several kinds of wit
pleasant, which consists, as I have formerly
shewn , 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 consist in the

( 37 )
ffini~y

of le~te1s , as an anagr~m ? acrostic ;


or of syllables, as in dogg,e rel rhi:r;nes, echoes;
or of words, as in puas , quibble$; or of a
whole s~ntence or poem, as wings and altars .

The final cause , probably , of annexing pleasure to this operation of the mind , ~as to
quicken a~d encourage us in our searches
after uuth; since t~e distinguish~ng one thing
from . another, and the right discerning betwixt our ideas , depends wholly upon our
comparing them together~, and .obs~rving the
congruity or disagreement ~at appears among
the several works of nature.
But I shall here confine myself to those
pleasures of the imagination , which proceed
from ideas raise~ ~.Y words ~ because most
of the observations that agree with descriptions , are e~lly applicable to painting a~d
statuary.
Words , wpen ~ell chosen , have so great
a force ,in th~:.;n , that a description often
gives ,us ,more lively i~eas th~n the sight of
~.\l.i9gs the,mseh:es. .T.\te reader finds a s.cene
~ra~n in str9nger colours, and painted more
~o .t~e life i, his imagi~ation_,, hy the help
of wo~ds, th,a~ by an .;i~l!l~ survey of the

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( 38 )
scene which they describe. In this case the
poet seems to get the better of nature ; he
takes , indeed , the limdscape after her , but
gives it more vigorous touches, heightens
its beauty, and so enlivens the whole piece ,
that the images which flow from the objects
themselv.es appear weak and faint, in co mparison of those that com~ from the expressions. The reason , probably , may be ,
because in the survey of any object, we have
only so much of it pail).ted on the im~gina
tion, as comes in at the eye ; but in its
description , 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 om- $ight when we first beheld it. As lve look on any object , our idea
of it is , perhaps , .made up of two or three
simple i~eas; but whe~ the poet represents
it, he may either give us a more complex
.i dea o.f it, or only raise in us such ideas as
are most apt to afFect the imagination.
It may be here worth our while to examine
l1ow it comes to pass, that several readers ,
w~o are all acquainted with the same lan. c~ase , and know the meaning of the words

"

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( 89)
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 die representation extremely na-
. tural, where another can perceiv~ 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 he horn with a
sood imagination ' and must have well weighed
the force 'a nd en~rgy that lie in the sever&l
words of a language , so as to he able to
distinguish which are most significant and
expressive of their proper ideas , and wh:a~
additional a~ength and beauty they are capable of receiving from conJunction with
others. The fancy must he warm , to retain
the print of those images it has 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 deficienP
'

'
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( 40 )
jn either of these respects , though he may
receive the general!Jotion 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
liea before him , without entring into ita
several parts , or discerning the variety of
its colours in their full glory and perfection.

~um6tt 7

WE may observe, that any single circimiatance of what we have formerly seen , often
raises up a whole scene of imagery , and
awakens numbedess 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 t6
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 past in it
"'f ormerly, those which were at first pleasant

Digitalizado por Google

( 41 )
;;;

to behold , appear more so upon reflexion ; .


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 entred 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 .CQnsequently 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
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
im-agination. But because the pleasure we received from these places far surmounted, and
overcame the little di~tYI"eeableneas we found
D8
'

Digilalizado por Google

( 42)

in them ; for this reason there was at 6rst a


wider passage worn in the pleasure traces ,
and on the contrary , so narrow a one in
those which belonged to the disagr~eable
. ideas , that they were quickly stopped up , and
rendered incapable of receiving any animal
spirils, and consequen'tly 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 perfect,on in the soul ,
or from any nicer texture in the brain of one
man than in that of another. But this il) certain,
that a noble w1iter should he 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 , 1:1pon 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 wo1ks of nature , and be thoroughly
conversant in the various scenery of a country life.

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( 43)

When he is stored with country images ,


if he would go beyond pasto1al, 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 a 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 magination 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 uncultivaded marshes,

Digitalizado por Google

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( 44 )
huge forests, mishapen rocks and precipices.
On th~ contrary , the neid is like a well
ordered 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 inchanted 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 figwe Jupiter makes in
the first Iliad , nor more charming than that
of Venus in the first .neid.
Homer's persons are most of them godlike
and tenible ; Virgil has scarce admitted any

into his poem , '" ho are not beautiful , and


has taken particular care to make is hero so_.
In a word , Homer fills his readers with
sublime ideas , and , I believe , has raised
~he imagination of all the good poets that

Digitalizado por Google

( 45 )
.

have come after him. I shall only inst,ance


Hotace , who immediately takes fire at the
first hint of any passage in the lli~d or
Odyrosey , and always rises above himself ,
when he has Homer in his view. Virgil has
drawn together into his neid ~ all the
pleasing scenes his subject is capable of admitting, and in his Georgics has given us a
collection of the most delightful landsr,apes
that can be made out of fields and woods,
herds of cattle and swarms of bees.
Ovid , in his Metamorphos~s , has shewll
w 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 creature at the end of it. His art
consists chiefly in well timing his description ,
~ befo1e 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 shews monster after
monster to the end of the Metamorphoses.
If I were to na~e a poet that is a perfect
master in all these arls of wo1king on the
imagination , I think Milton may pass for
one : and if his Paradise Lost falls short of

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the ~neid 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 in 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 greater tha~
the J>attle of angels, the majesty of Messiah,
the stature and behaviour of Satan and .his
peers ? What more beautiful than pandcemonium , paradise , heaven , the angels , Adam
and Eve? What more strange, than the creation of the world, the several metamorphoses of the fallen angels , and the sitrprising
adventures their leader meets with in his '
search after paradise ? No othe-':" subject could
have furnished a poet with scenes so proper
to strike the imagination, as no other poet
could have painted those scenes in more

strong and lively colours

......

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( 47 )

1'um6n 8.
The pleasures of these secondary new
of the imagination , are of a wider and more
universal nature than those it has when joined with sight; fo1, not only what is great,
strange, or beautiful , but any thing that is
disagreeable when looked upon , pleases
us in an apt description. Here, therefore ,
we must acquire a new principle of pleasure ,
which is nothing else but the action of the
mind , which compares the ideas that arise
from the objects themselves ; and why thia .
operation of the mind is Attended with so
much pleaswe , 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
fUitable expressions ; tbough, 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 descrip
tion, .as with the aptnesa of the deacriptioa
to excite the image.

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But , if the description of what is little ,


common , or defori:Q.ed , he acceptable to the
imagination; the description of what is great,
s.u.rprising , Ol' peautiful , is much more so ;
because her.e we a1e not only delighted with
comparing the representation with the ~ri
ginal , but are highly pleased with the ori,ginal itself. :Most 1eaders, I believe, are
more charmed with Milton's .description of
paradise , than of hell ; they are both , perhaps , equally perfect in their kind , but i1_1
the one , the b1imstone and sulphur are not
so refreshing to tl1e ir;nagination , as the beds
of flowers and the wilderness of sweets in
the other.

There is yet another circumstance which


recommends a description mo.r e than all the
I:~st , and that .is if jt represents to _us s.uch
objects as are apt to raise a sec1et ferment
in the mind of t}{e reader , and to work
.with violence upon his passions. For, in thu
case ,;we .~:qe ~t once '\J'arnted ~nd enlightened;
,$0 th~t the ,ple~ure peC;O~C$ JP.~re .\J.DiV:el'sal ,
and is several way.s qwtlified to entertain us .
.Thus , ~n pfl.intin15 , i~ :is pleasan~ \O look Oft
the picture of any face, where the r.ese.nWlpuc~

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.is hit , but the pleasure increases , if it be
the pictwe of a face that is beautiful , and
is still greater , if the beauty be softned
with an air of melancholy or sorrow. The
two leading passions which the more serious
par~ of poetry endeavour to stir up in us, ,
.are te1Tor and pity. And here, by the way,
one would \Vonder bow it comes to pass.-,
that sucl1 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
pas~ages as are apt to produce hope , joy ,
admhation , love , or the like emotions in
.
us, because they never 1ise in the mind without an inward pleasure which attends 'them.
But how comes it to pass., that we should
take delight in being. temfied or dejected by
a description , when we find so much unea
siness in the fear or grief which we receive
from any other oc~asion ?
If we consider , th-erefore , the nature o
this pl-ea5ure , we shall find that it does not
arise . so. properly from . the description o f
what is terrible.; as .from the reflection we
make on ourselves at the time of reading it.

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When we look on such h ideous objects ,
'we are not a little pleased to think we .are
in no danger of them. We consider them,
-at the same time , as dreadful and harmless ;
:so that the more frightful appearance they
make , the greater is the pleasure we r~ceive
from the sense of -our own safety. In short,
we look upon the terrors of a description ,
'with the same curiosity and satisfaction which
we experience' on surveying a dead monster.
It is for the same reason that we are
delighted with reflecting upon dangers that
are past; or in looking on a precipice
at a distance , which would fill us with a
different kind of horror, if we saw it hanging
over our h.eads.
In the like manner, when we read of
torments , wounds , deaths , and the like
dismal accidents,. our pleasure does not flow
so properly from .the grief which such mel
~ncholy descriptions give us, as from the
secret comparison wJtich we make between
outselves and the person who suffers. Such
representations teach us to set a just value
upon our own condition, and make us prize
oUl good fortune , which exempts ua from
,

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the like calamities. This is , ho,ve.v er , such
a kind of pleasure as. we are not capable of
receiving , when we see a person actually
lying under the tortures that we meet with,
in a description ; because in this case , the.
~bject presses too close upon our senses; and
bears so hatd upon us, that it does 1\0t give
us time e>r leis~re- to 1eflect on ourselv~~t
Our thoughts are so intent upon the miseries
of the &ufferer , that we f;annot turn th~l\1
upon our own happiness. Whereas , on tb~
contrary ,_ we consider the misfortu~es "'-'
read jn history or poetry , either as r-st;
or as fictitious, ao that the reflection upo~
ourselves rises in us insensibly, and overhears
the sorro\v we conceive fo1 the sufferingJJ of
the afUicted.
But, because the mind of man requires some-r
thing more perfect in matter, than wha1
it finds there , and can never meet with any
sight in n~ture which sufficiently answers ita
highest ideas of pleasantness; or, in other
words, because the. imagination can fancy
to itself things more great , strange , or
beautiful, than the eye ever saw, and is still
sensible of some defect in what it has seen;

----"~,.., .,...,.;.>J+ ~-

.,.

--

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'

( 5!)
on this account", it is the part of a poet to
humour ~e imagination in our own notions,
by mending and perfecting nature where he
describes a reality, and by adding greater
beauties than are put together in nature ,
where he describes a fiction.
He is not obliged to attend her in the
slow advances which she makes from one
aeason to another, or to obsene her cona uct in the successive production of plantl
and flowers. He may draw into his descrip
tion all the beauties of the spring and autumn , and make the whole year contribute
something to render it the more agreeable.
His rose trees, wood-bines ana jasamines, may
flower together , and his beds be covered at
the same time with lilies , violets and amaranths. His soil is not restrained to any
particular set of plants , but is proper either
for oaks or myrtles , and adapts itself to the
products of every climate. Oranges may grow
wild in it; myrrh may be met with in every
hedge , and if be thinks it proper to have a
grove of spices , he can quickly command
sun enough to raise it. If all this will not
furnish out an agreeable scene, he can make

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( .53 )
several new species of flowers , with richer
scents and higher colours than any that grow

in the gardens of nature. His concerts of birds


may be as full and harmonious , and his.
woods as thick and . gloomy as he pleases.
He is at no more expence in a long vista ,
than a short one , and can as easily throw
his cascades from a precipice 9f ~If a mile
high , as from one of twenty yards. He has
his choice of the winds, and can turn the
course of his ti vers in all the variety of
meanders , that are most delightful to the
reader's. imagin~tion. In a 'vord, he has the
modeling of nature in his own hands , and.
may give her what charms he pleases, provided he does not reform her too much,
and run into absurdities , by end~avouiinr
to excel.

m>um6et 9
There is a kind of writing , wherein the
poet quite loses sight of na~me, and entertains his reader's imagination with the characters and actions .-of such persons as have
man] of them no exoistence , but what be

E3

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( 54 )

bestows on them. Such are fairies, witches,


magicians, demons, and departed spirits. This
Mr. Dryden calls the fairy lvay of writing,
which is , indeed , more difficult than any
other that depends on the poet's fancy , hecause he has no pattern to follow in it , and
must work altogether out of his own invention.
There is a very odd turn of thought required for this sort of writing, and it is
impossible for a poet to succeed in it, who
has not a particula1 cast of fancy, and an
imagination naturally fruitful . and superstitious. Besides this, he ought to be very well
versed in legends and fables , antiquated romances, and the traditions of nurses and
old . women ; that he may fall in with
our natural prejudices' and humour those
notions which we have imbibed in our infancy.
For, otherwise, he will be apt to make his
fairies talk like people of his own species ,
and not like other seta of beings, who converse with different objects, and think in a
different manner from that of mankind.
I do not say, with Mr. Bays in the Rehear-.
sal , that spirits must not be confined to speak
aense , but it is certain their sense ought to

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he a little discoloured , that it may seem
particular, and proper to the person and
condition of the speaker.
These descriptions raise a pleasing kind of
horror in the mind of the reader, and amuse
his imagination with the strangeness and no
velty of the persons who are represented in
them. They bring up into our memory the
stories we have heard in our childhood, and
favour those secret terrors and apprehensions
'
to which the mind of man is naturally suhjett.
We are pleased with surveying the different
habits and behaviours of foreign counhies :
bow 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
an~ther species! Men of cold fancies , and phi
losophical 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

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...

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( 56 )
eannot look -upon the representation .as altogether impossible ; nay, many are pre-possessed.
with such false opinions , as dispose them to
believe these particular d elusions ; at least , we
h ave all heard so many pleasing r elations in
favout of them, that we do not care for seeing
through the falsehood, and wi1lingly give ourselves up to so agieeable an imposture.
The ancients 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 duty.
Our forefathers looked upon nature with more
reverence and horror, before the world was
enliglttened by learning and philosophy ; ..and
loved to astonish themselves with the appre-.
hensions of witchcraft, prodigies, charms, and
enchantments. There was not a village in Eng
land that had not a ghost in it; the c11Urchyards 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 spil'it.
Among all the poets of this kind, ow English

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are muoh the best, by what I have yet seen ;
whether it be , that ive abound with more st~
ries of this nature , or , that the g-enius of our
country is fitter for this so11 of poetry. For,
the Eng1ish are naturally fanciful , and very
often disposed, by that gloomi~ess and melan
cboiy of temper which 'is so frequent in our
nation, to many wild notion.s and visions,
to which others are not so liable.
Among the English , Sbakespear" hu incomparably excelled all others. That noble .extravagance of fancy, which he had in so great
perfection, thoroughly qualified him to touch
this weak sliperstitious part of his reat\er'a imagination ; and made him capable of succeed
ing, where he had: nothing to support him hesides the strength of his own genius. There is
something so wild , and yet so solemn , in the
speeches of his ghosts, fairies, witches, and th~
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.
Tbe1e is another sort of imagi~ary beings,

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( 58 )
that we sometimes meet with among the poeb,
when the author reptesents any passion, appetite, virtue or vice, under a visible shape, and
makes it a person or an actor in his poem. or
this nature, are the descriptions of Hunger and
Envy in Ovid, of Fame in Vitgil, and of Sin and
Death in Milton. We find a whole creation of
the like shatl~y persons in Spenser, who.had
an admirable talent in representations of this
lind. I have discoursed of these emblematical
persons in former papers , and shall therefore
only mention them in this place. Thus, we see
in how many ways poetry addresses itself to the
imagina~ion, as it has not only the whole circle
of nature for its province ; hut makes new
words of its own, shows us persons who are not
to be found in being , and represents even the
faculties of the soul, ~ith the sevetal virtues
and vices, in a sensible shape and character.
I shall, in my two following numbers, consi
der , in general, how other kinds of writing
are qualified to please the imagination ; with
which I intend to conclude this essay .

