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susceptibility of this degree of activity, that is, of imagination, depends on the relative proportion in which the faculty we have called Sensibility, enters into our original constitution, or the special degree of excitement it may at the moment be undergoing. The Sensibility, by which must be understood, not merely the power of being placed in relation with the external world, the RECEPTIVITY of the Kantian philosophy, is, if I may so speak, the central element of the me or subject. It is this which is more especially at the bottom of all those of our phenomena which indicate the highest and intensest degree of life, as emotion, passion, affection, love, joy, grief. This faculty is not possessed by all men in the same relative proportion. In some men it is scarcely discernible. These are cold, dry, hard, and though not unfrequently passing for men of thought, are usually regarded as unamiable, dull, uninteresting, drudges, mere plodders, who doubtless are not without their use in the world, but who are never among the chiefs of their race, the lights of their age. In others again this faculty seems to predominate; and these are those of our race who have, if one may so speak, the largest, the richest, and the loftiest nature; and life, that is, action, that is, again, manifestation of our being, must needs be with these more intense and energetic than with those of a narrower and less richly endowed nature. Just in proportion, then, as this element predominates in the original constitution of the individual, or just in proportion as it is for the time being, naturally or artificially, rendered the predominating element in the life of the individual, will be that individual's susceptibility of imagination.
Life being in this individual more intense and energetic than in ordinary men, or at least than in their ordinary state of inward excitement, he must necessarily clothe his thoughts with richer, more vivid, and substantial forms; which again will require a more vivid and expressive language for their utterance. Hence the peculiar language of imagination; hence poetry; hence all the various forms of Art. All are but the various language the soul adopts in its states of highest and best sustained activity, as the means of
giving utterance to its own intense, energetic, and, therefore, creative life. But after all, the difference is not a difference in kind. In the simplest act we perform we are creative, in a degree; and the simplest and most prosaic forms of expression we ever adopt, are constructed on the same principle, after the same laws, and are in fact at bottom the same with those of the sublimest and richest Art.
The Greeks, it is true, seem to have regarded the Imagination as a specially creative faculty. We see this in the fact of their calling the poet a maker. They must have supposed that imagination, on which poetry depends, deals only with the Ideal, and that the Ideal is the mere creature of the subject. Hence, they make the essence of poetry consist in fiction. Fiction is that which is made up by the poet out of himself, his own fancies and conceits, and needs, and has no objective basis. All the truth or reality there is in poetry, and therefore in imagination, on this hypothesis, is simply and exclusively of the subject's own creating. But this is by no means true.
Imagination, unquestionably, deals much with the Ideal; but not exclusively, nor is all dealing with the Ideal, Imagination. Metaphysics, ethics, transcendental mathematics and geometry, nay, all reasoning, as will hereafter be seen, the most abstract, the dryest, the dullest even, deals with the Ideal not less than does Imagination. We may perceive the Ideal feebly, listlessly, as well as intensely and energetically; and it is only in the last case that perception of the Ideal is Imagination. We may also perceive the Actual with intensity and energy, with the highest degree of activity we can experience. If so, Imagination may deal with the actual world as well as with the ideal world. The essence of Imagination does not consist either in the object with which it deals, nor in the mode or manner in which the subject represents the object; but solely, as we have seen, in the intensity and energy with which the object is seized. The actual world is often seized with great intensity and energy, as we may learn by reading historical, descriptive, and didactic poetry. In the "Hind and Panther" of Dryden,
even political and theological speculation and reasoning become imaginative and poetical. It must be a very defective definition that excludes from the domain of poetry, Pope's Essay on Man and his Moral Essays, the Satires of Horace and Juvenal, the "Rerum Natura" of Lucretius, the sixth Book of the Eneid, or even Wordsworth's Excursion, with the exception of some of the details and descriptions,
Nevertheless the object with which Imagination deals, unquestionably, for the most part, belongs to the Ideal world, and it may be maintained, with great plausibility at least, that in what may, for distinction's sake, be termed the poetry of the Actual, the poesy consists in the detection and representa tion of the Ideal. This is evidently the thought of those who place the essence of poetry not in fiction, nor in imitation, but in what is called INVENTION, that is to say, in finding. In our ordinary state, or at least the bulk of mankind in their ordinary state, stop with the Actual. A primrose by the river's brink is a primrose and nothing but a primrose; man is merely a two-legged animal without feathers; all nature appears, and is what, and only what, it appears. There are individuals who never get beyond this state; individuals to whom there is never the mighty and dread Unknown before which they stand in awe, or shrink into insignificance. Even whole nations, with the exception of a cultivated class, little numerous, rarely if ever get through the Actual. In proof of this, might be cited the much boasted Anglo-Saxon race. The genuine Englishman of the lower class, is perhaps the least imaginative human being conceivable. English Literature surpasses that of all modern nations in genuine works of imagination; and yet there is, strictly speaking, for the Anglo-Saxon race, no genuine national poetry. The English have no national songs, no national airs, as have their neighbors the Scotch and the Irish, or the Italians, and the people of Northern and Eastern Europe. The peasant Burns could hardly have been born south of the Tweed. Similar remarks may be made on the Anglo-Americans. We are by no means an imaginative people. We import our songs and music, as we do our silks and broadcloths. And yet,
however it may be with the mass of the uncultivated English and Americans, however it may be with some individuals through their whole lives, and with all men during their ordinary state of inward excitement, there are to most men moments when the actual becomes transparent, and reveals to their view the rich and magnificent world of the Ideal lying beyond, its basis and its possibility. To all intense and energetic action the Actual becomes merely a symbol of the Ideal. All men, when wrought up to a high degree of well sustained activity, are imaginative, and do perceive more than has as yet been realized. Perhaps, were we to change our point of view somewhat, even the English and American branches of the Saxon race, would themselves be found to be not altogether without imagination. They are a practical people, but they often display in the direction of mere practical life, an intense and energetic activity, that approaches very nearly to the poetical. They have, after all, a national song in the steam-engine and the deep-laden ship, and national music in the ringing of the ever-busy hammer of industry.
