Page images
PDF
EPUB

XX.

LECT is upon most occafions no more than an ungraceful palliative, and here there was not the leaft occafion for it, as he was not about to fay any thing which required a foftening of this kind. To fay the truth, this last sentence, Jo that he looks upon the world, and what follows, had better been wanting altogether. It is no more than an unneceffary recapitulation of what had gone before; a feeble adjection to the lively picture he had given of the pleasures of the imagination. The paragraph would have ended with more fpirit at the words immediately preceding; the uncultivated parts of nature adminifter to his pleasures.

There are, indeed, but very few who know how to be idle and innocent, or have a relifh of any pleasures that are not criminal; every diverfion they take, is at the expence of fome one virtue or another, and their very first step out of business is into vice or folly.

NOTHING can be more elegant, or more finely turned, than this fentence. It is neat, clear, and mufical. We could hardly alter one word, or difarrange one member, without fpoiling it. Few fentences are to be found more finished, or more happy.

A man should endeavour, therefore, to make the Sphere of his innocent pleasures as wide as poffible,

XX.

possible, that he may retire into them with fafety, LECT. and find in them, fuch a fatisfaction as a wife man would not blush to take.

THIS alfo is a good fentence, and gives occafion to no material remark.

Of this nature are thofe of the imagination, which do not require fuch a bent of thought as is necessary to our more ferious employments, nor, at the fame time, fuffer the mind to fink into that indolence and remiffness, which are apt to accompany our more fenfual delights; but, like a gentle exercise to the faculties, awaken them from floth and idleness, without putting them upon any labour or difficulty.

THE beginning of this fentence is not correct, and affords an inftance of a period too loosely connected with the preceding one. Of this nature, fays he, are thofe of the imagination. We might ask of what nature? For it had not been the scope of the preceding sentence to describe the nature of any fet of pleasures. He had faid, that it was every man's duty to make the sphere of his innocent pleasures as wide as poffible, in order that, within that sphere, he might find a safe retreat, and a laudable fatiffaction. The tranfition is loosely made, by beginning the next fentence with faying, Of this nature are those of the imagination. It had VOL. II.

G

been

XX.

LEC T. been better, if, keeping in view the governing object of the preceding fentence, he had faid, "This advantage we gain," or, "This fatif"faction we enjoy, by means of the pleasures " of imagination." The reft of the fentence is abundantly correct.

We might bere add, that the pleasures of the fancy are more conducive to health than those of the understanding, which are worked out by dint of thinking, and attended with too violent a labour of the brain.

On this fentence nothing occurs deferving of remark, except that worked out by dint of thinking, is a phrafe which borders too much. on vulgar and colloquial language, to be proper for being employed in a polished compofition.

Delightful fcenes, whether in nature, painting, or poetry, have a kindly influence on the body, as well as the mind, and not only ferve to clear and brighten the imagination, but are able to difperfe grief and melancholy, and to fet the animal fpirits in pleafing and agreeable motions. For this reafon Sir Francis Bacon, in his Effay upon Health, has not thought it improper to prefcribe to his reader a poem, or a prospect, where be particularly diffuades him from knotty and fubtile difquifitions, and advifes him to pursue ftudies

3

that

4

XX.

that fill the mind with splendid and illustrious LECT. objects, as hiftories, fables, and contemplations of

nature.

In the latter of these two fentences, a meinber of the period is altogether out of its place; which gives the whole fentence a harsh and disjointed caft, and ferves to illuftrate the rules I formerly gave concerning arrangement. The wrong-placed member which I point at, is this; where he particularly diffuades him from knotty and fubtile difquifitions ;-thefe words should, undoubtedly, have been placed not where they stand, but thus: Sir Francis Bacon, in bis Effay upon Health, where he particularly diffuades the reader from knotty and fubtile fpeculations, has not thought it improper to prescribe to him, &c. This arrangement reduces every thing into proper order.

I have, in this Paper, by way of introduction, fettled the notion of those pleasures of the imagination, which are the fubject of my present undertaking, and endeavoured, by feveral confiderations, to recommend to my readers the purfuit of thofe pleafures; Ifhall, in my next Paper, examine the feveral fources from whence thefe pleasures are

derived.

THESE two concluding fentences afford examples of the proper collocation of circumG 2 ftances

XX.

LECT. ftances in a period. I formerly fhowed, that it is often a matter of difficulty to dispose of them in fuch a manner, as that they fhall not embarrass the principal subject of the fentence. In the fentences before us, feveral of these incidental circumftances neceffarily come inBy way of introduction-by feveral confiderations -in this Paper-in the next Paper. All which are, with great propriety, managed by our author. It will be found, upon trial, that there were no other parts of the sentence, in which they could have been placed to equal advantage. Had he faid, for inftance, " I "have fettled the notion (rather, the mean

ing) of thofe pleasures of the imagination, "which are the fubject of my prefent under

[ocr errors]

taking, by way of introduction, in this pa

per, and endeavoured to recommend the "pursuit of those pleasures to my readers by "feveral confiderations;" we must be sensible, that the sentence, thus clogged with circumstances in the wrong place, would neither have been so neat nor fo clear, as it is by the present construction.

« PreviousContinue »