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our prejudices, that Prospero, in such a situa
Twelve years since, Miranda, twelve years since,
Thy father was the duke of Milan, and
A prince of power.
MIRANDA should hold “his dialogues.”
Sir, are not you my father ?" How beautiful, amidst all the complicated machinery of her father's magic, is the deli
Again, when Prospero describes the horcate simplicity of Miranda! She wonders
rors of their situation afloat upon the sea,
how natural and feminine is her reply, not at the prodigies around her, because her trust and her love are centered in her father,
and his, how full of tender and yet noble and she believes him to have power to dis
feeling! solve as well as to enforce the spell; yet
* PROSPERO. why he should exercise this power for any other than humane and gracious purposes,
“In few, they hurried us on board a bark,
Bore us some leagues to sea; where they prepar'd she is at a loss to conceive, and therefore A rotten carcass of a boat not rigg'd, she ventures to call his attention to the
Nor tackle, sail, nor mast; the very sats
Instinctively had quit it. There they hoist us wreck of a “ brave vessel” which she has
To cry to the sea that roar'd to us; lo sigh first seen dashed amongst the rocks, and
To the winds, whose pity, sighing back again, then she adds
Did us but loving wrong.
MIRANDA. " Had I been any God of power, I would
Alack! what trouble
Was I then to you!
0! n cherubim Finding the natural disposition to wonder Thon wast, that did preserve me! Thou didst smile, and inquire, just dawning in her mind,
Infused with a fortitude from heaven, Prospero thinks it time to explain the myste
When I have deck'd the sea with drops full salt." ry of their situation, and then follows that Ariel's description of the tempest raised touching and beautiful description of their by the command of Prospero, is such as former life, their wrongs, and sufferings, none but the liveliest imagination could have which, occasionally interrupted by the jeal-inspired. ousy of the narrator, lest the attention of his
" ARIEL child should wander, and by her simple
"All hail, great master! grave sir, hail! I come ejaculations of wonder and concern, is un To answer thy best pleisure; be't to fly, paralleled alike for its imaginative charm,
To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride
On the curl'd clouds; to thy strong bidding task and for its accordance with the principles of
Ariel, and all his quality. nature. For instance, when Miranda is
PROSPERO. questioned by her father whether she can
Hast thou, spirit, remember a time before she came into that Performed to point the tempest that I bade thee? cell, and whether she can recall such by
I boarded the king's ship: now on the beak,
I flar'd amazement. Sometimes I'd divide
And burn in many places : on the top-mast, And rather like a dream than an assurance
The yards, and bolt-sprit, would I flame distinctly,
Then meet, and join : Jove's lightnings, the precursore That my remembrance warrants : Had I not
O' the dreadful thunder clap, more momentary Four or five women once, that tended me?
And sight outrunning were not. The tire and crack PROSPERO.
Of sulphurous roaring, the most mighty Neptune Thou hadst, and more, Miranda. But how is it
Seem'd to besiege, and make his bold waves tremble, That this lives in thy mind? What seest thou else
Yea, his dread trident shake.”
After all this, the imperative magician reHow thou cam’st here thou may'st.
quires yet farther service, when Ariel, in
language true to a nature more human than MIRANDA. But that I do not.
his own, meekly reminds his master of the
promised freedom for which his spirit is ever pining
" ARIEL *I pray thee: Remember, I have done thee worthy service, Told thee no lies, made no mistakings, servid Without or grudge or grumblings: thou didst promise To bate me a full year.
· PROSPERO. Dost thou forget From what a torment I did free thee?
There is certainly too much of harshness and contempt to suit our feelings, in the language which Prospero addresses to his "tricksy spirit." But yet sometimes, when Ariel asks of the diligent execution of his master's mission, “Was't not well done ?" and receives a gracious answer full of approbation; when the magician turns away from coarser natures to welcome with smiles his invincible messenger in the air; and especially when at last he dismisses him, with
"My Ariel, This is thy charge; then to the elements
Be free, and fare thou well!" Thus breaking his bondage with the gentleness of affection; we have only to extend our thoughts a little farther beyond the sphere of common life, and we feel that a spirit, gentle, and pure, and elastic, like that of Ariel, would be more than soothed by a single word or look of kindness—more than rewarded with all it could desire, centred in the glorious blessing of liberty.
Even the monster Caliban has also an imagination amongst all his brutalities, or how could he thus describe the influence of the magic spell, by which his being was surrounded?
The following passage, well known to every reader, can never become too familiar, or lose its poetic and highly imaginative charm by repetition:
these our actors.
How beautiful, and still imaginative is the scene, in which the heart of the magician begins to melt for the sufferings of those he has been afflicting with retributive justice!
Say, my spirit,
'em, That if you now beheld them, your affections Would become tender.
PROSPERO. Dost thou think so, spirit ?
