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the vivid feeling of desire, coexisting with the conception of the particular subject; since this conception of the subject, which is essential to the desire itself, must exist as long as the particular desire or intention exists, and from the influence of the common laws of suggestion, cannot thus continue in the mind without inducing successively various other conceptions related to the primary subject, and to each other.

There is another circumstance, however, which contributes very powerfully to keep the train of suggestion steadily related to the particular subject which we wish to consider, or, at least to recal our thoughts to it, when they have wandered from it so far, as to have introduced trains of their own absolutely unconnected with our subject. This is the constant presence of the same objects of perception around us. I remarked to you, when I treated of the secondary laws of suggestion, the important influence which our conceptions have in awaking each other, according as they have been more or less recently combined ; even the worst memory being able to repeat a short line of poetry, immediately after reading it, though, in a very short time, it might wholly forget it. There is then, most unquestionably, a peculiar readiness of suggestion of recent images or feelings. Accordingly, when we sit down to compose, the thought of our subject is soon associated with every object around us,—with all that we see, with every permanent sound,—with the touch of the pen or the pencil which we hold,—with our very tactual and muscular feelings as we sit. All these sensations, indeed, have been frequently connected with other subjects, but they more readily suggest our present subject, because they have coexisted with it more recently. When, therefore, we are led away, almost insensibly, to new trains of thought, -which might not, of themselves, for a long period, lead us back again to those conceptions which occupied us, or to the desire which accompanied them,--we are rapidly brought back to these by the sight of some book which meets our eye,—of the desk or table before us,—or by some other of those senations which I have already mentioned. In our efforts of composition, there is a constant action of these causes,—some of which would lead us away, while others bring us back. The general laws of suggestion would, in many cases, fill our mind with conceptions foreign to our object, and they do frequently produce this effect; but as often are we recalled, by the permanence of our desire, or, still more frequently, by the same laws of suggestion which had disturbed and distracted us,-operating now, in their connexion with the objects of sense before us, in the way already mentioned, and thus repairing the very evil to which they had given occasion.

Such are the means with which nature has provided us for keeping the trains of our suggestion, not steadily indeed, but almost steadily related to one particular object, which we wish to consider, or to illustrate and adorn. Do the conceptions, however, which arise during this period, and which are ascribed to fancy or imagination, arise by the simple laws of suggestion ? or are they to be ascribed to the operation of some distinct power?

According to the analysis which I have given you,-if that analysis be faithful, there is no operation of any distinct power, but merely the rise of various images according to the ordinary laws of simple suggestion, in coexistence with feelings that arise from some other common principles of the mind, particular desire, and the feeling of relation.

In the creations of our fancy, it is very evident that the conceptions which arise must all have some relation to each other, or the new combinations would be mere wildpess and confusion ; and to the relations, according to which conceptions may arise, there is scarcely any limit. The first line of a poem, if I have previously read the poem, may suggest to me the second line, by its relation of former contiguity; it may suggest by resemblance of thought or language, some similar line of another author; it may suggest, by contrast, some of those ludicrous images which constitute parody; or it may suggest some image in harmony with its own subject, and some appropriate language with which to invest it, as when it suggested to its author the second line, and all the following lines of his poem. In this variety of suggestions, some of which would be called simple conceptions, or remembrances, while others would be ascribed to the inventive power of imagination, it is precisely the same principle which operates,—that principle of our mental constitution, by which one conception existing, induces of itself some other conception relating to it. In the inventive process, indeed, when it is long continued, there is

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this peculiarity, to distinguish it from the suggestions to which we do not give that name, that the process is accompanied with intention, or the desire of producing some new combination, together with the expectation that such a combination will arise, and with judgment,—as it is termed in science, -that discerns the greater or less aptness of the means that occur to us, for that end which we have in view ; or with taste,—which is the name for the particular judgment in the fine arts,—that discerns, in like manner, the aptness of the new combinations which arise, for producing that end of pleasure which it is our wish to excite. But still the new suggestions, or successions of thought, in which all that is truly inventive in the process consists, is nothing more than the operation of that principle of the mind to which memory itself is reducible,the general tendency of our conceptions to suggest, in certain circumstances, certain other conceptions related to them.