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AS .the writers in po.etry and fiction borrow


their several materials from outward objects,
and join them together at their own pleasure;
.there are othets who are obliged to follo\v
natwe more closely, and t~ take entire scenes
out of her. Such are historians, natural ph.i_losophers, travelers, geographers, and, in a
word, all who describe visible objects of a
real existence.
.It is the most agreeable talent of an 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
~en ; to lead us step by step into the several
actions and events of his history. We lov.e to
see the subject unfolding itself by just degrees,

and breaki~g upon us insensibly, that so .we


may be kept in a pleasing suspense , and have
time given us to raise our expectations, and to
aide with one of the parties concerne.d in the
relation. I confess this shows more the art
than t he veracity of the historian ; but I am
only to speak of him as he is qualified to pleue"

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( 60 )
the imagination ; and in this respect Livy has ,
perhaps, excelled all who went before him, or
have written since his time. He describes every
thing in so lively a manner, that his whole
history is an admirable picture, and touches on
such proper circumstances in every story, that
his reader becomes a kind of spectator , and.
feels in himself all the variety of passions, which
are correspondent to the several parts of the
relations.
But among this set of write1s there are none
who m01egratify and enlarge the imagination
than the authors of the new philosophy; whether we consider their theories of the earth or
heavens , tbe discoveries they have made hy
glasses, or any other of their contemplations on
nature. We are not a little pleased to find
e-v ery green leaf swarm with millions of animals, that at their largest growth are not visible
to the naked eye. There is sometbing very engaging to the .fancy, as well as to oQr reason ,
in the treatises of metals, minerals, plants, and
meteors. But when we survey the whole earth
at once, and the several planets that lie within
its neighbourhood,we are filled with a pleasing
astonishment, to see ao many worlds, hanging

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one above another , and sliding tound their


axles in such an amazing pomp and solemnity.
If, after this, w-e contemplate those wild fields
of ether, that reach in height as far as from
Saturn to the fixed stars, and run abroad almost to an infinitude; our imagination finds
its capacity filled with ~o immense a prospect,
and puts itself upon the stretch to comprehend
it. But if we yet rise higher, and consider the
fixed stars as so many vast oceans of flame, that
are each. of them attended with a different set
of planets, and still discover new fhmaments
and new lights that are sunk fatther in those
unfathomable depths of ether, so as not to he
seen by the strongest of our telescopes; we are
lost in such a labyrinth of suns and worlds, and
confounded with the immensity and magnifi- .
cence of nature.
'
Nothing is more pleasant to the fancy, than
to enlarge itself by degrees, in its contemplation of the various proportions which its several
objects hear to each other, when it compares
the body of man to the hulk of the whole ea.rt11,
the earth to the circle it desctibes round the
sun, that circle to the sphere of the fixed stars,
the sphere of the fixed stars to the circuit of
F' -

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r

the \vh-ole creation, the whole creation itself to


the infinite SJ>a'Ce that is every where diffused
about it; oT w'hen the imagination works downward, and considers fhe hulk of a human body
"
w ith respect to an "animal a hundred times less
than a mite , the particular limbs of such an
-animal , the different springs that actuate the
lim'b-s, the spiYits whi-ch set the springs a-going,
and the propo1tionahle minuteness of these
'
several parts, 'hefO're they have arrived at their
full growth and pevfection ; but if, after all
this ; we take the least particle of these animal spirits, and consider its cap~city of being
wrought into a world that shall .contain within
those nai'row dimensions a heaven and eatth,
stars and planets, and every different specie&of
living creatures, .in the same analogy and proportion they bear to each other in our own
universe; such a speculation, by reason of its
nicety, appears ridiculous to those who hav~
'not ~urned th eir thoughts that way, though
at the same time it is founded on no less
than the evidence of a demonstration. Nay,
we may yet carry it farther , and discover
in the smallest particle of this _little world
'
- t new .inexhausted fund of matter , ea.:.

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'

pable of being spun out inlo another universe.


I have dwelt the longer on this subject, because I think it may -show us the proper limits,
as well as the defectiven~ss of our imagin~tion:
how it is confined to a very small quantity of
space, and immediately stopped in its.operation,
when it endeavours to take in any thing that
is very great or very little. Let a man try lo
conce ivethe diiferent bulk of an.animal, which
is twenty, from anoth-er whiob is a hundred
times less than a mite , o:r to compare in l1is
thoughts a length of .a thousand diameters .of
the earth, with that of a million, and l1e will
quickly find that he has no different measures
in. his mind adjusted to such extraordina1y degHes of grand-eur or minuteness. The understanding, indeed, opens an infinite spa-ce on
every si'de of us , hut the imagination , after a
few faint effo1ts, is immediately at a stand, and
finds itself swallowed up in the imm~nsity of
the void that surrounds
it. Our reason can

pursue a particle of matter tltrough an infinite


variety of divisic;ms; but the fancy soon loses
sight of it, and feels in itself a kind of chasm,
that . wants to be filled with matter of a more

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sensible bulk. We can neithe1 widen nor con
tract the faculty to the dimension of either
extreme. The object is too big for our
capacity, when we would comprehend the
circumference
of a worJd; and dwindles into .
nothing, when we endeavour after the idea
of an atom.
It is possible this defect of imagination may
not be in the soul itself' but as it acts in conjunction with the body. Perhaps there may
not he room in the brain for such a variety of
impressions, or the animal spirits may be incapable of figuring them in such a ntanner as
is necessary to excite so very large or very mi
nute ideas.. However it he, we may well suppose that beings of a higher natute very much
excel us in this respect , as it is probable the
soul of man will he infinitely more perfect hereafter in this faculty , as well as in all the rest;
insomuch that , perhaps , the imagination
will be able to keep pace with the understanding , and to form in itself distinct
ideas of all the different modes and quantities of space.

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. ( 65 )
11.

THe pleasures of the imagina,tion are not


wholly coa6ned to such particular authors a.s
are conversant in material objects , but are
often to be met with among the .p olite masters

of morality, criticism,: and other speculatioo~1s


abstracted from matter; who, though they do
not directly treat of the visible parts of nature,
often. draw from them their similitudes, metaphors, and alleg@ries. By these allusions, a
truth in the understanding is , as it were , reflected by t he imagination; we are able to see
something like .colour and shape in a notion ,
and to discover a scheme of thoughts traced
out upon matter. And here the .mind receive s
a great deal of satisfaction' and has. two of its
faculties gratified at the same ti.me; while the
fancy is busy in copying after the understand
.ing, and transcribing ideas out of the. in tel
Iectual world into the mater ial.
'
The great art of a wri\er JShows itself i n tll'e
chro ice of pleasing allusions, w hiehare geoer aUy
-t o be taken from th e gn at or beautiful wo l'kJ
of a-r t <Or Jlature; .f or, though wl1ateve:a: is ne\Y

'

F3

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or uncommon is apt to delight the imagination,


the chief design of an allusion being to illustrate
and explain the passages of an author, it shou1d
he always borrowed from what is mme knOV\'U
and common than the passages which are to
he explained.
Allegories, when well chosen, are like se

many tracks of light in a discourse, that make


every thing about them clear and beautiful.
A noble metaphor , when it is placed to an
advantage, casts a kind of glory round it, and
darts a lustre thr~ugh a whole sentence. These
different kinds of allusion are but so many
different manners _o f simili_tude; and that they
may please the imagination, the likeness ought
to he very ~xact or very agreeable, as we love
to see a picture where the resemblance is just,
or the posture
and air graceful. But we often
.
find eminent writers very faulty in this respect:
great schola.rs are apt to fetch their comparisons and allusions from the sciences in which
tl1ey are most conversant, so that a man may
see the compass of their learning in. a treatise
on the most iQ.different subject. I have read
a discourse upon love , which none hut a
profound chymist could understand, and have

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( 67 )

heard many a sermon that should only have


been preached before a congregation of Cartesians. On the contrary, your men of business
usually have recowse to such instances as are
too mean and familiar. They a1e for drawing
the reader into a game of chess or tennis, or
for leading him from shop to shop, in the cant
of particular trades and employments. It is
certain, there may be found an infinite va1iety .
of very agreeable allusions in both these kinds;
but, for the generality, the most entertaining
ones lie in the . works of nature' wh.ich are
obvious to all capacities, and more delightful
than what is to be found in arts and sciences.
It is this talent of affecting the imagination
that gives an embellishment to good sense, and
makes one man's composition more agreeable
than another's. It sets off all writings in
general, but is the ve1y life and highest perfection of poetry, where it shines in an eminent
degree : it has preserved several poems for
many ages, that have nothing else to recommend them; and where all the other beauties
are present, the work appears dry and insipid~
if this single one be wanting. It has some-thing in it like creation. It bestows a kind

'

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of existence, and draws up to the reader's vie\v


sev.eral objects which are not to be found in
being. It makes additions to nature , and
gives greater variety to G:od.'s w.nks. In a
word, it is able to beautify and adorn the most
illustr ious scenes in the universe, or to iill the
mind with more glorious shows and apparitions
than can he found in any part of it.
We have now discovered the several originals
of those pleasures that grafity the fancy ; and
here, perhaps, it would not be very diffict~lt to
cast under their proper J:teads those contiary
objects, which are apt to fill it with distaste
and ter1or ; for the imagination is as liable to
pain as pleasure. When the brai-n is hurt by
any accident, or the mind disordered by d1eams
or sickness, the fancy is o verrun with wild
dismal ideas ., and terrifie-d with a thousand
hideous momters of its own framing.
There is not a sight in nature so mortifying
as that of a distracted person, when his imagination is troubled, and his whole s.oul disordered and confused. Babylon in ruins is not
so melancholy a spectacle. But. to quit so
disagreeable a subject, I shall only consider,
by way .o f conclusion, what an infinite advau-

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tage this faculty gives an almighty Being over
the soul of man ' and how great . a measure
of happiness or misery , we are capable of
receiving from the imagination only.
.
We have already seen the influence that one
man has over the fancy of another., and with
what ease he conveys into it a variety of imagery:
how great a power then may we suppose lodged
in Him who knows all the ways of affecting the
imagination , who can infuse what ideas he
p1eases, and fill those ideas with terror and
delight to what degree he thinks fit ! He can
excite images in the mind without the help of

words, and make scenes rise up before , and


seem present to the eye , without the assistance
of bodies or exterior objects. He can transport t~e imagination with such beautiful and
glorious visions as cannot possibly enter into
our present conceptions , or haunt it with such
ghastly spectres and app~itions, as would make
us hope for annihilation, and think existence
no better than acurse. In short, he can so

exquisitely ravish or tortme the soul through
this single faculty , as might suffice to make
the whole heaven or hell of any finite being.
THE END.

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CONTENTS
.
for each Number of the Treatise on the
Pleasures of tke Imagination :
NuMBER

1.

The perfectio'n of our sight aboye our other senses.


The pleasures of the imagination arise originally from
sight. The pleasures of the i magination divided under
two h eads. The pleasures of the imagination in some
respects equal to those of the understanding. The extent
of the pleasures of the imagination. The advantages a
man receives from a relish of these pleasures. In what
respect they are preferable to those of the understandin;.
NuMBER

2.

Three sources of all the pleasures of the imagination,

in our survey of outward objects. How what is great pleases


the imagination. How what is new pleases the imaginartion. How what is .Leautiful in our ow~ specif>S pleas~
1he imagittation. How what is beautiful in general pleaaea
the imagination. What other accidental causes may conu-ibute to the heightening of those pleasures.
NuMBER

3.

Why the necessary cause of our being pleased with


what is great, new, or b eautiful, unknown. 'Vhy the
final cause more known and more useful . The final cause
of our .heing pleased with what is great. The fmal cause
of our being pleased with what is new. The final cause
of our being pleased with what is beautiful in our own
species. The final cause of our being pleased with wha t
it beautiful in general.

NuMBER

4.

The works of nature more pleasant to the imnginatio11


than those of att. The wod1s of nature ~till more

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rleDaant t the more they resemble those of art. The


works of art more pleasant , the more they l'esemble
those of nature. Our English plantations and gardeus
considered in the foregoing light.
NuMBER

5.

Of architecture, as it affects the imagination. Greatneu


in architecture relates either to the bulk or to the
manner. Greatnes o.f bulk in the anc ient oriental
buildin gs The ancient accounts of t..hese buildings confirmed, I. From the advantages for raising such wo1lu,
in th~ first ages of the wol'ld., and in easte.rn climate,
2. F 1om seve1al of them which are still extant Instances
bow greatness of manner affects .the imagination. A
F rench autho1, s observations on ' this subject. Why concave. and convex figures give a greatness of manner to
works of architecture. Every thing that plealies the
imagination in uchitecture, is- either great, beautiful,
or n ew.
N u MBER

6.

The second~ry pleasures of the imagination. The aoveral sources of these pleasures ( statuaJ'Y, paiQting, description , and music) compa r ed together. The final
cause of onr r eceiving pleasure f'rom tlwse several source,.
Of d csCl'iption in particular. The power of words over
the i magination. Why one 1eader is mor e pleased witk
desc1iptions than another.
NuMBER

7.
A na-

Ho,v a- whole set of ideas bang together, etc.

tural cause assigned for it. How to perfect the inia gination of a writer. Who amo~1g the ancient poets had, this
faculty in its greatest perfection. Homer excelled in
imagining what is great ; Virgil in imagin ing what is
beautiful, Ovid in imagining what is n ew. Our own coun
try man , Milton, very perfect in all these three reapec:ta

'

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N 01\f.BER 8.
Why any thing that is unpleasant to behold pleases
the imagination when well d~scribed. Why the imagination receives a more exquisite pleasure from the descdption of what is great, new, or beautiful. The pleasure still heightened, if what is described raises passion
in the mimt. Disag1eeable passions pleasing when raised
by apt descriptions. 'Why terror and grief are pleasing
to the mind when excited by description. ~ particular
advantage the writen in poetty and fiction have to
please the imagination. What liberties are allowed
them.
NuMBER

9.

Of that kind of poetry which Mr. Dryden calls the


'fairy way of writing.' How a poet should be qualified
for it. The pleasures of the imagination that arise ft'om
it. In this respect why the moderns excel the ancients.
'Why the English excel the moderns. Who the best
among the English. Of emblematical persons.
NuMBER

10.

..

\Vhat authors please the imagination. 'Vho have nothing to do with fiction. How history pleases the ima.
sination. How the authors of the new philosophy please
the imagination. The bounds and d~fects of the iJDagination. Whether these defects are essential to the ima
gination.
NuMBER

11.

How those please the imagination who treat of subjects abstract from matter , by allusions taken ftom it.
What allusions most pleasing to the imagination. Great
Wl'itel'S' how faulty in this respect. Of the al't of imagining in geneml. The imagination capable of pain as
well' as pleasure. In what degnlC the imagination is
capable either of pain or pleasure.

--

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EXAMINATION

CRITIC~L

0 F

r&E

Ilt rHE

FOUR FIRST NUMBERS


OF

r&E

PRECEDING ESSAY,
BY

mv~m

maaaum~

D. D. and F. R. S . Edin.

'

D 11 zado p r Coogle

I"

oO"

----

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CRITICAL E~AMIN ATION.

