Abbildungen der Seite


Minos, stern as he was wise,
Might not yet thy power disown-
Conquered by Dictynna's eyes,

He left science and renown.

In the woods the huntress still,
Fairest of Diana's train,
Consecrated to her will,

Sacred to her virgin fane,


Bare the bow, the quiver bare,

Chased the wild deer from the fern, For the savage laid the snare, Fierce and subtle, strong and stern:


'Till upon the sage's soul,
Rigid as it was and dark,
All her breathing beauty stole,
Glanced, and wandered like a spark,


Kindling soon to fiery flame,

Strong as ever on thy shrine, Bade the incense of thy fame

Rise and own thee all divine!

7. Lo, she flies; lo, he pursues;

Pants her bosom-flush her cheeks, Mingling all their changing hues, Agitation's lovely streaks.


Now upon her virgin flight,
She perceives his swifter feet;
Like the leven flash of light.

as brilliant and as fleet.

On her bosom now agen,
Feels his burning hand so nigh,
That the little space between,
Any rose-leaf might supply.


On the margin of the sea,

Now she feels his breath of fire, Trembles in his grasp, and he

Trembles too with fierce desire.

[blocks in formation]


Who may then defy thy power?
Mightiest Love! since Minos, held
Wisest, mightiest, in one hour,
By a single shaft was quelled!


The lyrist ceased: -Now cleared the monarch's brow,
And with his eye his aspect brightened now;
And round the board he turns his doubtful view,
As on strange quest, and strict enquiry too.
Anon, it glanced upon the nearest guest,
That courtier on his right-and fixed to rest-
Of courtiers he the chief, the slave of gold,
By whom his sovereign's smile was basely sold.
Well was he skilled in every quaint deceit,
To make a bad deed to the conscience sweet;
His master's favourite-but of every peer
MENESTHUS was at once the scorn and fear.
Apart with him the monarch communed-" Well-
Think'st thou, my friend, that Fame, who loves to swelt
Each object of her blazon, and for sport
Confound distinction in her vague report,
Exalt the humble, and abase the high,
Beauty denude, and gloss deformity,
Hath not more lavish in her lustre been,
Than what the subject warrants, were it seen ?"

"My sovereign, were she seen, would soon confess
Fame hath no power to paint her loveliness,
More bright, more varied, less to be pourtrayed
Than Iris' own inimitable braid.

ARISTES' humble bed enjoys the dame
Whom Nature never meant for mortal flame;

But for the starry court of heaven designed
Such beauty, virtue, majesty combined.

Some with these spells would challenge wealth and power,
She finds content within the fragrant bower;
Their greatest wealth is in their blissful lot,
And mutual love reigns-revels in their cot.
No woman e'er was found so fair and true,
One thought of change her bosom never knew ;
And aye, wherever nuptial faith is famed,
There, as a proverb, is Sabina named.”

of an APPARITION, exhibited Fancy in its active condition. Those to whom it was related, would probably have never conceived the idea; but the phantom, once described, all could comprehend its general nature, and many, no doubt, improved its peculiar features: so the descriptions of Milton are readily painted even upon an ordinary fancy; but how few could have formed them in all their sublime and beautiful originality!

The qualities of a brilliant Imagination are beautiful and sublime associations of a moral and intellectual nature, and combinations of a novel and striking description.

The imagination assembles a variety of objects in order to produce emotion; it heightens every property which belongs to those objects, in order to increase the impression, and to raise and expand the conceptions: it associates and combines every moral and intellectual quality that can add to the general effect: it seeks to present every thing in a bright and dazzling light; its purpose is to enchant,-to elevate,-to touch with pathos, or arouse to sensibility: its object is to exalt every sentiment, and to conduct us from reality to romance. All that is bright is not true. It looks with a prophet's eye; and, from the summit of its mount, views Life as promised, rather than as enjoyed. Either the sunny regions beyond Pisgah lie before it, or the black waste of the Wilder


It advances the exception into the rule,-what is peculiar becomes general. Man appears to be both better and worse than he actually is, and his destiny exhibits the opposite extremes of complete perfection and utter depravity.

JUDGMENT appears to be that power by which we can compare either different or similar objects, one with another, and so connect the two, as to deduce a conclusion either affirming or denying the truth of some proposition: it is employed both on certainties and probabilities; its object is to instruct, to convince, and to establish, and make truth apparent; its business is with facts in detail, and principles in general; it is opposed to conjecture; it is the opposite of fancy and imagination; it separates, instead of combining; it analyzes, instead of associating; it investigates each component part, and ascertains their relative and specific character; it resembles the judge, in office, as in name; it weighs the evidence of each witness, and the details of each individual testimony; it scrutinizes with the keen glance of penetration, and, after balancing each particle, it weighs the whole; its view comprehends equally the minute and the vast, the remote and the proximate; it is telescopic and microscopic.

