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ejseHl in great and massy works, and which very unprofitably take up place to the prejudice of the principal member, it is most certain that this manner -will appear solemn and great; as on the contrary, that it will have but a poor and mean effect, where there is a redundancy of tboji smaller ornaments, which divide and scatter the angles of the sight into such a multitude of rays, so prejsed together that the whole will appear but a confu/ion.
Among all the sigures of architecture, there are none that have a greater air than ihe concave and the convex, and we sind in all the antjent and modern architecture, as well in the remote parts of China, as in countries nearer home, that round pillars and vaulted rooss make a great part of those buildings which are designed for pomp and magnisicence. The reason I take to be, because in these -sigures we generally fee more of the body, than in thole of other kinds. There are, indeed, sigures of bodies, where the eye may take in two thirds of the surface ; but as in such bodies the sight must split upon several angles, it does not take in one uniform idea, but several ideas of the fame kind. Look upon the outside of a dome, your eye half surrounds it; look upon the inside, and at one - glance you have all the prospect osit; the intire concavity Jallsinto your eye at once, the sight being as the center that collects and gathers into it the lines of :he whole circumference: In a square pillar, the sight often takes in but a fourth part of the surface; and in a square concave, '-.* must move up and down to the disferent sides, before it is master of all the inward surface. For this reason, the fancy is insinitely more struck with the view of the open air, and Ikies, that passes through an arch, than what comes through a square, or any other sigure. The sigure of the rainbow does not contribute less to its magnisicence, than the colours to its beauty, as it is very poetically described by the son of Sirach: Look upon the rainhow, and piraise him that made it; very beautiful it is in its brightnets; it encompasses the Heavens with a glorious circle, and the hands of the Most High have beaded it.
Having thus spoken of that greatness which affects the mind in architecture, I might next shew the pleasure that rises in the imagination from what appears new and beautiful in this art; but as every beholder has naturally turally a greater taste of these two perfections in every building which offers itself to his view, thsn of that » hich 1 have hitherto considered, I shall not trouble my reader with any reflections upon it. It is sufficient for hiy present purpose to observe, that there is nothing in this whole art which pleases the imagination, but as it is great, uncommon, or beautiful. . O
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N° 416 Friday, June 27.
^uatenus hoc fimile est cculis, quod mente vidimus.
Lucr. 1. 4. V. 754^ ■ Objects Hill appear the fame
To mind and eye, in colour and in frame.
IAt sirst divided the pleasures of the imagination into such as arise from objects that are actually before our eyes, or that once entered in at our eyes, and are afterwards called up into the mind either barely by its own operations, or on occasion of something without us, as statues', or descriptions. We have already considered the sirst division, and shall therefore enter on the other, ^(vhich, for distinction sake, I have called the secondary pleasures of the imagination. When I fay the ideas we receive from statues, descriptions, or such like occasions, are the fame that were once actually in our view, it must not be understood that we had once seen the very place, action, or person that are carved or described. It is sufsicient, that we have seen places, persons, or actions in general which bear a resemblance, or at least some remote analogy, with what we sind represented. Since it is in the power of the imagination, when it is once stocked with particular ideas, to enlarge, compound, and vary them at her own pleasure.
Among the different kinds of representation, statuary is the most natural, and shews us something likest the object that is represented. To make use of a common instance, let one, who is boyi blind, take an image D 5, i» in his hands, and' trace out with his singers the different furrows and impressions of the chissel, and he will eaiily conceive how the -shape of a man, or beast, may be represented by it; but should he draw his hand over a piSurc, where all is smooth and uniform, he would never be able to imagine how the several prominencies and depressions of a human body could be shewn on a plain piece of canvas, that has in it no unevenness or irregularity. Description runs yet farther from the things it represents than painting; for a picture bears a real resemblance to its original, which letters and syllables are wholly void of. Colours speak all languages, but words are understood only by such a people or nation. For this reason, tho' mens necessities quickly put them on sinding out speech, writing is probably of a later invention than painting; particularly we are told that in America, when the Spaniards siril arrived there, expresses were sent to the emperor of Mexico in paint, and the news of his country delineated by the strokes' of a pencil, which was a more natural way than that of writing, tho' at the fame time much more imperfect, because it is impossible to draw the little connexions of speech, or to give the picture of a conjunction or an adverb. It would be yet more strange, to represent visible objects by sounds that have no ideas an-, nexed to them, and to make something like description in mufic* Yet it is certain, there may be consused, imperfect, notions of this nature raised In the imagination by an artisicial composition of notes; and we sind that great masters in the art are able, sometimesi to set their hearers in.the heat and hurry of a battle, to overcast iheir minds with melancholy scenes and apprehensions ot deaths and funerals, or to lull them into pleasing dreams of groves and elysiums.
