Imágenes de páginas

susceptibility of this degree of activity, giving utterance to its own intense, that is, of imagination, depends on the energetic, and, therefore, creative life. relative proportion in which the faculty But after all, the difference is not a we have called Sensibility, enters into difference in kind. In the simplest act our original constitution, or the special we perform we are creative, in a degree of excitement it may at the degree; and the simplest and most moment be undergoing. The Sensi- prosaic forms of expression we ever bility, by which must be understood, adopt, are constructed on the same : not merely the power of being placed principle, after the same laws, and are in relation with the external world, in fact at bottom the same with those the RECEPTIVITY of the Kantian phi. of the sublimest and richest Art. losophy, is, if I may so speak, the central element of the me or subject. The Greeks, it is true, seem to have It is this which is more especially at regarded the Imagination as a specially the bottom of all those of our pheno- creative faculty. We see this in the mena which indicate the highest and fact of their calling the poet a intensest degree of life, as emotion, maker. They must have supposed that passion, affection, love, joy, grief. This imagination, on which poetry depends, faculty is not possessed by all men in deals only with the Ideal, and that the the same relative proportion. In some Ideal is ihe mere creature of the submen it is scarcely discernible. These ject. Hence, they make the essence are cold, dry, hard, and though not of poetry consist in fiction. Fiction is unfrequently passing for men of that which is made up by the poet out thought, are usually regarded as un- of himself, his own fancies and conceits, amiable, dull, uninteresting, drudges, and needs, and has no objective basis. mere plodders, who doubtless are not All the truth or reality there is in without their use in the world, but poetry, and therefore in imagination, who are never among the chiefs of on this hypothesis, is simply and extheir race, the lights of their age. In clusively of the subject's own creating. others again this faculty seems to pre. But this is by no means true. dominate; and these are those of our race who have, if one may so speak, Imagination, unquestionably, deals the largest, the richest, and the loftiest much with the Ideal; but not exclunature; and life, that is, action, that is, sively, nor is all dealing with the Ideal, again, manifestation of our being, must Imagination. Metaphysics, ethics, needs be with these more intense and transcendental mathematics and geoenergetic than with those of a nar- metry, nay, all reasoning, as will rower and less richly endowed nature. hereafter be seen, the most abstract, Just in proportion, then, as this element the dryest, the dullest even, deals with predominates in the original constitu- the Ideal not less than does Imagination of the individual, or just in pro- tion. We may perceive the Ideal portion as it is for the time being, feebly, listlessly, as well as intensely naturally or artificially, rendered the and energetically; and it is only in the predominating element in the life of last case that perception of the Ideal the individual, will be that individual's is Imagination. We may also perceive susceptibility of imagination.

the Actual with intensiiy and energy,

with the highest degree of activity we Life being in this individual more can experience. If so, Imagination intense and energetic than in ordinary may deal with the actual world as well men, or at least than in their ordinary as with the ideal world. The essence state of inward excitement, he must of Imagination does not consist either necessarily clothe his thoughts with in the object with which it deals, por richer, more vivid, and substantial in the mode or manner in which the forms; which again will require a subject represents the object; but more vivid and expressive language for solely, as we have seen, in the intensity their utterance. Hence the peculiar and energy with which the object is language of imagination; hence poetry; seized. The actual world is often hence all the various forms of Art. All seized with great intensity and energy, are but the various language the soul as we may learn by reading historical, adopts in its states of highest and best descriptive, and didactic poetry. In sustained activity, as the means of the “ Hind and Panther" of Dryden,