The general character of Mr. Addison'a-atyle and manner , is natural and unaf:. (ected, easy and polite ; and full of those
' graces which a flowery imagination diffuses
over writing. At the same time, though
one of the most beautiful writers in the
language , he is not the most correct ; a
circumstance which renders his composition
the more proper to be the subject of our
.p resent criticism. The free and flowing
manner of this amiable writer sometimes
led him into inaccuraties , which the more
studied circumspection and care of far inferior writers have taught them to avoid.
Remarking his beauties, therefore, which I
shall have frequent occasion to do as 1 proceed, I must also point out hi~ neg'ligences
and defects. Without a free, impartial
discussion of both the faults and beauties
which occ~r in his composition , it is evident
this piece, of criticism would he of no ser-

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( 76 )

'

vice : and , from the freedom which I use


in criticising .Mr. Add'ison's.. style, none can
imagine , that I mean to depreciate his writings., after having repeatedly declared the
high opinion which I ente~in of them.
The beauties of th'is author are so many ,
and .the general character of his style
is
.
so elegant and estimable , th'at the minute
imperfectious I sllalf have occasion to point
out ' are but like those spots in the sun '
which may be discovered by the asaistance
of art , hut wliich have no efFect in obscu
ring its lustre. It is, indeed , my. judgment,
that what Quinctilian applies to Cicero ,
" IUe se profecisse sciat, cui Cicero valde
placebit. ' may' with justice ' be applied
to Mr. Addison ; that to ~ highly pleased
with his manner of writing, is the criterion
of one's having acquired a good taste in
english style. The paper on which we are
now to enter , is the Jt. Number. of his
celebrated Essays on the Pleasures of the
Imagination. It begins thus :
(( Our sight is the most perfect, and
most delightful of all our senses. u

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( 77 )

This is an excellent introductory sentence.


It clear, precise, and simple. The author
~
lays down , in a few plain words , the
proposition which he is going to illustrate
throughout the rest of the paragraph. In
this manner we should always set out. A
first sentence should s.e ldom be a long, and
never an intricate one.
..
He might have said : Our sight is the
most perfect , and the most delightful. But he has judged better , in omitting to
repeat the article tlte. For, the repetition
of it is proper , chiefly when we intend to
point out the objects of which we speak ,
as distipguished from , or contrasted with ,
each other; and when we want that the
reade1's attention should rest on that distinction. For instance; had Mr. Addison
intended to say, That our sight is at once
the most deliglttful, and the most useful,
of all our senses, the article might then have
been rep~ated with propriety , as a clear and
strong distinction would .hal'e been conveyed.
But as between perfect and delightful , there
is less contrast, there was no occasion for
such repetition. It would have had no other
Gl .

is

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( 78 )
effect, but to add a lVord unnecessarily to
the sent~ce. He proceeds:
"It fills the mind with the largest
variety of ideas, con verses with ita objects at the greatest distance , and continues the longest in action , without
being tirecl or satiated with its proper
enjoyment'- .
This sentence deserves .attention , as remarkably harmonious , and well constructed.
It possesses , indeed , almost all the properties
of a perfect sentence. It is entirely perspi
cuous. It is loaded with rio superfluous or
unnecessary words. For , tired or satiated,
towards the end of the sentence , are not
used for synonymous terms. They convey
.
distinct ideas, and refer to different members of the period ; that this sense conti
nues the longest in action without being
tired ,, , that is , without being fatigued
with its_ action ; and also , witbout " being
satiated with its proper enjoyments. ., That
quality of a good sentence which I termed
its unity , is here perfectly prese~ved. It is
o.u r sight of w l1ich he speaks. ,. . This is the
object cw:ried through the sentence , and

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( 79 )
presented to us, in every member of it, hy
those verbs, fills , converses , continues , to
each of which, it is clearly the nominative.
Those capital words are disposed of in the
proper places; and that uniformity is maintained in the construction of the sentence ,

which suits the unity of the object.


Observe too , the music of the period ;
consisting of three memhe~s, each of which ,
agreeably to a rule I formerly mentioned ,
grows , and rises above the other ill: sound ,
till the sentence is conducted , at last to one
of the most melodious closes which our
language admits : u without being tired o~
satiated with its proper enjoyments. Enjoyments , is a word of length and dignity,
exceedingly proper for a close which is designed to be a musical one. The harmony is
the more happy that this disposition of the
members of the pe:tiod which suits the sound
so well : is no less just and proper \vith
respect to the sense. It follows the order
of nature. Fir~t , we have the variety of
obj'ects mentioned , which sight furnishes to
. the mind; next, we have' the action of sight
0o those objects j and lastly, we have the tiJlle
I

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. . _ _ . . . _ . . _ . _.........

}"

.....~

......

..

---

( 80)

and continuance of its action. No order


could he more natural or happy.
This sentence has still another beauty. It
is figurative , without being too much so for
the subject. A metaphor runs through it.
The sense of sight is, in some degree, personified. We are told of its conver.sing ~.ith
its objects , and of its not being tired or
satiated with its enjoyme11ts : all which expressions are "plai~ allusions to the actions
and feelings of men. This is that slight sort
of perso.nification, which, without any appearance of boldness , and without elevating
the fancy much above its ordinary state ,
renders discourse picturesque , and leads us
to conceive the author's meaning more distinctiy , by clothing abstract ideas , in some
degree, with .sensible colours. Mr. Addison
abounds with this beauty of style beyond
most authors ; and the sentence which we
have been considering, is very expressive of
his manner of writing. There is no blemish
.in it whatever, unless that a strict Critic might
perhaps object, that the epi!het large., ~hich
he applies to variety, - the largest variety
of ideas n , - is an epithet mo1e commonly

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( 81 )

applie(l to extent than to number. lt is


plain, that he here employed it to avGid the
repelitioa of the word great,. which occurs
immediately after"ttards.
'
<' The sense of feeling can , indeed ,
give tts a notion of extension, shape ,
and all otheP ideas that enter at the e-ye,
e~ept cOlOUl'S ; but , at the sa'me time 1
it is very much straitened and confined
in its (}perationS t to the number t bulk I
and distance ol its particn1ar object..
. This' sentence is by no means so happy aa
the former. It is, indeed, neither. clear nor
elP.gant. Extension and slzape can , with no
propriety, be called ideas; they are properties
of matter. Neither is it accurate , even
acc01ding to Mr. Locke's philo~ophy -(with
which ow autho1 seems here to have puzzled
himseif!, to speak of any sense gi,,z'ng us a
notio" of z'deas; our senses give us the ideas
themselves. Tbe meaning would have b.een
much ~ore clear, it the author had expressed
himself thus :. " Tl1e sense of feeling can ,
indeed , give us the idea of extension ,
figut:e, and all the olher..properties of matter
which are perceived by the eye, except colour$.

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( 82)

The latter part of the sentenee is still' more


embarrassed. For, what meaning can we make
of the sense of feeling, being ,, confined, in
in its operations , to the number , bulk , and
distance, of its particular objets? u Surely,
every sense is confined , as much as the sense
of feeling, to the number , bulk , and distance
of its own objects. Sight and feeling are ,
in this respect, perfectly on a level; neither
of them can extend beyond its own objects.
The turn of expression is so inaccurate here,
that one would be apt to suspect two words
to have been omitted in the printing, which
were originally in Mr. Addison's manuscript;
because the inse1tion would render the sense
much more intelligible and clear. These two
words are , "with regard: - It is very much
straitened ' and confined ' in its operations '
with regard to the number, bulk, and distance
of its particular objects . ., The meaning then
would be , tl1at feeling is more limited than
_sight in tlds respect; that it is confined to a
narrower circle , to a smaller number of
objects.
The epithet parttcular, applied to objects,
in the conclusion of the sentence, is redun-

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( 83 )
dant , and. conveys no meaning whatever.
Mr. _Addison seems to have used it in place
of peculiar, as indeed he does often in other
passages of his writings. But particular and
peculiar, though they are too often confounded , are words of different import from
each other.. Particular stands opposed to
general ; pecztliar stands opposed , to what
is possessed in common with others. Particular
expresses 'vhat in the logical style is called
' species , peculiar, what is called d!fferentia.
- Its peculiar objects would have signified
in th_is place , the objects of the sense of
feeling, as distinguished from the objects of
any other sense ; and would have had more
meaning than its particular objects. Though,
in truth , neither the one nor the other
epithet was requise. It was sufficient to have
said simply, its objects.
r Our sight seems desig~ed to supply all
these defects, and may be considered as a
more delicate
and diffusive kind of touch,

that spreads itself over an infinite multitude of bodies, comprebends~the largest


figures' and :brings into our reach some
of the most req1ote parts of the universe.

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( 84)

Here again the author's style J"eturns upon


us in all its beauty. This is;a sentence distinct,
graceful ' well ananged ' and higl;tly musical.
In the latter pal't of it, it is constructed with
three members, which are formed much in
the same manner with those of the second
sentence , on which I bestowed so much
ptaise; The co~truction is so similar, that
if .it had followed immediately after it, we
should hav.e been sensible <Of a faulty mono
tony. B~t the interposition of another sentence
between them , prevents this effect.
<c It is this sense which fu.rnishes the
imagination with its i~eas .; so tltat by
the pleasures of the Imagination or Fancy
(which I shall use pron;tiscuouslyJ I here
mean such a~ atise .from visible objects,
either when we have them actually in
our view; or when we call .up their ideas
in_to our minds by paintings , statues,
descriptions, Or any .the :like occasion."
In place of, It is ~this sense which furnishes
- the author might have said more shortly,
.This seni,e furnis,he'S. But .the mode of
expression which he :has used, is .here more
p~oper. This soxt ofJull and ample assertion,

D g tal

OC' p

Google

( 85 )
rt is

thi~

which , is fit to be used when a

proposition of importance is lai~ down, to


whtch we seek to call the reader's attention.
It is like pointing with the band at the object
of which we speak. The parenthesis in the
middle of tl1e sentence , wllich I shall use
promiscuously , is not clear. He o~ght to
have said, terms wlticll. I slzall use promiscuously ; as the verb use relates not to the
Jlleasures of tbe imagi.nation, but to the terin~
of fancy and imagination, which he was to
employ as synonymous. Any the like occasion
- to call a painting or a statue an occasion
is not a happy expression , nor is it very
J>ropcr to speak of calling up ideas by occaJions. The common phrase, any such means,
would have been more natural.

"We cannot indeed have a single


image in the fancy, that did not make
its first entrance through the sight; but
we l1ave the power of retaining, altering,
and compounding those images w hi eh
we have once received , into all the
varieties of picture and vision that are
most agreeable to the imagination ; for,
by this . faculty , a man in a dungeon is
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( 86)

ca.,pahle of entertaining himself with


scenes and landscapes more. beautiful
than any that can be found in the whole
compass of nature. ,,
It may be of use to remark that in one
member of this sentence there is an inaccuracy in syntax. It is very proper to say ,
/

altering and compounding those images which


we ha Ye one received , into all the varieties of
picture and vis ion. But we can with no
propriety say , retaining them into all thevarieties ; and yet , according to the manner
in which the words are ranged, this construction is unavoidable. For, retaining, q/teri11g,
and compouTtding , a1e I>articiples , each of
which equally refers to, and governs the
subsequent noun , those images ; and that
noun again is necessarily connected with the
following preposition into. This instance showa
.the importance of carefully attending to the
rules of Grammar and Syntax ; when so pure
a writer as Mr. Addison could , through,
inadvertence , be guilty of such an error.
The construction might easily have been
rectified, by disjoining the tparticiple retaining
fro~ the other two participles in thia way :

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( 87 )
We have the power of retaining . those
images which we have one~ received; and
of altering and compounding them into all
t he varieties of picture and vision; ,. or better
perhaps thus : " We have the }JOWer o
retaining , altering, and compounding those
images which we have once received; and
of forming them into all the varieties o
picture and vision. - The latter part t:>
the sentence is clear and elegant.
There are few words in the English
Language which are employed in a
more loose and uncircumscribed sense
than those of the Fancy and the lma

gmahon.
,,
There are .few words - which are employed. - It had been better , if our author
here had said more simply. - Few words U.
the English ianguage are employed. Mr. Addison,
whose style is of,the free and full, rather than
.the nervous kind, deals , on all occasions,
in this extended sort of phraseology. But it
is proper .only when .som.e assertion of conse .
quence is advance~, and which can bear IUl
emphasis; such as that in the first sentence
of the former paragraph. On other occasions,

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' - . . , . _ , . , ._ _ __ ,_ ,....,__ .,. iJJs 4

e <CEG

tsts

'4~..,. !'!&

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( 88 )
the little words it is ' and there are ' ought
. to he avoided as redundaut and enfeebling.
- those of the Faucy and tiLe Imagination.
I'he article ought to have been omitted her'e.
As he does not mean the powers of the Fancy
and the lmasination , but the words only,
the article cetainly ha<l no proper place ;
neither, indeed, was there any occasion for
other two words, tl10se of Bett er, if the
sentence had l'Un thus: <c Few words in the
English language are employed in a more
loose and uncircumscribed sense, than Fancy
and Imagination.,.
'' I therefore thougl1t it necessary to
fix and determine the notion of these
two words, as I intend to make use of
them in the thread of my fo1lowing
speculations, that the reader may COll
ceive rightly what is the subject which
I proceed upon.,
Though fix: and determine may appear synonymous words yet a difference between
them may be remarl<ed, and they may he
'Viewed , as applied here
with peculiar
delicacy. The author had just said, that" the
words of which he is speaking were loose

'


( 89 )
and uncircumscrihed. Fir relates to the first
of these , determine to the last. We fix what
is loose; that is, we confine the word to its
proper place , that it may not fluctuate in our
imagination, and pass from one idea to anothel'; and we determine what is uncircumscribed;
that is, we ascertain its termini or limits , we
draw the circle round it, that we may see
its boundaries. For, we cannot conceive the
meaning of a word , nor indeed of any other
thing clearly , till we see its limits , and know
how far it extends. These two words, therefore, have grace and beauty as they are here
applied _; though a Wl'iter , more frugal of
words than Mr. Addisoil, would have prefered
the single wor<l ascerta&it , which conveys,
without any metaphor, the import of them.
both.
The notio11 of tlzese words is somewhat of
a harsh phrase , at least not so commonly
used , as the meaning of these words - as I
intend to make use of them in the thread of
my speculations; this is plainly faulty. A sort .
of methapbor is improperly mixed with words
in the literal sense. He might very well have
aaid, as I intend to make use ol them in 11!Y
H 3 :~
.

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( 90 )

following speculations. - . This was plain


language; but if he chose to borrow an allusion from thread , that allusion ought to.
l1ave been supported ; for there is no
consistency in making use ofthem in. tlze thread
of speculations ; and , indeed , in expressing
any thing so simple and familiar as this is ,
plain language is always to he preferred to
metaphorical. - the subject which I proceed
upon, is- an UOgi'acefu} close of a sentence;

better, the subject upon which I proceed.


< I must therefore
desire him to
remember that by the pleasures of the
Imagination, I mean only such pleasures as
arise original1y from sight, and that I
divide these pleasures into two kinds.,.
As the last sentence began with ~ I therefore thought it necessary to Ji:x:, it is careless
to begin this sentence in a manner so very
similar, I must therefore desire him to remember; especially, as the small variation of
using , on this account , or, for this reason ,
in place of therefore , would have amended
the style. - When he says _..._ I mean only
such pleasures - it may he remarked , that
the adverb only is not in its proper place~

----

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'

( 91 )

It .is

riot intended hel'e to qualify the vern


mean , but such pleasures; and therefore
should have been placed in as close connection as possible with the word wlli,ch it
limits or qualifies. The style becomes more
clear and neat , '"hen the words are arranged thus : u by the pleasures of the Imagination, I mean such pleasures only as arise
from sight.
'
u My design being, first
of all, to
aiscoUJse of those primary pleasures of
the Imagination, which entirely proceed
from such objects as are before our
eyes; and-, in the next place , to speak
of those secoudary pleasures of tl1e
Imagination , which flow f1om the
ideas of visible objects; when the objects are not actually before the eye ,

hut are called up into our memories ,


or formed into a~reeahle visions of
things , that are either absent 01 fie
btious.

