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style of the poem alluded to during its recitation, except indeed such difference as was not separable from the thought and manner; and the Spenserian stanza, which always, more or less, recalls to the reader's mind Spenser's own style, would doubtless have authorized, in my then opinion, a more frequent descent to the phrases of ordinary life, than could without an ill effect have been hazarded in the heroic couplet. It was not, however, the freedom from false taste, whether as to common defects, or to those more properly his own, which made so unusual an impression on my feelings immediately, and subsequently on my judg ment. It was the union of deep feeling with profound thought; the fine balance of truth in observing, with the imaginative faculty in modifying, the objects observed; and above all the original gift of spreading the tone, the atmosphere, and with it the depth and height of the ideal world around forms, incidents, and situations, of which, for the common view, custom had bedimmed all the lustre, had dried up the sparkle and the dew-drops.
This excellence, which in all Mr. Wordsworth's writings is more or less predominant, and which constitutes the character of his mind, I no sooner felt, than I sought to understand. Repeated meditations led me first to suspect-(and a more intimate analysis of the human faculties, their appropriate marks, functions, and effects matured my conjecture into full conviction)—that Fancy and Imagination were two distinct and widely different faculties, instead of being, according to the general belief, either two names with one meaning, or, at furthest, the lower and higher degree of one and the same power. It is not, I own, easy to conceive a more opposite translation of the Greek pavraoia than the Latin imaginatio; but it is equally true that in all societies there exists an instinct of growth, a certain collective, unconscious good sense working progressively to desynonymize*
This is effected either by giving to the one word a general, and to the other an exclusive use: as "to put on the back” and “to indorse,” or by an actual distinction of meanings, as "naturalist," and "physician" or by difference of relation, as "I" and " Me" (each of which the rustics of our different provinces still use in all the cases singular of the first personal pro
Where the green apple shrivels on the spray,
And pines the unripened pear in summer's kindliest ray;
I. p. 80.-Ed.]
those words originally of the same meaning, which the conflux of dialects supplied to the more homogeneous languages, as the Greek and German and which the same cause, joined with accidents of translation from original works of different countries, occasion in mixed languages like our own. The first and most important point to be proved is, that two conceptions perfectly distinct are confused under one and the same word, and—this done to appropriate that word exclusively to the one meaning, and the synonyme, should there be one, to the other. But if (as will be often the case in the arts and sciences)—no synonyme exists, we must either invent or borrow a word. In the present instance the appropriation has already begun, and been legitimated in the derivative adjective: Milton had a highly imaginative, Cowley a very fanciful mind. If therefore I should succeed in establishing the actual existence of two faculties generally different, the nomenclature would be at once determined. To the faculty by which I had characterized Milton, we should confine the term 'imagination;' while the other would be con tra-distinguished as 'fancy.' Now were it once fully ascertained, that this division is no less grounded in nature than that of delirium from mania,* or Otway's
noun). Even the mere difference, or corruption, in the pronunciation of the same word, if it have become general, will produce a new word with a distinct signification; thus “property" and "propriety;" the latter of which, even to the time of Charles II. was the written word for all the senses of both. There is a sort of minim immortal among the animalcula infusoria, which has not naturally either birth, or death, absolute beginning, or absolute end: for at a certain period a small point appears on its back, which deepens and lengthens till the creature divides into two, and the same process recommences in each of the halves now become integral. This may be a fanciful, but it is by no means a bad emblem of the formation of words, and may facilitate the conception, how immense a nomenclature may be organized from a few simple sounds by rational beings in a social state. For each new application, or excitement of the same sound, will call forth a different sensation, which can not but affect the pronunciation. The after recollection of the sound, without the same vivid sensation, will modify it still further; till at length all trace of the original likeness is worn away.
* ["You may conceive the difference in kind between the Fancy and the Imagination in this way;-that, if the check of the senses and the reason were withdrawn, the first would become delirium and the last mania. The fancy brings together images which have no connection natural or moral,
Lutes, laurels, seas of milk, and ships of amber,*
What! have his daughters brought him to this pass t
or from the preceding apostrophe to the elements; the theory of the fine arts, and of poetry in particular, could not but derive some additional and important light. It would in its immediate effects furnish a torch of guidance to the philosophical critic; and ultimately to the poet himself. In energetic minds, truth soon changes by domestication into power; and from directing in the discrimination and appraisal of the product, becomes influencive in the production. To admire on principle, is the only way to imitate without loss of originality.
but are yoked together by the poet by means of some accidental coincidence; as in the well-known passage in Hudibras ;—
The Sun had long since in the lap
The Imagination modifies images, and gives unity to variety: it sees all things in one, il più nell' uno. There is the epic imagination, the perfection of which is in Milton; and the dramatic, of which Shakspeare is the absolute master. The first gives unity by throwing back into the distance; as after the magnificent approach of the Messiah to battle, the poet, by one touch from himself,
Far off their coming shone
makes the whole one image. And so at the conclusion of the description of the entranced Angels, in which every sort of image from all the regions of earth and air is introduced to diversify and illustrate, the reader is brought back to the simple image by
He called so loud, that all the hollow deep
The dramatic imagination does not throw back but brings close; it stamps all nature with one, and that its own, meaning, as in Lear throughout." Table Talk, VI. p. 517.
There is more of imagination in it-that power which draws all things to one,—which makes things animate and inanimate, beings with their attributes, subjects and their accessories, take one color and serve to one effect! Lamb's Essay on the Genius of Hogarth. Prose Works, i. pp. 189.—Ed.] [See also Mr. Wordsworth's Preface, pp. 29-30.-S. C.]
* [Venice Preserved. Act v.-Ed.] [Lear. Act iii. sc. 4.-1.-Ed.]
It has been already hinted, that metaphysics and psychology have long been my hobby-horse. But to have a hobby-horse, and to be vain of it, are so commonly found together, that they pass almost for the same. I trust, therefore, that there will be more good-humor than contempt, in the smile with which the reader chastises my self-complacency, if I confess myself uncertain, whether the satisfaction from the perception of a truth new to myself may not have been rendered more poignant by the conceit, that it would be equally so to the public. There was a time, certainly, in which I took some little credit to myself, in the belief that I had been the first of my countrymen, who had pointed out the diverse meaning of which the two terms were capable, and analyzed the faculties to which they should be appropriated. Mr. W. Taylor's recent volume of synonymes* I have not yet seen; but his specification of the terms in question has been
* ["British Synonymes discriminated, by W. Taylor.”—Ed.]
I ought to have added, with the exception of a single sheet which I accidentally met with at the printer's. Even from this scanty specimen, I found it impossible to doubt the talent, or not to admire the ingenuity, of the author. That his distinctions were for the greater part unsatisfactory to my mind, proves nothing against their accuracy; but it may possibly be serviceable to him, in case of a second edition, if I take this opportunity of suggesting the query; whether he may not have been occasionally misled, by having assumed, as to me he appears to have done, the non-existence of any absolute synonymes in our language? Now I can not but think, that there are many which remain for our posterity to distinguish and appropriate, and which I regard as so much reversionary wealth in our mother tongue. When two distinct meanings are confounded under one or more words-(and such must be the case, as sure as our knowledge is progressive and of course imperfect)-erroneous consequences will be drawn, and what is true in one sense of the word will be affirmed as true in toto. of research, startled by the consequences, seek in the things themselves— (whether in or out of the mind)—for a knowledge of the fact, and having discovered the difference, remove the equivocation either by the substitution of a new word, or by the appropriation of one of the two or more words, which had before been used promiscuously. When this distinction has been so naturalized and of such general currency that the language does as it were think for us-(like the sliding rule which is the mechanic's safe substitute for arithmetical knowledge)-we then say, that it is evident to Common sense, therefore, differs in different ages. What was born and christened in the Schools passes by degrees into the world at large, and becomes the property of the market and the tea-table. At least I can discover no other meaning of the term, common sense, if it is to convey any specific difference from sense and judgment in genere, and where it
clearly shown to be both insufficient and erroneous by Mr. Wordsworth in the Preface added to the late collection of his Poems. The explanation which Mr. Wordsworth has himself given, will be found to differ from mine, chiefly, perhaps, as our objects are different. It could scarcely indeed happen otherwise, from the
is not used scholastically for the universal reason. Thus in the reign of Charles II. the philosophic world was called to arms by the moral sophisms of Hobbes, and the ablest writers exerted themselves in the detection of an error, which a school-boy would now be able to confute by the mere recollection, that compulsion and obligation conveyed two ideas perfectly disparate, and that what appertained to the one, had been falsely transferred to the other by a mere confusion of terms.*
* [See Hobbes's Treatise on Liberty and Necessity. (Eng. Works. IV. Sir W. Molesworth's edit.) The term obligation is not used by Hobbes. His position is that some actions are not compelled, but that all are necessitated. (pp. 261–2.) Natural efficacy of objects," he says, "does determine voluntary agents, and necessitates the Will and consequently the Action; but for moral efficacy, I understand not what he means. (p. 247.) -"When first a man hath an appetite or will to something, to which immediately before he had no appetite nor will, the cause of his will is not the will itself, but something else not in his own disposing. So that whereas it is out of controversy that of voluntary actions the will is the necessary cause, and by this which is said, the will is also caused by other things whereof it disposeth not, it followeth that voluntary actions have all of them necessary causes, and therefore are necessitated." (p. 274.)
A voluntary action, therefore, with Hobbes, is an action necessarily consequent on or identical with, the last opinion, judgment, or dictate of the understanding,—which last opinion, judgment, or dictate of the understanding is necessarily determined by the presentation of certain "external objects to a man of such or such a temperature." (p. 267.) Of course Obligation, or a law of Duty grounded on conviction of a universal Right and Wrong, True and False, has no place in Hobbes's system; nor can that system be consistently defended against the charge that it destroys the very foundations of all morality properly understood. It is true that Hobbes himself in this Treatise denies the imputed consequence; but his reasoning in this respect is so weak,-depending upon a covert use of the terms "will" and "willingly" in a sense inconsistent with that necessarily attached to them in the previous positions, -that it can not but be suspected that Hobbes himself felt the legitimacy of the charge that upon his principles Morality, in any shape but that of positive Law, was an empty name. Practically, what other conclusion can be drawn?
This Treatise is one of the least agreeable of all Hobbes's Works. It contains in all its naked terrors that frightful dogma, which, strange to say, has with scarcely any modification but in form been reproduced and advocated with zealous reiteration in the sermons and other writings of those