Let it be admitted, then, if it be insisted on, that poetry consists in the intense and energetic detection and representation of the Ideal in the Actual, and therefore that Imagination, according to the common faith of mankind, deals altogether with the Ideal; it will not follow that the object is merely a modification, affection, or creation of the subject, The Ideal is always found by the poet, not made, and is as truly objective as the Actual in which he finds it. The Ideal exists out of us, and independent of us; only it exists as the Ideal, not as the Actual. It is as truly perceived, and in the most fervid imagination is as truly an object of perception, as is a man, a horse, a plant, or an animal. When I see an individual man, I call him at once a man; but by what authority do I so call him? Unquestionably because I recognize in him the genus, or race, by virtue of which he is a man, and not a horse, or a dog. This genus or race is not actual, but ideal, and it has no actual existence save in individual men and women. Yet it is not itself individual, is not all in one individual,
nor all in all individuals; for it is at once in all individuals, is the basis of each individual, and the infinite possibility of each to be more than he is. Whatever force, or substance, or power, we recoguize in a particular man, it belongs to him not as a pure individual, but as a representative of humanity, To deny, then, in the case of man the objectivity and independence of the Ideal, would be to deny the objectivity and independence of the Actual, which never is but by virtue of the Ideal. Imagination, then, by dealing with the Ideal, no more deals with the unsubstantial, the fictitious, the supposititious, the chimerical, or the subjective, than though it dealt solely with the Actual.
This is not the common opinion. Men have made poetry consist in fiction, not in truth; and the severest remark is to accuse one of "drawing on his imagination for his facts." Even Shakspeare, whom one may dare cite for his philosophy as well as for his poetry, seems to have adopted the common notion, that in Imagination the subject creates its own object :
"Hip. "Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers speak of. "The. More strange than true; I never may believe These antique fables, nor these fairy
Lovers and madmen have such seething
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
That is the madman; the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt; The poet's eye in a fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from
earth to heaven;
And, as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name,
And yet according to the Formula of Thought, already established, which makes it a phenomenon with three indestructible and inseparable ele
ments, namely, SUBJECT, OBJECT, and FORM, these airy nothings are not nothing, but something; for the subject is always me, and the object always not me.
But must we then take all the creations of the poet, the chimeras, hydras, monsters, and demons of popular superstition, the fairies, genii, heroes, demigods, gods, and goddesses, bodied forth by the various national mythologies of ancient and modern times;all the heroes and heroines of novels, fables, and what we term fictitious history,-must we take all these as so many real personages, as actually existing, out and independent of the subject, as Peter, James, or John? To us who contemplate them, reflect on them, they are unquestionably not me, that is, really objective existences, but existing as facts of memory, and belonging therefore to the world of time. To the subject who created them, they were the NOTIONS, or the FORMS with which he clothed real__thoughts or actual apperceptions. The Form of the Thought or Apperception is always, as has already been shown, the creation of the intelligence of the subject; but it is never created save when that intelligence acts in conjunction with a real object, belonging to the world of memory; or to the world of world of immediate perception; to the in degree from our ordinary notions, or foresight. These creations differ only the commonest forms which we give to our apperceptions. They are created by the subject, not by the subject acting without an object, but acting in conjunction with the object; and therefore they conceal under them an objective reality, no less than a subjective reality.
