Imágenes de páginas
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would he have succeeded in reaching it, had he not gone to his wife for help-sought refuge from his troublesome imagination with her. She, possessing far less of the faculty, and having dealt more destructively with what she had, took his hand, and led him to the deed. From her imagination, again, she, for her part, takes refuge in unbelief and denial, declaring to herself and her husband that there is no reality in its representations; that there is no reality in anything beyond the present effect it produces on the mind upon which it operates ; that intellect and courage are equal to any, even an evil, emergency; and that no harm will come to those who can rule themselves according to their own will. Still, however, finding her imagination, and yet more that of her husband, troublesome, she effects a marvellous combination of materialism and idealism, and asserts that things are not, cannot be, and shall not be more or other than people choose to think them.

She says,

“These deeds must not be thought After these ways; so it will make us mad.”

"The sleeping and the dead

Are but as pictures." But she had over-estimated the power of her will, and under-estimated that of her imagination. Her will was the one thing in her that was bad, without root or support in the universe, while her imagination was the voice of God himself out of her own unknown being. The choice of no man or woman can long determine how or what he or she shall think of things. Lady Macbeth's imagination would not be repressed beyond its appointed period—a time determined by laws of her being over which she had no control. It arose, at length, as from the dead, overshadowing her with all the blackness of her crime. The woman who drank strong drink that she might murder, dared not sleep without a light by her bed ; rose and walked in the night, a sleepless spirit in a sleeping body, rubbing the spotted hand of her dreams, which, often as water had cleaned it of the deed, yet smelt so in her sleeping nostrils that all the perfumes of Arabia would not sweeten it. Thus her longdown-trodden imagination rose and took vengeance, even through those senses which she had thought to subordinate to her wicked will.

But all this is of the imagination itself, and fitter, therefore, for illustration than for argument. Let us come to facts. Dr. Pritchard, lately executed for murder, had no lack of that invention, which is, as it were, the intellect of the imagination-its lowest form. One of the clergymen who, at his own request, attended the prisoner, went through indescribable horrors in the vain endeavour to induce the man simply to cease from lying: one invention after another followed the most earnest asseverations of truth. The effect

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produced upon us by this clergyman's report of his experience was a moral dismay, such as we had never felt with regard to human being, and drew from us the exclamation, “The man could have had no imagination.” The reply was, “None whatever.” Never seeking true or high things, caring only for appearances, and, therefore, for inventions, he had left his imagination all undeveloped, and when it represented his own inner condition to him, had repressed it until it was nearly destroyed, and what remained of it was set on fire of hell.*

Man is “the roof and crown of things.” He is the world, and more. Therefore the chief scope of his imagination, next to God who made him, will be the world in relation to his own life therein. Will he do better or worse in it if this imagination, touched to fine issues and having free scope, present him with noble pictures of relationship and duty, of possible elevation of character and attainable justice of behaviour, of friendship and of love; and, above all, of all these in that life to understand which, as a whole, must ever be the loftiest aspiration of this noblest power of humanity ? Will a woman lead a more or a less troubled life that the sights and sounds of nature break through the crust of gathering anxiety, and remind her of the peace of the lilies and the well-being of the birds of the air? Or will life be the less interesting to her, that the lives of her neighbours, instead of passing like shadows upon a wall, assume a consistent wholeness, forming themselves into stories and phases of life? Will she not hereby lova more and talk less ? Or will she be more unlikely to make a good match

? But here we arrest ourselves in bewilderment over the word good, and seek to re-arrange our thoughts. If what mothers mean by a good match, is the alliance of a man of position and means--or let them throw intellect, manners, and personal advantages into the same scale—if this be all, then we grant the daughter of cultivated imagination may not be manageable, will probably be obstinate. We hope she will be obstinate enough.t But will the girl be less likely to marry a gentleman, in the grand old meaning of the sixteenth century, when it was no irreverence to call our Lord,

“The first true gentleman that ever breathed”? * One of the best weekly papers in London, evidently as much in ignorance of the man as of the facts of the case, spoke of Dr. MacLeod as having been engaged in

whitewashing the murderer for heaven.” So far is this from a true representation, that Dr. MacLeod actually refused to pray with him, telling him that if there was a hell to go to, he must go to it.

† Let women who feel the wrongs of their kind teach women to be high-minded in their relation to men, and they will do more for the social elevation of women, and the establishment of their rights, watever those rights may be, than by any amount of intellectual development or noisy assertion of equality. Nor if they are other than mero partisans will they refuse the attempt, because in its success men will, after all, be equal, if not greater gainers, if only thereby they should be feelingly persuaded what they are.

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or in that of the fourteenth, when Chaucer teaching “whom is worthy to be called gentill,” writes thus:

“The first stocke was full of rightwisnes,

Trewe of his worde, sober, pitous and free,
Clene of his goste, and loved besinesse,
Against the vice of slouth in honeste;
And but his heire love vertue as did he,
He is not gentill though he rich seme,
All weare he miter, crowne, or diademe"?

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Will she be less likely to marry one who honours women, and for their sakes, as well as his own, honours himself ? Or to speak from what many would regard as the mother's side of the question—will the girl be more likely, because of such a culture of her imagination, to refuse the wise, true-hearted, generous rich man, and fall in love with the talking, verse-making fool, because he is poor, as if that were a virtue for which he had striven ? The highest imagination and the lowliest common sense are always on one side.

