« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
N° 421. THURSDAY, JULY 3, 1712.
ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION.
tennis, or for leading him from shop to shop, in the cant of particular trades and employments. It is certain, there may be found an infinite variety of very agreeable allusions in both these kinds; but, for the generality, the most entertaining ones lie in the work of nature, which are obvious to all capacities, and more delightful than what is to be found in arts and sciences.
It is this talent of affecting the imagination, that How those please the imagination, who treat of subjects abstract- gives an embellishment to good sense, and makes ed from matter, by allusions taken from it. What allusions one man's compositions more agreeable than an most pleasing to the imagination. Great writers how faulty other's. It sets off all writings in general, but is in this respect. Of the art of imagining in general. The the very life and highest perfection of poetry imagination capable of pain as well as pleasure. In what dewhere it shines in an eminent degree, it has pregree the imagination is capable either of pain or pleasure.
Ignotis errare locis, ignota videre
He sought fresh fountains in a foreign soil!
served several poems for many ages, that have no thing else to recommend them; and where all the other beauties are present, the work appears dry and insipid, if this single one be wanting. It has something in it like creation. It bestows a kind of existence, and draws up to the reader's view several objects which are not to be found in being. It makes additions to nature, and gives greater va
THE pleasures of the imagination are not wholly riety to God's works. In a word, it is able to confined to such particular authors as are conversant beautify and adorn the most illustrious scenes in in material objects, but are often to be met with the universe, or to fill the mind with more glorious among the polite masters of morality, criticism, shows and apparitions, than can be found in any and other speculations abstracted from matter, part of it. who, though they do not directly treat of the vi
We have now discovered the several originals of
sible parts of nature, often draw from them their those pleasures that gratify the fancy; and here, similitudes, metaphors, and allegories. By these perhaps, it would not be very difficult to cast under allusions, a truth in the understanding is, as it were, their proper heads those contrary objects, which reflected by the imagination; we are able to see are apt to fill it with distaste and terror; for the something like colour and shape in a notion, and to imagination is as liable to pain as pleasure. When discover a scheme of thoughts traced out upon the brain is hurt by an accident, or the mind dis matter. And here the mind receives a great deal of satisfaction, and has two of its faculties gratified at the same time, while the fancy is busy in copying after the understanding, and transcribing ideas out of the intellectual world into the material.
The great art of a writer shows itself in the choice of pleasing allusions, which are generally to be taken from the great or beautiful works of art or nature; for though whatever is new or uncommon is apt to delight the imagination, the chief design of an allusion being to illustrate and explain the passages of an author, it should be always borrowed from what is more known and common, than the passages which are to be explained.
ordered by dreams or sickness, the fancy is over. run with wild dismal ideas, and terrified with a thousand hideous monsters of its own framing.
• Eumenidum veluti demens videt agmina Pentheus,
VIRG. En. iv. ver. 469.
'Like Pentheus, when distracted with his fear,
Allegories, when well chosen, are like so many tracks of light in a discourse, that make every thing about them clear and beautiful. A noble that of a distracted person, when his imagination There is not a sight in nature so mortifying as metaphor, when it is placed to an advantage, casts is troubled, and his whole soul disordered and con a kind of glory round it, and darts a lustre through fused. Babylon in ruins is not so melancholy a a whole sentence. These different kinds of allu- spectacle. But to quit so disagreeable a subject, I sion are but so many different manners of simili- shall only consider by way of conclusion, what all tude; and, that they may please the imagination, infinite advantage this faculty gives an Almighty the likeness ought to be very exact or very agree- Being over the soul of man, and how great a mea able, as we love to see a picture where the resem-sure of happiness or misery we are capable of reblance is just, or the posture and air graceful.ceiving from the imagination only. But we often find eminent writers very faulty in
this respect: great scholars are apt to fetch their has over the fancy of another, and with what ease We have already seen the influence that one man comparisons and allusions from the sciences in he conveys into it a variety of imagery: how great which they are most conversant, so that a man may a power then may we suppose lodged in him, who see the compass of their learning in a treatise on knows all the ways of affecting the imagination, the most indifferent subject. I have read a dis- who can infuse what ideas he pleases, and fill those course upon love, which none but a profound che-ideas with terror and delight to what degree he mist could understand, and have heard many a ser- thinks fit! He can excite images in the mind with mon that should only have been preached before a out the help of words, and make scenes rise up congregation of Cartesians. On the contrary, before us, and seem present to the eye, without Ystances as are too mean and familiar. They are can transport the imagination with such beautiful your men of business usually have recourse to such the assistance of bodies or exterior objects. for drawing the reader into a game of chess or and glorious visions, as cannot possibly enter into our
mn from shoptosis present conceptions, or haunt it with such ghastly lations, to his own advantage, and express the sas and employer spectres and apparitions, as would make us hope tisfaction he has in his own dear self till he is very ound an infere for annihilation, and think existence no better than ridiculous; but in this case the man is made a fool in both these a curse. In short, he can so exquisitely ravish or by his own consent, and not exposed as such wheost entertaining torture the soul through this single faculty, as might|ther he will or no. I take it therefore, that, to suffice to make the whole heaven or hell of any make raillery agreeable, a man must either not finite being. know he is rallied, or think never the worse of himself if he sees he is.