'
It is a gteat rule in laying down the tlivi
sion of a subject, to study neatness and
-. brevity as much as possible. The divisions
are ihen more distinctly apprehended , and

---( 92 )

bl-ore easily remembered. This se:nten.ce i,.


~ot perfectly happy in that respect. It is
somewhat clogged by a tedious.phraseology.
"My design being first of all to discourse iu. ._the next place to speak of - such ob-. f;C(cts as are before our eyes - thin,gs that
'
are either absent or fictitious. - Several
words might have been spared here ; and the
atyle made more neat and compact.
(( The pleasures of the Imagination ,
taken in their full extent, are not so
gross as those of, sense, nor so refined
as those of the understanding,
This sentence is distinct and elegant.
The last are indeed more.preferable ,
because they are founded on some new
knowledge- or improvement in the mind
of man : Yet it must he confessed ,
that those of the Imagination are as
great and as transporting as the other.
In the beginning of this sentence , the
phrase , more preferable , is such a plain inaccuracy, that one wonders how Mr. Addison
ahould have fallen into it ; seeing preferable
of itself, expresses the comparative degree, and
_is the same with more eligible,or l.llOle exce)lent.

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( 93 )
'

I inwt observe fatther , that the proposition contained in the last member of this
sentence , is neither clear nor neatly expressed - it must be confessed, tlzat those
of the imaginq,tion are as gi'Cat , and as tranJ. porting as the . other. - In the former sehtence, he had compared thr<.~e things together~
the pleasures of the Imagination , those of
'
sense, and those of the understanding. In
the beginning of this sentence, he had called the . pleasures of the understanding the
last; and he ends the sentence ' with observing, that tl10se of the Imagination are as
great and transporting as the otller. Now,
besides that the other makes not . a proper
conbast with the last, he leaves it ambiguoUs,
whether , by the other, lie meant the pleasures of the understanding~ or the pleasUles
of sense ; for it may refe1~ to either by the
construction ; though , undoubtedly , he intended that it should refer to the p1easur'es
of the understanding only. The proposition
reduced to perspicuous language, runs thus :
'' Yet it must be confessed, that the plea~
su1es of the Imag.inalion , when compared
with th.ose of the understanding-, are .n o lesi
great and transporting.

"

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( 94)
A beautiful prospect delights the
aoul as much as a demonstration; and a
description in Homer has charmed more
readers than a chapter in Aristotle.
This is a good illustration of what he had
been asserting , and is expressed with that
happy and elegant turn, for which our author is very remarkable,
Besides, the pleasures of the Imagination have this advantage above those
of the understanding, that they are more
obvious, and more easy to he acquired.
This is also an unexceptionable sentence.
It is but opening the eye, and the
scene enters. ,
This sentence is lively and picturesque.
:By the gaiety and briskness wbich it gives
the style, it shows the advantage of intermixing such a sbott sentence as tl1is amidst
a run of longer ones, wl1ich never fails to
have a happy effect. I must remark , hoever, a small inaccuracy. ,. A scene cannot
be said to enter ; an acf1?r enters ; hut a
tcene appears , or presents itself.
The colours paint themselves on the
.
fancy , with very little attention of

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( 95 )

thought or application of mind in the


beholder. ,,
.,
This is still beautiful illustration ; carried
on with that agreeable floweriness of fancy

and style, which is so well suited to those


'
pleasures of the Imagination , of which the
author is treating.
(( We are struck , we know not how
. ~ith the symmetry of any thing we see,
and immediately assent to the beauty of
an object , without enquiting into the
particular causes and occasions of it.
There is a falling off here from the elegance of the former sentences. We assentto the truth of a proposition; but csmnot
so well be said to assent to the beauty ofan
object. .dcknowle~ge would have exptessed the
sense with more pr~priey. The close of the
sentence too is heavy and ungtaceful - the
particular causes and occasions of it ; both particular ; and occasions , are words
quite supP.Ifluous ; and the pronoun it is in
acnae measure ambiguous-, whether it refer
to be~uty or to object. It would have been
some amendment to the style to ha.ye run

thus : we immediately acknowledp thQ

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( 96 )
b~auty.

of an object, without enquiring into


the cause of th at beauty. u ,
'' A man of a polite imagination is
led into a g1eat many pleaswes , that
the vulg.ar are not capable of receiving. "
Polite is a term more commonly applied
to manners or behaviour , than to the .
mind or imagination. There is nothi":lg fartller to be oh;el'ved on this sentence, unless
the use of that for a relative pronoun, . instead of wllich ; an usage which is too
frequent with lVlr Addison. Wlzic!t is a much
more definite word than that , being never
em1>loyed in any other way than as a re.lative ; 'vhereas that is a word of many senses ;
sometimes a demonsttative pronoun , often a
conjunction. In scme cases we are indeed
obliged to use tlz.at for a relative , in order
to. avoid the ungraceful repetition of whick
in the same sentence. But when we are laid
. under no necessity of this kind, which is
always the preferable word, and certainly
was so in this sentence. - Pleasures which
the vulgar are not capable C!.f receiving, is
much better than .pleasures that the JJulgar,
are no(, &c.

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" He can converse with a picture ,
and find an agreeable companion in a
statue. He meets with a secret refreshment in a description ; and often feels
a greater satisfaction in the prospect of
fields and meadows , than another does
in the possession. It gives him, indeed,
n kind of property in every thing he
sees; and makes the most rude uncultivated parts of nature administ~r to hi&
pleasures : so that he looks upon' the
wol'ld, as it we1e , in another light, and
cliscovers in it a multitude of charma
that conceal themselves from the gene
rality of mankind.
All this is very beautiful. The illustration
is hapJ)Y, and the style runs with the grea.test
ease and harmony. We see no labou1, no
stiffness, or affectation; Lut the author writing
from the native flow of a gay and pleasing
imagination. This predominant character of
Mr. Addison's manner, fa1 more than compensates a1l those little negligences which we
are now tematking. Two of tl1ese occur iu
this paragrap,h . The first , in the sentence
" hich begins wi1h : It gives ltim indeed-a kind
I
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( {18 )

'
(if property - To this it , there is no proper

antecedent in the whole para,gtaph. In order


ta gather the meauing, we must look back
ns far as to the third sentence before , tl1e
first of the paragraph , which begins with ,
A man of a polite imagi11ation. This phrase
polite imaginaton, is the only antecedent to
which this it can refer; and even that is an
impropet antecedent , as it stands in the
genitive .case , as th-e qualification only of
a man.
The other instance of negligence , is towards
the end of the paragraph - So tlw.t he looks
zqJOn tlze 'f"''Orld, as it were , fn, another /ig/1t.
By a1wthcr light, Mr. Addison means , a light
different from that in which other men v1ew
tlie world. llu.t th:ough this expression clearly
conveyed ' this meaning to himself ,,hen
writing , it conveys it very indistinctly to
others ; and is an instance of tbat so1t of- .
inaccuracy, into which , in the warmth of
composition, ev.e ry writer of a lively imagination is apt to fall; and which can only
he remedied by a cool , subsequent 1eview.
- As it were ~ i~ upon most occasions no
mo1e than an ungraceful palliative, and here

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~

( 99 )
'

there was not the least occasion for it, as


he was not about to say any thing which
required a softening of this kind. To say
the b.uth , this last sentence , so that he looks
flJ!Ob the world, and what follows, had better
been wanting altogether. It is no more t~an
an unnecessary recapitulation of what hacl
gone before; a feeble adjection to the lively
picture he had given of the pleasures of the
imagination. The paragraph would have
ended with more spiTi t at the words immedi-ately preceding: the un.cu:ltivated pal'ts of
nature aJmini5tcr to lds pleasures.
"TI1ere are I. indeed ' but very
who know DO'\V to be idle and innO'c ent,
or have a relish of any pleasures that
are not criminal ; every diversion they
take , is at the expence of some one
virtue or another , and their very first
step out of business is into \'ice or folly ...
Nothing can be more elegant , or mme
finely turned, than this sentence. It i&neC\t,
clear , aml musical. W c could hardly alter
one word, or disarrange one member, 'vitbout
spoiling it. Few sentences arc to be found
more finished , or more happy.

re,,.

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( 100)
"' A man should endeavou1, therefore ,
to make the sphere of his innoceut
pleasures as wide as possible , that he
may retire into them wi.t h safety, and
find in them , ~uch a satisfaction as a
Wise man would not blush to take . .,
This also is a good sentence , and gives
occasion to no material remark.
Of this nature are those of the imagination , which do not require such a
bent of thought as is necessary to our
more serious employments, nor , at the
same time, suffer the mind to sink into
that indolence and remissness , which
are apt to accompany our inore sensual
delights; but, like a gentle exercise to
the faculties , awaken them from sloth
and idleness without putting them 11pon
any labour or difficulty.
The beginning of this sentence is not correct , and affords an instance of a period too
loosely connected with the preceding one.
Of this nature , says he , are .those of tlze
imagifl.ation. We might ask of what nature .?
For it had not been the scope of the pleceding sentence to describe the nature of

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( 101 )

any set of pleasures.

He had said , that it


was every man's duty to make the sphere of
ltis innocent pleasures as wide as possible ,
in order that, within that sphere , lie might
find a safe retreat' and a lalJ,d.able satisfaction. The transition is loosely made , by
beginning the next sentence with , saying :

Qf this nature are those o.f tlze imagination,


It had been better , if, keeping in view the
governing object of the preceding sentence ,
he had said , .. This advantage we gain , ,,
or , " This satisfaction we enjoy , by means
of the pleasu1es of imagination. " The rest
. of the sentence is abun(lantly correct .
.. We migbt here add, tl1at the plea
sures of the fancy are more conducive
to l1ealtil than those of the un<lerstanding , \vhich are worked out by dint
.of thinking , and attended with too
violent a latJom of the brain. ,,
On this sentence, nothing occurs deserving
of remark , except that worked out b] dint
of thinking, is a phrase which hor<lcrs too
much on vulgar and colloquial language, to
be proper fo1 being employed in a polish ed

composthon.

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( 102)
Delightful scenes, whether in natur~,

_painting , or poetry , have a kindly


influence on the body , as well as on the
mind , and not only serve to clear and
brighten the imagination, but are able
to disperse grief and melancholy , and
to set the animal spirits in pleasing
and agreeable motions. For this. reason
Sir Fraucis Bacon , in his Essay upon
Health , has not thought it Improper
to p1escribe to his reader a poem, or
a prospect ; where he partic11larly dissuades him from knotty .and subtile
disquisitions, and advises him to pursue
studiP.s that fill the mind with splendid
and illustrious objects , as historie-s ,
fables, and contemplations of nature.
In the latter of these two sentences ' a
member .of the period is altogether out of
its place ; which gives the whole sentence
a harsh and disjointed cast , and serves to
illuEtrate the rules I formerly gave concerning
arrangement. The wrong - placed member
which I point at, is this : wlzere lzc particularly
dissuades lzim from knotty and sub tile disquisitions. - These words should , undoubtedly ,
,

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( 103)

have been placed not where they stand , but


thus : Sir Francis Bacon , in his Essay upon
llealtk, wllere he particularly dissuades the
reader from knotty and subtile speculations ,
has not thought it improper to prescribe to
him etc.
This arrangement reduces eYery
thing into proper order.

a I have , in this number , by- way of


introduction, settled the notion of those
pleasures of the imagination, which are
t~e subje~t of my present unde1taking ,
and endeavoured, by several considerations, to recommend to my readers tile
pursuit of those pleasures ; I shall , iu
my uext ' numhe1 examine the sevcr.d
sources from whence these pleasures a1e
derived.,,
These two concluding sentences affmd examples of the proper col1ocation of cilcumstances in a period.
I formerly showed ~
that it is often a matter of difficulty to dispose
of them in such a manner , as that they shalf
not embarrass the . principal subject of ~he
sentence. In the sentences before us, sev.eral
'
o( these incidental circumstances necessa-rily .
come in - By way of introductiott - by

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( 104)

several considerations - iJJ tltis number - i:1.


the next number. All which are , with great
propriety, managed by our author. It will
be found , upon trial, that there 'vere no
other parts of the sentence , in which they
could have been pJac.e d to equal advantage.
Had he said, for instance : (( I have settled
the notion , (rather, tlze 1~eaning) - of those
pleasures of the imagination, which are the
subject of my present undertaking, by way
of introduction , in this number , and endeavoured to recommend the pursuit of those
pleasures to my teaders by several considerations, '' we must be sensible , ' that the
5entence , thus clogged with circumstance~
in the wrong place , would neither hav~~
been so neat nor so dear, as it is lJy the
present construction.

The observations which have occurretl in


reviewing that essay of Mr. Addison's ,
which was the subject of the last lecture ,
sufficiently show , that in the writings of an
author of the most hap}JY genius and distin,
guished talents , inaccuracies may sometimes

__ _-- ------.......

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,tt . .

( 105)

be found. Though such inaccuracies may he


overbalanced by so many beauties , as render
the style highly pleasing and agreeable upon
.the whole , yet it must be desirable to every
writer to avoid, as far as he can, inaccuracies
of any kind. As the subject therefol'e- is of
importance , I have thought it might he
useful to carry on this criticism throughout
two or three subsequent essays on the same
subject. At the same time-, I must intimate ,
that the lectures on these essays a1e solely
intented for such as are applying the:p~selves
to the study of english style. I p retend not to
give instruction to those who are already well
acquainted with the powers of language.
To them my 1emarks.may. prove unedifying;
. to some they may seem tedious *and minute :
but to such as have not yet made all the
proficiency which they desire in elegance of
style 1 strict attention to the composition and
structure of sentences cannot fail to prove of
conside1;ahle benefit: and tl10ugh my rema1ka
.
on Mr. Addison should , in any instance ,
be thought ill-founded, they will 1 at least,
serve tbe pmpose of leading t~em into the
tlain of making 1)roper remarks for them-

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( 106)
selves. I proceed , therefore, to the examination of the subsequent number.
,, I shall first consider those pleasures
of the imagination , which arise from
the actual view and survey of out\vard
objects : and these, I think , all proceed
from the sight of what is great, uncommon , or beautiful.
This sentence gives occasion for no material
remark. It is simple and distinct. The two
words which he here uses, view and slli'Vey,
are not altogether synonymous, as the former
niay be supposed to import mere ins pection ;
the latter , more deliberate examination. Yet
they lie so near to one another in meaning,
that, in the.present case, any one of them,
perhaps , would have been sufficient. The
epithet actual, is inboduced , in order to
mark more strongly the distinction between

what our author calls the primary pleasure$


of ima~ination which arise from immediate
view, and the secondary, which arise from
remembrance or desc1iption.
n There may , indeed , be something so
te1rihle or offensive , that the horror
or loathsomeness of an object , may

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( 107)
ov.e rhear the pleasure wl1icb results f1'on;t
its uovelty , greatness , or beauty ; hut
stl.ll there will be such a tnixtu1e of
delight in the very disgust it gives tts ,

as any of these th1ee qualifications a~e


most conspicuous and p1evailing. u
This sentence must be acknowledged to be
an unfortunate one. The sense is obscure
'and embarrassed , and the exp1ession loose
and irregular. The beginning of it is perplexed
by the wrong position of the words sometld~tg
and object. The natural aiTaugement woukl
have been : n There may, iudeed , he something in an object so terrible or offensive,
that the horror or loathsomeness of it may
overhear. - These two epithets, horror or
loat!tsomeness a1e awkward~y joined together.
Loathsomeness is , indeed , a quality which
may be ascribed to an object ; but horro1;
is not; it is a feeling excited in the mind.
The language would have been much more
correct, had our author said: <c There may,
indeed, be someth~ng in an object so ter1ihle
Ol' offensive , that the h01~ror or disgust which
il ~xcites may ove1beaf". :- The first two
epithets , terrible or ojfensiye , would then.

