Изображения страниц

as well as our own. This is the best reason | No. 410.] Friday, June 20, 1712.
I can give for the observation which several
have made, that men of great genius in the
same way of writing seldom rise up singly,
but at certain periods of time appear to-
gether, and in a body; as they did at Rome
in the reign of Augustus, and in Greece
about the age of Socrates. I cannot
that Corneille, Racine, Moliere, Boileau,
La Fontaine, Bruyere, Bossu, or the
ciers, would have written so well as they
have done, had they not been friends and

-Dum foris sunt, nihil videtur mundius,
Nec magis compositum quidquam, nec magis elegans:
Quæ, cum amatore suo cum cænant, liguriunt.
Harum videre ingluviem, sordes, inopiam:
Quam inhonestæ solæ sint domi, atque avidæ cibi,
Quo pacto ex jure hesterno panem atrum vorent;
Nosse omnia hæc, salus est adolescentulis.

Ter. Eus. Act v. Sc. 4.
When they are abroad, nothing so clean and nicely

Da-dressed; and when at supper with a gallant, they do but piddle, and pick the choicest bits; but to see their nastiness and poverty at home, their gluttony, and how they devour black crusts dipped in yesterday's broth, is a

perfect antidote against wenching.'

It is likewise necessary for a man who would form to himself a finished taste of good writing, to be well versed in the works of the best critics, both ancient and modern. I must confess that I could wish there were authors of this kind, who, beside the mechanical rules, which a man of very little taste may discourse upon, would enter into the very spirit and soul of fine writing, and show us the several sources of that pleasure which rises in the mind upon the perusal of a noble work. Thus, although in poetry it be absolutely necessary that the unities of time, place, and action, with other points of the same nature, should be thoroughly explained and understood, there is still something more essential to the art, something that elevates and astonishes the fancy, and gives a greatness of mind to the reader, which few of the critics besides Longinus have considered.

Our general taste in England is for epigram, turns of wit, and forced conceits, which have no manner of influence either for the bettering or enlarging the mind of him who reads them, and have been carefully avoided by the greatest writers, both among the ancients and moderns. I have endeavoured in several of my speculations, to banish this gothic taste, which has taken possession among us. I entertained the town for a week together with an essay upon wit, in which I endeavoured to detect several of those false kinds which have been admired in the different ages of the world, and at the same time to show wherein the nature of true wit consists. I afterwards gave an instance of the great force which lies in a natural simplicity of thought to affect the mind of the reader, from such vulgar pieces as have little else besides this single qualification to recommend them. I have likewise examined the works of the greatest poet which our nation, or perhaps any other, has produced, and particularized most of those rational and manly beauties which give a value to that divine work. I shall next Saturday enter upon an essay on "The Pleasures of the Imagination,' which, though it shall consider the subject at large, will perhaps suggest to the reader what it is that gives a beauty to many passages of the finest writers both in prose and verse. As an undertaking of this nature is entirely new, I question not but it will be received with candour. 0.


WILL HONEYCOMB, who disguises his present decay by visiting the wenches of the town only by way of humour, told us, that the last rainy night he, with Sir Roger de Coverley, was driven into the Temple cloister, whither had escaped also a lady most exactly dressed from head to foot. Will made no scruple to acquaint us, that she saluted him very familiarly by his name, and turning immediately to the knight, she said, she supposed that was his good friend Sir Roger de Coverley: upon which nothing less could follow than Sir Roger's approach to salutation, with Madam, the same, at your service.' She was dressed in a black tabby mantua and petticoat, without ribands; her linen striped muslin, and in the whole an agreeable second mourning; decent dresses being often affected by the creatures of the town, at once consulting cheapness and the pretension to modesty. She went on with a familiar easy air, 'Your friend, Mr. Honeycomb, is a little surprised to see a woman here alone and unattended; but I dismissed my coach at the gate, and tripped it down to my counsel's chambers; for lawyers' fees take up too much of a small disputed jointure to admit any other expenses but mere necessaries.' Mr. Honeycomb begged they might have the honour of setting her down, for Sir Roger's servant was gone to call a coach. In the interim the footman returned with no coach to be had;' and there appeared nothing to be done but trusting herself with Mr. Honeycomb and his friend, to wait at the tavern at the gate for a coach, or to be subjected to all the impertinence she must meet with in that public place. Mr. Honeycomb being a man of honour, determined the choice of the first, and Sir Roger as the better man, took the lady by the hand, leading her through all the shower, covering her with his hat, and gallanting a familiar acquaintance through rows of young fellows, who winked at Sukey in the state she marched off, Will Honeycomb bringing up the rear.