ch are ob
ul than whas
No 422. FRIDAY, JULY 4, 1712.
ting the imag
o good sense, at
more agreeabl ritings in geen! st perfection d nent degree many ages, the e chem; and vie
Hæc scripsi non otii abundantia, sed amoris erga te.
t, the work One be wants on, It be
ot to be fo
e. and gires
3 word ted
can be f
t, or thes
, the ha
I have written this, not out of abundance of leisure, but of my
Acetus is of a quite contrary genius, and is more generally admired than Callisthenes, but not with justice. Acetus has no regard to the modesty or weakness of the person he rallies; but if the quality or humility gives him any superiority to the man he would fall upon, he has no mercy on making the onset. He can be pleased to see his best friend. out of countenance, while the laugh is loud in his own applause. His raillery always puts the company into little divisions and separate interests, while that of Callisthenes cements it, and makes to the as I no not know any thing which gives greater dis- every man not only better pleased with himself, turbance to conversation, than the false notion but also with all the rest in the conversation. some people have of raillery. It ought, certainly, To rally well, it is absolutely necessary that to be the first point to be aimed at in society, to kindness must run through all you say; and you gain the good-will of those with whom you converse: must ever preserve the character of a friend to the way to that is, to show you are well inclined support your pretensions to be free with a man. towards them: what then can be more absurd than Acetus ought to be banished human society, beto set up for being extremely sharp and biting, as cause he raises his mirth upon giving pain to the the term is, in your expressions to your familiars? person upon whom he is pleasant. Nothing but the A man who has no good quality but courage, is in malevolence which is too general towards those the fancy a a very ill way towards making an agreeable figure who excel, could make his company tolerated; difficult ar in the world, because that which he has superior to but they with whom he converses are sure to see other people cannot be exerted, without raising some man sacrificed wherever he is admitted; and himself an enemy. Your gentleman of a satirical all the credit he has for wit, is owing to the grativein is in the like condition. To say a thing which fication it gives to other men's ill-nature. perplexes the heart of him you speak to, or brings Minutius has a wit that conciliates a man's love, blushes into his face, is a degree of murder; and at the same time that it is exerted against his it is, I think, an unpardonable offence to show a faults. He has an art in keeping the person he man you do not care whether he is pleased or dis- rallies in countenance, by insinuating that he himpleased. But won't you then take a jest ?—Yes: self is guilty of the same imperfection. This he but pray let it be a jest. It is no jest to put me, does with so much address, that he seems rather to who am so unhappy as to have an utter aversion to bewail himself, than fall upon his friend. speaking to more than one man at a time, under a It is really monstrous to see how unaccountably necessity to explain myself in much company, and it prevails among men, to take the liberty of dis. reducing me to shame and derision, except I per-pleasing each other. One would think sometimes form what my infirmity of silence disables me to that the contention is, who shall be most disagreeable. Allusions to past follies, hints which Callisthenes has great wit, accompanied with revive what a man has a mind to forget for ever, that quality, without which a man can have no wit and deserves that all the rest of the world should, at all, a sound judgment. This gentleman rallies are commonly brought forth even in company of the best of any man I know, for he forms his ridi- men of distinction. They do not thrust with the cule upon a circumstance which you are in your skill of fencers, but cut up with the barbarity of heart not unwilling to grant him; to wit, that you butchers. It is, methinks, below the character of are guilty of an excess in something which is in it-men of humanity and good manners, to be capaself laudable. He very well understands what you ble of mirth while there is any one of the company would be, and needs not fear your anger for de-in pain and disorder. They who have the true taste claring you are a little too much that thing. The of conversation, enjoy themselves in a communigenerous will bear being reproached as lavish, and cation of each other's excellences, and not in a the valiant as rash, without being provoked to re- triumph over their imperfections. Fortius would sentment against their monitor. What has been have been reckoned a wit, if there had never been said to be a mark of a good writer will fall in a fool in the world: he wants not foils to be a with the character of a good companion. The beauty, but has