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and mode of being. Yet, as their intention was only to exprefs the objects of imagination, and as they ftill abound chiefly in ideas of that clafs, they of course retain their original character; and all the different pleafures which they excite, are termed, in general, Pleafures of Imagination.
The design of the following poem is to give a view of thefe 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, mufic, or any of the elegant arts, might be deducible from one or other of thofe principles in the conftitution of the buman mind, which are here eftablished and explained.
In executing this general plan, it was neceffary firft of all to diftinguish the Imagination from our other faculties; and in the next place to characterize thofe original forms or properties of being, about which it is converfant, 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 greatnefs, novelty, and beauty; and into these we may analyse every object, however complex, which, properly speaking, is delightful to the imagination. But fuch an object may alfo include many other fources of pleafure; and its beauty, or novelty, or grandeur, will make a stronger impreffion by reason of this concurrence. Befides which, the imitative arts, especially poetry, owe much of their effect to a fimilar exhibition of properties quite foreign to the
imagination, infomuch that in every line of the most applauded poems, we meet with either ideas drawn from the external fenfes, or truths difcovered to the understanding, or illustrations of contrivance and final caufes, or, above all the reft, with circumstances proper to awaken and engage the paffions. It was therefore neceflary to enumerate and exemplify thefe different fpecies of pleafure; efpecially that from the paffions, which, as it is fupreme in the nobleft work of human genius, fo being in fome particulars not a little furprizing, gave an opportunity to enliven the didactic turn of the pocm, by introducing an allegory to account for the appearance.
After these parts of the fubject which hold chiefly of admiration, or naturally warm and intereft the mind, a pleasure of a very different nature, that which arifes from ridicule, came next to be confidered. Aș 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 diftinguish the general fources from which the ridicule of characters is derived. Here too a change of ftile became neceffary; fuch a one as might yet be confiftent, if poffible, with the general taste of compofition in the serious parts of the subject: nor is it an easy task to give any tolerable force to images of this kind, without running either into the gigantic expreffions of the mock heroic, or the familiar and poetical raillery of profeffed fatire; neither of which would have been proper here.
The materials of all imitation being thús laid open, nothing now remained but to illustrate some particular pleasures, which arife either from the relations of different objects one to another, or from the nature of imitation itself. Of the first kind is that various and complicated resemblance existing between feveral parts of the material and immaterial worlds, which is the foundation of metaphor and wit. As it feems in a great measure to depend on the early affociation of our ideas, and as this habit of affociating is the fource of many pleafures and pains in life, and on that account bears a great share in the influence of poetry and the other arts, it is therefore mentioned here and its effects defcribed. Then follows a general account of the production of these elegant arts, and of the fecondary pleasure, as it is called, arifing from the refemblance of their imitations to the original appearances of nature. After which, the work concludes with fome reflections on the general conduct of the powers of imagination, and on their natural and moral ufefulnefs in life.
Concerning the manner or turn of composition which prevails in this piece, little can be faid with propriety By the author. He had two models; that ancient and fimple one of the firft Grecian poets, as it is refined by Virgil in the Georgics, and the familiar epiftolary way of Horace. This latter has feveral advantages. It admits of a greater variety of stile; it more readily engages the generality of readers, as partaking more of the air of conversation; and, especially with the affiftance
affiftance of rhyme, leads to a clofer and more concife expreffion. Add to this the example of the most perfect of modern poets, who has fo happily applied this: manner to the nobleft parts of philofophy, that the public tafte is in a great measure formed to it alone. Yet, after all, the fubject before us, tending almost conftantly to admiration and enthusiasm, seemed rather to demand a more open, pathetic, and figured ftile. This too appeared more natural, as the author's aim was not fo much to give formal precepts, or enter into the way of direct argumentation, as, by exhibiting the most engaging profpects of nature, to enlarge and harmonize the imagination, and by that means infenfibly difpofe the minds of men to a fimilar taste and habit of thinking in religion, morals, and civil life. It is on this account that he is fo careful to point out the benevolent intention of the Author of nature in every principle of the human constitution here insisted on; and alfo to unite the moral excellencies of life in the fame point of view with the meer external objects of good tafte; thus recommending them in common. to our natural propenfity for admiring what is beautiful and lovely. The fame views have also led him to introduce fome fentiments which may perhaps be looked upon as not quite direct to the fubject; but, fince they bear an obvious relation to it, the authority of Virgil, the faultless model of didactic poetry, will beft support him in this particular. For the fentiments themselves, he makes no apology.
BOOK THE FIRST.
THE fubject propofed. Difficulty of treating it poeticaily. The ideas of the divine mind, the origin of every quality pleafing to the imagination. The natural variety of constitution in the minds of men; with its final cause. The idea of a fine imagination, and the state of the mind in the enjoyment of those pleafures which it affords. All the primary pleafures of the imagination refult from the perception of greatnefs, or wonderfulness, or beauty in objects. The pleasure from greatnefs, with its final caufe. Pleafure from novelty or wonderfulness, with its final caufe. Pleafure from beauty, with its final caufe. The connexion of beauty with truth and good, applied to the conduct of life. Invitation to the study of moral philofophy. The different degrees of beauty in different species of objects: colour; shape; natural concretes; vegetables; animals; the mind. The fublime, the fair, the wonderful of the mind. The connection of the imagination and the moral faculty. Conclusion.