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even political and theological specula- however it may be with the mass of tion and reasoning become imagina. the uncultivated English and Ameritive and poetical. It must be a very cans, however it may be with some defective definition that excludes from individuals through their whole lives, the domain of poetry, Pope's Essay on and with all men during their ordinary Man and his Moral Essays, the Satires state of inward excitement, there are of Horace and Juvenal, the “Rerum to most men moments when the acNatura" of Lucretius, the sixth Book tual becomes transparent, and reveals of the Æneid, or even Wordsworth's to their view the rich and magnificent Excursion, with the exception of some world of the Ideal lying beyond, its of the details and descriptions, basis and its possibility. To all intense

and energeticaction the Actual becomes Nevertheless the object with which merely a symbol of the Ideal. All men, Imagination deals, unquestionably, for when wrought up to a high degree of the most part, belongs to the Ideal well sustained activity, are imaginaworld, and it may be maintained, with tive, and do perceive more than has as great plausibility at least, that in what yet been realized. Perhaps, were we may, for distinction's sake, be termed to change our point of view somewhat, the poetry of the Actual, the poesy even the English and American consists in the detection and representa: branches of the Saxon race, would tion of the Ideal. This is evidently the themselves be found to be not altothought of those who place the essence gether without imagination. They of poetry not in fiction, nor in imitation, are a practical people, but they often bui in what is called Invention, that is display in the direction of mere practi. to say, in finding. In our ordinary state, cal life, an intense and energetic acor at least the bulk of mankind in their tivity, that approaches very nearly to ordinary state, stop with the Actual. the poetical." They have, after all, a A primrose by the river's brink is a national song in the steam-engine and primrose and nothing but a primrose; the deep-laden ship, and national man is merely a two-legged animal music in the ringing of the ever-busy without feathers; all nature appears, hammer of industry. and is what, and only what, it appears. There are individuals who never get Let it be admitted, then, if it be beyond this siate; individuals to whom insisted on, that poetry consists in the there is never the mighty and dread intense and energetic detection and Unknown before which they stand in representation of the Ideal in the Acawe, or shrink into insignificance. tual, and therefore that Imagination, Even whole nations, with the excep- according to the common faith of tion of a cultivaied class, little nymer. mankind, deals altogether with the ous, rarely if ever get through the Ideal; it will not follow that the object Actual. In proof of this, might be is merely a modification, affection, or cited the much boasted Anglo-Saxon creation of the subject, The Ideal is

The genuine Englishman of the always found by the poet, not made, lower class, is perhaps the least imag. and is as truly objective as the Actual inative human being conceiyable. in which he finds it. The Ideal exists English Literature surpasses that of all out of us, and independent of us; only modern nations in genuine works of it exists as the Ideal, not as the Actual. imagination; and yet there is, strictly It is as truly perceived, and in the most speaking, for the Anglo-Saxon race, no fervid imagination is as truly an object genuine national poetry, The English of perception, as is a man, a horse, a have no national songs, no national plant, or an animal

. When I see an airs, as have their neighbors the Scotch individual man, I call him at once a and the Irish, or the Italians, and the man; but by what authority do I so people of Northern and Eastern call him ? Unquestionably because I Europe. The peasant Burns could recognize in him the genus, or race, by hardly have been born south of the virtue of which he is a man, and not a Tweed. Similar remarks may be made horse, or a dog. This genus or race is on the Anglo-Americans. We are by not actual, but ideal, and it has no no means an imaginative people. We actual existence save in individual import our songs and music, as we do men and women. Yet it is not itself our silks and broadcloths. And yet, individual, is not all in one individual,


nor all in all individuals; for it is at ments, namely, SUBJECT, OBJECT, and once in all individuals, is the basis of Form, these airy nothings are not each individual, and the infinite possi- nothing, but something; for the subbility of each to be more than he is. ject is always me, and the object Whatever force, or substance, or power, always not me. we recoguize in a particular man, it belongs to him not as a pure individual, But must we then take all the creabut as a representative of humanity, tions of the poet, the chimeras, hydras, To deny, then, in the case of man the monsters, and demons of popular objectivity and independence of the superstition, the fairies, genii, heroes, Ideal, would be to deny the objectivity demigods, gods, and goddesses, bodied and independence of the Actual, which forth by the various national mytholonever is but by virtue of the Ideal. gies of ancient and modern times ;Imagination, then, by dealing with the all the heroes and heroines of novels, Ideal, no more deals with the unsub- fables, and what we term fictitious stantial, the fictitious, the supposi- history,-must we take all these as so titious, the chimerical, or the subjec- many real personages, as actually tive, than though it dealt solely with existing, out and independent of the the Actual.

