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Keats, contemplating the figures sculptured upon a Grecian urn, sees a marble youth in pursuit of a marble maid, and finds in that suspended scene a type or picture of his own teased aspiration—finds consolation, too, in the thought that, though the youth can never succeed in his chase, he can never fall any farther behind in it. What finer instance of moulding and interpretative energy?

Fair youth beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;

Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,

Though winning near the goal! Yet do not grieve:
She cannot fade though thou hast not thy bliss,
Forever wilt thou love and she be fair.

That faculty which thus perceives the symbolic character of things; which transfuses the inanimate with an intelligent presence and depicts it in living movement; or collects and fuses objects and facts, and weaves over them a vascular web of emotional relationship, aiming at a new and fairer whole, because speaking after the ideal and not after the apparent-is the Imagination.

The word means an imaging, or a marking of likenesses. The power itself gives form to thought—not necessarily uttered form, but form capable of being uttered in shape or in sound, or in any mode upon which the senses can lay hold. Because it resembles most the prime operation of the power of God, it has been called the creative faculty, and its exercise creation.

Its function is to replace in thought, former perceptions and sensations, to combine them, not according to the original and actual, but rather according to the mind's own desire and standard; so that while the groundwork of the representation is something which has been, at some time, an object of perception, the picture itself, as it stands before the mind in its completeness, is not a copy of anything actually perceived, but a creation of the

mind's own. Time, place, and circumstance fall out, or are varied at will; the scene is laid when and where we like; the incidents follow each other no longer in their actual order, but are conformed to the pleasure of the artist. Thus Shelley, taking the sky, the abstraction of death, and the inventions of his fellow-men in glass, in color, in dome, and putting them together according to the harmony of truths embodied in each, presents us this figure of the destroyer that, walking aloft, treads out this lifebubble of colors:

The one remains; the many change and pass;

Heaven's light forever shines; earth's shadows fly;
Life like a dome of many colored glass,

Stains the white radiance of eternity,
Until death tramples it to fragments.

Here is a new thought-form, though none of the material that goes to make it has been originated. Generally speaking, the imagination takes forms already existing, and gathers them about a thought so much higher than they, that it can group and subordinate and harmonize them into a whole which shall unveil or render visible that thought.

Of imagination as the faculty of recombining or constructing anew the materials which experience and observation furnish for it to work with or upon, there are several varieties. When it combines to classify and generalize, to invent, to discover, or to instruct, it is scientific. When it deals ideally and suggestively with the higher objects of nature and spirit, exciting the nobler feelings and calling into action the nobler capacities of man, it is poetic, or artistic, by eminence. In the former case, the result is a formula, whose paramount purpose is to be as brief and comprehensive as possible; as, 'Evolution is a process from the uniform and indefinite to the multiform and definite.' In the latter, the result is a form

of forms, whose controlling aim is, rather, to be as beautiful as possible; as Tennyson's In Memoriam. Both may engage themselves on the same set of facts. The novel is thus a joint product of science and art. The great modern novelist is at once scientific and poetic: and here it seems to me, in the novel, we have the meeting, the reconciliation, the kiss, of science and poetry. For example, George Eliot, having with those keen eyes of hers collected and analyzed and sorted many facts of British life, binds them together into a true poetic synthesis, in, for instance, Daniel Deronda, when instead of giving us the ultimate relations of all her facts in the shape of a formula, like that of evolution, she gives them to us in the beautiful creation of Gwendolen Harleth and all the other striking forms which move through the book as embodiments in flesh and blood of the scientific relations between all her facts.'

When the ends are for mere pleasure, and the associations, as well as the emotions excited, are not especially ennobling, the poetic activity becomes fancy. Fancy is an exertion upon a smaller scale of the same faculty of which imagination is the higher element. Fancy is superficial, joins by accidental resemblance, and amuses us. Imagination is central, uses an organic classification, and expands us. Though both can be grave and gay, the more natural sphere of the one is comedy; of the other, tragedy.

When the action of reason is nearly suspended, or permanently set aside, as in reverie, dreaming, somnambulism, and insanity, we have phantasy, whose effects or products, severed from all relations of place, time, or previous cognition, are simply grotesque, or, as we say, fantastic.

When, again, we form for our pursuit an ideal of man1 Sidney Lanier.

hood or womanhood, when we imagine what we are to be and to become in fortune and success, thus including more or less distinctly what we ought to be in character and in performance, the imagination is, in this relation, ethical.

Think, now, of the importance, the benefits, the influence, of this faculty. The vividness and force of composition depend largely upon its skilful use. The orator requires it. His chief resources are illustration and resemblance. Without it, the painter and the sculptor would have no enlarged sense, no suggestiveness, to exhibit in color and in stone. As for the poet, according to his measure of it is he higher or lower:

'It may be taken for an axiom, that where we get great creative power, many-sidedness, and a conjunction of grand conceptions with the emotional sublime, there we have first-class poetry, and where any of these qualities are wanting, first-class poetry is not. It may also be as readily granted, that the class of poetry next in order is where there is a lack of creative power, but frequent instances of either of the two sources of the sublime combined with a prominent manifestation of the representative faculty. From this level the next step in the descent to the third or æsthetic order, is the rarity of any instance of the sublime, with great vigour of description, in which the spiritual dominates over the material. The lowest step of all lands us on that ground where we get inferior combinations of the imaginative and representative elements in second-rate descriptive poetry, and where flights of fancy and sallies of wit are substituted for sublime bursts of passion, and the spiritual manifestations of beauty. This is not the sphere of ethereal types, but of material embodiments. Beyond the frontier of this sensuous region, we come in contact with the dreary wastes of the actual, in which most common-place characters are content to spin out the great bulk of their lives.'1

Have we not seen that half of our language is its work, losing its poetic aspect by commonness of use? "Thinkest thou,' says Carlyle, there were no poets till Dan

1 J. Devey: Comparative Estimate of Modern English Poets.

Chaucer? No heart burning with a thought which it could not hold, and had no word for; and needed to shape and coin a word for- what thou callest a metaphor, trope, or the like? For every word we have, there was such a man and poet. The coldest word was once a glowing new metaphor, and bold, questionable originality. The very attention, does it not mean an attentio, a stretching-to? Fancy that act of the mind, which all were conscious of, which none had yet named-when this new poet first felt bound and driven to name it. His questionable originality and new glowing metaphor was found adoptable, intelligible, and remains our name for it to this day.'

It is of inestimable value to us all. The poet, the orator, the artist, can convey to us no fuller, deeper meaning than we have soul to receive. The same heavens are over the astronomer and his dog. The president and the pig look upon the many-colored morning and evening. But what a different world it is to dog and astronomer, pig and president! Science pulls the snow-drop to shreds, but whence comes its idea of suffering hope and pale confident submission? One person, viewing Niagara Falls, thinks it a good place for sponging cloth. Why does another cry out, God of grandeur, what magnificence!' Beyond the body's needs of bread, clothing, lodging, and medicine, who sees that earth and sky are starred with loveliness, and, withal, reads the lesson thereof?

Least of all are the practical uses of the imagination to be overlooked. It lifts us above ourselves, creates for us standards of attainment to which we may aspire, and without the vision of which none can rise. It looks from the actual to the desirable and possible, conceiving that which is more perfect than the human eye hath seen or the human hand hath wrought. The ideal is the bow of promise which we shall never reach, but without which we

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