that natural pleasure in observing good writer makes his reader better pleased with perfection in others, that his own faults are overhimself, and the agreeable man makes his friends looked out of gratitude by all his acquaintance. enjoy themselves, rather than him, while he is in After these several characters of men who suctheir company. Callisthenes does this with ini- ceed or fail in raillery, it may not be amiss to remitable pleasantry. He whispered a friend the flect a little further what one takes to be the most other day, so as to be overheard by a young of agreeable kind of it; and that to me appears ficer, who gave symptoms of cocking upon the when the satire is directed against vice, with an company, That gentleman has very much of the air of contempt of the fault, but no ill-will to the air of a general officer.' The youth immediately criminal. Mr. Congreve's Doris is a masterpiece put on a composed behaviour, and behaved himself in this kind. It is the character of a woman utsuitably to the conceptions he believed the com- terly abandoned; but her impudence, by the finest pany had of him. It is to be allowed that Cal- piece of raillery, is made only generosity: athenes will make a man run into impertinent re
"Peculiar therefore is her way,
For who o'ernight obtain'd her grace,
And stare upon the strange man's face,
So well she can the truth disguise,
Some censure this as lewd or low,
No 423. SATURDAY, JULY 5, 1712.
Once fit myself.
HOR. Od. xxvi. l. 3. ver. 1.
will not move her neither: but he that has her. must be the object of her desire, not her pity. The way to this end, I take to be, that a man's gene ral conduct should be agreeable, without addressin in particular to the woman he loves. Now, sir, you will be so kind as to sigh and die for Glon ana, I will carry it with great respect towards her but seem void of any thoughts as a lover. By the means I shall be in the most amiable light of which I am capable; I shall be received with freedon, you with reserve." Damon, who has himself no designs of marriage at all, easily fell into the scheme; and you may observe, that wherever you are, Damon appears also. You see he carries on an unaffected exactness in his dress and manner, and strives always to be the very contrary of Stre phon. They have already succeeded so far, that your eyes are ever in search of Strephon, and tur themselves of course from Damon. They mee: and compare notes upon your carriage; and the letter which was brought to you the other day, was a contrivance to remark your resentment. When you saw the billet subscribed Damon, and turned away with a scornful air, and cried, "imperti I LOOK upon myself as a kind of guardian to the nence!" you gave hopes to him that shuns you, fair, and am always watchful to observe any thing without mortifying him that languishes for you. which concerns their interest. The present paper 'What I am concerned for, madam, is, that in shall be employed in the service of a very fine the disposal of your heart, you should know what young woman; and the admonitions I give her you are doing, and examine it before it is lost. may not be unuseful to the rest of her sex. Glo Strephon contradicts you in discourse with the ci riana shall be the name of the heroine in to-day's vility of one who has a value for you, but gives up entertainment ;,and when I have told you that she nothing like one that loves you. This seeming is rich, witty, young, and beautiful, you will be- unconcern gives his behaviour the advantage lieve she does not want admirers. She has had, sincerity, and insensibly obtains your good op since she came to town, about twenty-five of those nion, by appearing disinterested in the purchase lovers who make their addresses by way of jointure of it. If you watch these correspondents here and settlement: these come and go with great in-after, you will find that Strephon makes his visit difference on both sides; and as beauteous as she of civility immediately after Damon has tired you is, a line in a deed has had exception enough with one of love. Though you are very discreet, against it, to outweigh the lustre of her eyes, the you will find it no easy matter to escape the toils readiness of her understanding, and the merit of so well laid, as when one studies to be disagree her general character. But among the crowd of able in passion, the other to be pleasing with such cool adorers, she has two who are very assidu-out it. All the turns of your temper are carefully ous in their attendance. There is something so ex-watched, and their quick and faithful intelligence traordinary and artful in their manner of applica- gives your lovers irresistible advantage. You tion, that I think it but common justice to alarm please, madam, to be upon your guard, and take her in it. I have done it in the following letter: all the necessary precautions against one who is amiable to you before you know he is enamoured
'I am, MADAM,
'Your most obedient servant.'
