"Si le costume bourgeois," says George Sand, in Le Peche de M. Antoine, "de notre epoque est le plus triste, le plus incommode et le plus disgracieux, que la mode ait jamais invente, c'est surtout au milieu des champs que tous ses inconvenients et toutes ses laideurs revoltent.... Au milieu de ce cadre austere et grandiose, qui transporte l'imagination au temps de la poesie primitive, apparaisse cette mouche parasite, le monsieur aux habits noirs, au menton rase, aux mains gantees, aux jambes maladroites, et ce roi de la societe n'est plus qu'un accident ridicule, une tache importune dans le tableau.
4) The imagination with its two divisions, passive memory and active phantasy. (
The air was heavy with those rich odours which seem so much more pungent by night than by day--those odours of summer eves that Keats has fixed for ever in the imagination:-- I cannot see what flowers are at my feet.
They wholly obliterate in you the sense of humour, fancy, imagination,--all that makes for cheerfulness and hope.
He tells extraordinary tales about himself, which may be only the vague remembrances of a dream or the creations of a dawning imagination,--both of which are as real to him as any other part of life.
More and more Rowley Papers, as they were called, were produced by Chatterton,--apparently from the archives of the old church; in reality from his own imagination,--delighting a large circle of readers, and deceiving all but Gray and a few scholars who recognized the occasional misuse of fifteenth-century English words.
The principle of this difference, observable often elsewhere in modern literature (for the same thing is to be found, more or less, in many of our most genial works of imagination,--Don Quixote, for instance, and the writings of Jeremy Taylor), seems to be that well-known one of the predominant objectivity of the Pagan mind; while among us the subjective has risen into superiority, and brought with it in each individual a multitude of peculiar associations and relations.
Quidam conquestus est mihi de hoc morbo, et deprecatus est ut ego illum curarem; ego quaesivi ab eo quid sentiret; respondit, semper imaginor et cogito de Deo et angelis, &c. et ita demersus sum hac imaginatione, ut nec edam nec dormiam, nec negotiis, &c. Ego curavi medicine et persuasione; et sic plures alios.
I might say the like of angry, peevish, envious, ambitious; Anticyras melior sorbere meracas; Epicures, Atheists, Schismatics, Heretics; hi omnes habent imaginationem laesam (saith Nymannus) "and their madness shall be evident," 2 Tim.
From one parent I inherited an extraordinarily active and sensitive imagination,--from the other, a sturdy practical sense, a disposition to weigh and balance with calm fairness the puzzling questions which life offers to every man.
The slide seemed to bear him half through the night at once; he slipped from out of his box and his common-places at one rush of a merry thought, and seemed to say, "Everything's in imagination;--here goes the whole weight of my office."
And somewhat whimsically associated with these, a portrait of the learned Hooker occurred vividly to her imagination,--his face disfigured through his devotion to sedentary pursuits.
Imaginatio impellit spiritus, et inde nervi moventur, &c. Et obtemperant imaginationi et appetitui mirabili foedere, ad exequendum quod jubent.
Sometimes I have thought that human misery goes far beyond human imagination,--imagination has its limits, and misery, like the vast seas, appears to be without end.
If infidelity be disingenuously dispersed in every shape that is likely to allure, surprise, or beguile the imagination,--in a fable, a tale, a novel, a poem,--in books of travels, of philosophy, of natural history,--as Mr. Paley has well observed,--I hope it is fair in me thus to meet such poison with an unexpected antidote, which I cannot doubt will be found powerful.
Incontinentia linguae ex copia flatuum, et velocitate imaginationis.
Horace--can we not hear him in imagination?--is telling his friends how Sir Robert used to celebrate the day on which he sent in his resignation, as a fete; then he would point out to his visitors a Conversation-piece, one of Reynolds's earliest efforts in small life, representing the second Earl of Edgecumbe, Selwyn, and Williams---all wits and beaux, and habitues of Strawberry.
Prescott's work, if removed from its place among histories, must stand in the first rank among works of imagination,--must be classed with the "Odyssey" and the "Arabian Nights' Entertainments."
When we say that such a child "romances," we give exactly the right name to it; for this sudden interest in extraordinary beings and events marks the development of the human imagination,--running riot at first, because it is not guided by reason, which is a later development,--and to satisfy this new interest the romance was invented.
The silly attempts that have been made to establish an oriental origin for the North American Indians, have never produced any other conviction in an unbiased mind, than that the facts brought forward to support that theory existed only in the imaginations of those who advanced them.
Some were hit through their pocketbooks, some through their imaginations-- like the young women hoping to be Red Cross nurses, or to help in some way, they weren't sure how.
Mr. White wisely and kindly leaves us to Shakspeare and our own imaginations,--two very potent spells to conjure with,--and seems to be aware of the fact, that, in its application to a creative mind like that of the great Poet, the science of teleology may sometimes find itself as much at fault as it so often is in attempting to fathom the designs of the Infinite Creator.
North of the Tweed the green thread of Swift's imagination--"the most ancient and most noble Order of the Thistle"--is scarcely less coveted than the supreme honour of the Garter; but wild horses should not drag from me the name of the Scottish peer of whom his political leader said, "If I gave ---- the Thistle, he would eat it."
To assert that such a work is solely addressed to the senses (meaning thereby that its only end is in mere pleasurable sensation) is to give the lie to our convictions; inasmuch as we find it appealing to one of the mightiest ministers of the Imagination,--the great Law of Harmony,--which cannot be touched without awakening by its vibrations, so to speak, the untold myriads of sleeping forms that lie within its circle, that start up in tribes, and each in accordance with the congenial instrument that summons them to action.
Was it real?--was it the work of imagination?--was it the result of imposture?--It was all incomprehensible.
During the ride they entered into conversation with me, and in answer to their questions, I was relating to them the solitary manner in which I had passed my time; how I found out the library, and what I had read in the fatal book which had so heated my imagination,--when we arrived at the fair; and Ishmael, Mahomet, and the narrow bridge, vanished out of my head in an instant.
We have already shown (as we think) that no unmodified copy of actual objects, whether single or multifarious, ever satisfies the imagination,--which imperatively demands a something more, or at least different.