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floweriness of fancy and style, which is so well suited to those pleasures of the imagination, of which the author is treating.
• We are struck, we know not how, with the symmetry of any thing we see, and immediately assent to the beauty of an object, without inquiring into the particular causes and occasions of it.'
There is a falling off here from the elegance of the former sentences. We assent to the truth of a proposition; but cannot so well be said to assent to the beauty of an object. . Acknowledge would have expressed the sense with more propriety. The close of the sentence too is heavy and ungraceful—the particular causes und occasions of it; both partic ular and occasions, are words quite superfluous; and the pronoun it, is in some measure ambiguous, whether it refers to beauty or to object. It wonld have been some amendment to the style to have run thus :
We immediately acknowledge the beauty of an object, without inquiring into the cause of that beauty.'
A man of a polite imagination is let into a great many pleasures that the vulgar are not capable of receiving.'
Polite is a term more commonly applied to manners or behaviour, than to the mind or imagination There is nothing farther to be observed on this sentence, unless the use of that for a relative pronoun, instead of which ; an usage which is too frequent with Mr. Addison. Which is a much more definitive word than that, being never employed in any other way than as a relative; whereas that is a word of many senses ; sometimes a demonstrative pronoun, often a conjunction. In some cases we are indeed obliged to use that for a relative, in order to avoid the ungraceful repetition of which in the same sentence. But when we are laid under no necessity of this kind, which is always the preferable word, and certainly was so in this sentence. Pleasures which the vulgar are not capable of receiving, is much better than pleasures that the vulgar, &c.
He can converse with a picture, and find an agreeable companion in a statue. He meets with a secret refreshment in a description; and often feels a greater satisfaction in the prospect of fields and meadows, than another does in the possession. It gives him, indeed, a kind of property in every thing he sees; and makes the most rude uncultivated parts of nature administer to his pleasures : so that he looks upon the world, as it were, in another light, and discovers in it a multitade of charms that conceal themselves from the generality of mankind.'
All this is very beautiful. The illustration is happy: and the style runs with the greatest case and harmony. We see no labour, no stiffness, or affectation ; but an author writing from the native flow of a gay and pleasing imagination. This predominant character of Mr. Addison's manner, far more than compensates all those little negligences which we are now remarking. Two of these occur in this paragraph. The first, in the sentence which begins with, it gives him indeed a kind of property. To this it, there is no proper antecedent in the whole paragraph. In order to gather the meaning, we must look back as far as the third sentence before, the first of the paragraph, which begins with, a man of polite imagination. This phrase, polite imagination, is the only antecedent to which this it can refer; and even that is an improper antecedent, and it stands in the genitive case, as the qualification oply of a man
The other instance of negligence, is towards the end of the para.
graph, so that he looks upon the world, as it were, in another light. By another light, Mr. Addison means, a light, different from that in which other men view the world. But though this expression clearly conveyed this meaning to himself when writing, it conveys it very indistinctly to others : and is an instance of that sort of inaccuracy, into which, in the warmth of composition, every writer of a lively imagination is apt to fall; and which can only be remedied by a cool, subsequent review. As it were, is upon most occasions no more than an ungraceful palliative; and here there was not the least occasion for it, as he was not about to say any thing which required a softening of this kind. To say the truth this last sentence, so that he looks upon the world, and what follows, had better been wanting altogether. It is no more than an unnecessary recapitulation of what had gone before ; a feeble adjection to the lively pictare he had given of the pleasures of the imagination. The paragraph would have ended with more spirit at the words immediately preceding; the uncultivated parts of nature administer to his pleasures.
"There are, indeed, but very few. who know how to be idle and innocent, or have a relish of any pleasures that are not criminal; every diversion they take, is at the expense of some one virtue or another, and their very first step out of business is into vice or folly.'
Nothing can be more elegant, or more finely turned, than this sentence. It is neat, clear, and musical. We could hardly alter one word, or disarrange one member, without spoiling it. Few sentences are to be found, more finished, or more happy.
'A man should endeavour, therefore, to make the sphere of his innocent pleasures as wide as possible, that he may retire into them with safety, and find in them such a satisfaction as a wise man would not blush to take.'
This also is a good sentence, and gives occasion to no material remark.
Of this nature are those of the imagination which do not require such a bent of thought as is necessary to our more serious employments, nor, at the same time, suffer the mind to sink into that indolence and remissness, which are apt to accompany our more sensual delights; but, like a gentle exercise to the faculties, awaken them from sloth and idleness, without putting them upon any labour or difficulty.'