I HAVE for some time taken notice of two gentlemen who attend you in all public places, both of whom have also easy access to you at your own Strephon makes great progress in this lady's good house. The matter is adjusted between them; and graces; for most women being actuated by some Damon, who so passionately addresses you, has no little spirit of pride and contradiction, he has the design upon you; but Strephon, who seems to be good effects of both those motives by this covert indifferent to you, is the man who is, as they have way of courtship. He received a message yester settled it, to have you. The plot was laid over a day from Damon, in the following words, super bottle of wine; and Strephon, when he first thought scribed, 'With speed.' of you, proposed to Damon to be his rival. The manner of his breaking of it to him, I was so 'ALL goes well; she is very angry at me, placed at a tavern, that I could not avoid hearing. dare say hates me in earnest. It is a good time to 66 Damon," ," said he, with a deep sigh, "I have visit. long languished for that miracle of beauty, Gloriana; and if you will be very stedfastly my rival, I shall certainly obtain her. Do not," continued he, "be offended at this overture; for I go upon the knowledge of the temper of the woman, rather than any vanity that I could profit by an opposition of your pretensions to those of your humble servant. Gloriana has very good sense, a quick relish of the satisfactions of life, and will not give herself, as the crowd of women do, to the arms of a man to whom she is indifferent. As she is a sen
The comparison of Strephon's gaiety to Damon's languishment, strikes her imagination with a pros pect of very agreeable hours with such a man as the former, and abhorrence of the insipid prospect with one like the latter. To know when a lady displeased with another, is to know the best time of advancing yourself. This method of two per sons playing into each other's hand is so dangerous, that I cannot tell how a woman could be able to
sible woman, expressions of rapture and adoration withstand such a siege. The condition of Glorians,
either, but he ir I am afraid, is irretrievable; for Strephon has had and every one, even the meanest of his own faher desire, the so many opportunities of pleasing without suspi- mily! and yet how seldom imitated! Instead of to be, tcion, that all which is left for her to do is to bring which we commonly meet with ill-natured exposgreeable, him, now she is advised, to an explanation of his tulations, noise, and chidingsAnd this I hinted, man hele passion, and beginning again, if she can conquer because the humour and disposition of the head the kind sentiments she has already conceived for is what chiefly influences all the other parts of a him. When one shows himself a creature to be family.
as to sigh and
be received 12:
amen, who th
at all, es bserve, the
D. You see be
in his dres
the very co dy succeeded rch of Spea on Dance!
YOUR CAR to you the
bed Dame A
at lang st for, B
me it ha
N. B. I have many other secrets which concern the empire of love; but I consider that, while I alarm my women, I instruct my men.
No 424. MONDAY, JULY 7, 1712.
Est ulubris, animus si te non deficit æquus.
HOR. Ep. xi. 1. 1. ver. 30.
