Illustration Of The Foregoing Principles In Each Of The Arts

We must now, however, refer to some of the most distinguished and striking examples afforded by certain justly renowned performances in each of the arts, of the combined operation of the foregoing principles for the production and regulation of efforts in imagination and invention generally; illustrations of their individual operation by themselves having been already in several instances supplied in the preceding sections.

The art of painting is in many respects admirably, and indeed peculiarly adapted for the representation of objects or scenes of an inventive or imaginative order. Extensive scope in this art is allowed for the exercise of those different efforts which contribute to give effect in this kind of composition. Various combinations are here attained with efficiency, and even facility, as regards the shape and general character of any being or scene which is described. And where it is needed, a considerable amount of obscurity in the representation of any parts may be effected as circumstances require, and the ut-most range is also afforded for the introduction and display of the supernatural. All the elements already specified as belonging to imaginative effort, may be here also availed of to the full.

The most wonderful example in this branch of the arts is the painting of ‘The Last Judgment,’ in the Sistine Chapel at Rome, by Michael Angelo. The subject represented is one of the most solemn and awful and sublime nature possible ; and the general effect of the picture is such as to excite within us corresponding emotions.

The first view of this extraordinary composition forcibly strikes us. We are at once amazed by the vast number of figures which the piece contains, who are in various attitudes and situations. At a glance, however, we perceive the object of the design; and the principal figure—the Messiah, who is enveloped in a halo of light, and is encircled by attendant saints and angels—is observed to be the foremost and most prominent object. The multitude of human forms which the picture contains serves alone to give it a character of grandeur; while their position and demeanour greatly heighten its effect in this respect.

The Saviour is sitting in judgment, attended by saints and angels. Those who have suffered martyrdom may be observed near Him, with the instruments of torture with which they were put to death. The Virgin Mary is close at his side, apparently interceding for those whose doom is about to be pronounced. The group of saints and martyrs forms one vast circle round the halo which surrounds the Saviour; immediately below them are the angels sounding the last trump. The dead may be observed, some rising out of their graves half clothed, others in an almost skeleton state, over whose bones the flesh appears to be gradually creeping. Some are seen floating heavily in the air, gradually ascending, almost in a state of torpor and stiffness, little more than mere inanimate masses, still retaining the position they were in when bound up with grave-clothes. Others are attempting to hide themselves again in their graves, and appear to be calling upon the rocks and mountains to cover them.

On the left of the Messiah is another group, consisting of those on whom the doom of condemnation has been passed, and who are about to be hurled down headlong into the depths be-low, where they are seized by infuriated demons who ferociously grasp them as they descend. In the contortions and writhings and terror which they exhibit, the agony which excites them is forcibly depicted.

On the opposite side of the picture, to the right of the Messiah, are seen the redeemed ascending up to the blissful regions of eternal glory.

But the lower part of the picture is undoubtedly the finest portion of it, where the great painter seems to have put forth all his power, and to have given full scope to the bound-less range of his very fertile and extraordinary capacities of imagination and invention. The dead are here seen rising out of their graves ; some newly awaken by the blast of the last trump, gazing around with wonder and amazement as though but just arisen from the sleep of death, and are tearing away the shrouds with which their limbs are bound. Some, as before observed, appear in a half skeleton state, others are floating in the air. Perhaps these latter form the finest and most wonderful examples of imaginative power in dealing with the supernatural which even Michael Angelo has exhibited. At the base of the picture, on the left, is introduced the mythological figure of Charon ferrying with his boat across the Styx, and conveying those who have been hurled down and doomed to everlasting woe, on whom several fierce demons, characterized by supernatural savage ferocity and cruelty, are ravenously seizing, and who on reaching the other side of the Styx are themselves transformed into demons. Horns and tails are perceived to be shooting out, and humanity appears at once subsiding into demonism. The terror and agony depicted in those whom the demons are grasping, and the ferocity and fiendish rage of the latter, are very wonderful, as is also the whole delineation of the form and expression of these supernatural beings.