This will be evident, if we but analyze any one of these "airy nothings" of the poet. The elements out of which they are constructed are always real apperceptions, never pure fictions. We may imagine a mountain of gold, when no mountain of gold shall actually exist; but what is this mountain of gold but the combination of two facts of memory, namely, the conception of gold obtained from the memory, or, what here is the same thing, experience of gold, and the conception of mountain ob
tained from the same source? Had we never had any experience of gold and mountain, we should have been wholly unable to imagine a mountain of gold. Take the dainty, delicate spirit Ariel of Shakspeare, or the devil-begotten Caliban, and it may be seen by even a slight analysis, that Shakspeare has created nothing but the form with which he has clothed the actual facts of his own experience. The same remark may be made of Oberon, Titania, Robin Goodfellow, and the whole race of little people, as well as the giants of Teutonic Mythology. The pattern men and women of our novel-writers are nothing but combinations, more or less felicitous, of what they have really experienced. All the conceptions out of which these pattern men and women are constructed, are furnished by actual experience. They may surpass the men and women one actually meets in society, but they do not surpass the Ideal suggested or revealed by them. In chiselling a Venus or an Apollo, the artist has unquestionably embodied a beauty which surpasses all actual beauty, but not all the beauty actually present to his view. There hovered before him as he worked, a beauty, which perpetually baffled his efforts to seize and fix in his glowing marble. He has created nothing. The beauty I worship in a Madonna is not supposititious; it is not the creation of a mortal. The mortal has but found and revealed the Immortal. He has but imperfectly embodied what his actual experience has enabled him to perceive. Find an artist who, having never looked on the delicate features and graceful form of woman, can yet give us a Venus, or who, having never marked the masculine form and vigor of man, can yet give us an Apollo, and you will find one who can create out of himself, without needing to draw on experience for the materials with which to work.
All the creations of the poet, or the beings of imagination, whether lovely or unlovely, chaste or unchaste, are nothing but the forms with which men attempt to clothe their apperceptions, all of which include necessarily subject and object, though in some cases the object may be the product of our past life, or what we have termed a
fact of memory. Out of these apperceptions they are all constructed. They differ, then, at bottom not at all from what we have already termed the NOTION or Form of the Thought. Intensify the Notion in ordinary thinking, and you have one of these poetical creations, -a Venus or an Apollo, an Ariel or a Caliban, a Miranda or a Lady Macbeth.
The object in Imagination is, then, really not me. There is always truth, and even a high order of truth, under the wildest and most extravagant fancies and conceits of the lover, the madman, and the poet. Not all unreal is the bright world of Romance into which we rise from the dull Actual in all our moments of higher and intenser life. The "land of dreams," in which the lover and the poet, in their intensest frenzy, rise free and delighted, is, if we did but know it, more substantial than this cold, dry, work-day world, in which for the most part of the time we merely vegetate, and call it living. In these moments the soul penetrates beyond the Actual to the Ideal, which is the basis of all reality, that in which we are all, without seeming to know it, immersed as in a vast ocean of being.
But every notion, we have seen, has its face of error, because it is the creature of the subject, and the subject is finite. So also must all the forms of Imagination have their face of error. None of these express, or can express, the whole truth, or nothing but the truth. Nevertheless, as man in the Imaginative state is in his highest state of activity, acting with his greatest force and energy, both as sentiment and as intelligence, it follows that the forms of the Imagination are the truest and the least inadequate of any of the forms with which he clothes his thoughts. They are the highest and most expressive forms he ever adopts; and contain the highest and most comprehensive truth to which he ever naturally attains. There is profounder truth in the Parthenon or Saint Peter's, than in the Novum Organon; and a Head of Jupiter by Phidias, or a Madonna by Raphael, is worth more than the Critique of Pure Reason. Homer, Dante, Shakspeare, and Milton, contain more philosophy than Aristotle,
Saint Thomas, or Leibnitz, can comprehend, and the Thousand and One Nights more than the Essay on the Human Understanding. The only real instructor of the human race is the artist, and it is as artists, as men wrought up to the intensest life, and therefore acting from the full force of their being, that Socrates, Plato, Descartes, the great and universally ad
mitted philosophers, have been able to quicken the race, and set it forward to higher and more comprehensive life. No man is really a philosopher till warmed up into the artist. Here is the sacredness of Art, and the explanation of the fact, that the highest truths are always uttered by men when under he influence of the loftiest and most genuine Imagination.
FROM THE GERMAN OF SCHILLER.
"For in much wisdom is much grief; and he who increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."
Joy the halls of Troy surrounded,
Golden hymns of gladness sounded
Arms no more the heroes bear,
Weds with Priam's daughter fair.
Laurel wreaths their temples pressing,
From the deities of Troy.
Through the streets tumultuous flow,
One sole bosom beats with woe.
Joyless, joys around unheeding,
Desolate, alone to rove,
Sought Apollo's laurel grove.
The prophetic maiden fled,
• The November number of Blackwood's Magazine, in which appears another translation of this poem, published subsequently to the contribution of the present one to the Democratic Review, extracts the following just and striking criticism on the subject of this poem, from Madame de Staël:-"One sees in this ode the curse inflicted on a mortal by the prescience of a God. Is not the grief of the Prophetess that of all who possess a superior intellect with an impassioned heart? Under a shape wholly poetic, Schiller has embodied an idea grandly moral, viz., that the true genius (that of the sentiment) is a victim to itself, even when spared by others. There are no nuptials for Cassandra-not that she is insensible-not that she is disdained, but the clear penetration of her soul passes in an instant both life and death, and can only repose in heaven."-L'Allemagne, Part II., c. 13.