This tendency, as we have already seen, is variously modified in various minds; and, in a former Lecture, I pointed out to you, and illustrated at considerable length, the nature of those prevailing tendencies of suggestion, which distinguish the conceptions of inventive genius from the humbler conceptions of common minds ; the mystery of which difference,—that appears so wonderful when we consider only the products of suggestion in the two cases,--we traced to this very simple circumstance, that, in the mind of inventive genius, conceptions follow each other, chiefly according to the relations of analogy, which are infinite, and admit, therefore, of constant novelty; while in the humbler mind, the prevailing tendencies of suggestion are those of former contiguity of objects in place and time, which are of course, limited, and, by their very nature, limited to conceptions that cannot confer, on the mind in which they arise, the honour of originality. In that process of fancy which we have now been considering, it must be remembered, that the splendid creations which it exhibits, when the process is complete, depend on this prevailing direction of the course of thought to analogous objects, rather than to such as have been merely proximate in time and place. But we must not conceive that the brilliant wonders, to which this tendency of suggestion gives birth, are to be referred, merely because they are brilliant and wonderful, to some power distinct from that simple suggestion to which they owe their being.

These remarks are, I trust, sufficient to shew the nature of that simple and general principle on which the separate suggestions that become permanently embodied in the delightful pictures of fancy, depend. It may be necessary, however, to illustrate, a little more fully, the nature of that selection, of which writers on the subject of imagination so frequenly speak.

I have already shewn, that, in far the greater number of imaginations,-in all those which enliven the momentary reveries, that form so large a part of our mental history of each day, though, from the constant recurrence of objects of perception, more vivid and more intimately connected with our permanent desires, they pass away, and are forgotten almost as soon as they have arisen, in all those visions of the future, which occupy, with their own little hopes and fears, the great multitude of mankind, the combinations of fancy which arise, are far from implying any selection by that mind to which they arise, but occur to it, independent of any choice, by mere suggestion, or by the coexistence and combination of some conception as it arises, with that remaining perception or conception which suggested it, or with some other remaining conception of a complex group.

The selection, however, which we have to consider, is that which is supposed to take place in cases of imagination, where there is an undoubted desire of producing some new and splendid result.

“We seem to treat the thoughts that present themselves to the fancy in crowds,” it has been said, “ as a great man treats

, those (courtiers) that attend his levee. They are all ambitious of his attention—he goes round the circle, bestowing a bow upon one, a smile upon another; asks a short question of a third, while a fourth is honoured with a particular conference ; and the greater part bave no particular mark of attention, but go as they came. It is true, he can give no mark of his attention to those who were not there ; but he has a sufficient number for making a choice and distinction."*

Of this selection I may remark, in the first place, as, indeed, I have already repeatedly remarked, -that when many images are together in our mind, we cannot combine two of them, with the view of forming a third, because this would be, in truth, to have.

• Reid on the Intellectual Powers, Essay ir. chap. 4.


already formed that third which we are supposed to will to forra. In the second place, I may remark, that we cannot, by any direct effort of will, banish from our mind any thought which we may conceive to be incongruous to our subject, so as to retain only such as are congruous. To desire to banish, is, in truth, effectually to retain ; the very desire making the particular thought more vivid than it otherwise would have been.

“ We vainly labour to forget What by the labour we remember more." We cannot select any two images, therefore, out of many, with the express design of forming that third which results from them, since the design itself would imply their previous combination. We cannot banish a third, fourth, or fifth image, coexisting with these two, from our feeling of their incongruity with the plan already considered by us, since the wish of banishing them would only give to them a firmer place. We do not truly separate the two images from the group by any direct effort of our will—for our will could have no power of producing the separation; but Nature, by certain principles with which our mind is endowed, forms the separation for us, and consequently, the new assemblage which remains after the separation of the rejected parts. This it does for us, according to the simple theory which I have been led to form of the process, in consequence of our feeling of approbation—the feeling of the congruity of certain images with the plan already conceived by us; for this feeling of approbation, and therefore, of increased interest, cannot arise and continue, without rendering more lively the conceptions to which it is attached, producing, in short, a prominence and vividness of these particular conceptions ; in consequence of which, they outlast the fainter conceptions that coexisted with them. This vivifying influence of our mere approbation, operates very nearly in the same way as, in the process of attention formerly considered by us, we found, that of a multitude of objects, all equally present to our eye, and all producing, or at least capable of producing, an impression of some sort on the sentient mind, the mere feeling of interest, and the consequent desire of further knowledge, rendered some, in a single moment, more prominent than others, as if almost annihilating the others that were equally before our view, but which faded more rapidly from their comparative indistinctness.

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