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The most dull and phlegmatic are not altogether void of it; and to poffefs it in a high degree, is to possess

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Though the distinctive qualities of judgement, imagination, and animal sensation, be sufficiently marked ;,, yet, upon a near inspection, we will find these three regions of our nature fo interwoven, as never to exist separately. Imagination is sometimes used as another word for feeling; and without mental images there can be no judgement. Imagination cannot be employed without asserting the qualities of the objects with which it is cor versant; and this is the peculiar province of judgement.

A late eminent philosopher * has probably gone too. far in afferting, that there is really no difference at all betwixt judgement and imagination ; that one endowed with greatnefs of mind, must have necessarily both these faculties in equal perfection. With vigorous powers to grasp any great or exalted subject may be said equally of the poet and philosopher; and therefore, says he, if the mind of Newton had been directed to the subject of Milton, he would have been a poet of the first or. der, and vice versa.

In this ingenious remark there is fome plausibility; but, as I have said, it is carried, too far : for though fruitfulness of imagination may be equally ascribed to an Euclid, who invents a process of mathematical reaso. nings, as to a Shakefpear, who brings together a group of human characters, and a series of actions; and in other refpects there may be a similarity of operation in the exercise of judgement and imagination ; yet the objects to which they are separately directed, form be. twixt them a decided distinction; a distinction which cannot be accounted for, but from an original bias of nature. On the mind of the poet is imprinted quali.

*Doctor Johnson.

may indeed improve, but never will supply. A mind

thus adorned, would avail nothing ; nay, perhaps would · be unfriendly to him who would dwell among the pure

abstractions of mathematics. It is enough to fay on this subject, that coolness, and activity of mind, constitute the philosopher; fire and feeling the poet. It is not so proper therefore to term judgement and imagination diftinct faculties, as the sanie faculty, or in general, mind impressed with different qualities. :

Invention, or the power of creation, has been commonly considered as the distinguishing characteriftic of imagination : but this must be understood in a certain sense. A poet, or painter, may imagine a landscape, which for beauty of colouring, and exact disposition of parts, will exceed wliatever is to be found in nature, and produce an aggregate, or one complex idea, which in itfelf is new; but to this, creation is limited. The objects of which it is composed are all familiar; the shepherd and his flock, the river, the mountain, and the tree.

But it is not so much the power of extending beyond the common appearances of nature, and exhibia ting pictures of original design, which characterise this. faculty, as the nature of those pictures which it exhibits: its sphere is among what is magnificent and beautiful in matter, or what is heroic and amiable in mind; its business is to seize upon whatever is astonishing, or melt with whatever is amiable; for judgement may also, in its own sphere, among qualities and relations, discover many' new aggregates, and many new combinations, the one however with more fplendor and extravagance, the other with more fobriety and truth. Perhaps in this respect the work of Locke is an edifice, though less glaring, yet constructed with as much fertility of invention, and confiftency of design, as that of Homer.

It has beeen allerted that the poet is at liberty to tranfgress the laws of nature, or contradict its com

mon operations, that he may creare beings which have not existed, or which, according to the known analogy of nature, cannot exist. But this is surely founded upon a mistake ; for without nature and truth, nothing can please. In the infancy of hu. man reason indeed, it is not to be expected that men sẠould be so much enlightened with regard to the laws. of God, respecting this earth, as to estimate with exactness all the possibilities of things. In rude ages, the propensity to believe whatever exceeds the common. course of events, seems to know no bounds. Mountains, and rivers, and trees, have been supposed acting in concert with human personages; and it is no way surprising that the abstracted idea of fixed and immu. table laws, should have a small place in that mind whose only gratification is wonder and admiration. As long therefore, as the bounds of nature's operations were not determines, he could not be said to transgress them, who asserted extravagancies, which long experience with the history of the world, and philosophical reasonings could alone countervail. Homer, I make no doubt, believed, with the rest of his countrymen, the supernatural events which he relates, and what we sometimes, afcribe to his invention, was perhaps often the consequence of credulity only, Virgil, whose more enlightened age, and philosophical principles, rendered less credulous of the theological system of Homer, evidently enters with less fpirit, and with less nature, into the actions of supernatural beings. The adventures of Æneas, with the principal events, were however traditionary stories commonly believed, and which he probably also believed himself and the embellishing circumstances were what happened to Hoa mer's heroes in similar fituations, and might also happen to his. The romantic imagination of Tasso and Ariosto, might very naturally delude them into the common belief of the times, with regard to the many

wild transactions of knight-errantry which they relate ; and the ghosts, the witches, and the fairies of Shake. spear, were no doubt also the subject of his own belief. It is not indeed natural to suppose that these writers were so refined, as first coldly to fit down, and consider what actions they should relate that would be moft acceptable to the multitude ; but that rather themfelves, fired with the generous love of poetry, they fung of those great and fplendid scenes which moft flattered their imagination, or weré moft congenial with their belief. Keeping entirely out of fight the inte. rested idea of writing for approbation or gain, they allowed themselves, according to the bias of their genius, to be hurried along among those objects that were great and interesting, or detained among those that were calm and beautiful. They chose a story which the ob{curity of tradition had rendered venerable, affimilating the actors, and the scenes, to their usual pitch of conception, and adorning the whole with those senti. ments, and that colouring which is at the same time natural and grand ; and as long as the probability of these wonderful actions and scenes could not be called in question, so long did they remain the sanie as if natural and true. But in an after age, when the light of philosophy had dispelled the visionary phantoms of popular credulity, he would act a very injudicions part indeed, who would continue to address men as if pofsessed with these prejudices. A story, however wonderful, founded on the religious notions of the ancients, with all the appendages of Fauns, of Satyrs, and of Nymphs, would have now few readers. On the same principles, the giants, the dragons, and enchanted cafe tles, which amused the dark ages, are at present neglected for the more natural adventures of a Crusoe, or a Jones.

It is not therefore what is new, what is wonderful, of what is fictitious, which is the fubject of poetical imagination. It is only when these qualities are confonant to our knowledge of history, or our feelings of truth. The frequent allufions to the fabulous tales of antiquity, with which modern poetry is interlarded, are none of its ornaments; and in the progress of taste, it has been gradually disused. Invocations to beingswho have no existence, and the supposed interpofition of their power, can have little impression on the imagination of those who have been initiated into the rational tenets of christianity. Though Fenelon has made nse of the mythology of the ancients with confiderable success, yet the artifice is too obvious to impose upon us; and were it not for the eminent merit he possesses of difplaying what is amiable in manners, and what is respectable in virtue, and the many beautiful rural scenes with which he charms the fancy, the poem of Telemachus would be displeasing to every reader of taste.

A poet therefore may decorate and heighten, but he must never lose fight of nature : he may describe scenes and actions which never exifted, but which may exift. It would not be proper at this day to talk of .castles removed to distant places instantaneously, and all the astonishing adventures of eastern relations. How preposterous would it be, when we are taught to think more worthily of the government of the universe, to suppose that the ruler of the main would create storms in order to disconcert petty undertakings, or which is still worse, to introduce Neptune, Boreas, and Eolus, with all their kindred train assisting at the operation ? Had Ceres been admitted an 'actor in the harveft scene of Thomson, our thoughts would have been distracted betwixt nature, and the poetical notion of the ancients ; an absurdity however of this kind an inferior writer would have very readily fallen into. As intia mately connected with the subject of these remarks, we shall conclude with a few. obfervations on what is called taste. Vol. I.

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