Be not afear'd, the isle is full of noises,
When he comes back ; you demy-puppets, that with storm and tempest, pouring the waters
of bitternes upon the pleasant paths of earth, Is it to make midnight mushrooms; that rejoice and calling upon the troubled elements to To hear the solemn curtew : by whose aid
bring their tribute of despair. (Wenk masters though ye be.) I have bedimm'd The noontide sun, callid forth the mutinous winds,
What then is imagination to the good or And 'twixt the green sea and the azur'd vault to the evil? An angel whose protecting Set roaring war: to the dread rattling thunder
wings are stretched out above the pathway Have I given fire, and ritied Jove's stout onk With his own bolt; the strong-bas'd promontory
to the gates of heaven--a demon whose Have i made shake: and by the spurs pluck'd up ghastly image beckons from precipice to The pine and cedar : graves al my command,
gulf-down, down into the fathomless abyss Have wak'd their sleepers; op'd, and let them forth, By my so potent art. But this rough magic
of endless night: a gentle visitant, who I here abjure: and when I have requir'd
brings a tribute of sweet flowers--a fearful Some heavenly music, (which even now I do)
harbinger of storms and darkness: a voice To work mine end upon their senses, that This airy charm is for. I'll break my staff,
of melody that sings before us as we jourBury il certain fathoms in the earth,
ney on-a cry that tells of horrors yet to And, dee per then did ever plummet sound, I'll drown my book."
come: a wreath of beauty shadowing our
upward gaze-a crown of thorns encircling It is easy to bring proofs of the existence a bleeding brow: a wilderness of verdure of imagination more easy from the pen of spread beneath our wandering steps-an Shakespeare than from that of any other adder in that verdure lurking to destroy: writer; but what language shall describe its a comforter whose sinile diffuses light-an power! what hand shall reach to the utmost enemy whose envenomed arrow rankles in boundary of space and time-from the the heart: a joyful messenger going forth source of light to the centre of darkness- upon an embassy of love-a hideous monfrom the heights of heaven, to the depths of ster howling at the gates of hell. hell, to draw forth the attributes of imagina True to the impulse of nature, imagition, and embody them in a visible sign ? nation rushes forth with certain aim, and Countless as the varieties of human charac- never brings home sweets to the malevolent, ter are those of the nature and office of this or poison to the pure heart; but penetrating active principle; and whatever is the ten-into paths unknown, gathers riches for the dency of the mind to happiness or misery supply of confidence and hope, or collecting -to good or evil, imagination, faithful to the its evidence from “ trifles light as air,” sharimpulse of the feelings, ranges through crea- pens the pangs of envy and mistrust. tion, collecting sweets or bitters-delicious There are who treat imagination as a food, or deadly poison.
light to be extinguished--a power to be This faculty, more than any other, be overcome--a demon to be exorcised. But speaks the progress, or the declension of the ask the child who sits with sullen brow heimmortal soul. Like the dove of peace, it neath unnatural discipline, whether imagisoars with the spirit in its upward flight-nation is not pointing to flowery paths, and like the ominous raven it goes before it in its stimulating his unbroken will to seek them downward fall. To those who seek for in despite of stripes and tears. Ask the
beauty and happiness, imagination lists the self-isolated misanthrope, when lonely and | veil of nature, and discloses all her charms, unloved he brootis over the dark future and
unfolds the rosebud to the morning sun, the joyless past, whether imagination does wakens the lark to sing his matins to the not call up images of social comfort, of purple dawn, or folds back the mantle of friendly intercourse, and“ homefelt delight," nisty clouds, and calls upon the day-beam which his sad solitude can never know. to arise; while those who close their eyes Ask the pale monk whose daily penance upon the loveliness that smiles around them, drags him to an early grave, whether imit darkens with a tenfold gloom, sharpening agination steals not with the moonbeame the thorns that lie beneath their feet, stun into his silent cell, whispering of another ring the ear with the harsh tumult of dis heaven than that of which he reads-a heacordant sounds, rousing the bellowing deep | ven even upon earth, to which a broken vow,
a church in arms, a name struck out from impression, there is a tide of feeling which the cominunity of saints, are in comparison flows through the mind of man, in different as nothing Ask the criminal at the gallow's degrees of velocity and depth, awakening foot, when chains, and judges, and penitence his imagination, stimulating his energies, and priests, have done their utmost to fortify and supporting him under every intellectual his soul for its last mortal struggle, whether effort. This tide of natural feeling obtains imagination does not paint the picture of the character of enthusiasm, or power, achis cottage in the wood, with her whose cording to the concomitants with which it prayers he has neglected, fondly watching operates. If connected with great sensibility, for his return, and whether the voices of his and liveliness of imagination, without clear children come not on the wandering gale, perceptions, sound judgment, or habits of as they lift their innocent hands to heaven, deep reasoning, it is with strict propriety and bless their father in their evening hymns. called enthusiasm; and as such works won
Yes; and the stern moralist, who would ders amongst mankind. Indeed we are instrike out imagination from the soul of man, debted to enthusiasm for a great proportion must first extinguish the principle of life. of what is new in theory, and experimental What then remains ? That those who have in practice; as well as for most of the astonthe conduct of the infant mind, should seek to ishing instances of valour, enterprize, and stamp it with a living impress of the loveli- zeal with which the page of history is enlivness of virtue, and the deformity of vice; ened and adorned. But enthusiasm, while and that the passions and affections should it partakes of the nature of power in its first be so disciplined, that imagination, the busy impulse, is essentially different in its operafaculty which must, and will exist, and act, tion. Enthusiasm in action aims at one either for happiness or misery, for good or point of ardent desire, and regards neither evil, may bring home to the hungry soul time, nor space, nor difficulty, nor absurdity, food fit for the nourishment of an immortal in attaining it; while true mental power, in being, and dispense from out the fulness of strict alliance with the highest faculties a grateful heart, the richest tribute man can of the mind, is the impetus which forces offer at the throne of God.