For the end of imagination is harmony. A right imagination, being the reflex of the creation, will fall in with the divine order of things as the highest form of its own operation; "will tune its instrument here at the door” to the divine harmonies within ; will be content alone with growth towards the divine idea, which includes all that is beautiful in the imperfect imaginations of men; will know that every deviation from that growth is downward ; and will therefore send the man forth from its loftiest representations to do the commonest duty of the most wearisome calling in a hearty and hopeful spirit. This is the work of the right imagination; and towards this work every imagination, in proportion to the rightness that is in it, will tend. The reveries even of the wise man will make him stronger for his work; his dreaming as well as his thinking will render him sorry for past failure, and hopeful of future success.

To come now to the culture of the imagination. Its development is one of the main ends of the divine education of life, with all its efforts and experiences. Therefore the first and essential means for its culture must be an ordering of our life towards harmony with its ideal in the mind of God. As he that is willing to do the will of the Father shall know of the doctrine, so, we doubt not, he that will do the will of THE POET shall behold the Beautiful. For all is God's; and the man who is growing into harmony with His will, is growing into harmony with himself; all the hidden glories of his being are coming out into the light of humble consciousness; so that at the last he shall be a pure microcosm, faithfully re flecting, after his manner, the mighty macrocosm. We, believe, therefore that nothing will do so much for the intellect or the imagination as being goodwe do not mean after any formula or any

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creed, but simply after the faith of Him who did the will of his Father in heaven.

But if we speak of direct means for the culture of the imagination, the whole is comprised in two words—food and exercise. If you want strong arms, take animal food, and row. Feed your imagination with food convenient for it, and exercise it, not in the contortions of the acrobat, but in the movements of the gymnast. And first for the food.

Goethe has told us that the way to develop the æsthetic faculty is to have constantly before our eyes, that is, in the room we most frequent, some work of the best attainable art. This will teach us to refuse the evil and choose the good. It will plant itself in our minds and become our counsellor. Involuntarily, unconsciously, we shall compare with its perfection everything that comes before us for judgment. Now, although no better advice could be given, yet it involves one danger, that of narrowness. And not easily, in dread of this danger, would one change his tutor, and so procure variety of instruction. But in the culture of the imagination, books, although not the only, are the readiest means of supplying the food convenient for it, and a hundred books may be had where even one work of art of the right sort is unattainable, seeing such must be of some size as well as of thorough excellence. And in variety alone is safety from the danger of the convenient food becoming the inconvenient model.

Let me suppose, then, that one who himself justly estimates the imagination is anxious to develop its operation in his child. No doubt the best beginning, especially if the child be young, is an acquaintance with nature, in which let him be encouraged to observe vital phenomena, to put things together, to speculate from what he sees to what he does not see. But let earnest care be taken that upon no matter shall he go on talking foolishly. Let him be as fanciful as he may, but let him not, even in his fancy, sin against fancy's sense ; for fancy has its laws as certainly as the most ordinary business of life. When he is silly, let him know it and be ashamed.

But where this association with nature is but occasionally possible, recourse must be had to literature. In books we not only have store of all results of the imagination, but in them, as in her workshop, we may behold her embodying before our very eyes, in music of speech, in wonder of words, till her work, like a golden dish set with shining jewels, and adorned by the hands of the cunning workman, stands finished before us. In this kind, then, the best must be set before the learner, that he may eat and not be satisfied ; for the finest products of the imagination are of the best nourishment for the beginnings of that imagination. And the mind of the teacher must mediate between the work of art and the mind

of the pupil, bringing them together in the vital contact of intelligence; directing the observation to the lines of expression, the points of force; and helping the mind to repose upon the whole, so that no separable beauties shall lead to a neglect of the scopethat is the shape or form complete. And ever he must seek to show excellence rather than talk about it, giving the thing itself, that it may grow into the mind, and not a eulogy of his own upon the thing; isolating the point worthy of remark rather than making many remarks upon the point.

Especially must he endeavour to show the spiritual scaffolding or skeleton of any work of art; those main ideas upon which the shape is constructed, and around which the rest group as ministering dependencies.

But he will not, therefore, pass over that intellectual structure without which the other could not be manifested. He will not forget the builder while he admires the architect. While he dwells with delight on the relation of the peculiar arch to the meaning of the whole cathedral, he will not think it needless to explain the principle on which it is constructed, or even how those principles are carried out in actual process. Neither yet will the tracery of its windows, the foliage of its crokets, or the fretting of its mouldings be forgotten. Every beauty will have its word, only all beauties will be subordinated to the final beauty—that is, the unity of the whole.

Thus doing, he shall perform the true office of friendship. He will introduce his pupil into the society which he himself prizes most, surrounding him with the genial presence of the high-minded, that this good company may work its own kind in him whó frequents it.

But he will likewise seek to turn him aside from such company, whether of books or of men, as might tend to lower his reverence, his choice, or his standard. He will, therefore, discourage indiscriminate reading, and that worse than waste which consists in skimming the books of a circulating library. He knows that if a book is worth reading at all, it is worth reading well; and that, if it is not worth reading, it is only to the most accomplished reader that it can be worth skimming. He will seek to make him discern, not merely between the good and the evil, but between the good and the not so good. And this not for the sake of sharpening the intellect, still less of generating that self-satisfaction which is the closest attendant upon criticism, but for the sake of choosing the best path and the best companions upon it. A spirit of criticism for the sake of distinguishing only, or, far worse, for the sake of having one's opinion ready upon demand, is not merely repulsive to all true thinkers, but is, in itself, destructive of all thinking. A spirit of criticism for the sake of the truth-a spirit that does not

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