Much importunity prevailed upon the fair one to admit of a collation, where, after declaring she had no stomach, and having eaten a couple of chickens, devoured a truss of sallet, and drank a full bottle to her share, she sung the Old Man's Wish to Sir Roger. The knight left the room for some time after supper, and writ the fol lowing billet, which he conveyed to Sukey,

and Sukey to her friend Will Honeycomb. Will has given it to Sir Andrew Freeport, who read it last night to the club.



My good friend could not well stand the raillery which was rising upon him; but to put a stop to it, I delivered Will Honeycomb the following letter, and desired him to read it to the board.

I am not so mere a country gentleman, but I can guess at the law business you had at the Temple. If you would go down to the country, and leave off all your vanities but your singing, let me know at my lodg

ings in Bow-street, Covent-garden, and you No. 411.] Saturday, June 21, 1712.
shall be encouraged by your humble ser-



Contents-The perfection of our sight above our other senses. The pleasures of the imagination arise origi nally from sight. The pleasures of the imagination divided under two heads. 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 understanding.

'MR. SPECTATOR,-Having seen a translation of one of the chapters in the Canticles into English verse inserted among your late papers, I have ventured to send you the seventh chapter of the Proverbs in a poetical dress. If you think it worthy appearing among your speculations, it will be a sufficient reward for the trouble of your constant reader, A. B.

"My son, th' instruction that my words impart,
Grave on the living tablet of thy heart;
And all the wholesome precepts that I give
Observe with strictest reverence, and live.


"Let all thy homage be to Wisdom paid, Seek her protection, and implore her aid; That she may keep thy soul from harm secure, And turn thy footsteps from the harlot's door, Who with curs'd charms lures the unwary in, And soothes with flattery their souls to sin.

But let my sons attend. Attend may they
Whom youthful vigour may to sin betray;
Let them false charmers fly, and guard their hearts
Against the wily wanton's pleasing arts;
With care direct their steps, nor turn astray
To tread the paths of her deceitful way;
Lest they too late of her fell pow'r complain,
And fall, where many mightier have been slain."


OUR sight is the most perfect and most delightful of all our senses. It fills the mind with the largest variety 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 sense 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 strained, and confined in its operations, to the number, bulk, and distance of its particular objects. Our sight seems designed 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, comprehends the largest figures, and brings into our reach some of the most remote parts of the universe.

Loose her attire, and such her glaring dress,
As aptly did the harlot's mind express;
Subtle she is, and practis'd in the arts
By which the wanton conquer heedless hearts:
Stubborn and loud she is; she hates her home;
Varying her place and form, she loves to roam:
Now she's within, now in the street doth stray,
Now at each corner stands, and waits her prey.
The youth she seiz'd; and laying now aside
All modesty, the female's justest pride,
She said with an embrace, Here at my house
Peace-offerings are, this day I paid my vows.
I therefore came abroad to meet my dear,
And lo, in happy hour, I find thee here.
My chamber I've adorn'd, and o'er my bed
Are coverings of the richest tap'stry spread,
With linen it is deck'd from Egypt brought,
And carvings by the curious artist wrought:
It wants no glad perfume Arabia yields
In all her citron groves, and spicy fields;
Here all her store of richest odour meets,
I'll lay thee in a wilderness of sweets;
Whatever to the sense can grateful be
I have collected there-I want but thee.
My husband's gone a journey far away,
Much gold he took abroad, and long will stay:
He nam'd for his return a distant day.'

