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I M A ΤΙΟ
'Ασεβες μέν έςιν ανθρώπε τις ταρά τε θεε χάρινας ατιμάζειν.
Epict. apud Arrian. II. 23.
Publithed in the Year MDCCXLIV.
THE DES I G N.
which seem to hold a middle place between the organs of bodily fense and the faculties of moral perception : They have been called by a very general name, The Powers of Imagination. Like the external senses, they relate to matter and motion; and, at the same time, give the mind ideas analogous to those of moral approbation and dislike. As they are the inlets of some of the nioft exquisite pleasures with which we are acquainted, it has naturally happened that men of warm and fensible tempers have sought means to recall the delightful perceptions which they afford, independent of the object which originally produced them. This gave rise to the imitative or designing arts ; some of which, as painting and sculpture, directly copy the external appearances which were admired in nature; others, as music and poetry, bring them back to remembrance by figns univerfally established and understood.
But these arts, as they grew more correct and deliberate, were of course led to extend their imitation beyond the peculiar objects of the imaginative powers ; especially poetry, which, making use of language as the instrument by which it imitates, it consequently becomes an unlimited representative of every species
and mode of being. Yet, as their intention was only to express the objects of imagination, and as they still abound chiefly in ideas of that class, they of course retain their original character; and all the different pleasures which they excite, are termed, in general, Pleasures of Imagination.
The design of the following poem is to give a view of these in the largest acceptation of the term; so that whatever our imagination feels from the agreeable'appearances of nature, and all the various entertainment we meet with either in poetry, painting, music, or any of the elegant arts, might be deducible from one or other of those principles in the conftitution of the buman mind, which are bere established and explained.
In executing this general plan, it was necessary first of all to distinguish the Imagination from our other faculties; and in the next place to characterize those original forms or properties of being, about which it is conversant, and which are by nature adapted to it, as light is to the eyes, or truth to the understanding. These properties Mr. Addison had reduced to the three general claffes of greatness, novelty, and beauty; and into these we may analyse every object, however complex, which, properly fpeaking, is delightful to the imagination. But such an object may also include many other sources of pleasure; and its beauty, or novelty, or grandeur, will make a stronger impression by reason of this concurrence. Besides which, the imitative arts, especially poetry, owe much of their effect to a fimilar exhibition of properties quite foreign to the
imagination, insomuch that in every line of the most applauded poems, we meet with either ideas drawn from the external senses, or truths discovered to the understanding, or illustrations of contrivance and final causes, or, above all the rest, with circumstances proper to awaken and engage the passions. It was therefore necessary to enumerate and exemplify thefe different species of pleasure ; especially that from the passions, which, as it is supreme in the noblelt work of human genius, so being in fome particulars not a little surprizing, gave an opportunity to enliven the didactic turn of the poem, by introducing an allegory to account for the appearance.
After these parts of the subje&t which hold chiefly of admiration, or naturally warm and interest the mind, a pleasure of a very different nature, that which arises from ridicule, came next to be considered. As this is the foundation of the comic manner in all the arts, and has been but very imperfectly treated by moral writers, it was thought proper to give it a particular illustration, and to distinguish the general sources from which the ridicule of characters is derived. Here too a change of stile' became necessary ; such a one as might yet be consistent, if possible, with the general taste of composition in the serious parts of the subje&t: nor is it an easy task to give any tolerable force to images of this kind, without running either into the gigantic expressions of the mock heroic, or the familiar and poetical raillery of profeffed satire; neia ther of which would have been proper here.