The beginning of this sentence is not correct, and affords an instance of a period too loosely connected with the preceding one of this nature, says he, are these of the imagination. We might ask, of what nạture? For it had not been the scope of the preceding sentence to describe the nature of any set of pleasures. He had said, that it was every man's duty to make the sphere of his innocent pleasures as wide as possible, in order that, within that sphere, he might find a safe retreat, and a laudable satisfaction. The transition is loosely made, by beginning the next sentence with saying, of this nature are those of the imagination. It had been better, if, keeping in view the governing object of the preceding sentence, he had said, "This advantage we gain,' or, This satisfaction we enjoy, by means of the pleasure of imagination. The rest of the sentence is abundantly correct.
We might here add, that the pleasures of the fancy are more conducive to health than those of the understanding, which are worked out by dint of thinking, and attended with too violent a labour of the brain.' On this sentence, nothing occurs deserving of remark, except that
worked out by dint of thinking, is a phrase which borders too much on vulgar and colloquial language, to be proper for being employed in a polished composition.
• Delightful scenes, whether in nature, painting, or poetry, have a kindly influence on the body, as well as the mind, and not only serve to clear and brighten the imagination, but are able to disperse grief and melancholy, and to set the animal spirits in pleasing and agreeable motions. For this reason, Sir Francis Bacon, in his Essay upon Health, has not thought it improper to prescribe to his reader a poem, or a prospect, where he particularly dissuades him from knotty and subtile disquisitions, and advises him to pursue studies that fill the mind with splendid and illustrious objects, as histories, fables, and contemplations of nature.'
In the latter of these two sentences, a member of the period is altogether out of its place;, which gives the whole sentence a harsh and disjointed cast, and serves to illustrate the rules i formerly gave concerning arrangement. The wrong placed member which I point at, is this ; where he particularly dissuades him from knotty and subtile disquisitions ; these words should, undoubtedly, have been placed not where they stand, but thus : Sir Francis Bacon in his Essay upon Health, where he particularly dissuades him from knotty and subtile speculations, has not thought it improper to prescribe to him, &c. This arrangement redo ces every thing into proper order.
I have, in this paper, by way of introduction, settled the notion of those pleasures of the imagination, which are the subject of my present undertaking, and endeavoured, by several considerations, to recommend to my readers the pursuit of those pleasures ; I shall, in my next paper, examine the several sources from whence these pleasures are derived."
These two concluding sentences afford examples of the proper collo cation of circumstances in a period. I formerly shewed, that it is often a matter of difficulty to dispose of them in such a manner, as that they shall not 'embarrass the principal subject of the sentence. In the sentences before us, several of these incidental circumstances necessarily come in-By way of introduction-by several considerations in this paper in the next paper. All which are, with great propriety, managed by our author. It will be found, upon trial, that there were no other parts of the sentence, in which they could have been placed 10 equal advantage. Had he said, for instance, I have settled the notion, (rather, the meaning) of those pleasures of the imagination. Which are the subject of my present undertaking, by way of introduction, in this paper, and endeavoured to recommend the pursuit of those pleasures to my readers, by several considerations, we must be sensible, that the sentence, thus clogged with circumstances in the wrong place, would neither have been to neat nor so clear, as it is by the present construction.
CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE STYLE IN No. 412 OF THE
SPECTATOR. The observations which have occurred in reviewing that paper of Mr. Addison's which was the subject of the last lecture, sufficiently shew, that in the writings of an author, of the most happy genius and distinguished talents, inaccuracies may sometimes be found. Though such inaccuracies may be overbalanced by so many beauties, as render style highly pleasing and agreeable upon the whole, yet it must be desirable to every writer to avoid, as far as he can, inaccuracy of any kind. As the subject, therefore, is of importance, I have thought it might be useful to carry on this criticism throughout two or three subsequent papers of the Spectator. At the same time, I must intimate, that the lectures on these papers are solely intended for such as are applying themselves to the study of English style. I pretend not to give instruction to those who are already well acquainted with the powers of language. To them my remarks may prove unedifying ; to some they may seem tedious and minute : but to such as have not yet made all the proficiency which they desire in elegance of style, strict attention to the composition and structure of sentences cannot fail to prove of considerable benefit; and though my remarks on Mr. Addison, should in any instance, bé thought illfounded, they will, at least, serve the purpose of leading them into the train of making proper remarks for themselves. * I proceed therefore, to the examination of the subsequent paper, No. 412.
