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Another sense here, means, grammatically, another sense than fancy. For there is no other thing in the period to which this expression, another sense, can at all be opposed. He had not, for some time, made mention of any sense whatever. He forgot to add, what was undoubtedly in his thoughts, another sense than that of sight.
• Thus any continued sound, as the music of birds, or a fall of water, awakens every moment the mind of the beholder, and makes him more attentive to the several beauties of the place which lie before him. Thus, if there arises a fragrancy of smells or perfumes, they heighten the pleasures of the imagination, and make even the colours.and verdure of the landscape appear more agreeable; for the ideas of both senses recommend each other, and are pleasanter together, than when they enter the mind separately; as the different colours of a picture, when they are well disposed, set off one another, and receive an additional beauty from the advantage of their situation.'
Whether Mr. Addison's theory here be just or not, may be questioned. A continued sound such as that of a fall of water, is so far from awakening every moment the mind of the beholder, that nothing is more likely to lull him asleep. It may, indeed, please the imagination, and heighten the beauties of the scene; but it produces this effect, by a soothing, not by an awakening influence. With regard to the style, nothing appears exceptionable. The flow, both of language and of ideas, is very agreeable. The author continues, to the end, the same pleasing train of thought, which had run through the rest of the paper; and leaves us agreeably employed in comparing together different degrees of beauty.
CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE STYLE IN NO. 413 OF
THE SPECTATOR. · THOUGH in yesterday's paper we considered how every thing that is great, new, or beautiful, is apt to affect the imagination with pleasure, we must own, ihat it is impossible for us to assign the necessary cause of this pleasure, because we know neither the nature of an idea, nor the substance of a human soul, which might help us to discover the conform. ity or disagreeableness of the one to the other; and therefore, for want of such a light, all that we can do in speculations of this kind, is, to reflect on those operations of the soul that are most agreeable, and to range, under their proper heads what is pleasing or displeasing to the mind, without being able to trace out the several necessary and efficient causes from whence the pleasure or displeasure arises.'
This sentence, considered as an introductory one, must be acknowledged to be very faulty. An introductory sentence should never contain any thing that can in any degree fatigue or puzzle the reader. When * author is entering on a new branch of his subject, informing us of what
ias done, and what he proposes further to do, we naturally expect, he should express himself in the simplest and most perspicuous man. Possible. But the sentence now before us is crowded and indistinct;
containing three separate propositions, which, as I shall afterwards shew, required separate sentences to have unfolded them. Mr. Addison's chief excellency, as a writer, lay in describing and painting. There he is great; but in methodising, and reasoning, he is not so eminent. As, besides the general fault of prolixity and indistinctness, this sentence contains several inaccuracies. I shall be obliged to enter into a minute discussion of its structure and parts; a discussion which to many readers will appear tedious, and which therefore they will naturally pass over; but which, to those who are studying composition, I hope may prove of some benefit.
Though in yesterday's paper we considered. The import of though, is, notwithstanding that. When it appears in the beginning of a sentence, its relative generally is yet ; and it is employed to warn us, after we have been informed of some truth, that we are not to infer from it some other thing which we might perhaps have expected to follow : as, ' Though virtue be the only road to happiness, yet it does not permit the unlimited gratification of our desires. Now it is plain, that there was no such opposition between the subject of yesterday's paper, and what the author is now going to say, between his asserting a fact, and his not being able to assign the cause of that fact, as rendered the use of this adversative particle, though, either necessary or proper in the introduction. We considered how every thing that is great, new or beautiful, is apt to affect the imagination with pleasure. The adverb how signifies, either the means by which, or the manner in which, something is done. But in truth, neither one nor the other of these had been considered by our author. He had illustrated the fact alone, that they do affect the imagination with pleasure; and, with respect to the quomodo or the how, he is so far from having considered it, that he is just now going to shew that it cannot be explained, and that we must rest contented with the knowledge of the fact alone, and of its purpose or final cause. We must own, that it is impossible for us to assign the necessary cause (he means, what is more commonly called the efficient cause) of this pleasure, because we know neither the nature of an idea, nor the substance of a human soul. The substance of a human soul is certainly a very uncouth expression, and there appears no reason why he should have varied from the word nature, which would have equally applied to idea and to soul.
Which might help us, our author proceeds, to discover the conformity or disagreeableness of the one to the other. The which, at the beginning of this member of the period, is surely ungrammatical, as it is a relative, without any antecedent in all the sentence, It refers, by the construction, to the nature of an idea, or the substance of a human soul; but this is by no means the reference which the author intended. His meaning is, that our knowing the nature of an idea, and the substance of a human soul, might help us to discover the conformity or disagreeableness of the one to the other: and therefore the syntax absolutely required the word knowledge to have been inserted as the antecedent to which. I have before remarked, and the remark deserves to be repeated, that nothing is a more certain sign of careless composition than to make such relatives as which, not refer to any precise expression, but carry a loose and vague relation to the general strain of what had gone before. When our sentences run into this form, we may be assured there is something in the construction of them that requires alteration. The phrase of discovering the conformity or disagreeableness of the one to the other is likewise exceptional
for disagreeableness neither forms a proper contrast to the other word, conformity, nor expresses what the author meant here, (as far as any meaning can be gathered from his words) that is, a certain unsuitableness or'want of conformity to the nature of the soul. To say the truth, this member of the sentence had much better have been omitted altogether. The conformity or disagreeableness of an idea to the substance of a human soul, is a phrase which conveys to the mind no distinct nor intelligent conception whatever. The author had before given a sufficient reason for his not assigning the efficient cause of those pleasures of the imagination, because we neither know the nature of our own ideas nor of the soul : and this farther discussion about the conformity or disagreeableness of the natare of the one, to the substance of the other, affords no clear or useful illustration.
And therefore, the sentence goes on, for want of such a light, all that we can do in speculations of this kind, is, to reflect on those operations of the soul that are most agreeable, and to range under their
heads what is pleasing or displeasing to the mind. The two expressions in the begin ning of this member, therefore, and for want of such a light, evidently refer to the same thing, and are quite synonymous. One or other of them, threrefore, had better have been omitted. Instead of to range under their proper heads, the language would have been smoother, if their had been left out. Without being able to trace out the several necessary and efficient causes from whence the pleusure or displeasure arises. The expression, from whence, though seemingly justified by frequent usuage, is taxed by Dr. Johnson as a vicious mode of speech; seeing whence alone, has all the power of from whence, which therefore appears an unnecessary reduplication. I am inclined to think, that the whole of this fast member of the sentence had better have been dropped. The period might have closed with full propriety, at the words, pleasing or displeasing to the mind. All that follows, suggests no idea that had not been fully conveyed in the preceding part of the sentence. It is a mere expletive adjection which nright be omitted, not only without injury to the meaning, but to the great relief of a sentence already labouring under the multitude of words.
Having now finished the analysis of this long sentence, I am inclined to be of opinion, that if, on any occasion, we can adventure to alter Mr. Addison's style, it may be done to advantage here, by breaking down this period in the following manner : «In yesterday's paper we have shewn that every thing which is great, new or beautiful, is apt to affect the imagination with pleasure. We must own, that it is impossible for us to assign the efficient cause of this pleasure, because we know not the nature either of an idea, or of the human soul. All that we can do, therefore, in speculations of this kind, is to reflect on the operations of the soul, which are most agreeable, and to range under proper beads, what is pleasing or displeasing to the mind.' We proceed now to the examination of ihe following sentences.
· Final causes lie more bare and open to our observation, as there are often a great variety that belong to the same effect: and these, thougla they are not altogether so satisfactory, are generally more useful than the other, as they give us greater occasion of admiring the goodness and wisdom of the first contriver.'
Though some difference might be traced between the sense of bare and open, yet, as they are here employed, they are so nearly synony. mous, that one of them was sufficient. It would have been enougle
to have said, Final causes lie more open to observation. One can scarcely help observing here, that the obviousness of final causes does not proceed, as Mr. Addison supposes, from a variety of them concurring in the same effect, which is often not the case; but from our being able to ascertain more clearly, from our own experience, the congruiry of a final cause with the circumstances of our condition; whereas the constituent parts of subjects, whence efficient causes proceed, lie for the most part beyond the reach of our faculties. But as this remark respects the thought more than the style, it is sufficient for us to observe, that when he says, a great variety that belong to the same effect, the expression strictly considered, is not altogether proper. The accessory is properly said to belong to the principal ; not the principal to the accessory. Now an effect is considered as the accessory or consequence of its cause; and therefore, though we might well say a variety of effects belong to the same cause, it seems not so proper to say, that a va. riety of causes belong to the same effect.
One of the final causes of our delight in any thing that is great, may be this: The Supreme author of our being has so formed the soul of man, that nothing but himself can be its last, adequate, and proper happiness. Because, therefore, a great part of our happiness must arise from the contemplation of his being, that he might give our souls a just relish of such contemplation, he has made them naturally delight in the apprehension of what is great or unlimited.'
The concurrence of two conjunctions, because, therefore, forms rather a harsh and unpleasing beginning of the last of these sentences; and, in the close, one would think, that the author might have devised happier word than apprehension, to be applied to what is unlimited. But that I may not be thought hypercritical, I shall make no farther observations on these sentences.
Our admiration, which is a very pleasing motion of the mind, im. mediately rises at the consideration of any object that takes up a good deal of roon in the fancy, and, by consequence, will improve into the highest pitch of astonishment and devotion, when we contemplate his Dature, that is neither circumscribed by time nor place, nor to be comprebended by the largest capacity of a created being.'
Here, our author's style rises beautifully along with the thought, However inaccurate he may sometimes be when coolly philosophisings yet, whenever bis fancy is awakened by description, or his mind, as here, warmed with some glowing sentiment, he presently becomes great, and discovers in his language, the hand of a master. Every one must observe, with what felicity this period is constructed. The words are long and majestic. The members rise one above another, and conduct the sentence, at last, to that full and harmonious close, which leaves upon the mind such an impression, as the author intended to leave, of: something uncommonly great, awful, and magnificent.
He has annexed a secret pleasure to the idea of any thing that is new or uncommon, that he might encourage us in the pursuit of knowledge, and engage us to search into the wonders of creation ; for every new idea brings such a pleasure along with it, as rewards the pains we have taken in its acquisition, and consequently, serves as a motive to put us upon fresh discoveries.
The language, in this sentence, is clear and precise: only, we cannot but observe, in this, and the two following sentences, which are
constructed in the same manner, a strong proof of Mr. Addison's unreasonable partiality to the particle, that, in preference to which. Annexed a secret pleasure to the idea of any thing that is new or uncommon, that he might encourage us. Here the first that stands for a relative pronoun, and the next that, at the distance only of four words, is a conjunction. This confusion of sounds serves to embarrass style. Much better, sure to have said, the idea of any thing which is new or uncommon, that he might encourage. The expression with which the sentence concludes, a motive to put us upon fresh discoveries, is flat, and, in some degree, improper. He should have said, put us upon making fresh discoveries ; or rather, serves as a motive inciting us to make fresh discoveries.
He has made every thing that is beautiful in our own species, pleasant, that all creatures might be tempted to multiply their kind, and fill the world with inhabitants; for, 'tis very remarkable, that, wherever nature is crost in the production of a monster, (the result of any unnatural mixture) the breed is incapable of propagating its likeness, and of founding a new order of creatures; so that, unless all animals were allured by the beauty of their own species, generation would be at an end, and the earth unpeopled.'
Here we must, however reluctantly, return to the employment of censure: for this is among the worst sentences our author ever wrote; and contains a variety of blemishes. Taken as a whole, it is extremely deficient in unity. Instead of a complete proposition, it contains a sort of chain of reasoning, the links of which are so ill put together, that it is with difficulty we can trace the connexion; and, unless we take the trouble of perusing it several times, it will leave nothing on the mind but an indistinct and obscure impression.
Besides this general fault, respecting the meaning, it contains some great inaccuracies in language. First, God's having made every thing which is beautiful in our own species, (that is, in the human species) pleasant, is certainly no motive for all creatures, for beasts, and birds, and .fishes, to multiply their kind. What the author meant to say, though he has expressed himself in so erroneous a manner, undoubtedly was, 'In all the different orders of creatures, he has made every thing, which is beautiful, in their own species, pleasant, that all creatures might be tempted to multiply their kind.' The second member of the sentence is still worse.
For it is very remarkable, that wherever nature is crost in the production of a monster, fc. The reason which he here gives, for the preceding assertion, intimated by the casual particle for, is far from being obvious.
The connexion of thought is not readily apparent, and would have required an intermediate step, to render it distinct. But what does he mean, by nature being crost in the production of a monster? One might understand him to mean, 'disappointed in its intention of producing a monster,' as when we say, one is crost in his pursuits, we mean, that he is disappointed in accomplishing the end which he intended. Had he said, crost by the production of a monster, the sense would have been more intelligible. But the proper rectification of the expression would be to insert the adverb as, before the preposition in, after this manner; wherever nature is crost, as in the production of a monster. The insertion of this particle as, throws so much light on the construction of this member of the sentence, that I am very much inclined to believe, it had stood thus originally, in our author's manuscript ; and that the present reading is a typographical error, which, having crept