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ants; for it is very remarkable, that where-
The following letter of Steele to Addison is
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 delightful. He has given almost every thing about us the power of raising 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 satisfac-pleasures of the imagination are what betion and complacency. Things would make wilder life, when reason and judgment do but a poor appearance to the eye, if we not interpose; it is therefore a worthy action saw them only in their proper figures and in you to look carefully into the powers of motions: and what reason can we assign fancy, that other men, from the knowledge for their exciting in us many of those ideas of them, may improve their joys, and allay which are different from any thing that their griefs, by a just use of that faculty. I exists in the objects themselves (for such say, sir, I would not interrupt you in the are light and colours,) were it not to add progress of this discourse; but if you will supernumerary ornaments to the universe, do me the favour of inserting this letter in and make it more agreeable to the imagi- your next paper, you will do some service nation? we are every where entertained to the public, though not in so noble a way with pleasing shows and apparitions; we of obliging, as that of improving their discover imaginary glories in the heavens, minds. Allow me, sir, to acquaint you and in the earth, and see some of this vi- with a design (of which I am partly ausionary beauty poured out upon the whole thor,) though it tends to no greater good creation: but what a rough unsightly sketch than that of getting money. should not of nature should we be entertained with, hope for the favour of a philosopher in this did all her colouring disappear, and the matter, if it were not attempted under all several distinctions of light and shade the restrictions which you sages put upon vanish? In short, our souls are at present private acquisitions. The first purpose delightfully lost and bewildered in a pleas- which every good man is to propose to himing delusion, and we walk about like the self, is the service of his prince and counenchanted hero in a romance, who sees try; after that is done, he cannot add to beautiful castles, woods, and meadows; and, himself, but he must also be beneficial to at the same time, hears the warbling of them. This scheme of gain is not only conbirds, and the purling of streams; but, sistent with that end, but has its very being upon the finishing of some secret spell, the in subordination to it; for no man can be a fantastic scene breaks up, and the discon- gainer here but at the same time he himsolate knight finds himself on a barren self, or some other, must succeed in their heath, or in a solitary desert. It is not im- dealings with the government. It is called probable that something like this may be The Multiplication Table,' and is so far the state of the soul after its first separa- calculated for the immediate service of her tion, in respect of the images it will receive majesty, that the same person who is forfrom matter; though indeed the ideas of tunate in the lottery of the state may recolours are so pleasing and beautiful in the ceive yet further advantage in this table. imagination, that it is possible the soul will And I am sure nothing can be more pleasnot be deprived of them, but perhaps finding to her gracious temper than to find out them excited by some other occasional additional methods of increasing their good cause, as they are at present by the differ- fortune who adventure any thing in her ent impressions of the subtle matter on the service, or laying occasions for others to beorgan of sight. come capable of serving their country who are at present in too low circumstances to exert themselves. The manner of executing the design is by giving out receipts for half guineas received, which shall entitle the fortunate bearer to certain sums in the table, as it is set forth at large in the proposals printed the twenty-third instant. There is another circumstance in this de
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 which has been proved incontestibly 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 book of Mr. Locke's Essay on Human Understanding.
sign which gives me hopes of your favour
No. 414.] Wednesday, June 25, 1712.
ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION.
Contents.-The works of nature more pleasant to the imagination than those of art. The works of nature still more pleasant, the more they resemble those of art. The works of art more peasant, the more they resemble those of nature. Our English plantations and gardens considered in the foregoing light,
Scriptorum chorus omnis amat nemus, et fugit urbes.
-To grottos and to groves we run,
Speluncæ, vivique lacus; hic frigida Tempe,
If the products of nature rise in value acIf we consider the works of nature and cording as they more or less resemble those art as they are qualified to entertain the of art, we may be sure that artificial works imagination, we shall find the last very de- receive a greater advantage from their refective in comparison of the former; for semblance of such as are natural; because though they may sometimes appear as here the similitude is not only pleasant, but beautiful or strange, they can have nothing the pattern more perfect. The prettiest in them of that vastness and immensity, landscape I ever saw, was one drawn on the which afford so great an entertainment to walls of a dark room, which stood opposite the mind of the beholder. The one may be on one side to a navigable river, and on the as polite and delicate as the other, but can other to a park. The experiment is very never show herself so august and magnifi- common in optics. Here you might discocent in the design. There is something ver the waves and fluctuations of the water more bold and masterly in the rough care-in strong and proper colours, with a picture less strokes of nature, than in the nice of a ship entering at one end, and sailing by touches and embellishments of art. The degrees through the whole piece. On ano beauties of the most stately garden or pa- ther there appeared the green shadows of lace lie in a narrow compass, the imagina- trees, waving to and fro with the wind, and tion immediately runs them over, and re- herds of deer among them in miniature, quires something else to gratify her; but in leaping about upon the wall. I must conthe wide fields of nature, the sight wanders fess the novelty of such a sight may be one up and down without confinement, and is occasion of its pleasantness to the imagina fed with an infinite variety of images, with- tion; but certainly its chief reason is its out any certain stint or number. For this nearest resemblance to nature, as it does not reason we always find the poet in love with only, like other pictures, give the colour and the country life, where nature appears in figure, but the motions of the things it rethe greatest perfection, and furnishes out presents. all those scenes that are most apt to delight the imagination.