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( 108)

have expressed the qualities of an object;


the latter , horror or disgust, the corresponcling sentiments which these qualities produce
is us. Loathsomeness was the most unhappy
word he could have chosen: for to he loathsome , is to he odious , and seems totally
to exclude any mix:tur~ of deliglzt, which he
afterwards supposes may he found in the
object.
In the latter part of the sentence, there are
several inaccuracies. \Vhen he says : " 1'/zere
'"ill be such a mixture of delight i1~ tlte ve1y
disgust it gives us , as any oj' these tltree
qualijications are most conspicuous , the
construction is defectiYe , and ~eems hardly
grammatical. He meant assurcd1y to say :
" Such a mixture of delight as is prop01tioued
to the degree in which any of these three
qualifications are most conspicuous. u - vV e
know, that there may he a mixture of pleasant
and of disagreeable feelings excited by the
same object; yet it appears inaccurate to say,
that there is any "delight in the ,ery disgust.
- The plural verb are, is improperly joined
to cc any of tl1ese three qualifications# )) for
as any is here used distributively, and means
I)

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~,.

Q/ *''1-. .

g qjt

( 109)
any one of these three qualifications , , -th~
coTesponding verb ought to have been singular. The order in whi~b the two last words
are placed , should have been reversed , and
made to stand, prevailing and conspicuous.
They are conspicuous , because they prevail.
u By greatness, I do not only mean
the bulk of any single object, but the
largeness of a whole view, considered

as one entire
p1ece.
,,
In a former lecture, when treating of the
structure of sentences , I quoted tl1is sentence
as an instance of the careless manner in which
adve1hs are sometimes interjected in the midst
of a period. Only , as it is here placed ,
appears to be a limitation of the following
verb , mean. The question might be put ,
wl1at more does he than only mean ? as the
author ., undoubtedly , intended it to refer
to the n bulk of a single object, ,, it would
have been placed, with more propriety,
after these words: - I do not mean the
bulk of any single object only , but the
largeness of a whole view. - As the following
phrase, considered as one entire piece , seems
to be somewhat deficient, both in dignity
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( 110)
and propriety, pe1haps this adjection mignt
have been altogdher omitted , and the sen
tence have closed with fully as much advantage at the word view.
" Such are the prospects of an open
champaign country, a vast uncultivated
desert;. of huge heaps of mountains,
high rocks and precipices , or a wide
~xpanse of waters, where we are not
&truck with the novelty , or beauty of
the sight, hut 'vith that rude kind of
magnificence which appears in many of
these stupendous works of nature. u
This sentence , in the main , is beautiful.
Tite objects presented are all of them noble,
selected with judgment , arranged with propriety, and accompanied with proper epithets.
:W e must , however , obser-ve , that the
sentence is t~o loosely, and not very grammatically, connected with the preceding one.
He says , - n such are the p1ospects u suclz, signifies of that nature or quality ,
\Vhich necessarily presupposes some adjective,
or word descriptive of a quality going
'before , to which it refers. But, in the
cforegoing sentence' there is no such adjective .

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( lll)
.
Be had spoken of greatness in the a~stra_ct

only; and, therefore, such bas no distinct


antecedent to which we can refer it. The
sentence \Vould have been introduced with
more grammatical propriety , by saying :
.. To this class belong, , or , "under this
head are ranged the p!*Ospects , etc. ,, - The
of, which is prefixed to fc huge heaps of
moun.tains, ,, is misplaced, and has , perhaps,
been an error in tl1e printing; as, either all
the particulars be:re enumerat~d sh,ould have
bad this mark of the genitive, or it should
have been .prefixed to none hut the first. When, in the close of the sentence, the author .
.speaks of that cc rude magnificence , wl1ich
appears in many of these stupendous works
of natnte, he had better have omilted the
word many, which seems to except some of
them : whereas, in his general proposition,
he undoubtedly meant to include all the
stupendous works. he had enumerated ; and
tbet"C is no question that; in all of them ,
a rude magnificence appears.
" Our imagination loves to be filled
with an object , or to grasp at any thing
that is too big fo1 its capacity. We ar41

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OQ&L~- ~ SWQ> G

!W!I ~

~-

1e .

~!Oill'l'" =s

.e a:

~,_~
..._.
..,,_
_ -- --- --~--

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( 112)
.'

flung into a pleasing astonishment at


such unbounded views ; ana feel .a
deligbtful stillness aml amazement in
the soul , at the apprehension of
them.
The language here is elegant , and several
of the expressions remarkably happy. There
is nothing which requires any animadversion
except the close , '' at tlte appreh-ens,:on, of
tlzem. ,, Not only is this a languid enfeebling
conclusion of a sentence, otherwise beautiful,
hut the apprehension of views, ,, is a phrase
destitute of all .propriety , and , i~deed ,
scarcely intelligible. Had this adjection been
entirely omitted , and the sentence been
allowed. to close with u stillness and amaz-e ment in the soul , ,, it would have been a
great improvement. Nothing is frequently
more hurtful to the grace or vivacity of a
period , than superfluous dragging words at
the conclusion.
'
The mind of man naturally hates
every thing that looks like a restraint
upon it, and is apt to fancy itself under

a sort of confinement, when the sight


ia pent up in a nar1ow compass, and

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_...

- ...

...

-~

~-

( 113)

shortened . on every side hy the neigh- .


bourhood of walls or mountains. On
the conbary , a spacious horizon is an
image of liberty , where the eye has
room to range abroad , to expatiate at
large on the immensity of its" views , and
to lose itself amidst the variety of objects
that offer themselves to its observation.
Such wide and undetermined prospects
are as pleasing to the fancy , as the
speculations of eternity , or infinitude ,
are to the understanding.,
Our autho1's style appears ; here in all
that native beauty which cannot be too much
praised. The numbel'S flow smoothly, and
with a graceful harmony. The woods. which
he has chosen, carry a certain amplitude and
fulness , well suited to tl1e -nature of the
subject ; and the members of the periods
rise in a gradation , accommodated to the
rise of the thought. The eye fir~t ranges
abroa4 ; then expatiates at large an the
immensity of 1"ts views ; and , at last , loses
itself amidst the va1iety of objects tlzat offer
tlzemselves to its observation. J;he fancy is
elegantly contrasted with the understanding;.,
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( 114)
prospects with ~peculations , and wide and
undetermined prospects with speculations of
eternity and infinitude.
''But if there be a beauty or uncommonness joined with this grandeur , as
in a troubled ocean, a heaven adorned
with stars and meteors , or a spacious
landscape cut out into rivers , woods ,
rocks, and meadows; the pleasure still
grows upon us , as it arises from more
than a single principle. ))
The article prefixed to beauty , in the

beginning of this sentence, might have been


omitted, and the style have run, perhaps,
to more advantage thus: But if belluty, or
uncommonness, be joined to this grandeur.
A landscape cut out into rivers, woods , etc.
seems unseasonably to imp~y an artificial formation, and would have been better expressed
by , u diversified with rivers, woods , etc.
" Every thing that is new or uncommon , raises a pleasure in the imagination, because it fills the soul with an
agreeable surprise, gratifies its curiosity
and gives it an idea of which it was not
before possessed. We are, indeed, so

.---....,

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.....-......Z:e::::!l .. -

-.--..--"""'

~ --~- - - ~ _..,. ~ ... ~

( 115)
often conversant witb one set of objects,
and tired out with so many repeated
shows of the same things, that whatever
is new or uncommon contributes a little
to vary human life' and to divert our
minds , f01 a while , with the strangeness
of its appearance. It serves us for a
kind of refreshment , and takes off from
that satiety we are apt to complain of in
our usual and ordinary entertainments.
The style in these sentences flows in an
easy and agreeable manner. A severe critic
might point out some expressions that would
bear 1etrenchment. But this would alter the
genius and character of Mr. Addison's style
.

We must always remember , that good composition admits of being carried on under
many different forms. Style must not be
reduced to one precise standard. One writer
may be as agreeable, by a pleasing difFuseness ,
when the subject bears, and his genius prompts
it , as another by a concise and forcible
manner. It is fit, however, to observe,
tbat , in the b~ginning of those sentences
which :we have at present before us, the
phrase , raises a pleasure in tke imagination ,

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( 116)
is unquestionably too flat and feeble,. and
might easily be amended, by saying, affords
.
pleasure to the imagination ; and towards
the end , tl1ere are . two cif's which grate
harshly on the ear, in that phrase, takes

offfiom that satiety we are apt to complain


of ; . where the correction is as easily . made
as in the other case , by substituting , " diminishes that satiety of which we are apt
to complain.,, Sue~ instances show the advantage of frequent reviews of what we have
written, in order to give proper correct.neS$
and polish to our language.
It is this that bestows charms on a
monster and makes even the imperfeetions of nature please us. It is this that
recommends variety where the mind is.
every instant called off to something
-new , and the attention not sufered to.
dwell too long, and waste itself on any
particular object. It is this likewise ,
that improves what is great of beautiful,.
and makes it afford the mind a double
entertainment.,
Still the style proceeds with perspicuity ~
erace , and harmony. The full and ample

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( I 17)
.

assertion. , with which each of these sentences


is introduced , frequent , on many occasions,
with our author, is hete ptoper anJ seasonable; as it was his intention to magnify , as
much .as possible , the effects of novelty and

vliriety , and to draw our attention to them.


His f1eqtient use of that , instead of which ,
is another peculiarity of his style ; .but , on.
this occasion in particular, cannot be much
comm:ended, as, it is this whiclt, seems, in
every view; to he better than it is tllis that,
three times tepeated. I must, likewise, take
notice , that the antecedent to it is this ,
when critically considered, is not altogether
proper. It refers , as we discover by the
sense , to whatePcr is new or unconunon. But
~ it is not good language to say, whateper
is new bestows charms ott a monster, one
cannot avoiel. thinking that our author had
done better to have begun the first of these
three sentences , with saying : it is nOPelty
which bestows charms on a monster, etc.
u Groves , fields , and meadows , are
at any season 'of the yea r pleasant to
look upon ; but never so mnch as in the
opel}ing of the spring , when. they. are

..

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( 118)

all ne\\' and fresh , with their nrat gloss


upon them, and not yet too much accustomed and familiar to the eye:
In this expression, never so much as in
tke openirJG o/ the spring , there appears
to be a small e1ror in grammar ; for, when
the construction is filled up , it must be read,
neper s,o much pleasant. Had ~e , to avoid
this , said never so much so , the grammatical
error would have been prevented , but the
language would have been awkward. Better to
have said , c but never so agreeable as in the
opening of the spring.n We readily say, the eye
iS' accustomed to objects, but to say, as our
author has done at the close of the sentence,
that objects are accustomed to the eye , can
scarcely be allowed in a pTQse composition.
c For this reason, there is nothing
that more enlivens a prospect than rivers,
jetteaus, or .falls of watet, where the
scene is perpetually &hifting, and entertaining the sight , every moment, with
something that is new. We are quickly
tired with looking at hills and vallies,
where every thing continues nxed and
settled in the same place and posture

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('119 )
but find our thoughts a little agitated
and relieved at the sight of such objects
as are ever in motion , and sliding away
from beneath the eye of the beholder.
The first of these sentences is connected
in too loose a manner with that which immediately -p1eceded it.
When he says :
for this reason~ there is not/ling that more
enli11ens , etc. we are entitled to look for
the reason,. in what he had just before said~
But there we find no reason for what he is
no w going to assert , except that groves and
meadows are most pleasant in' the spring.
We know tl1at he has )>een speaking of the
p-leasure produce~ by novelty and Val'iety ,
and our minds naturally recur to this, as the
reason here alluded to ; hut his language
does not properly express it. It is, indeed,
one of the defects of this amiable writer ,
that his sentences are often too negligently
connected with one another. His meaning ,
upon the whole , we gather with ease from
the tenour of his discourse. Yet this negligeilce prevents his sense from striki-ng us
with that force and evidence , which a more
ac-<:urate juncture of par.ta would ha-ve pro-

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( 120)
duced. Bating this inaccuracy , the.se two
sentences, especially the latter, are remarkably elegant and beautiful. The close , in
particu1ar , is uncommonly fine , and carries
as much expressive harmony as the language
can admit. It seems to p.ai.nt, what he .is
describing , at once to the eye and the ear :
Such objects as are ever in motion , and
slidil'lg qway from heneat/1. tlze eye of the
beholder. - Indeed, notwithstanding those
small errors , which the strictnes.s of critical
examination obliges me to point out , it may
be safely pronounced, that the two paragraphswhich we have now considered in this paper,
the one concerning greatness, and the other
concerning no'!elty , are exiremely worthy of
Mr. Addison, and exhibit a style which they
wbo can successfully imitate , may esteem
themselves happy.
ft But there is nothing that makes it~
way more -directly to the soul than
beauty, which immediately diffuses a s~
cret satisfaction and complaceny through
the imagination, and gives a finish~ng to .
any thing that is great or uncommon.
The very first discovery of it strikes

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,

..,

23 e 7lfili:;!..'Dt

r:. -

( 121 )
the mind with an inward joy , and
spreads a cheerfulness and delight through
all its faculties. ,
Some degree of verbosity may be here
discovered as phrases are repeated , which
seem little more . than the echo of one
another ; such as - n diffusing satisfaction
and complacency through the imagination striking the mind with inward joy - spreading cheerfulness and delight through all
its faculties. ,, At the same time, I readily
admit that this full and flowing style, even
though it carry some redundancy , is not
unsuitable to the. gaiety of the subject on
which the author is entering, and is more
allowable here , than it would have been on
some other occasions.
u There is not , perhaps , any :real

beauty or deformity more in one piece


of matter than another ; because we
might have been so made that whatever
no.w appears loathsome to us , might
have shown .itself agreeable; but we find,
by experience , that there are several
.modifications of matter, which the mind,
without any previous consideration ,
L

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( 122)

pronounces at first sight beautiful or


deformed.,.
In this sentence there is nothing remarkable , in any view , to draw our attention.
We may observe only, that the word more,
towards the beginning , is. not in its proper
place, and that the preposition in, is wanting
before another. The IJhrase ought to have
stood thus - "beauty or deformity in one
piece of matter, more th an in another. ''
"Thus we see that every -different
spec~es of sensible creatures has its different notions of beauty , and that each
of them is most affected with the beauties
of its own kind. This is no where more
remarkable , than in birds of the same
shape and proport~on, when we often
see the male determined. in his courtship
by the single grain or tincture of a
feather , and never discovering any
chai'ms but in the colour of its species.
Neither is there l1ere any particular elegance or felicity of language. Dijferent
sense of beauty would have been a more
. proper expression to have been applied to
UTational creatures, than as it stands 1 Jif

.. .,. ....... --

--

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( 123)

ferent no~ions of beauty. In the close of


the second sentence., when the author says ,
colour of its species , he is guilty of a considerable inaccuracy in changing the gender,
as he had said in the same sentence , that
the male was determin.ed in lds courtship.
There is a second kind of beauty,
that we find in the .several products o
art and nature , which does not work
in the imagination with that warmth and
violence , as the beauty that appears in
our proper species , but is apt, however,
to raise in us a secret delight, and a kind,
of fondness for the places 9r objects in
which we discover it.
Still , I am sorty to say , we find little
to praise. As in his enunciation of the
subject , when beginning the f01mer. paragraph he appe~red to have been treating
of beauty in general , in distinction from
greatness or novelly ; this second ki~Jd of
bea~ty ot which he here spe~ks, comes upon
us in a sort of surprise , and it is only by
degrees we learn , that formerly he h ad no
more in view than the beauty which the
different species of sensible creatures find i~

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( 124)
'

one another. This second kind of beauty ,


he says, we find irz. the sc"eral products of
art and nature. He undoubtedly means not
in all , hut in se"eral of tlze products of art
and nature; and ought so to have expressed

himself; and in the place of products ,


have used also the more proper word , productiOtu. When he adds that this kind of
beauty "does not work in the imagination
with that warmth and violence as the beauty
that appears in our proper species ; , the
language would certainly have been more
pure and elegant , if he had said , that it
does not work upon the 'imagination with
such warmth and violence , as the beauty
that appears in our own species,IJ

cc This consists either in the gaiety ,


or variety of colours, in the symmetry
and proportion of parts, in the arrangement and disposition of bodies, or in
a just mixture and concurrenc~ of all
together. Among these several kinds of
beauty , the eye takes most . delight in
colours.
To the ]anguage here, I see no objection
t-l1at can be made.

to

_......

