Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]


ccount our English gardens are not so en- | No. 415.] Thursday, June 26, 1712.
rtaining to the fancy as those in France
d Italy, where we see a large extent of
ound covered over with an agreeable


ixture of garden and forest, which repre- Contents. Of architecture, as it affects 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 rais-
ing 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 af-
fects the imagination. A French author's observa-
tions 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.
Adde tot egregias urbes, operumque laborem.
Virg. Georg. ii. 155.

Witness our cities of illustrious name,
Their costly labour and stupendous frame.


ent every where an artificial rudeness,
uch more charming than that neatness
nd elegancy which we meet with in those
our own country. It might indeed be of
Consequence to the public, as well as
profitable to private persons, to alienate
much ground from pasturage and the
lough, in many parts of a country that is
well peopled, and cultivated to a far
reater advantage. But why may not a
hole estate be thrown into a kind of gar-
en by frequent plantations, that may turn
much to the profit as the pleasure of the
wner? A marsh overgrown with willows,
a mountain shaded with oaks, are not
ly more beautiful but more beneficial,
han when they lie bare and unadorned.
ields of corn make a pleasant prospect;
nd if the walks were a little taken care of
hat lie between them, if the natural em-
roidery of the meadows were helped and
mproved by some small additions of art,
nd the several rows of hedges set off by
rees and flowers that the soil was capable
freceiving, a man might make a pretty
andscape of his own possessions.
Writers, who have given us an account
fChina, tell us the inhabitants of that coun-
ry laugh at the plantations of our Euro-
eans, which are laid out by the rule and
ne; because they say, any one may place
rees in equal rows and uniform figures.
They chose rather to show a genius in
works of this nature, and therefore always
onceal the art by which they direct them-
elves. They have a word, it seems, in their
anguage, by which they express the parti-
ular beauty of a plantation that thus strikes
he imagination at first sight, without dis-
overing what it is that has so agreeable an
ffect. Our British gardeners, on the con-
rary, instead of humouring nature, love to Not to mention the tower of Babel, of
eviate from it as much as possible. Our which an old author says, there were the
rees rise in cones, globes, and pyramids. foundations to be seen in his time, which
We see the marks of the scissars upon every looked like a spacious mountain; what
lant and bush. I do not know whether I could be more noble than the walls of Baby-
m singular in my opinion, but, for my own lon, its hanging gardens, and its temple to
art, I would rather look upon a tree in all Jupiter Belus, that rose a mile high by eight
s luxuriancy and diffusion of boughs and several stories, each story a furlong in
ranches, than when it is thus cut and trim- height, and on the top of which was the Ba-
ned into a mathematical figure; and cannot bylonian observatory? I might here, like-
ut fancy that an orchard in flower looks in-wise, take notice of the huge rock that was
initely more delightful than all the little cut into the figure of Semiramis, with the
abyrinths of the most finished parterre. smaller rocks that lay by it in the shape of
as our great modellers of gardens have tributary kings; the prodigious basin, or ar-
beir magazines of plants to dispose of, it is tificial lake, which took in the whole Eu-
ery natural for them to tear up all the phrates, till such time as a new canal was
eautiful plantations of fruit-trees, and con- formed for its reception, with the several
plan that may most turn to their own trenches through which that river was con-
rofit, in taking off their ever-greens, and veyed. I know there are persons who look
he like moveable plants, with which their upon some of these wonders of art as fabu-
plentifully stocked.
lous: but I cannot find any ground for such
a suspicion; unless it be that we have no

HAVING already shown how the fancy is
affected by the works of nature, and after-
wards considered in general both the works
of nature and of art, how they mutually as-
sist and complete each other in forming such
scenes and prospects as are most apt to de-
light 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
is that of architecture, which I shall consi-
der only with regard to the light in which
the foregoing speculations have placed it,
without entering into those rules and max-
ims which the great masters of architecture
have laid down, and explained at large in
numberless treatises upon that subject.


rive a




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.

such works among us at present. There mount Athos, had it been cut into the figure were indeed many greater advantages for of the hero, according to the proposal of building in those times, and in that part of Phidias, with a river in one hand, and a the world, than have been met with ever city in the other.