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 exalted kind of pleasure than what we receive from the nicer and more accurate productions of art. On this
Ilic secura quies, et nescia fallere vita,
Here easy quiet, a secure retreat,
But though there are several of those wild scenes, that are more delightful than any artificial shows, yet we find the works of nature still more pleasant, the more they resemble those of art: for in this case our pleasure rises from a double principle; from the agreeableness of the objects to the eye, and from their similitude to other objects. We are pleased as well with comparing their beauties, as with surveying them, and can represent them to our minds, either as Copies or originals. Hence it is that we take 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 sometimes found in the veins of marble; in the curious fret-work of rocks and grottos; and, in a word, in any thing that hath such a variety or regularity as may seem the effect of design in what we call the works of
ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION.
Greatness in architecture relates either to the bulk or to the manner. Greatness of bulk in the ancient oriental buildings. The ancient accounts of these buildings confirmed. 1. From the advantages for raising such works, in the first ages of the world, and in eastern climates. 2. From several of them which are still extant. Instances how greatness of manner affects the imagination. A French author's observations on this subject. Why convex and concave figures give a greatness of manner to works of archi tecture. Every thing that pleases the imagination in architecture, is either great, beautiful, or new.
account our English gardens are not so en- | No. 415.] Thursday, June 26, 1712. tertaining to the fancy as those in France and Italy, where we see a large extent of ground covered over with an agreeable mixture of garden and forest, which repre- Contents. Of architecture, as it affects the imagination. sent every where an artificial rudeness, much more charming than that neatness and elegancy which we meet with in those of our own country. It 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 so well peopled, and cultivated to a far greater advantage. But why may not a whole estate be thrown 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 oaks, are not only more beautiful but more beneficial, than when they lie bare and unadorned. Fields of corn make a pleasant prospect; and if the walks were a little taken care of that lie between them, if the natural embroidery of the meadows were helped and improved by some small additions of art, and the several rows of hedges set off by trees and flowers that the soil was capable of receiving, a man might make a pretty landscape of his own possessions.
Dryden. HAVING already shown 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 paper throw together some reflections on that particular art, which has a more immediate tendency, than any other, to produce those primary pleasures of the imagination which have hitherto been the subject of this discourse. The art I mean
Greatness, in the works of architecture, may be 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 the moderns.
Writers, who have given us an account of China, tell us the inhabitants of that coun- is that of architecture, which I shall consitry laugh at the plantations of our Euro-der only with regard to the light in which peans, which are laid out by the rule and the foregoing speculations have placed it, line; because they say, any one may place without entering into those rules and maxtrees in equal rows and uniform figures.ims which the great masters of architecture They chose rather to show a genius in have laid down, and explained at large in works of this nature, and therefore always numberless treatises upon that subject. 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 first sight, without discovering what it is that has so agreeable an effect. Our British gardeners, on the contrary, 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 upon every plant and bush. 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; and cannot but fancy that an orchard in flower looks finitely more delightful than all the little labyrinths of the most finished parterre. But, as our great modellers of gardens have their magazines of plants to dispose of, it is very natural for them to tear up all the beautiful plantations of fruit-trees, and contrive a plan that may most turn to their own profit, in taking off their ever-greens, and the like moveable plants, with which their shops are plentifully stocked.
Not to mention the tower of Babel, of which an old author says, there were the foundations to be seen in his time, which looked like a spacious mountain; what could be more noble than the walls of Babylon, its hanging gardens, and its temple to Jupiter Belus, that rose a mile high by eight several stories, each story a furlong in height, and on the top of which was the Babylonian observatory? I might here, likein-wise, 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 wonders of art as fabulous: but I cannot find any ground for such a suspicion; unless it be that we have no
Adde tot egregias urbes, operumque laborem.
Let any one reflect on the disposition of mind he finds in himself at his first entrance into the Pantheon at Rome, and how the imagination is filled with something great and amazing; and, at the same time, consider how little, in proportion, he is affected with the inside of a Gothic cathedral, though it be five times larger than the other; which can arise from nothing else but the greatness of the manner in the one, and the meanness in the other.
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 work to men of speculative tempers; and what is more than all the rest, the prince was absolute; so that when he went to war, he put himself at the head of the whole people, as we find Semiramis leading her three millions to the field, and yet overpowered by the number I have seen an observation upon this subof her enemies. It is no wonder, therefore, ject in a French author, which very much when she was at peace, and turning her pleased me. It is Monsieur Freart's Paralthoughts on building, that she could accom-fel of the ancient and modern Architecture. plish such great works, with such a prodi-I shall give it the reader with the same gious multitude of labourers; besides that, terms of art which he has made use of. I in her climate there was small interruption am observing,' says he, 'a thing which, in of frosts and winters, which make the my opinion, is very curious, whence it pronorthern workmen lie half the year idle. Iceeds, that in the same quantity of supermight mention, too, among the benefits of fices, the one manner seems great and the climate, what historians say of the earth, magnificent, and the other poor and trifling; that it sweated out a bitumen, or natural the reason is fine and uncommon. I say, kind of mortar, which is doubtless the same then, that to introduce into architecture with that mentioned in holy writ, as con- this grandeur of manner, we ought so to tributing to the structure of Babel: Slime proceed, that the division of the principal they used instead of mortar.' members of the order may consist but of few parts, that they be all great, and of a bold and ample relievo, and swelling; and that the eye, beholding nothing little and mean, the imagination may be more vigorously touched and affected with the work that stands before it. For example, in a cornice, if the gola or cymatium of the corona, the coping, the modillions, or dentelli, make a noble show by their graceful al-productions, if we see none of that ordinary confusion, which is 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 solemn and great; as, on the contrary, that it will have but a poor 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 but a confusion.'