__ ....,._ - -

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( 125)
We no where meet with a more.
glorious or pleasing show in nature '

than what appears in the heavens at the


rising and setting of the sun, which is
wholly made up of those different stains
of light, that show themselves in clouds
of a different situation.
The chief ground of criticism on this sentence, is the disjointed situation of the relative
whiclz. Grammatically, it refers to the rising
and setting of tlze su11,. But the author meant,
that it should refer to the slzow which appears in the heavens at that time. It is too
common among authors , when they are
writing without much care, to make such
particles as tlzis , and which. , refer not t-o
any pa1ticulcu antecedent word , but to the
tenour of some phrase, or perhaps the scope
of some whole sentence , which has gone
before. This p1actice saves them trouble iu
marshalling their words , and arranging a
period ; but , though it may leave their
weaning intelligible , yet it renden that
meaning much less perspicuous , determined ,
and precise , than it might otherwise have
been. The error I have pointed out , might
L 3

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---- -

.....m

\...

( 126)
'

have been avoided by a small alteration in


the con:5truction of the sentence , after som~
such manner as this : (( We no where meet
with a more glorious and pleasing show in
nature, than what is formed in the heavens
at the 1ising and setting of the sun, by the
difFerent stains of light which show themielves in clouds of dijferent situationso Our
author writes, in clouds of a dijferent situation , by which he means , clouds that differ
in situation ftom each other. But, as this
is neither the obvious nor gtammatical
meaning of his words , it was necessary to
change the expression, as I have done, into
the plural number.
u For this reason, we find the poets,
who are always addressing themselves to
the imagination , boi.rowing more o
their epithets ftom colours than from
any other topic. "
On this sentence nothing occurs , except a
remark similar to what was made before ,
of loose connection with the sentence which
precedes. For, though he b egins with saying ,
for this reason , the foregoing sentence, which
was employed about the clouds and the sun,

[l

g t:~ zado .:>or Googk

( 127)
gives no reason for the general proposition
Le now lays down. The reason to which
he refers, was given two sentences before ,
when he observed that the eye takes more
delight in co1ours than in any other beauty;
and it was with that sentence that the present
one should have stood im.m ediately con
nected.
''As the fancy d.elight~ in every thing
'
that is great , strange , or beautiful ,
and is still more pleased , the more it
finds of these petfections in the same
object, so it is capable of receiving a
new satisfaction by the assistance of
another sense.
.Another sense here, means grammatically,
another se11se than fancy. For there is no
other thing in the pel'i.od to which this expression, another sense can at all be opposed.
He had not for some time made mention of
any sense whatever. He forgot to add, what
was undoubtedly in his thoughts, another
sense than that of sight.
''Thus any continued sound, as the
music of hirds , or a fall of watel" ,
awal\ens every moment the mind of the

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,,

a V ~~ oew s oc c

;s

- J!!!l!l' iX;:t -

-~

CV

_.,. . __

_.._.,..,.~--~-...._
..... ._...er

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( 128)
beholder , and makes him more attentiTe
to the several beauties of the place
which lie before him. Thus , if there
arises a fragrancy of smells or perfumes ,
they heighten the pleasures of the ima
-gination , - and make even the colours
and verdure of the landscape appear
more agreeable; for 1 the ideas of both
senses recommend each othe1 , and are
pleasanter together , than wllen they
enter the mind separately: as the different colours of a picture , when they
are well-disposed ' set off one another ,
and receive an addittonal beauty from
the advantage of their situation.
Whether Mr. Addison's theory here he
just or not , may be questioned. A continued
-'.o und, such as that of a fall of water, is so
far from awakening , every moment , the mind
of the belzolder, that nothing is more likely
to lull him asleep. It may, indeed 1 please
the imagination , and heighten the beauties
of the scene ; but it produces this effect, by
a soothing , not by an awakening influence.
With regard io the style, nothing appears
,~ceptionable. The flow, both pf language

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( 129)
and of ideas, is very agreeable. The author
continues , to the end , the same pleasing
train of thought, which had. run through the
I'est of the number : and leaves us agreeably
employed in comparing together different
degrees of beauty.

Though in yesterday's number '\Ve


considered how every thing that is
gteat, n~w, or beautiful, is apt to afFect
the imagination with pleasure; we must
own , that it is impossible for us to
assign the necessary cause 40 of this plea
sure; because we know neither the nature
of an idea , nor the substance of a
human soul , which might help us to
disco_ver the conformity or disagreeableness of the one to the other ; and ,
therefore , for want of such a light, all
that we can do in speculations of this
kind , is, to reflect on those operat~ons
of the soul that are most agreeable, and
to range , under their proper heads ,
what is pleasing or displeasing to the
mind without being able to trace out the-

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(ISO)
several necessary and efficient causes
from whence the pleasure or displeasure

artses.
This sentence, considered as an introductory one , must be acknowledged to be very
faulty. An introductory sentence should
never contain any thing that can in any
degree fatigue or puzzle the reader. When
an author is entering on a new branch of
his subject, informing
us of what he has

done ' and what he purposes r.-ther to do"


we naturally expect that he should express
himself in the simplest and most perspicuous
manner possihie. But the sentence now before
us is crowded and indistinct , containing
three separate }lropositions , which , as I
shall afterwards show , required separate
sentences to unfold them. lVlr. Addison's
chief excellency, -as a writer, lay in describing and painting. There he is great; but in
methodising and reasoning , he is not so
eminent. As, besides the general fault of
prolixity and indistinctness , this sentence
contains several inaccuracies , I shall he
obliged to enter into a minute discussion of
ita structure and parts; a discussion, which

.. .

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( 131 )
to many readers will appear tedious , and
which , therefore , they will naturally pass
over ; but which , to those who are studying
composition , I hope may prove of some
benefit.
Tlzougl~.

in yesterday's number we consi-

dered. - The import of though is notwithstanding that. When it appears in the beginning of a sentence , its relative generally is
yet: and it is employed to warn us, after we
have been informed of some truth, that we
are not to infer from it some other thing
which we might perhaps have expected to
follow: as, cc though virtue be the only road
to happiness , yet it does not permit the
unlimited grati~cation of our desires. Now
it is plain , that there was no s1;1ch opposition
between the subject of yesterday's number,
and what the author is now going to say ,

between his asserting a fact, and his not


being able to assign the cause of that fact ,
as rendered the use of this adversative particle
though , either necessary or proper in the
introduction. - ffe considered how every
thing that ir great, new, or beautiful, is apt

to affect the imagination with pleasure.

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( 132)
The adverb how signifies , either tlie means
by which, or the manner in which, something
is done. But, in truth, neither one nor the
other of these had been considered by our
author. He had illustrated tbe fact alone ,
that they do affect the imagination with
pleasure; and, with 1espect to the quomodo,
or the how, he is so far from having consid
ered it, that he is just now going to show
that it cannot be explained , and that we
must rest contented with the knowledge of
the fact alone , and of its purpose or final
1ause. - We must own, tlzat it is impossible
for us to assign. the necessary cause (he means,
what is more commonly called the rjficie11t
cause) of this pleasure , because we know
neither tlze nature of an idea , nor the
substance of a lzuman soul. - 1'lte substance
of a human soul is certainly a very uncouth
expression , and there appears no reason why
he should have varied from the word nature,
which would have been equally applicable
to idea and to soul.
ffhicll miglzt help us, ou.r author proceeds,
to discoPer the cooformity or disagreeableness
of tl~.e one
the otl1.er. - The which , at
0

to

( la3)

the beginning of this member of the period~


ia surely ungrammatical, as it is a relative,
without any antecedent in all the sentence .
It refers-, by the constra~tion , to the 11aturc
of an idea, or tlze substance of a human. soul;
but this is by no means the reference which
the author intended. His meaning is, that.
our ktloning the nature of an idea , and the
substance of a human soul, might help us to
discover the conformity or disagreeableness
ot the one to the other : and therefore the
syntax absolutely required the wo1d kn.owledg~.
to have. been inserted as the antecedent to

wllick. I have before remarked , and the


remark deserves to he repeated, that nothing
is a more certain si.gn of careless composition
than to make such relatives as which , not
refer to any precise expre~sion, but carry a
loose and vague relation to the general strain
of what had gone before. Wben our sentences run into this form, we J:!lay be assured
there is something in the construction of
them that requires alteration. The phrase oi
discovering the conformity or disagreeableness
of the one to the other is likewise exceptionable ;
for dist;l1'eeableness neither forms a proper

)I

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(_134)
.

tonstr~M to the other word,

conformity, nor

expresses what the author meant here ( as


far as any mean'ing can be gathered from

l1is words), tl1at is , a certain unsuitableness


or want of conformity to the natwe of the
souls. To Eay the truth , this member of
the sentence had much better have been
omitted altogether.
c The conformity or
disag1eeableness of an idea .to the substance
of a human soul, is a J>hrase which conveys
to the mind no distinct nor intelligent conception whatever. The author had b efore
given a sufficient reason for his not assigning
the efficient cause of those pleasures of the
imagination, because we neither know the
nature of our own ideas nor of the soul :
and this farther discussion about the conformity or disag1eeahleness of the nature of
the one , to the substance of the other ,
affo1ds no clear nor useful illustration.
And therefore,., the sentence goes on, !'for
:want of such a light, all that we can do in
speculations of this kind , is to reflect on
those ope1ations of the soul that are most
agreeable, and to range under their proper
Leads what is pleasing or displeasing to the

'

.,...._

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do por Google

( .135 )
mind.~,

T4e two

~xpre$Sions. in the begin-_

~ing of this m.e mber ., therefor~

, and for .
want of such a light, evidently refer to th~.
same thing., and are quite synony~<:\US. One
OF other of them, therefore , bad better havebeen omitted. lnstelld of to ran.ge under theu
proper heads , the language would have been.
smoother , if tlzeir had been l~ft out ; ~
without heing able to trace out the sev~ral
necessary and efficient causes (rom whenc~
-'he pleasure or displeaslll'e uises.... Th~
expression , from whence , though see~ingl'
j~titied by very frequent usage:, is, ~ed b)t
D~;. Johnso,n as a. v.icious mode of ~eech i
aeeil\s. whence alone , has all the. po:w:er o.
from whence , which therefore. ~ppears ~~
unnecessary reduplication. I am incli.ned to.
~hink, that the whole o{ this last member
of the sentence had hette~ ha.ve been dropped..
The period might hav,e closed with. full.
prop.riety at the '-v.ords, plea.s~g or displeasing:
to the mind. All ~hat follows, sugg,ests no
idea that had not been fully convey~d; ilk
the preceding pa1t of the sentence. It is a
Qlere expletive adje.ction which might be
Qmitted , n;ot only without injury tQ. the

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( 136)

or

meaning. but to the great relief


a sentenc~
already labouring under the multitude of
.
\l'ords.
Having now finished the analysis of this
long sentence, I am inclined to be of opinion, _
that if, on any occasion, we can adventure
to alter Mr. Addison style, it may be done
to advantage here , by breaking down this
period in the following manner: ccln yesterday's
number , "'e have shown that every thing
'Which is great, ne\V, or beautiful , is apt
.
to affect the imagination with pleasure. We
must own , that it is impossible fot us to
assign the efficient cause of this pleasure ,
because we know not the nature either ol
an idea , or of the human soul. All that
ue can do , therefore , in speculations of
this kind, is to reflect on the operations of
the soul , which are most agreeable , and
to range under proper heads, what is pleasing
or displeasing to the mind.,. - We proceed
now to the examination of the follo\Ving
aentences.
Final causes lie more hare and ope
to ou1 observation , as there are often
a geat variety that belong to the same

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( 137) '

effects; 'and. 'thes.e , though they are not.


'
altQgether so. satisfactory , are generally
more useful than the other , as they
g~ve us greater occasion of admiring
the goodness and wisdom of the first

co.ntr1ver. ,)
Thou:gl:t some difference might he traced
hetweeu the sense of bare ancl o pen, yet as
they ru.e he1e employed, they are so nea.rly
synonymous, that <>ne of them was sufficient.
It would have been enough to have said,
'
fin.al causes lie more open to obscrYation. One can s.caPcely help observing here , that
obviousness of final causes does not proceed,
a.~ Mr. Addison. supposes , from a variety of
them concurring in tbe same effect, which is
often not the case ; but from our being able
to ascertain more clea:d y, from our own
experience., the congruity of a final cause with
tl1e circumstanceo of our condition ; whereas
the constituent part$ of subjects, whence
(}fficient cause~ proceed, lie for the most part
beyond the reach of our faculties. But as
this remark respects the thought more than
t}ie .s.tyle , it is sufficient for us to observe ,
that when he says, a great variety that

..

M3

Digitalizado por Google

<i3S)
llelong tti de same e..ffect 1 the e1:pression,.
~hictly considered, is not altogether proper.

The accessory is properly said to belong to


the principal ; not the principal to the
accessory. Now, an effec-t is considered as
the accessory or consequence of its cause ;
and therefore, though we might well say a
variety of effects belong to the same c~use ,
it seems not so proper to say , that a variety
of causes belong to the same effect.
, One of the . final causes of ou~
delight in any thing that is great may
be this : the supreme author of our
being has so formed the soul of man ,
that nothing hut himself can be its-.
last , adequate , arul proper happiness.
Because , therefore , a great part of our
happiness must arise from the contemplation of his being ; that he might
give our souls a just relish of suc-h a
contemplation, he has made them ~atur
al1y delight in the apprehension of what
is great or unlimited.
The concurrence of two conjunctions ,
because , therefore , forms rather a barsh
and unpleasir.g beginning of the last of these

Digltalizado por Google

sentences ; and , in the close , one would


think , that the author might have devised a
happier word than apprehension , to be
applied to what is unlimited. But that I .
may not be thought hypercritical , I shall
make no farther observation on these sentences.
" Our admiration , wl1ich is a very
pleasing motion of the mind , immediately rises at the consideration of any
object that takes up a good deal or
room in the fancy; and, by consequence
will improve into the highest pi~ch of
astonishment and devotion _, when we
contemplate his nature, that is neither
circumscribed by time nor place , nor
to be comprehended by the largest
capacity of a created being...
Here , our . author's style ris~s beautifully
along with the thought. However inaccurate
he may sometimes be when coolly philosophising, yet, whenever his fancy is awakened
by description, or his mind' as here' warmed
with some glm.ving sentiment, he presently
becomes great, and discovers , in his language ,
the hand of a master. Every one must
observe , with what felicity this period it

Digilalizado por Google

( 140) .

constructed. The words are long and majestic~


The members ri~e one above another , and
conduct the sentence , at last , to that fuU
and harmonious close , which leaves up~>:n
th..e mind such an impression , as the author
intended to leave, of something uncom~only
great ' awful ' and magnificent.
He has annexed a sec.r et pleasure to
the idea of any tl1ing that is new or
. . uncommon , that he might encourage
us in the pursuit of knowlegd.e , and
engage us to sea1ch into the w.onde.rs of
creation ; for, every new idea brings such
a pleasure along with it, as rewards the
pains we have taken in its acquisition ,
and, consequently, serves as- a motive
to put us upon fresh discoveries.
The language , in this sentence , is clear
and precise : only, we cannot but ob.serve ,
in this , and the two foilowing seatences ,
which are constructed in the saute manner ,
a strong proof of l\1r. Addison's unreasonable
partiality to the particle that, in preference
to which " annexed a secret pleasure to
the idea of any thing that is new or uncommon, that he might encourage us.