subject, as Peter, James, or John ? To

us who contemplate them, reflect on This is not the common opinion. them, they are unquestionably not me, Men have made poetry consist in fiction, that is, really objective existences, but not in truth; and the severest remark existing as facis of memory, and be is to accuse one of " drawing on his longing therefore to the world of time. imagination for his facts." Even To the subject who created them, they Shakspeare, whom one may dare cite were the notions, or the Forms with for his philosophy as well as for his which he clothed real thoughts or poetry, seems to have adopted the com- actual apperceptions. The Form of mon notion, that in Imagiuation the the 'Thought or Apperception is subject creates its own object : always, as has already been shown,

the creation of the intelligence of the Hip. 'Tis strange, my Theseus, that subject; but it is never created save these lovers speak of.

when that intelligence acts in conjuncThe. More strange than true; I never tion with a real object, belonging to the

may believe These antique fables, nor these fairy world of memory; or to the world of

world of immediate perception; to the toys, Lovers and madmen have such seething foresight. These creations differ only brains,

in degree from our ordinary notions, or Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend

the commonest forms wbich we give More than cool reason ever comprehends. to our apperceptions. They are created The lunatic, the lover, and the poet,

by the subject, not by the subject actAre of imagination all compact :

ing without an object, but acting in One sees more devils than vast hell can conjunction with the object; and therehoid :

fore they concealunder them an objectThat is the madman; the lover, all as ive reality, no less than a subjective frantic,

reality. Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt ; The poet's eye in a fine frenzy rolling, This will be evident, if we but anaDoth glance from heaven to earth, from lyze any one of these “airy nothings”.

earth to heaven; And, as imagination bodies forth

of the poet. The elements out of The forms of things unknown, the poet's

which they

constructed are

always real apperceptions, never Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy pure fictions. We may imagine a nothing

mountain of gold, when no mountain A local habitation and a name,

of gold shall actually exist; but what Such tricks hath strong im ation.” is this mountain of gold but the com

bination of two facts of memory, And yet according to the Formula of namely, the conception of gold obThought, already established, which tained from the memory, or, what here makes it a phenomenon with three is the same thing, experience of gold, indestructible and inseparable ele- and the conception of mountain ob



tained from the same source ? Had fact of memory.

Out of these apperwe never had any experience of gold ceptions they are all constructed. They and mountain, we should have been differ, then, at bottom not at all from wholly unable to imagine a mountain what we have already termed the of gold. Take the dainty, delicate NOTION or Form of the Thought. spirit Ariel of Shakspeare, or the Intensify the Notion in ordinary thinkdevil-begotten Caliban, and it may ing, and you have one of these poetbe seen by even a slight analysis, that ical creations, -a Venus or'an Apollo, Shakspeare has created nothing but an Ariel or a Caliban, a Miranda or a the form with which he has clothed Lady Macbeth. the actual facts of his own experience. The same remark_may be made of The object in Imagination is, then, Oberon, Titania, Robin Goodfellow, really not me. There is always truth, and the whole race of little people, as and even a high order of truth, under well as the giants of Teutonic Mytho- the wildest and most extravagant logy. The pattern men and wornen fancies and conceits of the lover, the of our novel-writers are nothing but madman, and the poet. Not all unreal combinations, more or less felicitous, of is the bright world of Romance into what they have really experienced. which we rise from the dull Actual in All the conceptions out of which these all our moments of higher and intenser pattern men and women are con- life. The “land of dreams," in which structed, are furnished by actual expe. the lover and the poet, in their intensrience. They may surpass the men and est frenzy, rise free and delighted, is, women one actually meets in society, if we did but know it, more substantial but they do not surpass the Ideal sug- than this cold, dry, work-day world, in gested or revealed by them. In which for the most part of the time we chiselling a Venus or an Apollo, the merely vegetate, and call it living. In artist has unquestionably embodied a these moments the soul penetrates bebeauty which surpasses all actual yond the Actual to the Ideal, which is beauty, but not all the beauty actually ihe basis of all reality, that in which present to his view. There hovered we are all, without seeming to know before him as he worked, a beauty, it, immersed as in a vast ocean of which perpetually baffled his efforts to being. seize and fix in his glowing marble. He has created nothing. The beauty But every notion, we have seen, has I worship in a Madonna is not suppo- its face of error, because it is the creasititious; it is not the creation of a ture of the subject, and the subject is mortal. The mortal has but found finite. So also must all the forms of and revealed the Immortal. He has Imagination have their face of error. but imperfectly enbodied what his None of these express, or can express, actual experience has enabled him to the whole truth, or nothing but the perceive. Find an artist who, having truth. Nevertheless, as man in the never looked on the delicate features Imaginative state is in his highest state and graceful form of woman, can yet of activity, acting with his greatest give us a Venus, or who, having never force and energy, both as sentiment and marked the masculine form and vigor as intelligence, it follows that the of man, can yet give us an Apollo, forms of the Imagination are the and you will find one who can create truest and the least inadequate of any out of himself, without needing to of the forms with which he clothes his draw on experience for the materials thoughts. They are the highest and with which to work.

