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tude, the latter class of authors is the most useful; as their writings contain the more solid discoveries which others have brought to light, separated from those errors with which truth is often blended in the first formation of a system.

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Of Imagination.


Analysis of Imagination.

IN attempting to draw the line between Conception

and Imagination, I have already observed, that the province of the former is to present us with an exact transcript of what we have formerly felt and perceived; that of the latter, to make a selection of qualities and of circumstances from a variety of different objects, and by combining and disposing these, to form a new creation of its own.

According to the definitions adopted, in general, by modern philosophers, the province of Imagination would appear to be limited to objects of sight. “ It “ is the sense of sight,” (says Mr. Addison,)“ which “ furnishes the Imagination with its ideas; so that by “ the pleasures of Imagination, 1 here mean such as “ arise from visible objects, either when we have them “ actually in view, or when we call up their ideas “ into our minds, by paintings, statues, descriptions, “ or any the like occasions. We cannot, indeed, “ have a single image in the fancy, that did not « make its first entrance through the fight.” Agreeably to the same view of the subject, Dr. Reid observes, that "Imagination properly signifies : lively



“conception of objects of fight; the former power

being distinguished from the latter, as a part from co the whole."

That this limitation of the province of Imagina tion to one particular class of our perceptions is altogether arbitrary, seems to me to be evident; for, although the greater part of the materials which Imagination combines be supplied by this sense, it is ne. vertheless indisputable, that our other perceptive fa. culties also contribute occasionally their share. How many pleasing images have been borrowed from the fragrance of the fields and the melody of the groves ; not to mention that sister art, whose magical influence over the human frame, it has been, in all ages, the highest boast of poetry to celebrate! In the following passage, even the more gross sensations of Taste form the subject of an ideal repast, on which it is imposfible not to dwell with some complacency; particularly after a perusal of the preceding lines, in which the Poet describes “the Wonders of the Torrid Zone.”

Bear me, Pomona! to thy citron groves ;
To where the lemon and the piercing lime,
With the deep orange, glowing thro’ the green,
Their lighter glories blend. Lay me reclin'd
Beneath the spreading tamarind that shakes,
Fann'd by the breeze, its fever-cooling fruit:
Or, stretch'd amid these orchards of the sun,
O let me drain the cocoa's milky bowl,
More bounteous far than all the frantic juice
Which Bacchus pours ! Nor, on its slender twigs
Low bending, be the full pomegranate scorn’d;
Nor, creeping thro' the woods, the gelid race


Of berries. Oft in humble station dwells
Unboastful worth, above fastidious pomp.
Witness, thou best Anana, thou the pride
Of vegetable life, beyond whate'er
The Poets imag'd in the golden age :
Quick let me strip thee of thy spiny coat,
Spread thy ambrofial stores, and feast with Jove !

What an assemblage of other conceptions, different from all those hitherto mentioned, has the genius of Virgil combined in one distich!

Hic gelidi fontes, hic mollia prata, Lycori,
Hic nemus: hic ipfo tecum consumerer ævo.

These observations are sufficient to thew, how inade quate a notion of the province of Imagination (considered even in its reference to the sensible world) is conveyed by the definitions of Mr. Addison and of Dr. Reid.But the sensible world, it must be remembered, is not the only field where Imagination exerts her powers. All the objects of human knowledge supply materials to her forming hand; diversifying infinitely the works she produces, while the mode of her operation remains essentially uniform. As it is the same power of Reasoning which enables us to carry on our investigations with respect to individual objects, and with respect to classes or genera ; so it was by the same processes of Analysis and Combination, that the genius of Milton produced the Garden of Eden; that of Harrington, the Commonwealth of Oceana ; and that of Shakespeare, the characters of Hainlet and Falstaff. The difference between there several efforts of invention, consists only in the manner in which the original materials were acquired; as far as the power of Imagination is concerned, the processes are perfectly analogous.

* Thomson's Summer.

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The attempts of Mr. Addison and of Dr. Reid to limit the province of Imagination to objects of sight, have plainly proceeded from a very important fact, which it may be worth while to illustrate more particularly ;-That the mind has a greater facility, and, of consequence, a greater delight in recalling the perceptions of this sense than those of any of the others; while, at the same time, the variety of qualities perceived by it is incomparably greater. It is this sense, accordingly, which supplies the painter and the statu. ary with all the subjects on which their genius is exercised; and which furnishes to the descriptive poet the largest and the most valuable portion of the ma. terials which he combines. In that absurd species of prose composition, too, which borders on poetry, no. thing is more remarkable than the predominance of phrases that recal to the memory, glaring colours, and those splendid appearances of nature, which make a strong impression on the eye. It has been mentioned by different writers, as a characteristical circumstance in the Oriental or Asiatic style, that the greater part of the metaphors are taken from the celestial luminaries. “ The Works of the Persians,” (says M. de Voltaire,) “ are like the titles of their kings, in which " we are perpetually dazzled with the sun and the “ moon.” Sir William Jones, in a short Eflay on the Poetry of Eastern Nations, has endeavoured to


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