to one mode of regarding those two classes of mental action, which are
called reason and imagination,
the former may be considered as mind contemplating the relations borne
by one thought to another, however produced; and the latter, as mind
acting upon those thoughts so as to colour them with its own light,
and composing from them, as from elements, other thoughts, each containing
within itself the principle of its own integrity.
is the enumeration of quantities already known; Imagination is the perception
of the value of those quantities, both separately and as a whole. Reason
respects the differences, and Imagination the similitudes of things.
Reason is to Imagination as the instrument to the agent, as the
body to the spirit, as the shadow to the substance.
in a general sense, may be defined to be "the
expression of the Imagination:" and Poetry
is connate with the origin of man. Man is an instrument over which a
series of external and internal impressions are driven, like the alternations
of an ever-changing wind over an Æolian
lyre; which move it, by their motion, to ever-changing melody.
is arbitrarily produced by the Imagination and has relation to thoughts
alone; but all other materials, instruments and conditions of art, have
relations among each other, which limit and interpose between conception
have thus circumscribed the meaning of the word Poetry within the limits
of that art which is the most familiar and the most
perfect expression of the faculty itself.
man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively;
he must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the
pains and pleasures of his species must become his own. The great instrument
of moral good is the imagination; and poetry administers to the effect
of by acting upon the cause. Poetry enlarges the circumference of the
imagination by replenishing it with thoughts
of ever new delight, which have the power of attracting
and assimilating to their own nature all other thoughts, and which form
new intervals and interstices whose void for ever craves fresh food.
want the creative faculty to imagine that which we know; we want the
generous impulse to act that which we imagine; we want the poetry
of life: our calculations have outrun conception;
we have eaten more than we can digest.
thus makes immortal all that is best and most beautiful in the world;
it arrests the vanishing apparitions which haunt the interluminations
of life, and veiling them or in language or in form sends them forth
among mankind, bearing sweet news of kindred joy to those with whom
their sisters abide-- abide, because there is no portal of expression
from the caverns of the spirit which they inhabit into the universe
of things. Poetry redeems from decay the visitations of divinity on