" MR. SPECTATOR,
avoided, the other proper to be fled to for suc- 'An agreement and kind correspondence becour, they have the whole woman between them, tween friends and acquaintance is the greatest and can occasionally rebound her love and hatred pleasure of life. This is an undoubted truth; and from one to the other, in such a manner, as to yet any man who judges from the practice of the keep her at a distance from all the rest of the world will be almost persuaded to believe the world, and cast lots for the conquest. contrary; for how can we suppose people should be so industrious to make themselves uneasy? What can engage them to entertain and foment jealousies of one another upon every the least occasion! Yet so it is, there are people who (as it should seem) delight in being troublesome and vexatious, who (as Tully speaks) mirá sunt alacritate ad litigandum, "have a certain cheerfulness in wrangling." And thus it happens, that there are very few families in which there are not feuds and animosities, though it is every one's interest, there more particularly, to avoid them, because there (as I would willingly hope) no one gives another uneasiness, without feeling some share of it. But I am gone beyond what I designed, and had almost "London, June 24. forgot what I chiefly proposed; which was, barely 'A MAN who has it in his power to choose his own to tell you how hardly we, who pass most of our company, would certainly be much to blame should time in town, dispense with a long vacation in the he not, to the best of his judgment, take such as country, how uneasy we grow to ourselves, and to are of a temper most suitable to his own; and one another, when our conversation is confined; where that choice is wanting, or where a man is insomuch that, by Michaelmas, it is odds but we mistaken in his choice, and yet under a necessity come to downright squabbling, and make as free of continuing in the same company, it will cer- with one another to our faces, as we do with the tainly be his interest to carry himself as easily as rest of the world behind their backs. After I possible, have told you this, I am to desire that you would 'In this I am sensible I do but repeat what has now and then give us a lesson of good-humour, a been said a thousand times, at which however I family piece, which, since we are all very fond of think nobody has any title to take exception, but you, I hope may have some influence upon us. they who never failed to put this in practice. Not 'After these plain observations, give me leave to to use any longer preface, this being the season of give you an hint of what a set of company of my the year in which great numbers of all sorts of acquaintance, who are now gone into the country, people retire from this place of business and plea- and have the use of an absent nobleman's seat, sure to country solitude, I think it not improper to have settled among themselves, to avoid the inconadvise them to take with them as great a stock of veniences above mentioned. They are a collection good-humour as they can; for though a country of ten or twelve, of the same good inclination life is described as the most pleasant of all others, towards each other, but of very different talents and though it may in truth be so, yet it is so only and inclinations; from hence they hope, that the to those who know how to enjoy leisure and re-variety of their tempers will only create variety of tirement. pleasures. But as there always will arise, among
e for fo
As for those who can't live without the con- the same people, either for want of diversity of stant helps of business or company, let them con-objects, or the like causes, a certain satiety, which sider that in the country there is no Exchange, may grow into ill-humour or discontent, there is a there are no playhouses, no variety of coffee-houses, large wing of the house which they design to emnor many of those other amusements, which serve ploy in the nature of an infirmary. Whoever says here as so many reliefs from the repeated occur- a peevish thing, or acts any thing which betrays a rences in their own families; but that there the sourness or indisposition to company, is immedigreatest part of their time must be spent within ately to be conveyed to his chambers in the infirthemselves, and consequently it behoves them to mary; from whence he is not to be relieved, till consider how agreeable it will be to them before by his manner of submission, and the sentiments they leave this dear town. expressed in his petition for that purpose, he ap
I remember, Mr. Spectator, we were very well pears to the majority of the company to be again entertained, last year, with the advices you gave fit for society. You are to understand, that all us from Sir Roger's country seat; which I the ill-natured words or uneasy gestures are sufficient rather mention, because it is almost impossible not cause for banishment; speaking impatiently to to live pleasantly, where the master of the family servants, making a man repeat what he says, or is such a one as you there describe your friend, any thing that betrays inattention or dishumour, who cannot therefore (I mean as to his domestic are also criminal without reprieve. But it is procharacter) be too often recommended to the imita-vided, that whoever observes the ill-natured fit tion of others. How amiable is that affability and coming upon himself, and voluntarily retires, shall benevolence with which he treats his neighbours, be received at his return from the infirmary with
• See No, 107.