Sometimes it estimates probabilities; yet even here it proceeds upon known facts, and established principles: what has

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

happened may occur again. Its office, then, is to ascertain that the circumstances are similar, the conclusion follows.

[ocr errors]

The aspect of the one is severe, scrutinizing, and inflexible; it "seems to look quite through the thoughts of men;" it is acute and penetrating; its glance is quick, yet searching; it exhibits an energy and determination of purpose, that can alone be inspired by the love of truth;-Minerva is its tutelary deity.

The countenance of the other is full of fire and animation,— its eye "in a fine phrenzy rolling ;" it searches not for the true, but for the beautiful,-not for the profound, but for the sublime; the tuneful Nine are alone the deitesses of its adoration.

The influence which Imagination necessarily has upon the Judgment, will perhaps best be examined by an appeal to different objects on which they are exercised. The Judgment is employed in the analysis or comparison of ascertained facts; the furniture of its laboratory is real and tangible. The materials with which the Imagination constructs its fabrics may, indeed, individually or separately, exist; but, in its inventive or creative power, it exhausts these materials, and embodies new. In the higher flights of its career, it grasps at fiction, as well as reality, and presents images far too enchanting, and far too beautiful, for the cool and dispassionate qualities of a correct and solid Judgment. The ordinary excursions of a brilliant Imagination are directed to regions where the sober wing of reason cannot soar; it arrays every thing in a visionary garb, and decorates with hyperbole every idea.

It may be possible that some peculiar instances may exist where Imagination and Judgment are eminently combined; there is, perhaps, no natural and totally insurmountable barrier against their unity and co-operation; but, as a general proposition, they are, in the great majority of instances, wholly incompatible.

That Judgment, to a certain extent of accuracy, may inhabit a mind endowed with a brilliant Imagination, we may readily admit; we observe it in the most resplendent examples of poets and orators. Without travelling far back, let us view the instance of Edmund Burke. The judgment of this distinguished individual was in many respects correct; and, upon subjects where his imagination did not pervert his understanding, his conclusions were accurate: but, will the impartial historian appeal either for his facts or his conclusions to the authority of Burke? Shall we look for accuracy of circumstance, or truth of principle, in that torrens eloquentia which rushed from the fountains of his imagination

upon the misgovernment of India and the Revolution of France?

The fervid genius of Burke had been inflamed by the splendid eloquence of Tully. Tortured citizens, depopulated villages, and plundered provinces, were depicted to his imagination in the blazing exaggerations of the Roman orator. The loud complaints which were transmitted from the Indian shores, seized the attention of the modern Cicero. The ancient crimes of Verres were lost in his imagination, when compared with the imputed atrocities of the unhappy Hastings, It suited the taste and the genius of Burke to depict the wrongs of the Indian world. He darted upon his victim as the eagle upon its appropriate prey. The lightning of his eloquence flashed, and the thunder of his declamation rolled over the civilized globe. Shall we imagine that a mind, thus constituted, and thus habituated, was capable of a cool and unprejudiced judgment? There can be little doubt, that not merely on the occasions which exercised these peculiar prepossessions, but upon many others, the mind would bear along with it a strong tincture of its favourite disposition.

The incompatibility of any striking exhibition of these powers in the same mind, will be ascertained also by an examination of the means and the process by which they attain their distinction. Whether a superior degree of judgment and imagination be more the result of nature or of cultivation, will not now be necessary to discuss,-whether original or acquired, the fact we have to investigate will be the same.

Judgment and Imagination are in general exercised upon objects completely dissimilar. The means by which the excellence of each is formed, is generally in diametric opposition to the other. It may be exemplified in the fact, that judgment is best cultivated by experience, and a large acquaintance with the realities of life; whilst the imagination may grow up amidst silent study and solitary seclusion.

To constitute an eminently correct judgment, it is obvious that the possession of very extensive knowledge and personal observation is indispensibly necessary. If the judgment is to be exercised upon any of the useful, or the fine arts; or upon any of the complicate transactions of life, it is clear that a mere acquaintance with its own peculiar facts and principles will not be sufficient. The arts and sciences, as well as the general pursuits of man, are so connected, and so mutually tend to assist, explain, or support each other, that he whose acquaintance with them is the most extensive, will possess the best pretensions to superior judgment. Whilst we are proceeding to form the basis of a correct judgment, by an

[ocr errors][merged small]
« ZurückWeiter »