It is this sense which furnishes the imagination 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 appearance through the sight; but 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 land

found in the whole compass of nature.

"Upon her tongue did such smooth mischief dwell, scapes more beautiful than any that can be And from her lips such welcome flatt'ry fell, Th' unguarded youth, in silken fetters ty'd, Resign'd his reason, and with ease comply'd. Thus does the ox to his own slaughter go, And thus is senseless of the impending blow, Thus flies the simple bird into the snare, That skilful fowlers for his life prepare. VOL. II. 18

There are few words in the English Janguage which are employed in a more loose and uncircumscribed sense than those of the fancy and the imagination. I I therefore

"Once from my window, as I cast mine eye
On those that pass'd in giddy numbers by,
A youth among the foolish youths I spy'd,
Who took not sacred wisdom for his guide.

"Just as the sun withdrew his cooler light,
And evening soft led on the shades of night,
He stole in covert twilight to his fate,
And pass'd the corner near the harlot's gate;
When lo, a woman comes!-

Avia Pieridum peragro loca nullius ante
Trita solo: juvat integros accedere fonteis,
Atque haurire-
Lucr. Lib. i, 925.
In wild unclear'd, to Muses a retreat,
O'er ground untrod before I devious roam,
And deep-enamour'd, into latent springs
Presume to peep at coy virgin Naiads.

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 attend

thought it necessary to fix and determine, to make the sphere of his innocent pleathe notion of these two words, as I intend sures as wide as possible, that he may reto make use of them in the thread of my tire into them with safety, and find in them following speculations, that the reader may such a satisfaction as a wise man would not conceive rightly what is the subject which blush to take. Of this nature are those of I proceed upon. I must therefore desire the imagination, which do not require such him to remember, that by the pleasures a bent of thought as is necessary to our of the imagination,' I mean only such plea- more serious employments, nor at the same sures as arise originally from sight, and time, suffer the mind to sink into that negthat I divide these pleasures into two kinds: ligence and remissness, which are apt to my design being first of all to discourse of accompany our more sensual delights, but, those primary pleasures of the imagination, like a gentle exercise to the faculties, which entirely proceed from such objects awaken them from sloth and idleness, as are before our eyes; and in the next without putting them upon any labour or place to speak of those secondary pleasures difficulty. of the imagination which flow from the ideas of visible objects, when the objects are not actually before the eye, but are called up into our memories or formed into agreeable visions of things that are either absented with too violent a labour of the brain. or fictitious. Delightful scenes, whether in nature, paintThe pleasures of the imagination, taken ing, or poetry, have a kindly influence on in the full extent, are not so gross as those the body, as well as the mind; and not only of sense, nor so refined as those of the un- serve to clear and brighten the imaginaderstanding. The last are indeed more tion, but are able to disperse grief and mepreferable, because they are founded on lancholy, and to set the animal spirits in some new knowledge or improvement in pleasing and agreeable motions. For this the mind of man; yet it must be confessed, reason Sir Francis Bacon, in his Essay upon that those of the imagination are as great Health, has not thought it improper to and as transporting as the other. A beau- prescribe to his reader a poem or a prostiful prospect delights the soul as much as pect, where he particularly dissuades him a demonstration; and a description in Ho- from knotty and subtle disquisitions, and mer has charmed more readers than a advises him to pursue studies that fill the chapter in Aristotle. Besides, the plea- mind with splendid and illustrious objects, sures of the imagination have this advan-as histories, fables, and contemplations of tage above those of the understanding, that they are more obvious, and more 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 the mind in the beholder. 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 inquiring 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 No. 412.] Monday, June 23, 1712.
not capable of receiving. He can converse
with a picture and find an agreeable com-
panion 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, a kind
of property in every thing he sees, and
makes the most rude uncultivated parts of
nature administer to his pleasures: so that
he looks upon the world as it were in an-
other light, and discovers in it a multitude
of charms, that conceal themselves from
the generality of mankind.

