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standing the action of the piece is continually broken by its artificial divisions into acts and scenes—the identity of the spots at which it is laid, weakened by the periodical dropping of a green curtain--and the unity of the whole transaction perpetually destroyed by the multitude of surrounding trifles, to which, in a theatre, the attention is directed. Amongst the remarkable instances of the drama's exciting influence on the Imagination, may be mentioned a cir, cumstance which occurred during the acting of Talma, the great French tragedian, at Arras, in the character of Hamlet: A military stranger was so overcome, at the moment when Hamlet is about to stab bis mother, that he was carried out of the theatre; and his first words, on recovering, were,—“Has he killed his mother ?" Something of the same kind occurred at the representation of the Earl of Essex; when a soldier, who stood sentinel on the stage, entered so deeply into the distress of the scene, that, in the delusion of his imagination, upon the Countess of Nottingham's denying the receipt of the ring which Essex had sent her by the Queen to claim a promise of favour, he exclaimed, “ "Tis false; she has it in her bosom!” and immediately seized the mock countess, to make her deliver it

up. It is to Imagination alone that all the doleful stories of sprites, witches, fairies, ghosts, and hobgoblins, are to be referred. The mind which is prepared for a reception of the wonderful, by habitual indulgence in imaginative flights, will easily be imposed on by any thing which assumes the familiar garh of a supernatural agent; and those few parrations which appear to be authenticated by indubitable facts, would perhaps appear in a very different light, could the previous bent of Imagination, in the individuals of whom they are recorded, be accurately and systematically traced.

What delusion ever exercised a more durable or extensive dominion over the human mind, than the falsely-termed “science” of astrology? And yet how large an ingredient was Imagination in this favourite 13.

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system of imposture. In the hands of cunning men, during ages in which a few fragments of knowledge and truth were diffused through a vast mass of ignorance and error, it became a rich channel for emolument and fame; until, from being the fanciful and artful creation of a few individuals, it was publicly taught in the most distinguished universities, and professors appointed to instruct their pupils in deciphering the aspect of the stars. So universally did this foolish passion prevail, that the commonest affairs of life were regulated by its influence. Ramsey, in his old work called "Astrologia Restaurata," speaking of the uses to which astrology might be applied, declares, that “it may help us to know the fittest times and seasons for cutting the hair off our heads, and the nails off our hands or feet ; for the administration of garganisms or sneezing, and such like; for hiring of servants; for buying four-footed beasts ; for catching of thieves and malefactors; for borrowing of money; for purging the brain ; for drawing choleric blood, &c.: how to choose friends, prove them, and keep them; to foresee future accidents; to win at any game; to know the love between two married, or any other ; to tell why blackamores are black; and, finally, to know how it is that nobody finds the philosopher's stone!" Lilly, the famous astrologer, turned his Imagination to a very good account. He was a principal actor in the farcical scenes which diversified the bloody tragedy of civil war; and while the king and the parliament were striving for mastery in the field, he was deciding their destinies in the closet. The weak and the credulous of both parties flocked to consult the man, who, with exemplary impartiality, meted out good fortune and victory, according to the extent of the faith, and the weight of the purses, of the simpletons with whom he had to deal. By a few sharp-witted cavaliers, his name and occupation were the pass-words for ridicule; but a great majority lent a willing and reverential ear to his prophecies and prognostications. Nothing was too high or too low for the grasp of his genius ; and the stars were as communicative on the most trivial, as on the most important subjects. If a scheme were set on foot to rescue the king, or to retrieve a stray trinket; to restore the royal authority, or to make a frail damsel an honest woman; to ease the nation of anarchy, or a lap-dog of a surfeit; William Lilly was the oracle to be consulted. His almanacks were spelled over in the tavern, and quoted in the senate; they nerved the arm of the soldier, and rounded the periods of the orator. The fashionable beauty, dashing along in her calash from St. James's or the Mall, and the prim-starched dames from Watling-street or Bucklesbury, with a staid foot-boy in a plush jerkin plodding behind her; the reigning toast among the men of wit, and the leading groaner in a tabernacle concert,--glided alternately into the study of this trusty wizard, and poured into his attentive ear tales of love, or trade, or treason. The Roundhead stalked in at one door, whilst the Cavalier was hurried out at the other. But one cannot help smiling, now, at the idea of Lilly being summoned before the Commons, and examined by their honourable house, relative to any knowledge which he possessed of the causes of the great fire that laid waste so large a portion of the metropolis.

