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HERE are certain powers in human nature which feem to hold a middle place between the organs of bodily fenfe and the faculties of moral perception: they have been called by a very general name, The Powers of Imagination. Like the external fenfes, they relate to matter and motion; and, at the fame time, give the mind ideas analogous to those of moral approbation and diflike. As they are the inlets of fome of the most exquifite pleasures - with which we are acquainted, it has naturally happened, that men of warm and fenfible tempers have fought means to recal the delightful perceptions which they afford, independent of the objects which originally produced them. This gave rife to the imitative or defigning arts; fome of which, as painting and feulpture,
directly copy the external appearances which were admired in nature; others, as music and poetry, bring them back to remembrance by figns univerfally established and understood.
But these arts, as they grew more correct and deliberate, were of course led to extend their imitation beyond the peculiar objects of the imaginative powers; efpecially poetry, which, making use of language as the inftrument by which it imitates, is confequently become an unlimited reprefentative of every fpecies and mode of being. Yet as their intention was only to exprefs the objects of imagination, and as they still abound chiefly in ideas of that clafs, they of course retain their original character; and all the different plea- fures which they excite, are termed, in general, Pleafures of Imagination.
The defign of the following poem is to give a view of these 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 those principles in the conftitution of the human mind, which are here established and explained.
In executing this general plan, it was neceffary, first of all, to distinguish the Imagination from our other faculties; and, in the next place, to characterize those 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 greatness, novelty, and beauty; and into these we may analyfe every object, however complex, which, properly speaking, is delightful to the imagination. But fuch an object may also include many other fources of pleafure; and its beauty, or novelty, or grandeur, will make a stronger impreffion by reafon of this concurrence. Be
fides 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 discovered to the understanding, or illustrations of contrivance and final causes; or, above all the rest, with circumftances proper to awaken and engage the paffions. It was therefore neceffary to enumerate and exemplify thefe different species of pleasure; especially that from the paffions, which, as it is fupreme in the nobleft work of human genius, fo being in fome particulars not a little furpifing, gave an opportunity to enliven the didactic turn of the poem, by introducing an allegory to account for the appearance.
After thefe parts of the subject which hold chiefly of admiration, or naturally warm and intereft the mind, a pleafure of a very different nature, that which arifes from ridicule, came