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( 141 )
Here the first that , stands for a relatiTe
"'
pronoun , and the next tlz.at , at the .d istance
only of four words, is a ~on junction. This
confusion of sounds serves to embarrass style.
Much better, sure , to have said , the idea

of any tiling which is new or uncommon


that /ze might encourage. - Tl1e expression
with which the sentence concludes a

motive to put us upon fres!J discoYedes is flat, and in some degree , improper . He
should have said, cc put us upon making fresh
discQveries. - o1 rather, se1ves as a motiv~
inciting us to make fresh discoveries. ,,
cc He has made every thing that ia
beautiful in our own species ' pleasant.
that all creatures might be tempted to
multiply their kind~ and fill the. world
with inhabitants; for , 't is very remark-.
able, that wherever nature is crost in
the production of a monster (the result
of any unnatural mixture) the bre~d is,
incapable of propagating its likeness
and of founding a new order of creatures ; so that, unless all animals were
allured by the beauty of theit own
species, generation would be at an end
and the earth unpeopled.

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~~

'

C"""JSI'Q....
. . . ..___1111!&!111!!<-~ZLL...__ _ _ _ __..
.,..,_,-PJ"P'"-..~~.....
~~
-=

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( 142)
l iere we must, however reluctantly, returu..
to the employment of censure ; for this is
among the worst sentences our author eve<);
wrote , and contains a variety of blemishes.
Taken as a wh..ole , it is extremely deficient
in unity. Instead of a complete proposition,
it contains a sort of chain of -reasoning,
the link<S of which are so ill put togethelll,
that it is \vith difficulty we can trace the
connection ; and, unless we take the
. trouble
of perusing it several times ; it will leav.e
nothing on the mind but an indistinct and
obscure imptession.
.
Besides this general fault,
respecting the
.

meanmg
, lt
contams
some great maccuac1es
in language. First , God's having made
every thing which is beautiful in our. own
species ( that is
the human species )
pleasant, is ce1tainly no motive f0r aU ereatures , fop beasts, and birds, and fishes,
to multzply their kind. What the author
meant to say , though he has exptessed
himself in so erroneous a manner , undoubtedly was , cc in all the different orders of
creatu1~es , he has made every thing , which
is beautiful~ in theii own s-pecies, pleaaant,

in

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( 143 )
I

~hat

all creatures might be teJDpted to ' multiply their kind. ,, The second member of
the sentence is still worse : For , it is ve1y
r-emarkq_ble , that whereyer nature is crost in
t'lze production of a monster,. etc. The reason
which he here gives for the preceding assertion , intimated by the casual pal'ticle for,
i$ far froJn being obvious. The connection
of thought is not r eadily apparent , and
would have required an intermediate step '
to render it distinct. But, what does he
mean , by nature bt:ing crost in the production
~~ a monster ? One might understand him
to mean cc disappointed in its intention of
of producing a monster,,, as when we say,
one is crost in his pursuits, we mean, that
Le is disappointed in accomr,lishing the end
which he intended. Had he said , crost by
the production of a monster, the -sense would
have been more intelligible. But the proper
t!!ctification of the expression would be to
i~sert the adverb as, -before the preposition
in, after this manner - wherever natme is
crost, as in the production of a monster ,
- the insertion of this particle as , throws
ao much lisht on the construction of this
1

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'

( 144)
member of tl1e sentence , that I ani very
much inclined to believe, it ltad stood thus,
originally, in out author's manuscript; and
that the present reading is a typographical
erro1 , which , having crept into the fi1st
edition of the Spectator , nn through all the
aubsequent ones.
"In the last place, he has mjtde every
thing that is beautiful , in all other
respects , pleasant; or ratl1er, has made
so many. objects appear beautiful, that
he_ might :render the whole creation
more gay and delightful. He has given_
almost every thing about us , the power
of 1aising an agreeable idea in the
imagination ; so that it is- impossible for
us to behold his works with coldness
or indifference, and to survey so many
beauties without a secret satisfaction
and complacency. ,
The idea here is so just, and the language
ao clear , flowing , and agreeable , that to
remark any diffuseness which may be attributed
to these sentences , would be justly esteemed

hyp~critical.

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( 145)
Things would make hut a poor ap-,
pearance to the eye , if we saw them
only in their proper figur~s and motions:
and what 1eason can we assign for their
exciting in us many of those ideas
which are different from any thing that
.
'
exists in the objects themselves ( for
such are light and colours), were it
not to a:dd supernumerary ornaments to
the universe, and make it more agreeable
to the imagination ? ''
Our author is now entering on a theory,
which he is about to illustrate, if not with
mu.c h philosophical accuracy, yet, with great
beauty of fancy , and glow of expression.
A strong instance of his want of accuracy ,
appears in the manner in which he open
tbe subject: For, what meaning is there in
things exciting in us many <?f those ideas which
are dijferent fro;n any thing that exists in the
objects P No one , sure, ever imagined, that
our ideas exist in the objects. Ideas , ffijagr.eed on all hands, can exist Dl}- ~where but
in the mind. '\Vhat ~...:. Locke's philosophy
teaches , and what our author should have
said , is ; excitinG in us many ideas of qua-

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( 146)
lities which are d!fferent from any thing that
exists in the objects. The ungraceful parenthesis which follows , for such are light artd
colours, had far better have been avoidea ,
and incorporated with the test of the
sentence , iq .t his manner : - exciting in us
many ideas of qualities, such as light a1td
colours , which are different from any t!ting
that exists in the objects.
< We are every where entertained with
pleasing shows , and apparitions. \Ve
discover imaginary glories in the heavens,
and in the earth ; and see some of this
visionary . beauty poured out upon the
whole creation: but what a rough un-
sightly sketch of nature should we be
entertained with , did all ber colouring
disappear , and the several distinction~
of light and shade vanish? In sho1t,
our souls are delightfully lost and bewil..
dered in "a pleasing delusion ; and we
walk about like the enchanted hero or
fl romance , who sees beautiful castles ,
woods ' and meadows ; and ' at"the same
time , hears the wa1bling of birds , and

the purling of streams ; b~~, upo~ the

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( 147)
finishing of some secret spell , the fan
tastic scene breaks up , and the discon
solate knight finds himself on a bar1en
heath, or in a solitary desart ...
After having been obliged to point out
several inaccuracies , I return with mucl~
~ore pleasure to the display of beauties ,
for which we have now full scope; fot, thes~
two sentences are such as do the highest

honour to Mr. Addison's talents as a writer.


Warmed with .the idea he had laid hold of,
his delicate sensibility to the beauty of nature,
is finely displayed in the illustration of it.
The style is flowing and full, without being
too diffuse. It is flowery, but not gaudy;
elevated , but not ostentatious.
Amidst this blaze of beauties, it is necessary for us to remark one or two inaccuracies.
When it is said , towards the close of the
first of those sentences : cc what a rough
unsightly sketch of nature sl1ould we be
entertained with n the preposition witk ,
should have been placed at the beginning ,
rather than at the end of this member ; and
the word entertained , is both improperly
applied here , and carelesly ;reP.eated from

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( 148)

the former of the sentence. It was there


employed according to its more common
u se, as relating to agreeable objects. lf'"e
are eve1y wlzerc entertai11ed witll. pleasing
shows. Here , it would. have been more
proper to have changed the phrase , and
said, cc with what a rough unsightly sl{etch
of nature should we be 1nesented. '' - At
the close of the second sentence , where it
is said , the fantastic scene breaks up , the
e~ressiou is lively, but not altogether justifiahle. An assembly breaks up; a scene close~
or dlsappears.
Excepting these two slight inaccuracies ,
the style , here , is not only correct , hut
perfectly elegant. The most striking beauty
of the passage arises from the happy simile
which the author employs, and the fine illustration which it gives to the thought. The
enchanted ltero, the beautiful castles , the
fantastic scene , the secret spell, the dlscon6olate knig!tt , are terms chosen with the
utmost felicity , and strongly recal all those
romantic ideas with which 11e intended to
amuse our imagination. Few authors are more
auccessful in their imagery than 1\'Ir. Addison ;

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( 149)
and few passages in is \Vorks , or in those
of any author, are more beautiful and pie
tur~sque , than that on which we have been

commentmg.
'' It is not improbable , that something
like this may he the state of the sou)
after its first separation, in respect of
the images it will receive from matter;
though , indeed , the ideas of colours
are so pleasing and bea"!ltiful in th~
imagination , that it is possible the soul
will not be deprived of them ; but ,
perhaps , find them excited by some
other occasional cause, as they are , at
present , by the different impressions of
the subtile matter on the organ of
sight. u
As all human things , after having attained
the summit , begin to decline , we must
acknowledge, that, in this sentence, there is
a sensible falling off from the beauty of what
went before. It is broken, and deficient ~n
unity. Its parts are not sufficiently compacted.
It contains , b~sides , some faulty expressions.
W11en it is said, sometltins like tlzis may be.
the state of the soul , to the pronoun tltis ,

N3

--

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( 150)
\here is no determined antecedent; it refers
to the general import of the preceding
description, which, as I have several time.s
rema1ked, always renders style clumsy and
inelegant , if not obscure - the slate of the
soul after its first separation, appears to he
an incomplete phrase , and first , seems a
useless, and even an improper word. More
distinct if he had said, - cc state of the soul
immediately on its separation from the bodyu
- the adverb perhaps, is redundant, after
having just before said, it is possible.
I have here supposed , lhat my
reader is acquainted with that great
modern discovery, which is, at present,
universally acknowledged by all the
enquirers into natural philosophy, namely , that light and colours , as apprehended by the imagination , are only
ideas in the mind , and not qualities
that have any existence in matter. As
~
thi3 is a truth which has been proved
incontestibly by many modern philosophers , and is , indeed , one of the
speculations in that science , if the
english reader would see the notion

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r~

-.. --

..$Wl li'IIZi

( 151 )

explained at large , he ~:ay fin~ it in


the eighth chapter of the second book.
of Mr. Locke's essay on the human
understanding.,,
In these two concluding sentences, the
author, hastening to fj.nish, appears to write
rather carelesly. In the first of them ,
manifest tautology occurs, when he speaks
of what is uniJJersally acknowledged by all
enquirers. In the second , when he calls
a trutlz which lzas been incontestibly proJJed ;
first, a speculation, and afterwards , a notio11,,
the language surely is not very accurate.
When he adds : one of tile finest speculations
in, that science, it does not , at first , appear
what science he means. One would imagine~,
he meant to refer to modern philosophers ;
for, natural philosophy (to which , doubtless,
he refers ) stands at much too -great a
distance to he the proper or obvious
antecedent to the pronoun that. The circumstance towards the close ' if the ens/ish
reader would see the notion explained at
large , he may find it , is properly .tak-en
notice of by the author of the elements of
criticism, as wrong arranged, and is rectified

'

--

,._

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( 152)

thus : the english reader , if he would see


the notion explained at large , may find

lt,
etc.
In concluding the examination of this
number, we may observe, that, though not

a very long one, it exhibits a striking view


both of the beauties , and the defects , of
Mr. Addison's style. It contains some of the
.best, and some of the worst sentences, that
are to be found in his works. But upon the
whole , it is an agreeable and elegant essay.

If we consider the works of nature


and art, as they are qualified to entertain
the imagination , we shall find the last
very defective in comparison of the
former; for, though they may sometimes
appear as beautiful or strange , they
can have nothing in them of that vastness
and immensity which afford so great an
entertainment to the mind of the beholder. 11
I had occasion formerly to obse1ve, that
an introductory sentence should always be
short and simple , and contain no more

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( 153)
matter than is necessary for opening the
subject. This sentence lead.s to a repetition
of this observation , as it contains both an
assettion and the proof
that assertio_n ;
two things which, for the most part , hut
especially at first setting out, are with more
advantage 'kept separate. It would certainly
have been better, if this sentence had contained only the assertion , ending with the
word former : and if a new one had then
begun ' entering on tbe proofs of nature's
superiority over art, which is the subject
cont~nued to the end of the paragraph. The
proper division of the period I shall point
out, after having first made a few observa
tions which occur on different parts of .. it.
If we consider the works - perhaps ii
might have been preferable , if our author
had begun, with saying, when we consider
the works. Discourse ought always to
begin, when it is possible , with a clear
proposition. The if, 'vhich is here em,.
ployed, converts the sentence into a supposition , which is always in some degree
entangling , and proper to be used only
when the course of I'easoning- renders it
/

of

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.....

( 154)
necessary. As this observation however may,
perhaps , be considered as over - refined ,
and as the sense would have remained the
same in either fo1~m of expression, I do not
mean to charge our author with any error
on this account. We cannot absolve him
from inaccuracy in what immediately follows
- tlte works of nature and art. It is the
scope of the author throughout this whole
number , to compare nature. and art together,
and to OJ>pose them in several views to
each other. Certainly therefore, in the
beginning , he ought to have kept them as
distinct as possible , by interposing the preposition , and saying tlze works of nature ,
aT~d of art. As the words stand at present,
they would lead us to think that he is
going to beat of these works , not as conbasted , but as connected ; as united in
forming one whole. When I ~peak of body
and soul as united in the human nature, I
would interpose neither a1ticle nor preposition between them ; man is compounded
of soul and body. " But the case is altered,
if I mean to distinguish them from each
other; then, I represent them as separate ;
f(

...

_ _.----

"'-

-=-ca~:t'l

.. - -

( 155)
and say , I am to treat of the interests
of the soul, and of the body.
Though they may .sometimes appear as
beautiful or .strange - I cannot help considering this as a loose member of the period.
It does not clearly a}>pear at first what th_e
antecedent is to tlley. In reading onwards,
we see the w01ks of art to he meant ; hut
from the structure of the sentence,. they
might he understood to refer to the former,
as well as to tlte last. In what follows, thert
is a greater ambiguity may sometimes
appear as beautiful or .strange. It is very
doubtful in what sense we are to understand
as , in this passage. For, according as it is
accented in reading , it may signify , that .
they appear equally beautiful or strange , to
wit , with the works of nature ; and - then
it has the force of the Iatin tam : or it may
signify no more than that they appear in the
li@tt of beautiful and strange; and then it
has the force of the Iatin tanquam, without
importing any comparison. An expression
10 ambiguous , is always faulty ; and it is
doubly so here ; because , if the author

intended the for.mer sense


. , and meant ( aa

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( 15-6)
s.eems most probable) to employ as for a
mark of comparison , it was necessary to.
have mentioned both the compared objects ;
whereas only one member of the comparison
is here mentioned, viz. The works of art;
and if he intended the latter sense , as was
in that case superfluous and encumbering ,
and he l1ad better have said simply , appear
beautiful or strange. - The epithet strange ,
which 'Mr. Addison applies to the works o{
art , cannot be praised. Strange works ,
appears not by any means a happy expres
sion to signify what he here intends, which

11 new or uncommon.
The sentence concludes with much harmony and dignity - t!tey can. lw~e not}dng
in tlz.em <!f tltat ''astness and immensity whiclz.
afford so great an entertainment to the miml
of the beltolder. There is here a fulness an<l
grandeur of expression well suited to the
s.u bject ; though , perhaps entertaimnent is
not quite the propet word for expressing
the effect which vastness and immensity have
upon the mind. Reviewing the observatioll$
that have been made on this pel'iod , it
llli;ht , I think, with advantage , b~ resQlve4

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( 157)
into two sentences, somewhat ater this man-:
ner : " when we consider the works of nature
and of art , as they are qualified to entertain
the imagination , we shall find the latter
very defective in comparison of the former.
The works of art may sometimes appear no
less beautiful or uncommon than those of
nature ; but they can have nothing of that
vastness and immensity which so highly
transport the mind of the beholder.
The one, proceeds our author in
'
the next sentence , " may be as polite
and delicate as the other; but can never
show herself so august and magnificent
m the design.
The one and the othet' , in the first part
of this sentence, must unquestionably refer
to the works of nature and of art. For,
of these he had been speaking immediately
befote ; and with reference to tht- plural
word, works, had employed the plural
pronoun they. But in the course of the
sentence , be drops this construction ; and
pass~s very ineongruoufly to the personification of art - can .neyer slz01v herself. To ren~er hil ttyle cousistent , art , and JLgt
~

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--

..