Still, there is scarcely any impetus to which the human mind is subject, that acts so diversely as this. Whilst, on the one hand, it is like the spear of Ithu riel, calling up beings from their dark or concealed shape, and investing them in the glowing colours of a cultivated genius, it is a fruitful source of most of the anxieties and foibles which perplex and imbitter existence. Imagination directs the chisel of the sculptor, moulding the inconscious block into the proportions, and almost into the vitality, of animated life. It guided the early efforts of Phidias and Praxiteles, and breathes in the finished monuments of the lamented Canova. Imagination lent its sublimest aid to the pencil of West, and enabled him to fill up the imperfect outlines of scriptural events, with the vivid suggestions of a highly-descriptive fancy. Imagination supplied the sightless bard of Troy with his kings, his éduftiers, his warriors, liis palladium, his heavenlybuilt citadel, and his lovely ehampaign. Imagination ereated for Milton, á heaven, a pandemonium, and a paradise--for Spenser, a disconsolate damsel, an adventurous knight, and ä crystal palace--for Shakspeare, a world of being and of imagery, more extensive and more fascinating than the united realms of schylus, Sophocles, and Euripides--for More an Utopia, and for Swift á Gulliver: it furnished Rousseau with all those beings of beauty and of vice, which have 'either branded or exalted his memory - Pope, with a beautiful lock, and a still more beautiful Belinda Burns, with Death and Dr. Hornbook _Scott, with his Lady of the Lake and Old Mortality -Byron, with Manfred and Childe Harola-Moore with Lallah Rookh—and Montgomery, with his World before the Flood.

These are the results of Imagination--results by which delight is communicated to thousands--care banished, sorrow relieved, and in many cases the best interests of morality and good government promoted and developed. Yet, were the benefits of Imagination to be contrasted with the evils which it entails upon the human race, the latter would, most probably, be found greatly to preponderáte. To what must be referred the frightful dominion of madness, with all its incipient features of distress and of mischief, but to an excess of Imagination overbalancing and overpowering the rational and physical faculties ; inducing one man to insist that he has swallowed a cobbler in his blue jacket, hammer, awls, wax, and every thing;

- another, to believe that one of his legs is a papist and the other a protestant;- and stimulating not a few to acts of bloodshed and violence? In connection with our vanity, our atarice, our sensuality, and our intolerance, the Imagination begets most of the discontents, disquietudes, and disagreements which agitate human nature, terminating in domestic discord, civil strife, and national warfare. These can merely be alluded to in a professed cornpendium of pleasures;

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but as it is an object of the highest importance to learn how we may best enable ourselves to strengthen that control which we naturally possess in a certain degree over our waking thoughts, and on which so materially depends the high direction of our minds, we ought experimentally to know the dangerous power of that principle, which we are desirous of restraining and rightly guiding:

Who has not felt the correctness, as well as the poetical grace, in the following picture of the train of our ideas?

Awake but one, and, lo, what myriads rise

Each stamps its image as the other fies! How great then must be the superiority of that man's genius, who, from his youth upwards, has filled it with the purest and noblest materials of thinking who has made it the channel of unpolluted streams, and who has not narrowed it by any mounds of prejudice and ignorance. Such a man has turned the arbitrary union between certain classes of ideas to the best sort of freedom--the freedom from idle, vicious, and degrading thoughts.

Every fact which we can collect, and every just observation which we can build on that fact, relative to this most interesting law of our nature, must be of the highest service to our endeavours at obtaining the worthiest object of a rational being,--an increased command over our own minds, (if they can be called our own,) until we have at least established such an empire in the largest part of the territory.

How much must still continue sui juris, and beyond the possible reach of our dominion, it is not for man to discover. His love of power, however, that darling appetite of his nature, will then be most worthily gratified, when, comparatively speaking, he has acquired the fullest government of his thoughts : for on his thoughts primarily depend his passions, although, by the dangerous reaction of the heart on the understanding, his passions will too often excite their parent thoughts.

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