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kind, there is a very large pro- the creative power of a most vigoportion of what is careless, feeble, rous, and at the same time distemcommon-place, and in very bad pered imagination; and then pretaste.
sents to the world in language We are by no means disposed to which conveys then in all their inrank the poetry of Moore high: it tensity. Byron's poetry contains glitters too much; it does not How more thought in fewer words, than from any profound knowledge of perhaps any other author in any the human character or heart; or language, either in prose or verse : from any very exquisite feeling of often, by a single expression, he sympathy with mankind; nor does places before the mind a scene in it speak powerfully to the heart or the natural or moral world,-an feelings of those who read it. insight into the human character, They are astonished, and delighted, or into his own, or train of reflecand even cloyed, with the exube- lion, much more vividly and comrance of the banquet which the pletely than any other author could poet spreads before them ; but they do by the most lengthened and lanever forget the poet in his subject, boured language. The chief inor his mode of treating it; on the terest of his poetry arises from the contrary, they so often recur to him, clear and deep view which it gives they so often think of the richness us into the most singular, and petof bis imagination, that they never haps unprecedented construction of lose themselves. And even of this his own character : in this characspecies of poetry, Moore is not a ter a morbid distaste for the pleasures perfect writer ; there are too many of life,-a bitter and sarcastic conprettinesses, too many conceits, too tempt for all that it is said to conmany thoughts and expressions, tain of grandeur,—and a thorough evidently chosen expressly and solely belief, that existence under every for the purpose of effect. It might form is a curse,-are the most disbe supposed that such a poet would tinguishing features; while, at the excel in his delineations of natural same time, there occasionally breaks scenery; but he does not. He does out a contemplative and melancholy not know, or he forgets, that the train of thought, which seems to most exquisite hold which natural soften the misanthropy of the poet, scenery, and consequently its deli- and to evince that, but for this morneation-either by the painter or the bid misanthropy, he could have been poet,- has on the mind, arises from bappy, and could have lived among association : he is too anxious to mankind in the discharge of those paint it rich and gaudy; and hence duties, and enjoyment of those the eye is too much occupied for the pleasures, which he now affects to mind and feelings to have full play. despise.
Wordsworth and Byron are the The genius of Campbell is cermost original poets of the present tainly of no mean order ; but it is age : yet what a contrast do they cramped by his timidity and overpresent! Byron's mind seems filled anxiety. Except in some of his with the miseries of human life; smaller pieces, he is much too artion these it feeds : these it turns on ficial a poet to attain the rarest every side, or ranges in all possible treasures of poetry; he pays too combinations; exaggerates with all much attention to bis mode of ex1817.
pression: to this he frequently sa- lessness of Scott, he would have crifices his thoughts; or he makes been a much better poet; for in his his thoughts submit to his mode of smaller pieces there abound a richexpression. The flow of his mind ness of fancy, a grandeur of conis evidently checked; and what he ception, and a hurrying the reader feels he does not permit to come beyond himself, into the midst of forth in all its vigour and warmth, the poet's creation, that sufficiently lest it should not appear exactly in prove Campbell to have received its proper dress. If Campbell had from nature the essentials of poetry, written with the rapidity and care- if he had not spoiled them by art.
Character of the fictitious Narratives of the present age— Retrospective
view of them- Richardson-Smollet-Fielding-Goldsmith--Miss Edgeworth's publications-Waverley, &c.
THOUGH, to a careless and what we mean , when we say that
provinces and the effects of the in. rarest beauties of poetry, we shall ventive and imaginative powers of be convinced that these beauties do the human mind may not seem to be not arise from, or consist in the individed by a broad and obvious line ventive powers displayed by these of distinction, yet, we apprehend, authors. if they are examined very nearly In what points, then, does the and closely, it will be found that essential difference between the inthey differ very widely, in almost ventive and imaginative powers of every respect.
the human mind consist? The The imaginative powers are ex- question is difficult to answer in clusively the sources from which such a manner as to draw the line genuine poetry flows; the inventive between them without its passing, powers, indeed, may, or perhaps in some places, within the strict and must lend their aid, in order to frame legitimate boundaries of each ; but the story, and to supply some of we apprehend, it may be laid down the incidents and events, or to fill as a general proposition, that the inup, in some degree, the outline and ventive powers of the human mind, features of the characters pourtrayed when of the highest order, and exerby the poet; but mere invention can cised with the utmost judgment and never infuse the spirit of genuine po- care, have for their object, merely etry. In Robinson Crusoe there are the display of those characters and displayed as high powers of inven- incidents of human life which neition as it is almost possible to con
ther arise from, nor produce, strong ceive can be brought to bear on the feeling, affection, or passion. Inincidents and characters of any fic- vention is conversant about the titious narrative : yet no one would calmer parts of human life and think of denominating Robinson character : temper, foibles, vices, Crusoe a poem, even though it were and virtues, that are rather the efwritten in verse, and in the most fects of reflection or habit than of highly poetical language.