the highest marks of esteem. By these and other wholesome methods, it is expected that, if they
$ MR. SPECTATOR,
"Then let some strange mysterious dream
And as I wake, sweet music breathe
"I reflected then upon the sweet vicissitudes night and day, on the charming disposition of t seasons, and their return again in a perpetual cir cle: and oh! said I, that I could from these m declining years return again to my first spring youth and vigour; but that, alas! is impossible all that remains within my power, is to soften the inconveniences I feel, with an easy contented mind and the enjoyment of such delights as this solitude affords me. In this thought I sat me down on a bank of flowers, and dropped into a slumber. which, whether it were the effect of fumes and vapours, or my present thoughts, I know not; but methought the genius of the garden stood before me, and introduced into the walk where I lay this drama, and different scenes of the revolution of the year, which, whilst I then saw, even in dream, I resolved to write down, and send to the Spectator.
The first person whom I saw advancing towards THERE is hardly any thing gives me a more sen-me, was a youth of a most beautiful air and shape, sible delight, than the enjoyment of a cool still though he seemed not yet arrived at that exact evening after the uneasiness of a hot sultry day. proportion and symmetry of parts which a little Such a one I passed not long ago, which made me more time would have given him; but, however, rejoice, when the hour was come for the sun to set, there was such a bloom in his countenance, suci that I might enjoy the freshness of the evening in satisfaction and joy, that I thought it the most de my garden, which then affords me the pleasantest sirable form that I had ever seen. He was clothed hours I pass in the whole four-and-twenty. I im-in a flowing mantle of green silk, interwoven wit mediately rose from my couch, and went down flowers: he had a chaplet of roses on his head, into it. You descend at first by twelve stone steps and a narcissus in his hand; primroses and viole into a large square divided into four grass-plots, sprang up under his feet, and all nature was cheered in each of which is a statue of white marble. This at his approach. Flora was on one hand, and is separated from a large parterre by a low wall; Vertumnus on the other, in a robe of changeable and from thenee, through a pair of iron gates, you silk. After this I was surprised to see the moo are led into a long broad walk of the finest turf, beams reflected with a sudden glare from armour, set on each side with tall yews, and on either hand and to see a man completely armed, advancing bordered by a canal, which on the right divides with his sword drawn. I was soon informed by the walk from a wilderness parted into variety of the genius it was Mars, who had long usurped a alleys and arbours, and on the left form a kind of place among the attendants of the Spring. He amphitheatre, which is the receptacle of a great made way for a softer appearance. It was Venus, number of oranges and myrtles. The moon shone without any ornament but her own beauties, not bright, and seemed then most agreeably to supply so much as her own cestus, with which she had the place of the sun, obliging me with as much encompassed a globe, which she held in her right light as was necessary to discover a thousand hand, and in her left she had a sceptre of gold pleasing objects, and at the same time divested of After her followed the Graces, with their arms all power of heat. The reflection of it in the entwined within one another: their girdles were water, the fanning of the wind rustling on the loosed, and they moved to the sound of soft music, leaves, the singing of the thrush and nightingale, striking the ground alternately with their feet and the coolness of the walks, all conspired to Then came up the three months which belong to make me lay aside all displeasing thoughts, and this season. As March advanced towards me, there brought me into such a tranquillity of mind, as is, was methought in his look a louring roughness I believe, the next happiness to that of hereafter. which ill befitted a month which was ranked in In this sweet retirement I naturally fell into the soft a season; but as he came forwards, his fe repetition of some lines out of a poem of Milton's, which he entitles Il Penseroso, the ideas of which were exquisitely suited to my present wanderings of thought:
"Sweet bird! that shun'st the noise of folly,
And missing thee I walk unseen
tures became insensibly more mild and gentle he smoothed his brow, and looked with so sweet countenance, that I could not but lament his de parture, though he made way for April. He s peared in the greatest gaiety imaginable, and ha a thousand pleasures to attend him: his look w frequently clouded, but immediately returned to its first composure, and remained fixed in a smile. Then came May, attended by Cupid, with his bo strung, and in a posture to let fly an arrow: passed by, methought I heard a confused noise of soft complaints, gentle ecstasies, and tender sighs of lovers; vows of constancy, and as many con plainings of perfidiousness; all which the winds