There are indeed but 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 expense of some one virtue or another, and their very first step out of business is into vice or folly. A man should endeavour, therefore,


I have in this paper, by way of introduction, settled the notion of those pleasures of the imagination which are the subject of my present undertaking, and endeavoured, by several considerations, to recommend to my reader the pursuit of those pleasures. I shall in my next paper examine the several sources from whence these pleasures are derived. 0.


Contents.-Three sources of all the pleasures of the ima gination, in our survey of outward objects. How what is great pleases the imagination. How what is new pleases the imagination. How what is beautiful in our own species pleases the imagination. How what is beautiful in general pleases the imagination. What other accidental causes may contribute to the heightening of those pleasures.

-Divisum, sic breve fiet opus.-Mart. Ep. iv. 83. The work, divided aptly, shorter grows.

I SHALL first consider those pleasures of the imagination which arise from the actual view and survey of outward objects; and these, I think, all proceed from the sight of what is great, uncommon, or beautiful. There may, indeed, be something so terrible or offensive, that the horror or loathsomeness of an object may overbear the pleasure which results from its greatness,

novelty, or beauty; but still there will be such a mixture of delight in the very disgust it gives us, as any of these three qualifications are most conspicuous and prevailing.

double entertainment. 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 accustomed and familiar to the eye. For this reason there is nothing more enlivens a prospect than rivers, jetteaus, or falls of water, where the scene is perpetually shifting, and entertaining the sight every moment with something that is new. We are quickly tired with looking upon hills and valleys, where every thing continues fixed and settled in the same place and posture, 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.


By greatness, I do not only mean the bulk of any single object, but the largeness of a whole view, considered as one entire piece. 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 expanse of water, where we are not struck with the novelty or beauty of the sight, but with that rude kind of magnificence which appears in many of these stupendous works of Nature. Our imagination loves to be filled with an object, or to grasp at any thing that is too big for its capacity. We are flung into a pleasing astonishment at such unbounded But there is nothing that makes its way views, and feel a delightful stillness and more directly to the soul than beauty, amazement in the soul at the apprehensions which immediately diffuses a secret satisof them. The mind of man naturally hates faction and complacency through the ima every thing that looks like a restraint upon gination, and gives a finishing to any thing it, and is apt to fancy itself under a sort of that is great or uncommon. The very first -confinement, when the sight is pent up in discovery of it strikes the mind with an ina narrow compass, and shortened on every ward joy, and spreads a cheerfulness and side by the neighbourhood of walls or delight through all its faculties. There is mountains. On the contrary, a spacious not perhaps any real beauty or deformity horizon is an image of liberty, where the more in one piece of matter than another, eye has room to range abroad, to expatiate because we might have been so made, that at large on the immensity of its views, and whatsoever now appears loathsome to us to lose itself amidst the variety of objects might have shown itself agreeable; but we that offer themselves to its observation. find by experience that there are several Such wide and undetermined prospects are modifications of matter, which the mind, as pleasing to the fancy as the speculations without any previous consideration, proof eternity or infinitude are to the under-nounces at first sight beautiful or deformed. standing. But if there be a beauty of un- Thus we see that every different species of commonness joined with this grandeur, as sensible creatures has its different notions in a troubled ocean, a heaven adorned with of beauty, and that each of them is most stars and meteors, or a spacious landscape affected with the beauties of its own kind. cut out into rivers, woods, rocks and This is no where more remarkable than in meadows, the pleasure still grows upon birds of the same shape and proportion, us, as it arises from more than a single where we often see the mate determined principle. in his courtship by the single grain or tincture of a feather, and never discovering any charms but in the colour of its species.

