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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.
The pleasures of the imagination, taken in the full extent, are not so gross as those of sense, nor so refined as those of the understanding. The last are indeed more preferable, because they are founded on some new knowledge or improvement in 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 Homer has charmed more readers than a chapter in Aristotle. Besides, the pleasures of the imagination have this advantage 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.
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
Delightful scenes, whether in nature, painting, or poetry, have a kindly influence on the body, as well as 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 Francis Bacon, in his Essay upon Health, has not thought it improper to prescribe to his reader a poem or a prospect, where he particularly dissuades him from knotty and subtle disquisitions, and advises him to pursue studies that fill the mind with splendid and illustrious objects, as histories, fables, and contemplations of nature.
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.
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 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, 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 another light, and discovers in it a multitude of charms, that conceal themselves from the generality of mankind.
ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION.
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,
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 views, and feel a delightful stillness and amazement in the soul at the apprehensions of them. 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 is pent up in a narrow compass, and shortened on every side by the neighbourhood of walls or mountains. On the contrary, 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 under-nounces at first sight beautiful or deformed. standing. But if there be a beauty of 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.
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
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 to any hing that is great or uncommon. The very first discovery of it strikes the mind with an inward joy, and spreads 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 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, pro
Thus we see that every different species of
'Scit thalamo servare fidem, sanctasque veretur
them, that Mr. Addison was himself the author of these *It would seem from his manner of introducing fine verses.
The shining down, proud crest, and purple wings:
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.
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 beautiContents.-Why the necessary cause of our being pleas-ful in our own species pleasant, that all
No. 413.] Tuesday, June 24, 1712.
ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION.
ed with what is great, new, or beautiful, unknown.
Why the final cause more known and more useful. Creatures might be tempted to multiply The final cause of our being pleased with what is their kind, and fill the world with inhabit
ants; for it is very remarkable, that where- truth which has been proved incontestibly ever nature is crossed in the production of by many modern philosophers, and is ina monster (the result of any unnatural mix-deed one of the finest speculations in that ture) the breed is incapable of propagating science, if the English reader would see its likeness, and of founding a new order of the notion explained at large, he may find creatures: so that, unless all animals were it in the eighth chapter of the second book allured by the beauty of their own species, of Mr. Locke's Essay on Human Undergeneration would be at an end, and the standing. earth unpeopled.
The following letter of Steele to Addison is reprinted here from the original edition of the Spectator in folio.
'June 24, 1712.
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 MR. SPECTATOR,-I would not divert delightful. He has given almost every the course of your discourses, when you seem thing about us the power of raising an bent upon obliging the world with a train of agreeable idea in the imagination: so that thinking, which, rightly attended to, may it is impossible for us to behold his works render the life of every man who reads with coldness or indifference, and to survey more easy and happy for the future. The 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. I 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 deive 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 cause, as they are at present by the differ ent 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
additional methods of increasing their good fortune who adventure any thing in her service, or laying occasions for others to become 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
sign which gives me hopes of your favour to it, and that is what Tully advises, to wit, that the benefit is made as diffusive as possible. Every one that has half a guinea is put into the possibility, from that small sum to raise himself an easy fortune: when these little parcels of wealth are, as it were, thus thrown back again into the redonation of providence, we are to expect that some who live under hardships or obscurity may be produced to the world in the figure they deserve by this means. I doubt not but this last argument will have force with you; and I cannot add another to it, but what your severity will, I fear, very little regard; which is, that I am, sir, your greatest admirer,
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 pleasant, the more they resemble those of nature. Our English plantations and gardens considered in the foregoing light.
-Alterius sic Altera poscit opem res, et conjurat amice.
Hor. Ars Poet. v. 414.
But mutually they need each other's help.
Speluncæ, vivique lacus; hic frigida Tempe,
Here easy quiet, a secure retreat,
A harmless life that knows not how to cheat,
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 chance.
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 beauties of the most stately garden or palace lie in a narrow compass, the imagination immediately runs them over, and requires something else to gratify her; but in the wide fields of nature, the sight wanders up and down without confinement, and is fed with an infinite variety of images, without any certain stint or number. For this reason we always find the poet in love with the country life, where nature appears in the greatest perfection, and furnishes out all those scenes that are most apt to delight the imagination.
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. I must confess the novelty of such a sight may be one occasion of its pleasantness to the imagination; but certainly its chie. reason is its nearest resemblance to nature, as it does not only, like other pictures, give the colour and figure, but the motions 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 nobler and more exalted kind of pleasure than what we receive from the nicer and more accurate productions of art. On this