Imágenes de páginas

With long halloos, and screams, and echoes loud,
Redoubled and redoubled, concourse wild,
Of mirth, and jocund din. And when it chanced
That pauses of deep silence mocked his skill,
Then sometimes in that silence, while he hung
Listening, a gentle shock of wild surprise
Has carried far into his heart, the voice
Of mountain torrents; or the visible scene
Would enter, unawares, into his mind,
With all its solemn imagery, its rocks,
Its woods, and that uncertain heaven, received

Into the bosom of the steady lake.” Surely, in none of these instances, have the poets given to “ airy nothing a local habitation and a name.” Yet no one fails to notice in all of them the appropriate results of the Imagination.

Another Definition proposed. It now remains to attempt, at least, an enunciation of the true conception of the Imagination. An object may sometimes be best explained by comparing it with another of which we have distinct apprehensions. Of the Understanding we have such apprehensions. The fundamental elements of all its conceptions are, as we have seen, substance and quality, cause and effect. It combines the elements given by the primary faculties as given, without modifying them at all. It is the faculty, in short, which takes cognizance of realities as they are. Now we have in our minds other ideas than those of substance and quality, cause and effect; such, for example, as the ideas of the beautiful, the grand, and the sublime. These ideas last named, do not respect objects as they really exist (for they may, or may not, exist in harmony with such ideas), but as arranged and combined in a given manner. We have in our minds, therefore, two entirely distinct classes of conceptions—those which respect objects just as they exist in the universe of matter and mind, within and around us, and those in which the elements of such objects are in thought combined, in harmony, more or less perfect, with fundamental ideas in the mind itself; as those of the beautiful, grand, sublime, &c., which do not respect objects as they are, but certain arrangements of such objects. The function of the Intelligence which gives us the former class of conceptions, we have denominated the Understanding. That which gives us the latter, that which “ hovering o'er" all the elements of thought appearing upon the field of Consciousness, combines them into conceptions, more or less perfectly conformed to fundamental ideas, like those referred to above, is the Imagination. By Coleridge it is called the “Esemplastic, or into-one-forming power.It re-combines the elements of thought into conceptions which pertain not to mere existences, but ideas of the beautiful, the perfect, the sublime, &c., in the mind itself. A conception of the Understanding is perfect, when it represents its object as it is, whatever the object may be. A conception of the Imagination is perfect, when it shadows forth forms of beauty, grandeur, sublimity, &c., which correspond with the idea in the mind. Understanding-conceptions are compared with the object. The only standard with which the creations of the Imagination are compared, is the idea.

Imagination and Fancy distinguished. Mr. Dugald Stewart is the first philosopher that I have met with, who makes a distinction between the Imagination and Fancy. I will give the remarks to which I refer, as it will prepare the way for the distinction which I wish to make. “ It is the power of Fancy,” he observes, " which supplies the poet with metaphorical language, and with all the analogies which are the foundation of his allusions. But it is the power of the Imagination, that creates the complex scenes he describes, and the fictitious characters which he delineates.” According to the distinction here made, it was the Imagination of Milton, which created the whole scene and the particular characters presented in Paradise Lost. His Fancy, on the other hand, furnished the figurative language, analogies, and illustrations with which it is adorned. The Fancy, as thus described, is, as it will readily be perceived, nothing but a particular department of the operation of the principle of Association. It collects the materials from which the Imagination creates its scenes and characters, and then furnishes the attendant embellishments. In conformity to this view of the subject, Fancy is defined by Coleridge, as the “ aggregative and associative power.Thus defined, while the Imagination is that function of the Intelligence which is correlated to ideas of the beautiful, the grand, the sublime, &c., the Fancy is that function of the associative principle, which is correlated to the same ideas.

Another Definition of the term Fancy. There is another use of the term Fancy, called “ arbitrary Imagination,” or Imagination not governed by the pure ideas of truth and beauty.” In this use of the faculty of Imagination, instead of the beautiful being shadowed forth, grotesque images are produced with intentional violation of all laws of esthetics. In the present Treatise, the term Fancy will be used in conformity to the definition first given.