In Egypt we still see their pyramids, which answer to the descriptions that have been made of them; and I question not but a traveller might find out some remains of the labyrinth that covered a whole province, and had a hundred temples disposed among its several quarters and divisions.
The wall of China is one of these eastern pieces of magnificence, which makes a figure even in the map of the world, though an account of it would have been thought fabulous, were not the wall itself still extant.
Among all the figures of architecture, there are none that have a greater air than the concave and the convex; and we find in all the ancient and modern architecture, as well as in the remote parts of China, as in countries nearer home, that round pillars and vaulted roofs make a great part
In the second place we are to consider greatness of manner in architecture, which has such force upon the imagination, that a small building, where it appears, shall give the mind nobler ideas than any one of twenty times the bulk, where the manner of those buildings which are designed for is ordinary or little. Thus, perhaps, a man pomp and magnificence. The reason I take would have been more astonished with the to be, because in these figures we generally majestic air that appeared in one of Lysip- see more of the body than in those of other pus's statues of Alexander, though no bigger than the life, than he might have been with
mount Athos, had it been cut into the figure of the hero, according to the proposal of Phidias,* with a river in one hand, and a city in the other.
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 reside 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 imprints an awfulness and reverence on the mind of the beholder, and strikes in with the natural greatness of the soul.
kinds. There are, indeed, figures of bodies, where the eye may take in two-thirds of the surface; but, as in such bodies the sight must split upon several angles, it does not take in one uniform idea, but several 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; the entire concavity falls into your eye at once, the sight being as the centre that collects and gathers into it the lines of the whole circumference; in a square pillar, the sight often takes in but a fourth part of the surface; and in a square concave, must move up and down to the different sides, before it is master of all the inward surface. For this 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 very poetically described by the son of Sirach: Look upon the rainbow, and praise him that made it; very beautiful it is in its brightness; it encompasses the heavens with a glorious circle; and the hands of the Most High have bended it.'
Having thus spoken of that greatness which affects the mind in architecture, I might next show the pleasure that rises in the imagination from what appears new and beautiful in this art! but as every beholder has naturally greater taste of these two perfections in every building which offers itself to his view, than of that which
I have hitherto considered, I shall not trou-stood only by such a people or nation. For this reason, though men's necessities quickly put them on 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 pencil, which was a more natural way than that of writing, though at the same time much more imperfect, because it is impossible to draw the little connections of speech, or to give the picture of a conjunction or an adverb. It would be yet more strange to represent visible objects by sounds that have no ideas annexed to them, and to make something like description in music. Yet it is certain, there may be confused imperfect notions of this nature raised in the imagination by an artificial composition of notes; and we find that great masters in the art are 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
I 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 after-to lull them into pleasing dreams of groves wards called up into the mind either barely by its own operations, or on occasion of something without us, as statues, or descriptions. We have already considered the first division, and shall therefore enter VOL. II.
ble my readers 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, but as it is great, uncommon, or beautiful. 0.
No. 416.] Friday, June 27, 1712.
on the other, which, for distinction 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 had once seen the very place, action, or person, that are carved or described. It is sufficient that we have seen places, persons, or actions in general, which bear a resemblance, or at least some remote analogy, with what we find represented; since it is in the power of the imagination, when it is once stocked with particular ideas, to enlarge, compound, and vary them at her own pleasure.
Among the different kinds of representation, statuary is the most natural, and shows us something likest the object that is represented. To make use of a common instance: let one who is born blind take an image in his hands, and trace out with his fingers the different furrows and impressions of the chisel, and he will easily conceive how the shape of a man, or beast, may be represented by it; but should he draw his hand over a picture, where all is smooth and uniform, he would never be able to imagine how the several prominences and depressions of a human body could be shown on a plain piece of canvass, that has in it no unevenness or irregularity. Description runs yet farther from the things it represents than painting; for a picture bears a real resemblance to its original, which_letters and syllables are wholly void of. Colours speak all languages, but words are under
ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION.
Contents. The secondary pleasures of the imagination. The several sources of these pleasures (statuary, painting, description, and music) compared together. The final cause of our receiving pleasure from these several sources. Of descriptions in particular. The power of words over the imagination. Why one reader is more pleased with descriptions than another. Quatenus hoc simile est oculis, quod mente videmus. Lucr. ix. 754. So far as what we see with our minds bears simili
tude to what we see with our eyes.
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