since. The earth was extremely fruitful; Let any one reflect on the disposition of men lived generally on pasturage, which mind he finds in himself at his first entrance requires a much smaller number of hands into the Pantheon at Rome, and how the than agriculture. There were few trades imagination is filled with something great to employ the busy part of mankind, and and amazing; and, at the same time, con fewer arts and sciences to give work to men sider how little, in proportion, he is af of speculative tempers; and what is more fected with the inside of a Gothic cathedral, than all the rest, the prince was absolute; though it be five times larger than the so that when he went to war, he put himself other; which can arise from nothing else at the head of the whole people, as we find but the greatness of the manner in the one, Semiramis leading her three millions to the and the meanness in the other. 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 Paral thoughts on building, that she could accom-lel 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. 1 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 pro northern workmen lie half the year idle. Iceeds, that in the same quantity of super might 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 vigor ously touched and affected with the work that stands before it. For example, in cornice, if the gola or cymatium of the corona, the coping, the modillions, or dentelli, make a noble show by their graceful 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 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 ap pear 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, although 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 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.

Among all the figures of architecture, there are none that have a greater air than In the second place we are to consider the concave and the convex; and we find greatness of manner in architecture, which in all the ancient and modern architecture, has such force upon the imagination, that a as well as in the remote parts of China, small building, where it appears, shall give in countries nearer home, that round pil the mind nobler ideas than any one of lars and vaulted roofs make a great part 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

* Dinocrates.


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
ake in one uniform idea, but several ideas
of the same kind. Look upon the outside
of a dome, your eye half surrounds it; look
pon the inside, and at one glance you have
ll the prospect of it; the entire concavity
alls into your eye at once, the sight being
is the centre that collects and gathers into
t the lines of the whole circumference; in
square pillar, the sight often takes in but
fourth part of the surface; and in a square
oncave, must move up and down to the
lifferent sides, before it is master of all the
nward surface. For this reason, the fancy
infinitely more struck with the view of
he open air and skies, that passes through
n arch, than what comes through a square,
r any other figure. The figure of the rain-
ow does not contribute less to its magnifi-
ence than the colours to its beauty, as it is
ery poetically described by the son of Si-
ach: Look upon the rainbow, and praise
im that made it; very beautiful it is in its
rightness; it encompasses the heavens with
glorious circle; and the hands of the Most
High have bended it.'

Having thus spoken of that greatness hich affects the mind in architecture, I ight next show the pleasure that rises in e imagination from what appears new d beautiful in this art! but as every belder has naturally greater taste of these o perfections in every building which ers itself to his view, than of that which have hitherto considered, I shall not troumy readers with any reflections upon it. is sufficient for my present purpose to serve, that there is nothing in this whole which pleases the imagination, but as it great, uncommon, or beautiful. O.

. 416.] Friday, June 27, 1712.



ents.-The secondary pleasures of the imagination.
e several sources of these pleasures (statuary, paint.
g, description, and music) compared together. The
al cause of our receiving pleasure from these seve-
sources. Of descriptions in particular. The power
words over the imagination. Why one reader is
re pleased with descriptions than another.
tenus hoc simile est oculis, quod mente videmus.

Lucr. ix. 754. far as what we see with our minds bears simili

to what we see with our eyes.

AT first divided the pleasures of the gination into such as arise from objects are actually before our eyes, or that entered in at our eyes, and are afterIs called up into the mind either barely ts own operations, or on occasion of thing without us, as statues, or detions. We have already considered rst division, and shall therefore enter L. II.


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 repre-
sented; 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 representa-
tion, statuary is the most natural, and shows
us something likest the object that is repre-
sented. 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 repre-
sented 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 depres-
sions of a human body could be shown on a
plain piece of canvass, that has in it no un-
evenness 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-
stood only by such a people or nation. For
this reason, though men's necessities quick-
ly put them on finding out speech, writing
is probably of a later invention than paint-
ing; particularly, we are told that in Ame-
rica, when the Spaniards first arrived there,
expresses were sent to the emperor of
Mexico in paint, and the news of his coun-
try 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 ad-
verb. It would be yet more strange to re-
present 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 imagi-
nation 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
to full 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 necessary reason why this operation of the mind is attended with so much pleasure, as I have before observed on the same occasion; but we find a great variety of entertainments derived from this single principle; for it is this that not only gives us a relish of statuary, painting, and description, but makes us delight in all the actions and arts of mimickry. It is this that makes the several kinds of wit pleasant, which consists, as I have formerly shown, 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 consists in the affinity of letters, as an anagram, acrostic; or of syllables, as in doggrel rhymes, echoes; or of words, as in puns, quibbles; or of a whole sentence or poem, as wings and altars. The final cause, probably, of annexing pleasure to this operation of the mind, was to quicken and encourage us in our searches after truth, since the distinguishing one thing from another, and the right discerning betwixt our ideas, depend wholly upon our comparing them together, and observing the congruity or disagreement that appears among the several works of nature.