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 often conversant with 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, for 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. It is this that bestows charms on a monster, and makes even the imperfections 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 suffered to dwell too long, and waste itself on any particular object. It is this, likewise, that improves what is great or beautiful and makes it afford the mind a

'Scit thalamo servare fidem, sanctasque veretur
Connubii leges; non illum in pectore candor
Solicitat niveus; neque pravum accendit amorem
Splendida lanugo, vel honesta in vertice crista,
Purpureusve nitor pennarum; ast agmina late
Feminea explorat cautus, maculasque requirit
Cognatas, paribusque interlita corpora guttis:
Ni faceret, pictis sylvam circum undique monstris
Confusam aspiceres vulgo partusque biformes,
Et genus ambiguum, et veneris monumenta nefande
Hinc Merula in nigro se oblectat nigra marito,
Hinc socium lasciva petit Philomela canorum,
Agnoscitque pares son 1s, hinc Noctua tetram
Canitiem alarum, et glaucos miratur ocellos.
Nempe sibi semper constat, crescitque quotannis
Lucida progenies, castos confessa parentes;
Dum virides inter saltus lacosque sonoros
Vere novo exultat, plumasque decora juventus
Explicat ad solem patriisque coloribus a det.*

The feather'd husband, to his partner true,
Preserves connubial rites inviolate,
With cold indifference every charm he sees,
The milky whiteness of the stately neck,

*It would seem from his manner of introducing

them, that Mr. Addison was himself the author of these fine verses.

The shining down, proud crest, and purple wings:
But cautious with a searching eye explores
The female tribes his proper mate to find,
With kindred colours mark'd; did he not so,
The grove with painted monsters would abound,
Th' ambiguous product of unnatural love.
The blackbird heuce selects her sooty spouse;
The nightingale, her musical compeer,
Lur'd by the well-known voice: the bird of night,
Smit with his dusky wings and greenish eyes,
Woos his dun paramour. The beauteous race
Speak the chaste loves of their progenitors
When, by the spring invited, they exult
In woods and fields, and to the sun unfold
Their plumes, that with paternal colours glow.'

There is a second kind of beauty that we find in the several products of 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 or objects in which we discover it. 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 concurrence of all together. Among these several kinds of beauty the eye takes most delight in colours. 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. For this reason we find the poets, who are always addressing themselves to the imagination, borrowing more of their epithets from colours than from any other topic.

As the fancy delights in every thing that is great, strange, or beautiful, and is still more pleased the more 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, as the music of birds, or a fall of water, awakens every moment the mind of 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 receive an additional beauty from the advantages of their situation. 0.

No. 413.] Tuesday, June 24, 1712.


Contents.-Why the necessary cause of our being pleas

ed with what is great, new, or beautiful, unknown.

Why the final cause more known and more useful. The final cause of our being pleased with what is

great. The final 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 what is beautiful in general.

-Causa latet, vis est notissima— Ovid. Met. ix. 207. The cause is secret, but th' effect is known.-Addison.

THOUGH in yesterday's paper we considered how every thing that is great, new, or beautiful, is apt to affect the imagination with pleasure, we must own that it is impossible for us to assign the necessary cause of this pleasure, because we know neither the nature of an idea, nor the substance of a human soul, which might help us to discover 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 operations 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 several necessary and efficient causes from whence the pleasure or displeasure arises.

Final causes lie more bare and open to our observation, as there are often a greater variety that belong to the same effect; and these, though they are not altogether so satisfactory, are generally more useful than the other, as they give us greater 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 be this. The Supreme Author of our being has so formed the soul of man, that nothing but himself can be its last, adequate, and 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 such a contemplation, he has made them naturally delight 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 contemplate his nature, that is neither circumscribed by time nor place, nor to be comprehended by the largest capacity of a created being.

He has annexed a secret pleasure to the idea of any thing that is new or uncommon, that he might encourage us in the pursuit after knowledge, and engage us to search into the wonders of his creation; for every new idea brings such a pleasure along with it 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 creatures might be tempted to multiply their kind, and fill the world with inhabit

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »