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Leontes. Affection !* thy intention stabs the center : Thou dost make possible, things not so held, Communicat’st with dreams :-(How can this be ?)— With what's unreal thou co-active art, And fellow'st nothing.

Winter's Tale. Act i. Scene 2.

ITS PHYSICAL EFFECTS.

Leontes.

There may be in the cup
A spider steep'd, and one may drink ; depart,
And yet partake no venom;t for his knowledge
Is not infected: but if one present
The abhorr'd ingredient to his eye, make known
How he hath drank, he cracks his gorge, his sides,
With violent hefts.

Ibid. Act ii. Scene 1.

IMAGINATION'S RANGE BOUNDLESS

.

Cleopatra.

Nature wants stuff To vie strange forms with fancy.

Antony and Cleopatra. Act v. Scene 2.

DISEASED IMAGINATION AFFECTS THE SENSES.

Imogen. 'Twas but a bolt of nothing, shot at nothing, Which the brain makes of fumes : our very eyes Are sometimes, like our judgments, blind.

Cymbeline, Act iv. Scene 2.

* The commentators have construed this word to meau in this particular place “Imagination," and the word intention "intensity,"

+ Spiders were supposed to contain a virulent poison.

IMAGINATION GOES BEYOND REALITY.

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Macbeth,

Present fears Are less than horrible imaginings.

Macbeth. Act i. Scene 3.

:

“ Nature wants stuff To vie strange forms with fancy." So says our great Poet: but many great mental philosophers are at issue with him thereon; that is to say, apparently, for I believe, on strict examination, the two philosophies may, in some degree, be reconciled to one ancther. One holds that the reach of imagination stretches beyond the boundary of realities; the other, that every image in the mind is derived from some previous impression on the senses, having its first origin in some natural object. The latter doctrine (however clumsily I may have expressed it) is I believe substantially the philosophy of the schools: the former of Shakspere. On a superficial glance they appear contradictory; but it appears to me, a slight examination will prove they are not really so.

The mind, we will suppose, receives an impression of an object containing in itself various qualities. It is afterwards impressed by another object having some of the characteristics of the former, but besides them, other qualities perfectly distinct! Now, by the power of combining the incongruous qualities of these two natural objects, the mind is undoubtedly able to form the image of a third object, which not beivg in nature, may be called a monster of the imagination: and by repeating this operation-and combining images of its own monsters ad infinitum, it is clear that the intellect may arrive at last at the creation of something (as a whole) that has no type in earth, sea, or heaven.

I still, therefore, consider, that Shakspere's philosophy on this subject is, in the main, defensible.

IN CONSTANCY.

Proteus. E'en as one heat another heat expels,
Or as one nail by strength drives out another,
So the remembrance of my former love
Is by a newer object quite forgotten.

Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act ii, Scene 4.

PROMINENT IN MEN.

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Proteus.

Oh Heaven ! were man But constant, he were perfect; that one error Fills him with faults : makes him run through all sins.

Ibid. Act v. Scene 4.

Duke. . . However we do praise ourselves,
Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,
More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn,
Than women's are.

Twelfth Night. Act ii. Scene 4.

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IN G R A TITU DE.

I.

Song. Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind

As man’s ingratitude:
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,

Although thy breath be rude, &c., &c.

II.
Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
Thou dost not bite so nigh

As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remember'd not, &c., &c.

As
you

like it. Act ii. Scene 7.

Griffth. Men's evil manners live in brass: their virtues We write in water.

King Henry VIII. Act iv. Scene 2.

Antony. The evil that men do, lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.

Julius Caesar. Act jii, Scene 2.

King Lear. Ingratitude ! thou marble-hearted fiend,
More hideous, when thou show'st thee in a child,
Than the sea-monster!
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child !

King Lear. Act i. Scene 4.

It would seem as if Shakspere could not sit down to pen a trifling song, without involuntarily infusing it with wisdom:

“Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind

As man's ingratitude."
And again :

“ Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That dost not bite so nigh

As benefits forgot." Who can read these lines without meditating on the truth that physical pain, however hard to bear, is trifling when compared with mental agony !

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