( 158)

tlze works of art , should ha'fe been made


the nominative in this senteiW:e. Art
may he as polite and delicate as ~ature , hut
can never show herself - polite is a terni
oftener applied to persons and to manners ;
than to things; and is employed to signify
their being highly civilized. Polished , or.
refined , was the idea which the author had
in view. Though the general turn of this
sentence he elegant , yet , in order to 1ender
it perfect, I must observe, that the concluding words , in the design, should either
have been altogether omitted, or something
should have been properly opposed to them
in the preceding member of the period ,
thus : <<art may , in the execution , he as
polished and delicate as nature ; hut , in the
design , can never show herself so august
and magnificent.
There is som~thing more bold and
masterly in the rough , careless strokes
of nature , than in the nice touches
and embellisl1ments of art.
This sentence is perfectly happy and elegant ; and carries , in all the expressions ,
that curiosa jelicitas, for '" hich Mr. Addison

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( 159)

is so often remarkable. Bold and masterly,


are words applied with the utmost propriety.
The strokeJ of nature are finely opposed to
tile touches of art; and the rough strokes to
the nice (ouches ; the former painting the
freedom and ease of nature , and the other,
the diminutive exactness of art; while both
are introduced before us as different performers, and their respective merits in execution
Yery justly contrasted with each other.
The beauties of . the most stately
garden or pala<;e lie in a narrow compass!
the imagination immediately runs them
over , and requires something else. to
gratify her ; but in the wide fields oC
nature, the sight wanders up and do}Vn
with an infinite variety of images, without any certain stint or number. u
This sentence is not altogether so correct
and elegant as the former. It carries ,
however , in the main , the character of our
author's style ; not strictly accurate- , but
agreeable , easy, and unaffected ; enlivened
too with a slight personification of the imagination, which gives a gaie.t y lo the period.
Perhaps it bad been better , if this perso-

( 160)
nilication of the imapination , with which
the sentence is introduced, had been conc:ontinued throughout , and not changed
unnecessarily , and even improperly , into
s(ght , in the second member , which is
contrary both to unity and elegance. It
might have stood thus ...:. cc the imagination
immediately runs them over , and requires
something else to gratify h~r ; but in the
wide fields of nature , she wanders up and
down without confinement. ., - The epithet
stately, which the author uses in the beginning of the sentence , is applicable with
more propriety to palaces, titan to gardens.
The close o the sentence , without any certain stint or number, may be objected to ,
as both superfluous and ungraceful. It might
perhaps have terminated better in this
manner cc she is fed 'With an infinite
variety of images , and wanders up and down
without confinement. ~
fc For this reason, we always find the
poet in love with a country life, where
natUte appears in the greatest perfection ,
and furnishes out all those scenes that are
most a1>t to delight the imagination.

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----..
--

...,.,__ , _ .

-.
>+

s ~

....

( 161)
There is nothing in this sentence to attract
particular attention. One would think it
was rather . the country , than a country . life,
on
. which the remark here made should 1est.
A count1y life may he produc.tive of simplicity of manners , and of othe1 virtues ;
hut it is to the count1y itself , that the
properties here .m entionned belong , of. displaying the beauties of nature, and furnishing
those scenes which delight the imagination.
"But though there are several of these
wild scenes that are more delightfnl
than any artificial shows , yet we find
the works of nature still more pleasant,
the more they 1esemble those of art ; .
for in this case, our pleasure rises from
a double principle; from the agreeable
ness of the objects to the eye, and from
their similitude to other objects : we
are pleased , as well with compating
their beauties , as with surveying them,
and can represent them t~ our minds
either as copies or as originals. Hence
it is~ that we take <lelight in a prospect
which is well laid out , and clivelsified
with fields and meadows, woods and
,
0 3 .

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( 162)

rivers ; in those accidental landscapes


of trees , clouds , and cities , that are
sometimes found in the veins of marble,
in the curious fretwork of rocks an:d
grottos; and , in a 'vord, in any thing
that has such a degree of variety and

regularity as may seem the effect of


design , in what we call the works o

chance.
The style , in the two sentences ~hich
compose this paragraph , is smooth and
perspicuous. It lies open in some places to
criticism ; hut lest the reader should tire
of what he may consider as petty remarks,
I shall pass over any which these sentences
~uggest ; the rather too , as the idea which
they present to . us , of nature's resembling
art , of art's being considered as an original,
and nature as a copy , seems not very
distinct nor well brought Qut , nor indeed
very material to our author's purpose.
<If the products of nature rise in
value , according as they more or less
tesemble those of art, we may he sure
that artificial works receive a greater .
advantage fom the ressemblance of such
11

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_._ ..,a. - -

( 163)
as are natural ; because here the similitude is not only pleasant , but the
pattern more perfect. ,.
It is necessary to our present design, to
point out two considerable inaccuracies which
occur in this sentence. If tlze products (he
had better have said the productions ) of
nature rise in value , accordint; as tlzey more
or less resemble those
of art. Does he
.
mean , that these productions rise in value ,
both according as they more resemble those
of ~ll't ? His meaning ur.doubtedly is , that
they rise in value
only, according as tl1ey
..
more resemble them: and therefore , either
these words or less , must be struck out ,
or the sentence must run thus - "productions of nature rise o1 sink in value, accordi-ng as they more or less .resemble. > The present construction of th~ sentence has
plainly been owing to hasty and careless writing.
The other inaccuracy is towards the end
of the sentence , and serves to illustrate a
rule which I formerly gave, concerning the
position of adverbs. The author says, ...because lzere , the similitude is not only
pleasant, but the patt~rn more perfect-. Here, -

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( 164)
by the position of the adverb only, we are
led to imagine that he is going to give some
other property of the similitude , that it is
not only pleasant, as he says , but more than
pleasant ; it is useful , or, on some acc~unt
or other , valuable. Whereas , be is going
to oppose another thing to the similitude
itself, and not to this property of its being
pleasant; and therefore, the right collocation,
beyond doubt, was, ., because here, not
only the similitude is pleasant , hut the
pattern more perfect ; ,, the contrast lying ,
not between pleasant and more pufect, hut

between similitude and pattern. - Much of


the clearness and neatness of style depef:lds
on such attentions as these.
'' The prettiest landscape I ever saw ,
was one drawn on the walls of a dark
: room, whi~h stood opposite, on one side
, to a navigable river, and, on the other,
to a park. The experiment is very

common In
optics.
,,
In the description of the landscape which
follows, Jdr. Addison is abundantly happy;
but in this introduction to it , he is obscure
a~d indistinct. One who had not seen the

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( 165)
experiment of the camera obscura , could
comprehend nothing of what he meant, and
even , after we understand what he points at
we are at some loss , whether to understand
his description as of one continued landseape,
or of two different ones , produced by the
projection ot two camera obscuras on opp~
site walls. The scene , which I am inclined
to think Mr. Addison here refers to , is
Greenwich park, with the prospect of the
Thames, as seen by a camera obscura , which
is placed in a small .room in the upper story
of the Observatory ; where I remember to
have seen, many years ago, the whole scene
here described , corresponding so much to
Mr. Addison's account of it in this passage,
.that, at the time, it r~called it to my memory.
Aa the Observatory stands in the middle of
the park , it overlooks from. one side , both
the river and the park ; and the objects
afterwards mentioned , the ships , the trees,
and the deer , are presented in one view ,
without needing any assistance from opposite
walls. Put into plainer language, the sentence
might run thus : the prettiest landscape 1
ever saw , was one formed by a camera
1

(f

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( 166)
obscura , a common optical instrument , on
the wall of a dark 1oom , which overlooked
a navigable river and a park.
Here you might discover the waves
and fluctuations of the water in strong
and proper colours , with the picture
of a ship entering at one end , and
sailing by degrees through the whole
piece. On another, there appeared the
green shadows of trees , waving to and
fro with the wind , and herds of deer
among them in miniature, leaping about
upon the wall.
Excepting one or two small inaccuracies,
this is beautiful and lively painting. The
principal inaccuracy lies in the connection
of the two sentences , here, and on another.
I suppose the author meant , on one side ,
and on another side. As it stands , another
is ungrammatical , having nothing to which
it refers. But the fluctuations of the water,
the ship entering and sailing on by degrees,
the trees waving in the wind , and the
herds of deer among them leaping about ,
is all very elegant , and gives a beautiful
conception of the scene II\~ant to be dt;scribed,

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( 167)
,. I must confess, the novelty of :such
a sight, may be one occasion of its
pleasantness to the imagination ; but

certainly the chief reason , is its nearer


resemblance to nature ; as it does not
only, like other pictures, give the colour

and. figure, but the motions of the thing


it represents. ,,
In this sentence there is nothing remarkable , either to be praised or blamed. In .
the conclusion , instead of the tlzings it represents , the regularity of coiTect style
requires the things which it represents. In
the beginning, as one occasion and the chief
reason are opposed to one another, I should
think it better to have repeated the same
word. - < one reason of its pleasantness to
the imagination ; but certainly the chief
reason is, ,etc.
;
We have before observed, that there
is generally, in nature, something more
grand and august than what we meet
with in the curiosities of art. When-,
therefore, we see this imitated in any
measure , it gives us a nobler and more
c;~:alted .plea~ure ' than what we receiye

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( 168)

f'rom the nicer and more accurate pro.


ductions of a1t
lt would have been better to have avoided
terminating these two sentences in a manner
to similar to each other : curiosities of art
.,_. productions of art.
On this account , our English gardens
are not so entertaining to the fancy as
those in F1ance and Italy , where we
see a large extent of ground covered
with an agreeable mixture of garden
,~ and forest , '"hich represents every
'"here an artificial rudeness , much
more charming than that neatness and
el~gance which we meet with in those
of our own country. >
The expression represent every where a,.
ertijicia[ rudeness, is so ina.c curate , that I
am inclined to think, what stood in Mr. Ad
dison's ruanuscript must have been - present
every where. - For the mixture . of garden
and forest does not represent ~ but actually
et1zihits or presents, artificial rudeness. That
-m i:dure represents indeed natwal rudeness;
that is, is designed to imitate it ; but it in
~:eality u , and pre4ents , artificial nuleness.

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:El -

( 169)
clt might indeed be of ill consequence
'

to the public, as well as unprofitable


to private persons, to alienate so much
ground from pasturage and the plough,
in many parts of a country that is well
peopled, and cultivated to a far greater
advantage. But why may not a whole
estate be tbrown into a kind of garden
by frequent plantations, that may turn
as much to .the profit as the pleasure
of the owner ? A marsh overgrown
with willows , or a mountain shaded
with ~aks , are not only more beautiful,
but mo1e beneficial , than when they
lie bare and unadorned. . Field~ of corn
make a pleasant prospect ; and if the .
walks were a little taken care of that
lie between them, and the natural embroidery of the meadows were helped
and Improved by some small additions
of art, and the several rows of hedges
wete set off ,by the trees ap.d flowers
that the soil was capable of 1eceiving ,
a man might make a pretty landscape
of his own possessions.

P.

( 170)
The ideas here are just , and the style
is easy and perspicuous , though in some
places bordering on the careless. In that
passage , for instance : cc if the walks were a
little taken care of that lie b etween them
- one member is clearly out of its place ,
and the turn of the phrase , a little taken
care oJ, is vulgar aud colloquial. Much
helter, if it had run thus : - <cif a little
care were bestowed on the walks that lie
between them.,,
<c Writers who have given us an account of China , tell us, the~inhabitants
that country laugh at the plantations
of our Europeans, which are laid out
by the rule and the line; because,
.they say , any one may place trees in
equal rows and uniform figur~s. They
chuse 1ather to show a genius i~ works
of this nature , and therefore always
conceal the art by which they direct
themselves.
They have a word , it
seems , in their language , by which
they express the particular beauty of a
plantation , that thus strikes the imagination at fust : si~ht, without discoT

of

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( 171 )

ering what it is that has so agreeable


an effect. ''
These sentences furnish occasion for no
rema1k , except that in the last of them ,
particular is improperly used instead of
peculiar - " the peculiar }?eauty of a plantation that thus strikes the imagination ,
was the phrase to have conveyed the idea
which the author meant,; namely, the beauty
which distinguishes it from plantations of
another kind.
Our British gardeners, on tl1e
con.
trary , instead of humouring nature ,
love to deviate from it as much as
possible. Our trees rise in cones, globes,
and pyramids. We see the marks of
the scissars on every plant and bush.
These sentences are lively and el<-'gant.
They make an agreeable d ive1sity from the
strain of those which went before ; and are
marked with the hand of M.r. AdJison. I
have to rematk only , that, in the phrase,
instead of humouring nature, love to deviate
from it - lmmouring and deviating, .. are
terms noi properly opposed to each other ;
a sort of personification of natwe is begun

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.
( 172)
in the first of them, which is not supported
in the second. To humouring, was to
have been opposed thwarting or if
deviating was kept, following- , or going along
with nature, was to h ave been used.
I do not know whether I am singular
in my opinion , but for my own part ,
I would rather look upon a tree , in
all its luxuriancy and diffusion of
boughs and branches., than when -it is
thus cut and trimmed into a mathematical figure; arid cannot but fancy that
an orchard , in flower , lo<;>ks in6qitely
more delightful, than all the little labyrinths of the most finished parterre, !)
This sentence is extremely harmonious ,
and every way beautiful. It carries all the
characteristics of our aqthor's natural , graceful, and flowing language. - A tree, in
all its luxuriancy and difFusion of boughs
and branches, u is a remarkably happy expression. The author se-ems to he come
. lu~uriant in describing an object which is
so, and thereby renders the sound a perfect
echo to the sense.

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'

( 173)

But as our great modelers of gardens


have their magazines of plants to dispose
of, it is very natural in them , to tear
up all the beautiful plantations of fruit
trees , and contrive a plan that may
most turn to their profit , in taking ofF
their evergreens, and the like moveable
plants , with which their shops are
plentifully stocked. ,,
An author shoul~ always study to conclude , when it is in his power , with grace
. and dignity. It is somewhat unfortunate,
that this number did not end , as it might
very well have done, with the former beau
tiful period. The impression left on the
mind by the beauties of nature, with which
he had been entertaining us, would then
have been more agreeable. But in this
sentence there is a great falling ofF; and
we return with pain from those pleasing
objects , to the insignificant contents of a
nursery-man's shop.

FINIS

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