them into action, so as to accomplish its purpose by the concentrated strength of human intellect directed to an attainable
When this principle is diffused through
the medium of language, it imparts a portion Power, in connexion with the art of writ- of its own nature, commanding conviction, ing poetry, admits of two distinctions—as it stimulating ardour, and rousing determined relates to language and to mind. The action; or, bursting upon the poetic soul former, however, is always dependent upon like sunshine through the clouds of morning, and subservient to the latter; but the power it opens the book of nature, and reveals a of mind may exist where there is little or no new world of light and loveliness, and glory. facility in the use of appropriate words. It creates not only conviction and approval, Were it possible that powerful language but actual sensation; and thrills through could proceed from an imbecile mind, the the awakened feelings, like those tremendous effect wouid be, that of heaping together manifestations of physical force, which by ponderous words, and incongruous images, the combined agency of different elements 60 as to extend and magnify confusion, produce the most wonderful, and sometimes without rendering any single thought im- the most calamitous results. pressive.
Were it possible that in any human mind, That the force of our ideas must depend its faculties could have a complete and eviin great measure upon the strength of our dent existence and yet lie dormant, we impressions, is as clear, as that the vividness should say of such a mind that power alone of a picture must depend upon the colours was wanting ; but since there must be some in which it is painted; but in addition to power to stimulate the slightest voluntary
act, we must speak of this faculty as being not be the case. There must to every indialways present, and existing in a greater or vidual, liable to human weakness and infira less degree. Persons deficient in this fac- mity, be seasons when merely to link ulty and no other, are always content to definitely requires an effort—when desire imitate; and as a proof that they possess fails, and the grasshopper becomes a bur
the other requisites for successful exertion, den; but when the poet speaks of the blissthey sonietimes imitate with great ability ful moment of inspiration, we suppose it 10 and exactness, while they shrink from the be that in which all his highest faculties are very thought of attempting any thing with in agreeable exercise, at the same time that out a model, from an internal consciousness the operations of mental power are unof inability. That many venture to strike impeded. out into new paths without attaining any Amongst our poets, those who display the thing like excellence, is owing to the want greatest power of mind, are Milton, Pope, of some other mental quality ; and that some and Young. Had Young possessed the continue to pursue such paths to their own requisite of taste, he would perhaps have shame, and the amnoyance of their fellow rivalled even Milton in power; but such is creatures, arises from their enthusiasm, not his choice of images and words, that by the from their power. Yet while many wander . frequent and sudden introduction of heteroon in this eccentric course, without ever geneous and inferior ideas, he nullifies what being aware of their inability to succeed, would otherwise be sublime, and by breakwe believe that no man ever yet voluntarily ing the chain of association, strikes out, as commenced a deliberate undertaking, with it were, the key-stone of the arch. Nor is out some internal evidence of power, where this all. The ponderous magnitude of his it really did exist. A sudden effort is no test, images, heaped together without room for because time is not allowed for the mind to adjustment in the mind, resembles rather examine its own resources; but the man the accumulation of loose masses of uncewho has this evidence, will work out his mented granite, than the majestic mountain, determined way, though all the world should of which each separate portion helps to pronounce him incompetent, and exclaim at constitute a mighty whole. Still we must
acknowledge of this immortal poet, that his It may be asked, if this evidence always path was in the heavens, and that his soul accompanies the possession of power, how was suited to the celestial sphere in which is it that certain individuals have not been it seemed to live and expand as in its native aware of its existence until circumstances element. We can feel no doubt that his have called forth their energies? I answer, own conceptions were magnificent as the it is the test alone which brings this confi- stars amongst which his spirit wandered, dence to light; but even these individuals, and had his mode of conveying these confor any thing which history tells us to the ceptions to the minds of others been equal contrary, may have had in their private to their own original sublimity, he would walk precisely the same sensations on com have stood pre-eminent amongst our poets mencing any trifling undertaking, as afier- in the region of power. wards accompanied their more public and In order to prove that the poetry of Young splendid career. We are not told with what is too massive and complex in its imagery energy or skill Cincinnatus cultivated his to be within the compass of natural and farm, but we have no proof that he did not ordinary association, it is unnecessary to feel the same consciousness of power in quote many instances. Those who are most conducting his agricultural pursuits, as in familiar with his writings—even his greatest regulating the affairs of the commonwealth admirers, must acknowledge, that in one of Rome. Still it would be absurd to main- line of his works, they often meet with' mattain that power always exists in the same ter, which if diffused and poetically enlarged mind in an equal degree. There are physi- upon, would fill pages, better calculated to cal as well as other causes why this should | please, as well as to instruct.