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kind,) its train of thought is merely a series of conceptions; or, in common language, of imaginations *. In the case, too, of poetical imagination, it is the association of ideas that supplies the materials out of which its combinations are formed ; and when such an imaginary combination is become familiar to the mind, it is the association of ideas that connects its different parts together, and unites them into one whole. The association of ideas, therefore, although perfectly distinct from the power of imagination, is immediately and essentially fubfervient to all its exertions.
The last observation seems to me to point out, also, the circumstance which has led the greater part of English writers, to use the words Imagination and Fancy as fynonymous. It is obvious that a creative imagination, when a person possesses it so habitually that it may be regarded as forming one of the characteristics of his genius, implies a power of summoning up, at pleasure, a particular class of ideas; and of ideas related to each other in a particular manner; which power can be the result only, of certain habits of association, which the individual has acquired. It is to this power of the mind, which is evidently a particular turn of thought, and not one of the common principles of our nature, that our best writers (so far as I am able to judge) refer, in general, when they make use of the word fancy : I say, in general; for in disquisitions of this fort, in which the best writers are
* Accordingly, Hobbes calls the train of thought in the mind, “ Consequentia five series imaginationum.” “ Per feriem imagi“ nationum intelligo fucceffionem unius cogitationis ad aliam.”LEVIATHAN, cap. iii.
seldom precise and steady in the employment of words, it is only to their prevailing practice that we can appeal as an authority. What the particular relations are, by which those ideas are connected that are subservient to poetical imagination, I shall not inquire at present. I think they are chiefly those of resemblance and analogy. But whatever they may be, the power of summoning up at pleasure the ideas so related, as it is the ground-work of poetical genius, is of sufficient importance in the human constitution to deserve an appropriated name ; and, for this purpose, the word fancy would appear to be the most convenient that our language affords.
Dr. Reid has somewhere observed, that “ the part “ of our conftitution on which the association of ideas “ depends, was called, by the older English writers, “ the fantasy or fancy;" an use of the word, we may remark, which coincides, in many instances, with that which I propose to make of it. It differs from it only in this, that these writers applied it to the association of ideas in general, whereas I restrict its application to that habit of association, which is subservient to poetical imagination.
According to the explanation which has now been given of the word Fancy, the office of this power is to collect materials for the Imagination ; and there. fore the latter power presupposes the former, while the former does not necessarily suppose the latter. man whose habits of association present to him, for illustrating or embellishing a subject, a number of resembling or of analogous ideas, we call a man of fancy; but for an effort of imagination, various 7.
other powers are necessary, particularly the powers of taste and of judgment ; without which, we can hope to produce nothing that will be a source of pleasure to others. It is the power of fancy which supplies the poet with metaphorical language, and with all the analogies which are the foundation of his allusions ; but it is the power of imagination that creates the complex scenes he describes, and the fi&titious characters he delineates. To fancy, we apply the epi. thets of rich or luxuriant; to imagination, those of beautiful or sublime.
Of the Principles of Asociation among our Ideas.
He facts which I stated in the former Section, to TH
illustrate the tendency of a perception, or of an idea, to suggest ideas related to it, are so obvious as to be matter of common remark. But the relations which connect all our thoughts together, and the laws which regulate their succession, were but little attended to before the publication of Mr. Hume's writings.
It is well known to those who are in the least con. versant with the present state of metaphysical science, that this eminent writer has attempted to reduce all the principles of association among our ideas to three: Resemblance, Contiguity in time and place, and Cause and Effect. The attempt was great, and wor. thy of his genius ; but it has been shewn by several
writers since his time, that his enumeration is not only incomplete, but that it is even indistinct, so far as it goes.
It is not necessary for my present purpose, that I should enter into a critical examination of this part of Mr. Hume's system ; or that I should attempt to fpecify those principles of affociation which he has omitted. Indeed, it does not seem to me, that the problem admits of a satisfactory solution ; for there is no possible relation among the objects of our knowledge, which may not serve to connect them together in the mind; and, therefore, although one enumeration may be more comprehensive than another, a perfectly complete enumeration is scarcely to be expected.
Nor is it merely in consequence of the relations among things, that our notions of them are associated :
• See, in particular Lord Kaimes's Elements of Criticism, and Dr. Gerard's Essay on Genius. See also Dr. Campbell's Philosophy of Rhetoric, vol. i. p. 197.
It is observed by Dr. Beattie, that something like an attempt to enumerate the laws of association is to be found in Aristotle ; who, in speaking of Recollection, insinuates, with his usual brevity, that “the relations, by which we are led from one thought " to another, in tracing out, or hunting after,” (as he calls it,)
any particular thought which does not immediately occur, are “ chiefly three; Resemblance, Contrariety, and Contiguity.
See Dissertations, Moral and Critical, p. 9. Alfo p. 145. The passage to which Dr. Beattie refers is as follows:
Οταν εν αναμιμνησκωμεθα, κινα μεθα των προτερων τινα κινησεων, έως αν κινηθωμεν, μεθ' ην εκεινη ειωθε. Διο και το εφιξης θηρευομεν νοησαντες απο τα νυν, η αλλα τινος, και αφ' όμοια, η εναντί8, η τα συνεγγυς.
Δια τατο γινεται η αναμνησις. ARISTOT. de Memor. et Reminisc. vol. i. p.681. Edit. Du Val.
they are frequently coupled together by means of relations among the words which denote them; such as a similarity of sound, or other circumstances still more trifling. The alliteration which is so common in poetry, and in proverbial sayings, seems to arise, partly at least, from associations of ideas founded on the accidental circumstance, of the two words which express them beginning with the same letter.
« But thousands die, without or this or that, “ Die ; and endow a College, or a Cat."
Pope's Ep. to Lord BATHURST.
“ Ward tried, on Puppies, and the Poor, his drop.”
Id. Imitat. of HORACE.
· Puffs, powders, patches ; Bibles, billets-doux.”
Rape of the Lock.
This indeed pleases only on flight occasions, when it may be supposed that the mind is in some degree playful, and under the influence of those principles of association which commonly take place when we are careless and disengaged. Every person must be of. fended with the second line of the following couplet, which forms part of a very sublime description of the Divine power:
“ Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part, “ As full, as perfect, in a Hair as Heart.”
Essay on MAN, Ep.i;
To these observations, it may be added, that things which have no known relation to each other are often associated, in consequence of their producing similar effects on the mind. Some of the finest poetical al7