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employment of a mechanical process, or of an attempt at servile copy. In this view of the matter, the vice of identical similarity may
be com| mon alike to the work of the poet and that of the painter.
For instance; we term it the manner of identical similarity, in a painter, who, without having used either tracing, or the pantographe, would nevertheless appear servilely ambitious that his drawing should convey the idea of it; or again, who should employ (as did Denner, of Nuremberg) the magnifying glass, to assist him in reproducing with minute exactitude, in the copy of his model, the hair and the pores of the skin. We term it the manner of identical similarity, in a sculptor, whose aim is to excite belief that his figure was moulded from nature, although he may not actually have put in practice the process of moulding.
We maintain the very same thing, in poetry, of the different grades of partiality, evinced whether towards trivial language or thoughts, or the servile enumeration of details, whether towards technical fidelity in the description of corporeal objects, or physical properties, or whatever else it may be that is beyond the sphere of its means. (See Part I. Chap. ix.)
As a consequence of the foregoing observations, it is evident that our definition, thus developed, presents nothing, in any one of its terms, which may not be applied to the work of the poet, alike with that of the painter, since the one and the other are alike capable of producing the effect and giving rise to the idea of identical similarity, instead of the effect and the idea of imitative resemblance, since, in short, each is capable of reproducing a thing by the same thing, instead of by its image.
But it will yet be urged as an objection, that the idea belonging to the word image cannot, more especially in the sense in which we have taken it, admit of an application so rigorously parallel in reference to the arts which are addressed to the mind. That the kind of confusion, between the object to be imitated, and the object imitating, which may, in poetry, arise to the mind, cannot be.censured equally with that which takes place in the imitation of bodies, since the fault in question does not present the same degree of evidence, as that of which the physical senses are the judges. ... To this I may reply, that the fault would be by so much the more flagrant and contagious, in proportion as it were more difficult to combat.
But what then ! are there no faults but those that are detected by the physical sense ? Has not the order of moral things its truths and its errors capable of being demonstrated to the judgment and understanding ? For instance, would not the want of proportion in a production of the mind be, in its way, as real an imperfection, as the want of proportion in a material work, and that merely because it cannot be admeasured by the compasses ? But the fact that, even in corporeal imitation, the physical organ or instrument frequently only confirms to the senses, the error or fault which had already been perceived by the mind, is wholly lost sight of.
It is the mind or the feeling of what is true that at once denounces the deceitful illusion of the graphic arts, when their respective processes are mingled together in one and the same work; and when the physical organ points out the impossibility of it, (as has been seen in the preceding chapter,) it does no more than confirm the sentence already passed by the judgment and the taste.
Since then the mind is competent to condemn this fault in those arts which are neither solely nor directly addressed to it, why is the same judge incompetent, when the question concerns errors committed in its own proper jurisdiction,-in what falls within its own peculiar office? Why, in the arts of poetry, should it not condemn with the same correctness, that twofold employment of means, that mingling in one work the properties of different arts, if such a heaping together produces, as regards the mind, the same kind of confusion, as that of which the senses testify the reality ; if, in short, resemblance by means of an image is, in
like manner, found to be destroyed by aiming at identical similarity?
Let there then be no longer any objection raised, on the score of the natural difference between the arts of moral, and of physical imitation. What is true of the one, is true of the other, and we shall presently see, that the boundaries which separate each kind of imitation, as well the arts comprised under the name of poetry, as the arts of corporeal imitation, are absolutely impassable, if it be true that they can only be violated by faults which carry confusion into imitation, and thence destroy the pleasure which it is otherwise calculated to afford.
NATURE HAS PLACED SEPARATIONS AS REAL, BETWEEN THE
ARTS OF POETRY, AS BETWEEN THOSE OF DESIGN.
PROOF THE FIRST;
Drawn from the diversity of the faculties of the mind and of
the qualities of the objects available for imitation.
The domain of imitation (as already laid down Chapter iii.) is divisible into two very distinct regions; the one, consisting of the arts whose model is physical nature, the other, of those which have moral nature for their model. The distinction is here reduced to its most simple expression, and it is sufficient merely to point it out, without adding proofs of what is self-evident.
It can, however, be scarcely expected that the particular limits of each art should be perceived with the same clearness as those of the two grand divisions above mentioned. Moreover, the barriers placed by nature on the confines of each of the arts, are more readily distinguishable, when the model is more or less material. Some of these separations are so cognizant to the senses, that