an ardent temperament,-and, in There is much invention in Mil- general, actions which do not pass ton's Paradise Lost; and in some of beyond the cool tenor of ordinary the finest plays of Shakespeare: life,-are the subjects of the inbut if examine accurately ventive powers. These powers are
not equal to the display of the them produce on our minds. If we human character, when that cha- read Robinson Crusoe, we soon beracter is more marked by feeling come interested in his character and and passion than the absence of fate; we sympathize with his misthem, or to the pourtraying of those fortunes; we rejoice when he reincidents of human life, which, joices; we even are unconsciously acting on such a character, bring it and gradually transported into his out, in words and actions, in its island, and become the witnesses or most ample form, and most perfect the partakers of his adventures ; features.
they produce in us nearly all the Such, generally speaking, appears emotions, hopes, fears, anticipations, to us to be the broad line of distinc- and reflections, which they did upon tion between the inventive and ima- him. In short, while we are peginative powers of the human mind: rusing this work, the creation of and that this distinction comes near the author drives away all that is the truth will be apparent, if we around us, -all that was previously compare our highest specimens of in our thoughts,-- and we become inventive powers, as displayed in the subjects of his power,-creaRobinson Crusoe, Clarissa Harlowe, tures of the world which he has Sir Charles Grandison (not taking brought into existence. These are into account the really poetical wonderful effects of high inventive parts of these two novels, which powers; of powers that are adequate will be more particularly adverted not only to weave a highly probable to afterwards), the novels of Smol- and well-connected story, and to let, of the author of Waverley, &c. keep up, or even increase its inteIn Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress rest ; but also to bring out to view there are specimens of both species all those minute shades of characof powers: there is much invention ter, each of which lays hold upon and some imagination; that is, some our attention and interest, and brings parts of this work display the human us into familiar acquaintance with character merely in its calm aspect, the person in whom they are disnot formed nor changed by feeling, played. But even in those parts of affection, or passion, but merely ex- Robinson Crusoe where our interest hibiting itself, as the great mass of and sympathy are most deeply exmankind present that character to cited,—where we feel as he feels, us, in the ordinary pursuits of life: and are hurried out of ourselves by in other parts of the Pilgrim's the skill of the author,-our feel. Progress, on the contrary, the feel- ings are very different from those ings, affections, and passions, of the which we experience when readhuman breast are brought into play, ing poetry of as high an order, and their workings and effects are among works of imagination, as pourtrayed with such faithful and Robinson Crusoe is in works of inminute accuracy, as to make a deep vention. impression of their resemblance to In short, we apprehend that we those which exist in human nature. must rest satisfied with marking the
But the difference between these distinction between the imaginative powers may be still further con- and inventive powers of the human firmed and illustrated, if we attend mind, in a broad and general manto the effects which the exercise of ner; as to enter further into the
subject would draw us beyond our after they have passed that period limits, and at the same time, into a of life when emotions and passions discussion of rather too refined and give way to cool and sober reflecmetaphysical a nature for this work. tion. The inventive powers, then, are con- The utility of works of invention fined to the display of human cha- may be traced in various ways. In racter, as that character is pourtrayed the first place, as they are converby temper, and by all that constitutes sant with human life and character, it, except powerful feelings, affec- under its most common appearances, tions, and passions. Characters of they must, if well executed, supply mere temper, foibles, prejudices, and the place of experience. In the those failings, and good qualities, second place, by depicting the virtues, and vices, that are not com- circumstances which produce or patible with very delicate or very strengthen those parts of the human strong emotions of the heart, lie character about which works of inwithin the province of these powers. vention are conversant,-such as Man, as a being of emotion, rather temper, foibles, prejudices, &c. and than of teinper, babit, prejudice, or the consequences resulting from reflection, is the proper subject for them,- they may serve, in some rethe imaginative powers; the crea- spects, the purposes of education, ture whom the poet is enabled and and certainly must increase our privileged to call into existence. knowledge of our own character,
Of the utility of works of inven- and of the character of many of tion, when the produce of superior those whom we shall meet with in genius, and directed to proper ob- the intercourse of society. jects, there can be little doubt; and Unfortunately, however, there are of the interest which they excite, not many fictitious narratives in the there can be still less. Man, in a English language, that unite, in civilized state, at least, is much any very high degree, those qualities more the creature of temper, pre
which will at once render them injudices, habits, and reflection, than structive and interesting. There of emotion; and therefore the in- are many, indeed, from which terest excited by the display of the what is called a moral has been human character in works of inven- drawn by the author, or may be tion, must be much more general drawn by the reader; but it is not than that excited by its display, as a solitary moral sentence, placed at made up of emotion or passion, the end of the work, that can benein works of imagination. Hence fit or instruct: the instruction to works of invention are understood be useful must be worked up in the and relished by most people; works body of the work; it must insinuate of imagination, by comparatively itself, in a manner almost imperfew : hence the former are the fa- ceptible, into the mind, in the provourites of the very young, before
gress of the narrative. the emotions and passions of the
The novels of Richardson, espehuman heart have been brought cially his Clarissa Harlow and Sir into maturity in their own breasts, Charles Grandison, possess upcomor been frequently and fully exhi- mon interest, and are at the same bited to them in their intercourse time certainly instructive. Their with the world ; and of the old, interest arises from several sources : l