most expressive forms he ever adopts;

and contain the highest and most comAll the creations of the poet, or the prehensive truth to which he ever beings of imagination, whether lovely naturally attains. There is profounder or unlovely, chaste or unchaste, are truth in the Parthenon or Saint Peter's, nothing but the forms with which men than in the Novum Organon ; and a attempt to clothe their apperceptions, Head of Jupiter by Phidias, or a Maall of which include necessarily sub- donna by Raphael, is worth more than ject and object, though in some cases the Critique of Pure Reason. Homer, the object may be the product of our Dante, Shakspeare, and Milton, conpast life, or what we have termed a tain more philosophy than Aristoile,

Saint Thomas, or Leibnitz, can com- mitted philosophers, have been able to prehend, and the Thousand and One quicken the race, and set it forward to Nights more than the Essay on the higher and more comprehensive life. Human Understanding. The only No man is really a philosopher till real instructor of the human race is warmed up into the artist. Here is the artist, and it is as artists, as men the sacredness of Art, and the explanawrought up to the intensest life, and tion of the fact, that the highest truths therefore acting from the full force of are always uttered by men when under their being, that Socrates, Plato, Des the influence of the loftiest and most cartes, the great and universally ad- genuine Imagination.



"For in much wisdom is much grief; and he who increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."

Joy the halls of Troy surrounded,

Ere the lofty city fell;
Golden hymns of gladness sounded

From the harp's exulting swell.
All the warriors' toils are over,

Arms no more the heroes bear, .
For Pelides, royal lover,

Weds with Priam's daughter fair.
Laurel wreaths their temples pressing,

Many a festive train, with joy,
Throng to supplicate a blessing

From the deities of Troy.
Sounds of mirth and gladness only

Through the streets tumultuous flow,
Save where, in its sorrow lonely,

One sole bosom beats with woe.
Joyless, joys around unheeding,

Desolate, alone to rove,
Silently, Cassandra, speeding,

Sought Apollo's laurel grove.
To the wood's remote recesses

The prophetic maiden fled,
And, with wildly-flowing tresses,

Thus with angry grief she said:

• The November number of Blackwood's Magazine, in which appears another , translation of this poem, published subsequently to the contribution of the present one to the Democratic Review, extracts the following just and striking criticism on the subject of this poem, from Madame de Staël :-"One sees in this ode the curse inflicted on a mortal by the prescience of a God. Is not the grief of the Prophetess that of all who possess a superior intellect with an impassioned heart? Under a shape wholly poetic, Schiller has embodied an idea grandly moral, viz., that the true genius (that of the sentiment) is a victim to itself, even when spared by others. There are no nuptials for Cassandra—not that she is insensible—not that she is disdained, but the clear penetration of her soul passes in an instant both life and death, and can only repose in heaven."-L'Allemagne, Part II., c. 13.

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