But I shall here confine myself to those pleasures of the imagination which proceed from ideas raised by words, because most of the observations that agree with descriptions are equally applicable to painting and statuary.

readers, who are all acquainted with the same language, and know the meaning of the words they read, should nevertheless have a different relish of the same descriptions. We find one transported with a pas sage, which another runs over with coldness and indifference; or finding the representa tion extremely natural, where another can perceive nothing of likeness and conformity. This different taste must proceed either from the perfection of imagination in one more than in another, or from the different ideas that several readers affix to the same words. For to have a true relish and form a right judgment of a description, a man should be born with a good imagination, and must have well weighed the force and energy that lie in the several words of a language, so as to be able to distinguish which are most significant and expressive of their proper ideas, and what additional strength and beauty they are capable of receiving from conjunction with others. The fancy must be warm, to retain the print of those images it hath received from outward objects, and the judgment disceming, to know what expressions are most proper to clothe and adorn them to the best advantage. A man who is deficient in either of these respects, though he may re ceive the general notion of a description, can never see distinctly all its particular beauties; as a person with a weak sight may have the confused prospect of a place that lies before him, without entering into its several parts, or discerning the variety of its colours in their full glory and perfec


Saturday, June 28, 1712



ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION. Contents.-How a whole set of ideas hang together, &c. A natural cause assigned for it. How to perfect the imagination of a writer. Who among the ancient poets had this faculty in its greatest perfection. Ho mer excelled in imagining what is great; Virgil in imagining what is beautiful; Ovid in imagining what is new. Our own countryman, Milton, very perfect in all these three respects.

Words, when well chosen, have so great
a force in them, that a description often
gives us more lively ideas than the sight of
things themselves. The reader finds a scene No. 417.]
drawn in stronger colours, and painted more
to the life in his imagination by the help of
words, than by an actual survey of the
scene which they describe. In this case,
the poet seems to get the better of nature:
he takes, indeed, the landscape after her,
but gives it more vigorous touches, height-
ens its beauty, and so enlivens the whole
piece, that the images which flow from the
object themselves appear weak and faint,
in comparison of those that come from the
expressions. The reason, probably, may
be, because in the survey of any object, we
have only so much of it painted on the ima-
gination 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 our sight when we first
beheld it. As we look on any object, our
idea of it is, perhaps, made up of two or
three simple ideas; but when the poet re-
presents it, he may either give us a more
complex idea of it, or only raise in us such
ideas as are most apt to affect the imagina-


It may here be worth our while to examine how it comes to pass that several

Quem tu, Melpomene, semel
Nascentem placido lumine videris,
Illum non labor Isthmius
Clarabit pugilem, non equus impiger, &c.
Sed quæ Tibur aquæ fertile perfluent,
Et spisse nemorum com
Fingent Eolio carmine nobilem.

Hor. Od. iii. Lib. 4.1.
He on whose birth the lyric queen
Of numbers smil'd, shall never grace
The Isthmian gauntlet, or be seen
First in the fame'd Olympic race.

But him the streams that warbling flow
Rich Tiber's fertile meads along,
And shady groves, his haunts, shall know
The master of th' Eolian song.

cumstance of what we have formerly seen
WE may observe, that any single cir
often raises up a whole scene of imagery
and awakens numberless ideas that before
slept in the imagination; such a particular

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

mell or colour is able to fill the mind, on a | the productions of art, whether it appear
udden, with the picture of the fields or in painting or statuary, in the great works
ardens where we first met with it, and to of architecture, which are in their present
ring up into view all the variety of images glory; or in the ruins of those which flour-
hat once attended it. Our imagination ished in former ages.
akes the hint, and leads us unexpectedly
to cities or theatres, plains or meadows.
We may further observe, when the fancy
hus reflects on the scenes that have passed
nit formerly, those which were at first
pleasant to behold appear more so upon
eflection, and that the memory heightens
he delightfulness of the original. A Car-
esian would account for both these in-
tances in the following manner:

The set of ideas which we received from uch a prospect or garden, having entered The mind at the same time, have a set of races belonging to them in the brain, ordering very near upon one another: when, therefore, any one of these ideas rises in the imagination, and consequently lespatches 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 deas 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 imagination. But because the pleasure we receive from these places far surmounted, and overcame the little disagreeableness we found in them, for this reason there was at first a wider passage worn in the pleasure traces, and, on the contrary, so narrow a one in those which belonged to the disagreeable ideas, that they were quickly stopt up, and rendered incapable of receiving any animal spirits, and consequently of exciting any unpleasant ideas in the memory.

Such advantages as these help to open a
man's thoughts, and to enlarge his imagina-
tion, and will therefore have their influence
on all kinds of writing, if the author knows
how to make right use of them. And
among those of the learned languages who
excel in this talent, the most perfect in
their several kinds are, perhaps, Homer,
Virgil, and Ovid. The first strikes the
imagination wonderfully with what is great,
the second with what is beautiful, and the
last with what is strange. Reading the
Iliad, is like travelling through a country
uninhabited, where the fancy is entertained
with a thousand savage prospects of vast
deserts, wide uncultivated marshes, huge
forests, misshapen rocks and precipices.
On the contrary, the Æneid is like a well-
ordered garden, where it is impossible to
find out any part unadorned, or to cast our
eyes upon a single spot that does not pro-
duce some beautiful plant or flower. But
when we are in the Metamorphoses, we
are walking on enchanted ground, and see
nothing but scenes of magic lying round us.

Homer is in his province, when he is de-
scribing a battle or a multitude, a hero or
a god. Virgil is never better pleased than
when he is in his elysium, or copying out
an entertaining picture. Homer's epithets
generally mark out what is great; Virgil's
what is agreeable. Nothing can be more
magnificent than the figure Jupiter makes
in the first Iliad, nor more charming than
that of Venus in the first Æneid.
H xa xuvenir en opgur' veure Keoviwv,
Αμβροσια, δ' αρα χαίται επερρώσαντο ανάκτος
Reaтos a' 'abavaт010 Maya


Iliad, i. 528.

He spoke, and awful bends his sable brows;
Shakes his ambrosial curls, and gives the nod,

The stamp of fate, and sanction of the god
High heav'n with trembling the dread signal took,
And all Olympus to the centre shook.


Virg. n. i. 406.

Dixit: et avertens rosea cervice refulsit,
Spiravere: pedes vestis defluxit ad imos,
Ambrosiæque come divinum vertice odorem
Et vera incessu patuit dea.
Thus having said, she turn'd, and made appear
Her neck refulgent, and dishevell'd hair;
Which, flowing from her shoulders reach'd the ground
in length of train descends her sweeping gown,
And widely spread ambrosial scents around:
And by her graceful walk the queen of love is known.

It would be in vain to inquire whether the power of imagining things strongly proceeds from any greater perfection in the Soul, or from any nicer texture in the brain of one man than another. But this is cerain, that a noble writer should be born with this faculty in its full strength and vigour, so as to be able to receive lively ideas from outward objects, to retain them long, and to range them together, upon occasion, in such figures and representations, as are most likely to hit the fancy of the reader. A poet should take as much pains in form- Homer's persons are most of them godlike ng his imagination, as a philosopher in and terrible: Virgil has scarce admitted cultivating his understanding. He must any into his poem who are not beautiful, gain a due relish of the works of nature, and has taken particular care to make his and be thoroughly conversant in the various hero so.

Scenery of a country life.

When he is stored with country images, if he would go beyond pastoral, and the


-Lumenque juventa
Purpureum, et lætos oculis afflarat honores.
Virg. n. i. 594.

ower kinds of poetry, he ought to acquaint And gave his rolling eyes a sparkling grace.
imself with the pomp and magnificence And breath'd a youthful vigour on his face.-Dryden.
of courts. He should be very well versed In a word, Homer fills his readers with
n every thing that is noble and stately in sublime ideas, and, I believe, has raised the

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »