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its towering flight through regions of nizance. During this period, philosoimaginary being, the other patiently phy wanders more frequently into the and sedulously watching and investi dominions of imagination; for it cannot gating the properties and relations of rest content until it satisfies itself one actual existence. It may, therefore, be way or other. But when science has argued, that he who possesses the sober made such a progress in explaining the philosophic spirit, that spirit which la- causes of natural phenomena, as to bours to analyze and pursue, not the leave the philosopher satisfied with the ideal objects or qualities of an ideal result of his inqạiries, he wanders less world, but real being and its affections, seldom abroad, because he is content is, of all men, the most unlikely to in- with the certainty which he has acquired dulge in that idle flight of fancy which at home. In the time of Milton, science is called imagination; and that if Mil- was, comparatively speaking, in its inton was what I have represented him, fancy, and consequently the imaginaa greater philosopher than a poet, he tion was more frequently called into could not have so eminently excelled in action. Properly considered, imaginathat sphere of poetry which belongs tion and philosophy are only different to the imaginative faculties. This ar- branches of the spirit of curiosity; the gument I would admit, if the premises former applying itself to objects of on which it is founded were true; but if which it has no certainty, the latter we reflect a moment on the subject, we confining itself to certainty alone. In shall find, that the philosophic spirit
, so general, however, philosophy, is in far from standing aloof from imagina- search after causes and the qualities of tion, taking the term in its more en objects, while imagination is in pursuit larged sense, is actually the same spirit of objects themselves. They are, therepresenting itself to us under a different fore, only the same spirit differently aspect. The philosophic spirit is only applied ; and consequently they are employed in finding out the latent causes eternally mingling with each other, of visible effects: it seeks less to become and frequently
change sides altogether, acquainted with objects than with their what was imagination yesterday, beproperties; but imagination is in search coming philosophy to day; and, vice after objects themselves. When it tra- versa, what was philosophy, becoming verses regions of ideal or possible ex- imagination. Whilever the objects of istence, it seeks only to discover the which the mind is in pursuit remain beings which are most likely to inhabit placed beyond the reach of certainty, those unexplored retreats; while philo- they are properly objects of imaginasophy, less daring, and less presump- tion; but the moment we ascertain them tuous in its flights, exerts itself in ascer- to be true or false, they become objects taining the qualities and affections of of philosophy. On the other hand, what such beings as are placed immediately appears to be philosophy, is frequently before it. Imagination, despising it's nothing more than imagination; such relation with material existence, and as the various theories and hypotheses the vulgar appearances of nature, at- formed by astronomers and natural phitempts a higher flight, and seeks to losophers before the days of Newton. become acquainted with beings of a These passed at the time for so many sublimer and more etherial mould. It systems of philosophy; but the progress is, therefore, only a higher order of of science has detected the illusion, and philosophy; or, in other words, the proved them to be nothing more than highest order to which philosophy can the airy fabrics of imagination. It is aspire. Both orders, however, are con- obvious, then, that the philosophic spi. tinually mingling and communing with rit, and that exercise of mind which is each other. When the philosopher is called imagination, are not only nearly puzzled or confounded in his attempts allied, but that they are in fact only to explain some natural phenomena, he different operations of the same spirit; indulges in imagination;
and conjecture and therefore we cannot be surprized supplies what reason cannot ascertain. that Milton should be at once a philoThis relation between philosophy and sopher and a writer of sublime and eximagination is more apparent in the in- panded imagination. It is generally fancy of science; while the former is allowed, that sublimity is the distinnonplused, and unable to account for guishing characteristic' feature of Milthe phenomena of which it takes cog- ton's poetry; and this opinion appears
to me one of the many proofs we have, Oh, write it not my hand, the name appears that the judgment of the public is sel- Already written, wash it out, my tears. dom in error. Sublimity is certainly In vain lost Eloisa weeps and prays, the grand feature that distinguishes not Her heart still dictates, and her hand obeys. only the “ Paradise Lost,” but all the works of Milton. No writer or poef this sublime writing, with Mr. Payne
It is certain, however, that if we call has equalled him in this character of intellectual greatness ; but then it must Knight, Lord Kames, &c. it was not be remembered, that sublimity is not that sort of sublimity in which Milton poetry. Besides, if we admit that there excelled: his soul was not tuned to is a sublimity of passion as well as a
notes of tender feeling, or impassioned sublimity of imagination, it is certain sensibility. The great and the sublime that Milton excelled only in the latter ;
of external nature, and of external apand indeed I believe, when properly pearances, and the images which imaexamined, we shall find that there is no
gination « bodies forth” of sensible real sublimity but what arises from ima- being, was the only sublime with which gination, or the agency of external ob
he was acquainted. In my opinion, jects. To call the emotion or sentiment nothing shews the absurdity of applywhich is excited in the breast of an in- ing the term sublime to these two spedividual by circumstances and situa
cies of writing more than the fact, that tions, sublime, seems to be an evident
he who went as far as “the force of naperversion of terms. Such a sentiment ture could go" in the latter, was a mere may be pathetic, but if we call it sub
novice in the former. This appears eviline at the same time, what do we gain his want of feeling, and from his own
dent from what I have already said of by doing so, but to confound terms which would have remained clearly dis- acknowledgment, where he informs us tinct if each of them were confined to
that he was its own class of ideas. Yet most writers
Not sedulous by nature to indite on subjects of taste and criticism, seem
Wars bitherto the only argument to have conspired in confounding these
Heroic deemed. ideas with each other, by quoting pathetic sentiments as examples of sub- For by wars he did not mean wars lime writing, of which the famous alone, but all the vicissitudes of fortune Qu'il Mourut of Corneille is a noted to which the hero of the poem, and all instance. The pathetic, however, is as the subordinate characters are diversely distinct from the sublime, as feeling is exposed. This is the real argument, from imagination. The following lines or more properly speaking, the real are extremely pathetic; but to call them subject of the poems to which Milton sublime on that account, appears to me alluded, as the Iliad, the Odyssey, the the surest means of perpetuating error, Æneid, the Jerusalem Delivered, &c. by confounding in language, percep- Milton could not succeed in subjects of tions which stand clearly distinct from this kind, simply because he could not each other in the mind.
describe the feelings which would na
turally be excited by every new situaPity the sorrows of a poor old man,
tion in which he should happen to place Whose trembling limbs bave borne him to his characters; and the reason he could your door;
not describe them was, because he was Whose days are dwindled to the shortest little acquainted with the human heart, span :
and consequently with the modes of Oh! give relief, and heaven will bless feeling whích it experiences under the your store.
different influences of times and circum
stances. No wonder, then, that of these Or the following lines still more affect
he was ing and pathetic.
Nor skilled nor studious, Dear fatal name, rest ever unrevealed,
because no man is studious of that Nos pass these lips in holy silence sealed; for which he has no talent or genius. Hide it my heart within that close dis- Milton's genius consisted in taking an guise,
enlarged view of the works of creation: Where, mixed with God's, his loved idea he travelled as far as he could, with lies :
certainty for his guide; but where cer
tainty forsook him, he pursued his ply the want of original feeling ;-the
have, indeed, boldly acknowledged that From these observations we may Milton is not one of those poets to whom draw an important inference; which is., we return with pleasure; but they have that no intellectual powers, no clearness not ventured to attribute this to
des or comprehensiveness of idea, can sup- ficiency of poetical genius. Mr. Knight
ascribes it almost entirely, and, if I re- right: they only erred in not distinmember right, exelusively, to the sole guishing wherein his pre-eminence concircumstance of his having written in sisted; or in not ascertaining precisely in blank verse; and he ascribes the same what powers of mind he particularly exreason for the want of interest in Thomp- celled. That common feeling which in, son's Seasons. I have not aimed, how- stinctively discerns every species of ex. ever, at being novel, in order to distin- cellence, does not however, possess that guish myself from other writers; for I still finer tact which separates all the spe. prize not that novelty and originality cies from each other, and perceives the which is not founded in truth. Perhaps, impassable lines that eternally prevent indeed, I may have some reason to trem- them from mingling with each other, ble for opinions which are advanced in Milton's pre-eminence was supposed to opposition to Addison, Johnson, and consist in his poetical genius, but this the voice of public opinion; but with arose from the confusion which has reregard to Addison and Johnson, I am sulted from confounding the poetic with perfectly easy: they claimed no exemp- the sublime. With the public opinion tion from fallibility; and it belongs to then I agree so far as admitting that the public to decide which of us has es- Milton was the first in his class, but his caped most successfully from the snares comparative excellence can only be ap. which encompass our judgment, in all preciated by comparing him with wri. its decisions. Addison, indeed, was ters whose characteristic excellence is well. qualified to judge of Milton's real sublimity and not poetry. If we expoetical merits, but
like other critics, cept some of the inspired penmen, Milhe was imposed upon by mistaking sub- ton is the most sublime of all writers ; limity for poetry. He had, like all wri- but I cannot agree that he was the first ters of refined taste, a high respect for of poets; and if public opinion were public opinion, and as he conceived that properly known, I have no hesitation the public looked upon Milton as the to say, that the public admire Milton first, or at least the second of poets, he not as a poet, but as a sublime writer, distrusted his own judgment wherever Those who admire him as a poet, do so it perceived any want of interest in the merely because they have paid no atten“ Paradise Lost.” He chose therefore tion to the difference between sublimity rather to bestow unqualified praise than and poetry. venture to call in question the judgment With regard to Dr. Johnson's high of that tribunal to which not only poe- opinion of Milton's poetical genius, he tic but literary merit of every descrip- was evidently deceived like Addison tion must ultimately appeal. If the and all the rest, by confounding the public judgment was, what Addison sublime with the poetic. Had he only conceived it to be, I would acknowledge thought of separating them from each his propriety in submitting to its de- other, I believe he would have viewed cree; but nothing is more certain than the genius of Milton in the same light that we are frequently ignorant of pub- that I have viewed it ; for it is obvious, lic opinion, even when this opinion seems from his critiques, that he considered openly and unequivocally to declare Milton devoid of feeling, passion, and itself to the world. Whenever the pubpoetic enthusiasm. He differed from lic extol any individual, that individualme only in supposing, that there must certainly possess extraordinary can be poetry without either feeling talents or endowments of some kind or or passion. I have, therefore, little to other; but the public may be still igno- fear from standing opposed to Johnson : rant of the distinctive character, or pe- I admire Milton as much as any of his culiar nature of these endowments; for admirers; but I admire him as a sub, it belongs to philosophy alone to find lime writer, not as a poet; and I feel out what that faculty is which renders confident, that however the public may its possessor
so noted and distinguished. be deceived by terms, it is his sublimity, This is the case with Milton: the pub. not bis poetry, that has procured him so lic have long acknowledged his pre- high a place in their esteem, eminence; and in doing so, they were
APHORISMS, OPINIONS, AND THOUGHTS ON MORALS. Without command of temper, no one the first instance: in the second, it may can be sure of always speaking the be vice. truth; for many persons of both sexes To stigmatize the whole of our noutter, while under the dominion of pas- bility as profligate, because some of sion, what they are glad to disown and them stand forth conspicuous for their explain away when their passion is over, profligacy, would be as unjust as it would
Occasional irritability of nerves, and he to pronounce a country wholly desecret anxiety, may sometimes overset ficient in entire, habitable, and respecteven the finest temper. We must, there able mansions, because a few ruined fore, denominate as fine tempered, not edifices force themselves on the eye, those who are never out of humour, for rendered prominent and remarkable by where are they found ? but those who being on an elevated situation. are most rarely thrown off their guard. A family friend, or l'ami de la maison,
If happiness be the goal in view, vir- (as the French call him) may be dantue and talent may be called two Ara- gerous to the peace of a married conbian coursers, which, however fleet and ple, unless he be honourable, and the powerful, would never reach the desired wife well-principled : for he who is and destined point, unless managed and guest at all times, and welcome at all guided by the hand of Temper. hours, must sometimes come when a
The talent exhibited in caricatures is cloud has gathered on the brow of the of a very low order of humour, and is husband, or the wife, and the latter of the highest order of malignity; and contrasts, perhaps, with the frowns of there is a little warp in the mind that her husband, the unruffled brow, the takes delight in them.
complacent smile, and constant attenLampoons of the pen, as well as lam- tion of the visitor and friend. At such poons of the pencil, are offensive to
moments, how easily, if left alone with good taste and to good feeling, though her, may an artful man win from a not equally so with the latter, as the weak woman a detail of the causes of former are chiefly directed against men- her husband's ill-humour and comtal, and, therefore, perhaps, corrigible plaints of his unkindness, while he, in imperfections; whereas, the latter are reply, wonders how any man can have usually levelled at those of the body, the heart to afflict such'excellence. which are, surely, more objects of pity In what misery does not one frail than ridicule. But though less the de- woman involve all who are connected gree of malice, the lampoon is of the with her!--But let those women, who same quality as the caricature; and the
are apt to consider thoughtlessness as mind that can write the one, would an error of no consequence, either in probably, if it could, draw the other.
themselves or others, remember that There exists not any man, or woman, she violates her duty both to society of an affectionate and generous nature, and herself, who gives any one reason who would not much rather blame them
to say, or even to insinuate, that apselves than blame the object of their pearance is against her. esteem and tenderness; and no feeling A child of four years old knows
ismore difficult to be borne, than the right from wrong, as well as a person conscious degradation of the being, one of forty; and the boy, who lies at four has fondly adored.
years old, will lie when he is grown up; The egotism of the sick, and of the and it is to prevent this, that he ought dying, is as interesting, as that of other to be reasoned or punished out of this persons is wearisome and disgusting. fault when a child.
Who can calculate on the mischiefs Those, accustomed in childhood to resulting from the weak boastings of curb and deny their little appetites and vanity, uttered by impudence, and sup- passions, will be best able to struggle ported by falsehood ?
with and surmount the passions and Who can can say to what degrada- appetites of their riper years. tion to one's self, or destruction to It is the observation of every upanother, the indulgence of vanity may prejudiced person, that those parents not lead? It may only be weakness in are treated by their children, through