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“adverting to others which may chance to attend it; “ as blue, green, hot, cold, and the like: these are «s capable of effecting all three of the purposes of 56 words; as the aggregate words, man, castle, horse, &c. are in a yet higher degree. But I am of opi“ nion, that the most general effect even of these words “ does not arise from their forming pictures of the “ several things they would represent in the imagina“ tion; because, on a very diligent examination of my “ own mind, and getting others to consider theirs, I do “ not find that once in twenty times any such picture 6 is formed; and when it is, there is most commonly

a particular effort of the imagination for that pur“ pose. But the aggregate words operate, as I said " of the compound abstracts, not by presenting any - image to the mind, but by having from use the “ fame effect on being mentioned, that their original or has when it is seen. Suppose we were to read a passage to this effect: “ The river Danube rises in

moist and mountainous soil in the heart of Ger. many, where, winding to and fro, it waters sevetral principalities, until turning into Austria, and .“ leaving the walls of Vienna, it passes into Hungary;

there with a vast flood, augmented by the Saave 66 and the Drave, it quits Christendom, and rolling “ through the barbarous countries which border on “ Tartary, it enters by many mouths into the Black “ Sea.” In this description many things are mentioned; “ as mountains, rivers, cities, the sea, &c. But let s any body examine himself, and see whether he has s had impressed on his imagination any pictures of a s river, mountain, watery foil, Germany, &c. Indeed, it



“ is imposible, in the rapidity and quick succession of “ words in conversation, to have ideas both of the “ sound of the word, and of the thing represented ;

besides, some words expressing real essences, “ are so mixed with others of a general and nominal “ import, that it is impracticable to jump from “ sense to thought, from particulars to generals, “ from things to words, 'in such a manner as to an. “ swer the purposes of life; nor is it necessary that " we should.”

In farther confirmation of this do&rine, Mr. Burke refers to the poetical works of the late amiable and ingenious Dr. Blacklock. “ Here,says he,“ is a poet, doubtless as much affected by his oton descriptions, as

any that reads them can be ; and yet he is affected “ with this strong enthusiasm, by things of which he “ neither has, nor can possibly have, any idea, far" ther than that of a bare found; and why may not “ those who read his works be affected in the same 56 manner that he was, with as little of any real ideas “ of the things described.”

Before I proceed to make any remarks on these passages, I must observe in general, that I perfectly agree with Mr. Burke, in thinking that a very great proportion of the words which we habitually employ, have no effect to “ raise ideas in the mind;" or to ex. ercise the powers of conception and imagination. My notions on this subject I have already sufficiently explained in treating of Abstraction,

I agree with him farther, that a great proportion of the words which are used in poetry and eloquence, produce very powerful effects on the mind, by ex.

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citing citing emotions which we have been accustomed to associate with particular sounds ; without leading the imagination to form to itself any pi&tures or represent. ations : and his account of the manner in which such words operate, appears to me satisfactory. “ Such 6 words are in reality but mere sounds ; but they are “ sounds, which, being used on particular occasions, “ wherein we receive some good, or suffer some evil ; “ or see others affected with good or evil; or which

we hear applied to other interesting things or

events; and being applied in such a variety of cases, " that we know readily by habit to what things they « belong, they produce in the mind, whenever they

are afterwards mentioned, effects similar to those “ of their occasions. The sounds being often used " without reference to any particular occasion, and “ carrying still their first impressions, they at last utterly “ lose their connexion with the particular occasions “ that gave rise to them; yet the sound, without any “ annexed motion, continues to operate as before."

Notwithstanding, however, these concessions, I cannot admit that it is in this way poetry produces its principal effect. Whence is it that general and abo stract expressions are so tame and lifeless, in comparison of those which are particular and figurative? Is it not because the former do not give any exercise to the imagination, like the latter ? Whence the dif. tinction, acknowledged by all critics, ancient and mo. dern, between that charm of words which evaporates in the process of translation, and those permanent beauties, which presenting to the mind the distinctness of a picture, may impart pleasure to the most remote

regions regions and ages ? Is it not, that in the one case, the Poet addresses himseif to associations which are local and temporary ; in the other, to those essential principles of human nature, from which Poetry and Paint. ing derive their common attractions ? Hence, among the various sources of the sublime, the peculiar stress laid by Longinus on what he calls Visions, (sertasíce) -όταν και λίγης, υπ’ ενθουσιασμού και πάθους βλέπειν δοκής, και υπ' όψιν τιθής τους ακούουσιν *.

In treating of abstraction I formerly remarked, that the perfection of philofophical style is to approach as nearly as possible to that species of language we employ in algebra, and to exclude every expression which has a tendency to divert the attention by ex. citing the imagination, or to bias the judgment by casual associations. For this purpose the Philosopher ought to be sparing in the employment of figurative words, and to convey his notions by general terms which have been accurately defined. To the Orator, on the other hand, when he wishes to prevent the cool exercise of the understanding, it may, on the same account, be frequently useful to delight or to agitate his hearers, by blending with his reasonings the illusions of poetry, or the magical influence of sounds consecrated by popular feelings. A regard to the different ends thus aimed at in Philosophical and in Rhetorical composition, renders the ornaments which are so becoming in the one, inconsistent with good taste and good sense, when adopted in the other.

* De Sublim. $ xv.-Quas partesías Græci vocant, nos fane Vifiones appellamus ; per quas imagines rerum absentium ita repræsentantur animo, ut eas cernere oculis ac præsentes habere vi. deamur. QUINCT. INST. Orat. vi. 2.

In Poetry, as truths and facts are introduced, not for the purpose of information, but to convey plea. sure to the mind, nothing offends more, than those general expressions which form the great instrument of philosophical reasoning. The original pleasures, which it is the aim of poetry to recal to the mind, are all derived from individual objects; and, of consequence, (with a very few exceptions, which it does not belong to my present subject to enumerate,) the more particular, and the more appropriated its language is, the greater will be the charm it poffefíes.

With respect to the description of the course of the Danube already quoted, I shall not dispute the result of the experiment to be as the author represents it. That words may often be applied to their proper purposes, without our annexing any particular notions to them, I have formerly shewn at great length; and I admit that the meaning of this description may be so understood. But to be understood, is not the sole object of the poet : his primary object, is to please ; and the pleasure which he conveys will, in general, be found to be proportioned to the beauty and liveliness of the images which he suggests. In the case of a poet born blind, the effect of poetry must depend on other causes; but whatever opinion we may form on this point, it appears to me impo sible, that such a poet should receive, even from his own descriptions, the fame degree of pleasure which they may convey to a reader, who is capable of con. ceiving the scenes which are described. Indeed this instance which Mr. Burke produces in support of his theory, is sufficient of itself to thew, that the


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