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theory cannot be true in the extent in which it is stated.
By way of contrast to the description of the Da. nube, I shall quote a stanza from Gray, which affords a very beautiful example of the two different effects of poetical expression. The pleasure conveyed by the two last lines resolves almost entirely into Mr. Burke's principles; but, great as this pleasure is, how inconsiderable is it in comparison of that arising from the continued and varied exercise which the preceding lines give to the imagination ?
“ In climes beyond the solar road,
“ Th’unconquerable mind, and freedom's holy flame." I cannot help remarking further, the effect of the solemn and uniform flow of the verse in this exquisite stanza, in retarding the pronunciation of the reader ; so as to arrest his attention to every successive picture, till it has time to produce its proper impression. More of the charm of poetical rythm arises from this circumstance, than is commonly imagined.
To thole who wish to study the theory of poetical expression, no author in our language affords a richer variety of illustrations than the poet last quoted. His
merits, merits, in many other respects, are great; but his skill in this particular is more peculiarly conspicuous. How much he had made the principles of this branch of his art an object of study, appears from his letters published by Mr. Mafon.
I have sometimes thought, that, in the last line of the following passage, he had in view the two different effects of words already described; the effect of some, in awakening the powers of Conception and Imagination; and that of others, in exciting associated emotions :
• Hark, his hands the lyre explore !
Bright-ey'd Fancy hovering o’er,
Continuation of the fame Subjeä.- Relation of Imagination and
of Tafle to Genius.
the remarks made in the foregoing Sections, it is obvious, in what manner a person accustomed to analise and combine his conceptions, may acquire an idea of beauties superior to any which he has seen realised. It may also be easily inferred, that a habit of forming such intellectual combinations, and of remarking their effects on our own minds, must contribute to refine and to exalt the Taste, to a degree which it never can attain in those men, who study to
improve it by the observation and comparison of external objects only.
A cultivated Taste, combined with a creative Imagination, constitutes Genius in the Fine Arts. Without taste, imagination could produce only a random analysis and combination of our conceptions; and without imagination, taste would be destitute of the faculty of invention. These two ingredients of genius may be mixed together in all possible propor. tions; and where either is possessed in a degree remarkably exceeding what falls to the ordinary share of mankind, it may compensate in some measure for a deficiency in the other. An uncommonly correct taste, with little imagination, if it does not produce works which excite admiration, produces at least nothing which can offend. An uncommon fertility of imagination, even when it offends, excites our wonder by its creative power ; and Mews what it could have performed, had its exertions been guided by a more perfe& model.
In the infancy of the Arts, an union of these two powers in the same mind is necessary for the production of every work of genius. Taste, without imagination, is, in such a situation, impossible; for, as there are no monuments of antient genius on which it can be formed, it must be the result of experiments, which nothing but the imagination of every individual can enable him to make. Such a taste must necessarily be imperfect, in consequence of the limited experience of which it is the result; but, without imagination, it could not have been acquired even in this imperfect degree.
In the progress of the Arts the case comes to be altered.
The productions of genius accumulate to such an extent, that taste may be formed by a careful study of the works of others; and, as formerly imagination had served as a necessary foundation for taste, fo taste begins now to invade the province of imagination. The combinations which the latter faculty has been employed in making, during a long suc. cession of ages, approach to infinity; and present such ample materials to a judicious selection, that with a high standard of excellence, continually present to the thoughts, industry, assisted by the most moderate degree of imagination, will, in time, produce performances, not only more free from faults, but incompa. rably more powerful in their effects, than the most original efforts of untutored genius, which, guided by an uncultivated taste, copies after an inferior model of perfection. What Reynolds observes of Painting, may be applied to all the other Fine Arts : that, “as " the Painter, by bringing together in one piece, those “ beauties, which are dispersed amongst a great va.
riety of individuals, produces a figure more beau: « tiful than can be found in nature; so that artist who " can unite in himself the excellencies of the various “ painters, will approach nearer to perfection than any " of his masters."
* P. 226.
of the Influence of Imagination on Human Charaéter and
HITHERTO we have considered the power of Ima
gination chiefly as it is connected with the Fine Arts. But it deserves our attention still more, on ac. count of its extenfive influence on human character and happiness.
The lower animals, as far as we are able to judge, are entirely occupied with the objects of their present perceptions : and the case is nearly the same with the inferior orders of our own species. One of the prin. cipal effects which a liberal education produces on the mind, is to accustom us to withıdraw our attention from the objects of sense, and to direct it, at pleasure, to those intellectual combinations which delight the imagination. Even, however, among men of culti- . vated understandings, this faculty is possessed in very unequal degrees by different individuals; and these differences (whether resulting from original constitution or from early education) lay the foundation of some striking varieties in human character.
What we commonly call sensibility, depends, in a great measure, on the power of imagination. Point out to two men, any object of compassion ;-a man, for example, reduced by misfortune from easy cir. cumstances to indigence. The one feels merely in proportion to what he perceives by his senses. The