In all these instances, this secondary pleasure os the imagination, proceeds from that action of the mind, which compares the ideas arising from the original objects, with the ideas we receive from the statue, picture, description, or found that represents them. It Js impossible for us to give the necessary reason, whv this operation of the. mind is attended with so much pleasure, as 1 have before observed on the fame occasion; but we sind a great variety of entertainments derived from this single principle: For it is this that not only gives us a relish of statuary, painting, and description, but makes us delight in all the actions and arts of mimickry. It is this that makes the several kinds of wit pleasant, which consists, as I have formerly shewn, in the affinity of ideas: And we may add, it is this also that raises the little satisfaction we sometimes sind in the different forts of false wit; whether it consists in the affinity of letters, as an anagram, acrostic; or of syllables, as in doggerel rhimes, echoes; or of words, as in puns, quibbles; or of a whole sentence or poem, as wings and altars. The final cause, probably, of annexing pleasure to this operation of the mind, was to quicken and encourage us in our searches after truth, since the distinguishing one thing from another, and the right discerning betwixt our ideas, depends wholly upon, our comparing them together, and observing the congruity or disagreement that appears among the several works of nature.
But I shall here consine myself to those pleasures of the imagination, which proceed from ideas raised by •words, because most of the observations that agree with descriptions, are equally applicable to painting and statuary.
Words, when well chosen, have so great a force in them, that a description often gives us more lively idejs than the sight of things themselves. The reader sinds a scene drawn in stronger colours, and painted more to the life in his imagination, by the help of words than by an actual survey of the scene which they describe. In this case the poet seems to get the better of nature; he takes, indeed the landfcip after her, but gives it more vigorous touches, heightens its beauty, and so enlivens (he whole piece, that the images which flow from the objects themselves appear weak and faint, in comparison of those that come from the expressions. The reason, probably, may be, because in the survey of any object, we have only so much of it painted on the imagination, as comes in at the eye ; but in its description, the poet gives us as free a view of it as he pleases, and discovers to us several parts, that either we did not attend to, or that lay out os our sight when we sirst beheld it. As we look on any object, our idea of it is, perhaps, made up of two or three simple ideas j but when the poet represents it, he may either give us a more complex idea of it, or only raise in us such ideas as are most apt to asfect the imagination.
It may be here worth our while to examine how it comes to pals that several readers, who are all acquainted with the fame language, and know the meaning of the words they read, should nevertheless have a disferent relish of the fame descriptions. We sind one transported with a passage, \\Hiich another runs over with coldness and indifference, or sinding the representation extremely natural, where another can perceive nothing of likeness and consormity. This different taste must proceed either from the p rfotlion of imagination in one more than, in another, or from the different iders that several readers affix to the fame words. For, to have a true relish, and form a right judgment of a description, a man should be born with a good imagination, and must have well weighed the force and energy that lie in the several words of a language, so as to be able to distinguish which, are most signisicant and expressive of their proper ideas, and what additional strength and beauty they are capable oi receiving from conjunction with others. The fancy must be warm, to retain the print of those images it hath received from outward objects, and the judgment discerning, to know what expressions are most proper to> clothe and adorn them to the belt advantage. A man. who is desicient in either of these respects, tho' he may receive the general notion of a description, can never fee distinctly all its particular beauties: As a person with a weak sight may have the consused prospect of a place that lies before him, without entring into its several parts, or discerning the variety of its colours in their full giory and periection. O