Preliminary Remarks. I will here introduce two remarks, which it may be important to keep in mind, in order to a full appreciation of what is to follow, and will then proceed to the illustration and elucidation of the subject before us :

1. The imagination pre-supposes the Fancy, as the ag. gregative power; while the latter does not pre-suppose the former.

2. Upon these distinctions are founded the epithets commonly applied to each, the Fancy being, in different individuals, denominated rich, luxuriant, or the opposite; the Imagination being denominated sublime, beautiful, or the opposite, according to the nature and character of its creations.

Elucidation. We now proceed to a further elucidation of the nature of the Imagination, as distinguished from the Fancy, and of the characteristics of each. We will commence as the basis of our illustrations, with a work familiar to all, and for that reason the more to our purpose, to wit, Paradise Lost.' Before Milton existed, the various parts of the entire scene presented in this work, had been for ages before the minds of millions. Every one that had read his Bible was perfectly familiar with the revolt of Satan and his legions—the war in heaven—the creation of man, and his fall, through the wiles of Satan—the Eden of man's first abode, and his subsequent expulsion, &c. These scenes, by the aggregative powers of the Fancy, had often been brought together in the same mind at the same moment. But here they remained in scattered fragments,“ without form and void," as far as unity

and identity are concerned, till a new creative power in the mind of Milton, “ moving upon the face of the waters," brought all the disordered and scattered elements into ore harmonious whole. Now what is this power which gave unity to all these endlessly diversified scenes? It is the Imagination. The Fancy first aggregates the materials—the elements. The Imagination then calls into being the new heavens and the new earth,” formed into a harmonious unity out of the elements thus brought together. The same remarks apply to all the individuals, &c., real or imaginary, presented to our contemplation in the above poem. For the further illustration of these remarks I will now present a few extracts from the poem itself :

“ He scarced had ceas'd when the superior fiend
Was moving towards the shore; his pond'rous shield,
Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round,
Behind him cast; the broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views,
At evening, from the top of Fesole,
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,

Rivers or mountains in her spotty globe." The character and scene here presented, were created by the Imagination. The comparison of the shield to the moon, was the suggestion of the Fancy. Again :

“ Which when Beelzebub perceived, than whom
Satan except, none higher sat, with grave
Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed
A pillar of state; deep on his front engraven,
Deliberation sat, and public care;
And princely counsel in his face yet shone,
Majestic though in ruin: sage he stood
With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear
The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look .
Drew audience and attention, still as night,

Or summer's noon-tide air, while thus he spake.”
The operation distinct and separate of the two faculties
under consideration, is too obvious here to need any remarks.
To the same purpose I make one more quotation :

“He, above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
Stood like a tow'r; his form had yet not lost
All its original brightness, nor appear'd
Less than archangel ruin'd, and ih' excess
Of glory obscur'd: as when the sun new risen
Looks through the horizontal misty air
Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon.

In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change

Perplexes monarchs." Here you perceive the propriety of the epithets, rich, and luxuriant, beautiful, and sublime, as applied to the Imagination and Fancy.-An Imagination, the creations of which are beautiful, grand, or sublime, is characterized accordingly. As the Fancy adorns such creations with analogies varied, multiplied, and appropriate, it is denominated rich, luxuriant, &c.


The Imagination is exclusively a secondary faculty. It operates only upon elements which the other faculties furnish. As the laws which control the Imagination are the ideas of unity, beauty, grandeur, sublimity, &c., it is by blending, in a peculiar manner, the elements of thought and feeling which lie under the eye of Consciousness, that this faculty shadows forth those forms which correspond to these ideas. My present object is to mark some of the principles in conformity to which a creative Imagination blends, unifies, and shadows forth the forms of beauty, grandeur, and sublimity.

1. Elements of Diverse Scenes blended into one Whole. The first that I mention is that already noticed in the case of Paradise Lost;' that in which the elements of different, and widely diversified scenes, are combined into one harmonious whole-into one beautiful, grand, or sublime conception. The character of the conception will depend upon two circumstances-the elements introduced into it—and the manner in which they are blended. To move upon the elements of thought, and blend them into form, in harmony with some one conception, is the principal law which controls the Imagination, in shadowing forth the beautiful, the grand, and the sublime. Nothing, almost, has greater influence in awakening in us the sense of the beautiful, the grand, or the sublime, than thus to contemplate parts of widely diversified scenes, which, in our thoughts, have lain in scattered fragments, all harmoniously blended into one grand conception. Thought is beautiful, and that which is brought into harmony with thought, has great power in awakening in us the

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