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Ασεβές μέν έσιν ανθρώας τας παρά το Θις χάριτας αλιμαζει.
Epict, apud Arrian. II. 23.
CANSARA 99 The DESIGN.
HERE are certain powers in human nature
gans of bodily sense and the faculties of moral perception : they have been called by a very general name, The Powers of Imagination. Like the external senses, they relate to matter and motion ; and at the fame cime, give the mind ideas analogous to those of moral approbation
and dislike. As they are the inlets of some of the most sexquisite pleasures we are acquainted with, men of warni
and sensible tempers have fought means to recall the delightful perceptions they afford, independent of the objekts which originally produced
them. This gave me to the imitative or designing arts ; some of which, like painting and sculpture, directly copy the external appearances which were admired in nature ; others like music and poetry, bring them back to remembrance by signs universally established and understood.
But these arts as they grew more correct and deliberate, were naturally led to extend their imitation beyond the peculiar objects of the imaginative powers ; especially poetøy, which making use of language as the instrument by which it imitates, is consequently become an unlimited rem presentative of every species and mode of being. Yet as their primary intention was only to express the objects of imagination, and as they still abound chiefly in ideas of that class, they of course retain their original character, and all the pleasures they excite, are term’d in general, Pleasures of Imagination,
The design of the following poem is to give a view of there in the largest acceptation of the term ; so that whatever our imagination feels from the agreeable appearances of nature, and all the various entertainment we meet with either in poetry, painting, music, or any of the elegant arts, might be deducible from one or other of these principles in the constitution of the human mind, which are here establish'd and explain'd.
In executing this general plan, it was necessary first of all to distinguish the imagination from our other faculties, and then to charactarize those original forms or properties of being about which it is converfant, and which are ty nature adapted to it, as light is to the eyes, or truth to the understanding. These properties Mr. Addison had reduc'd to the three general classes of greatness, noe velty and beauty; and into these we may analize every
Volg object, however complex, which properly speaking, is delightful to the imagination. But such an object may also include many other sources of pleasure, and its beauty, or novelty, or grandeur, will make a stronger impresion by reason of this concurrence. Besides this, the imitative arts, especially poetry, owe much of their effect to a fimilar exhilition of properties quite foreign to the imagination ; infomuch that in every line of the most applauded poems, we meet with either ideas drawn from the external senses, or truths discover'd to the understanding, or illustrations of contrivance and final causes, or above all the rest, with circymilances proper to awaken and engage the passions. It were therefore necessary to enumerate and exemplify these different species of pleasure : eSpecially that from the passions, which as it is supreme in the noblest works of human genius, fo being in some particulars not a little surprizing, gave an opportunity to enliven the didałtic turn of the poem, by introducing a biece of machinery to account for the appearance. Af
After these parts of the subject, which hold chiefly of admiration, or naturally warm and interest the mind, a pleasure of a very different nature, that from ridicule, came next to be considered. As this is the foundation of the comic manner' in all the arts, and has been but very imperfeetly treated by moral writers, it was thought proper to give it a particular illustration, and to distinguish the general fources from which the ridicule of characters is deriv’d. Here too a change of file became necessary ; such a one, as might yet be consistent, if possible, with the general taste of compositinn in the serious parts of the sube ject : nor is it an easy task to give any tolerable force to images of this kind, without running either into the gigantic exprellions of the mock-heroit, or the familiar and pointed raillery of profess’d fatire ; neither of which would have been proper here,
The materials of all imitation being thus laid open, nothing now remain'd but to illustrate some particular pleasures which arise either from the relations of different objects one to another, or from the nature of imitation itself. Of the firA kind is that various and complicated resemblance existing between several parts of the material and immaterial worlds, which is the foundation of metaphor and wit. As it seems in a great measure to depend on the early associations of our ideas, and as this habit of associating is the source of many pleasures and pains in life, and on that account, bears a great share in the influence of poetry and the other arts, it is therefore mention'd here and its effeits describd. Then follows a general account of the production of these elegant arts, and the secondary pleasure, as it is callid, arising from the resemblance of their imitations to the original appearances of nature. After which, the design is clos’d with fome reflexions on the general condust of the powers of i.