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in publishing his critique. To cause Milton to be read and admired was not, as the Doctor supposes, the accidental benefit of his criticism, but its sole aim and purport. The means were admirably adapted to the end; no tedious disquisition, no recondite theory disgusted him who turned to the Spectator for interest and amusement; all was elegant and pleasing, and the very papers that we are noticing, though embracing a department of literature, generally esteemed dry and repulsive, became, from the fascinating garb in which they were dressed, the most popular of the collection. Their author had the satisfaction of contemplating the success of his labours. Milton became a permanent favourite with the public; and the national taste underwent an amelioration from this event, which has been progressively increasing to the present times. The judgment of Addison in the plan that he adopted with regard to Milton, is the more to be commended, as he has elsewhere shewn himself capable of entering into the spirit of philosophical criticism with an acuteness and precision in that age totally unprecedented. It is worthy of remark, however, that those who have blamed our author as totally defective in the philosophy of criticism, have entirely overlooked the work in which he has admirably exhibited ,this talent, and have applied their strictures to essays designedly, and with the highest propriety, constructed on a popular plan. The papers on the Pleasures of the Imagination form, in fact, the earliest specimen of philosophical criticism in our language 5 and if due allowance be.made, not only for the novelty of the subject, but of the mode of treatment too, deservedly call for distinguished praise. Had the censurers of Addison's mode of criticism but taken the trouble of perusing the fourhundred and ninth Spectator, they would have found him laying down the very rules for philosophical criticism, which they profess themselves to be guided by, and upon which rules the Essay on the Pleasures of Imagination was directly constructed. I would request them, after digesting the following passage, to confess the futility of their charge.
"I could wish there were authors who, beside the mechanical rules, which a man of very little taste may discourse upon, would enter into the very spirit and soul of fine writing, and shew us the several sources of that pleasure which rises in the mind upon the perusal of a noble work.
"Our general taste in England is for epigram, turns of wit, and forced conceits, which have no manner of influence, either for the bettering or enlarging the mind of him who reads them, and have been carefully avoided by the greatest writers, both among the ancients and moderns. I have endeavoured, in several of my speculations, to banish this gothic taste, which has taken possession among us. I entertained the town for a week together with an essay upon wit, in which I endeavoured to detect several of those false kinds, which have been admired in the different ages of the world, and at the same time to shew wherein the nature of true wit consists.—I have likewise examined the works of the greatest poet which our nation, or perhaps any other, has produced, and particularized most of those national and manly beauties which give a value to that divine work. I shall next Saturday enter upon an essay on ' The Pleasures of the Imagination which, though it shall consider the subject at large, will perhaps suggest to the reader what it is that gives a beauty to many passages of the finest writers, both in prose and verse."
The pleasures of the imagination are divided by Addison into primary and secondary; the former derived from the objects themselves, immediately present to our eyes, the latter from ideas of visual objects, as suggested by pictures, descriptions, &c. The great, the new, the beautiful, are justly enumerated as sources of the primary pleasures; and he has dwelt with much beauty and truth of illustration on the emotions which they are calculated to effect, and on the final causes of those emotions. This pleasing theory, which has suggested many ingenious trains of ideas to subsequent writers, and may be considered as the foundation of Akenside's noble poem, is chiefly defective in limiting the pleasures of imagination to mere objects of sight. Among the primary pleasures, should certainly have been reckoned those of imitation, harmony, wit,and humour; which, though perfectly uncombined with visible objects, are essentially sources of the materials which the imagination delights to employ. Dugald Stewart, in his excellent Philosophy of the Human Mind, has noticed at some length this defect in Mr. Addison's theory. "According to the definitions adopted," says he, " in general, by modern philosophers, the province of imagination would appear to be limited to objects of sight." "It is the sense of sight," says Mr. Addison, "which furnishes the imagination with its ideas; so that by the pleasures of imagination, I here mean such as arise from visible objects, either when we have them actually in view, or when we call up their ideas into our minds, by paintings, statues, descriptions, or any the like occasions. We cannot, indeed, have a single image in the fancy, that did not make its first entrance through the sight." Agreeably to the same view of the subject, Dr. Reid observes, that "Imagination properly signifies a lively conception of objects of sight; the former power being distinguished from the latter, as a part from the whole.
"That this limitation of the province of imagination to one particular class of our perceptions is altogether arbitrary, seems to me to be evident; for, although the greater part of the materials which imagination combines be supplied by this sense, it is nevertheless indisputable, that our other perceptive faculties also contribute occasionally their share. How many pleasing images have been borrowed from the fragrance of the fields and the melody of the groves; not to mention that sister art, whose magical influence over the human frame, it has been, in all ages, the highest boast of poetry to celebrate! In the following passage, even the more gross sensations of taste form the subject of an ideal repast, on which it is impossible not to dwell with some complacency; particularly after a perusal of the preceding lines, in which the poet describes 'the Wonders of the Torrid Zone:'