• I shall first consider those pleasures of the imagination, which arise from the actual view and survey of outward objects : and these, I think, all proceed from the sight of what is great, uncommon, or beautiful.'
This sentence gives occasion for no material remark. It is simple and distinct. The two words which he here uses, view and survey, are not altogether synonymous : as the former may be supposed to import mere inspection; the latter more deliberate examination. Yet they lie so near to one another in meaning, that, in the present case, any one of them, perhaps would have been sufficient. The epithet actual, is introduced, in order to mark more strongly the distinction between what our author calls the primary pleasures of imagination, which arise from immediate view, and the secondary, which arise from remembrance or description.
* If there be readers who think any farther apology requsite for my adventuring to criticise the sentences of so eminent an author as Mr. Addison, I must take notice, that I was naturally led to it by the circumstances of that part of the kingdom where these lectures were read; where the ordinary spoken language often differs much from what is used by good English authors. Hence it oceurred to me, as a proper method of correcting any peculiarities of dialect, to direct students of eloquence, io analize and examine, with particular attention, the structure of Mr. Addison's sentences. Those papers of the Spectator, wbich are the subject of the following lectures, were accordingly, given out in exercise to students, to be thus esamined and analized; and several of the observations which follow both on the beauties and blemishes of this author, were suggested by observations given to me in consequence of the exercise prescribed.
'There may, indeed, be something so terrible or offensive, that the horror, or loathsomeness of an object, may overbear the pleasure which results from its novelty, greatness, or beauty; but still there will be such a mixture of delight in the very disgust it gives us, as any of these three qualifications are most conspicuous and prevailing
This sentence must be acknowledged to be an unfortunate one. The sense is obscure and embarrassed, and the expression loose and irregular. The beginning of it is perplexed by the wrong position of the words something and object. The natural arrangement would have been, there may, indeed, be something in an object so terrible or offensive, that the horTor or loathsomeness of it may overbear. These two epithets, horror or loathsomeness, are awkwardly joined together, loathsomeness, is, indeed, a quality which may be ascribed to an object; but horror is not ; it is a feeling excited in the mind. The language would have been much more correct, had our Author said, there may, indeed, be something in an object so terrible or offensive that the horror or disgust which it excites may overbear. The first two epithets, terrible or offensive, would then have expressed the qualities of an object; the latter, horror or disgust, the corresponding sentiments which theşe qualities produce in us. Loathsomeness was the most unhappy word he could have chosen : for to be loathsome, is to be odious, and seems totally to exclude any mixture of delight, which he afterwards supposes may be found in the object.
In the latter part of the sentence there are several inaccuracies. When he says, there will be such a mixture of delight in the very disgust it gives us, as any of these three qualifications are most conspicuous. The construction is defective, and seems hardly grammatical. He meant assuredly to say, such a mixture of delight as is proportioned to the degree in which any of these three qualifications are conspicuous. We know that there may be a mixture of pleasant and disagreeable feelings excited by the same object; yet it appears inaccurate to say, that there is any delight in the very disgust. The plural verb, are, is improperly joined to any of these three qualifications ; for as any is here used distributively, and means any one of these three qualifications, the corresponding verb ought to have been singular. The order in which the two last words are placed, should have been reversed, and made to stand, prevailing and conspicuous. They are conspicuous, because they prevail.
By greatness, I do not only mean the bulk of any single object, but the largeness of a whole view, considered as one entire piece.'
In a former lecture, when treating of the structure of sentences, ! quoted this sentence as an instance of the careless manner in which adverbs are sometimes interjected in the midst of a period. Only, as it is here placed, appears to be a limitation of the following verb, mean. The question might be put, what more does he than only mean? as the author, undoubtedly intended it to refer to the bulk of a single object, it would have been placed with more propriety after these words : I do not mean the bulk of any single object only, but the largeness of a whole view As the following phrase, considered as one entire piece, seems to be somewhat deficient, both in dignity and propriety, perhaps this adjection might have been altogether omitted, and the sentence have closed with fully as much advantage as the word view.
*Such are the prospects of an open champaign country, a vast uncultivated desert, of huge heaps of mountains, high rocks and precipices, or a wide expanse of waters, where we are not struck with the novelty,