The noble performance which I have been describing, is how-ever, now probably but a mere shadow of what it was in its original state. The effects of damp and smoke, as also of various accidents, have severally and extensively contributed to dim its splendour, and to mar its excellence ; and the work of desolation has been further and more efficiently aided by the attempts at restoration, and the retouchings made by those who had neither the mind nor the mechanical power to reproduce any portion of the original conception. Still, with all this, much of the excellence of the painting as it was is yet perceptible, its splendour penetrating the dense mists in which it is enveloped. I believe, however, that the mind of the mighty artist is best seen, and is most vigorously reflected in the rough sketches that he made for select portions of his work, which are still preserved and remain unaltered, and which I have minutely examined; as also in the clear and vigorous engraving of it executed by Martin Rota under Michael Angelo’s superintendence, and with the aid of his designs.

As a whole, this grand masterpiece of the most gigantic genius in imaginative effort of which pictorial art can boast, affords an admirable and, indeed, perfect illustration of the principles which I have endeavoured to lay down with respect to representations of this nature. The imaginative power and effect of it are, moreover, greatly heightened by the regard which has been paid to the rules of composition and design in general, and for the due exhibition of character and emotion.

Thus, notwithstanding the multitude and variety of figures introduced, and the apparent confusion which prevails among them, the perspicuity of the design is preserved, although perhaps less extensively or completely than in some other compositions, especially those of Raphael, to which I have referred. With the exercise of the wildest imagination, strict regard to nature and propriety and correctness is in every particular paid, especially in the limbs and anatomy of the figures. The contrast which may be observed between the upper and lower parts of the picture, in the stillness and placidity of the one, and the activity and terrors of the other, adds much to the general effect. The principal figure is at once perceived, and strikes the eye; and the feelings and passions which animate each individual are most powerfully and forcibly depicted.

With respect more immediately to the mode in which the great painter has acted upon those particular principles which are here laid down as employed in imaginative composition; we must observe that in the combination together of different ideas which he has formed, as in the representation of the demons, and of those newly awaken from the grave, strict propriety to nature, and to our ideas of what may exist, has been paid. However extraordinary, or to some extent even extravagant some things may seem, there is nothing which is revolting to the mind as impossible, or actually contrary to nature. Nevertheless, the most original inventions here traceable are all effected by combinations of different ideas in the manner already described.

The general design and progress of the transaction we are forcibly led to infer from what is actually represented ; and we see at once what is to follow, and what has just preceded.

The associations raised by demons and graves and skeletons, are most powerful in their effect, and conduce very greatly to add to the vigour of the whole scene. Perhaps, indeed, this circumstance may alone and sufficiently atone for the introduction of Charon into a composition of this character.

The obscurity which has been thrown over certain portions of the design, is another element which much conduces to its imaginative effect,, where the mind is left to wander through the dark maze. The vastness of the whole scene, moreover, adds extensively to this result.

The majesty and transcendent might of the Messiah, whose figure has been censured as deficient in dignity, is atoned for by representing Him as the sole power which originates and animates the stupendous event here to be witnessed; and, in-deed, the meekness of His appearance conjoined with our consciousness of His character in this respect, conduces substantially to, instead of detracting from His dignity. None are suffered to approach Him but the Virgin, and even she shrinks behind Him. All the rest retire at a distance. He is encircled by radiance, is placed in the centre of all, and the attention of each is directed towards Him. The apparent power energy and ferocity with which the demons are invested, and their super-natural forms, are what most conduce to their imaginative effect; while the celestial nature of the subject completes and ennobles the character of the whole composition.

Most wonderfully, too, has the great painter availed himself of the use of the supernatural in the representation of the bodies floating in the air, which I have before described; and in depicting not only the forms of the demons, but the fury and passion, almost equally supernatural in their excess, which seem to excite them.

A very sublime effort towards the accomplishment of the supernatural, which combines also an extensive degree both of grandeur and beauty, has been effected by Raphael in his figure of Christ, contained in his noble picture of ‘The Transfiguration;’ where the Redeemer is represented as majestically, but supernaturally floating in the air, his frame appearing to be light and ethereal, celestial in its substance as well as its nature. The drapery here aids the figure, and the expression of the face gives force and effect to the whole. It is indeed truly divine, and fully as celestial as is the figure.

Sculpture may at first sight appear much less adapted than painting for representations of a highly imaginative character, as it possesses less scope as to its power of describing ; and, as already pointed out, it is difficult to portray any object or scene by this art unless in the most clear, and defined manner, so that but little liberty seems to be afforded to the imagination. But although sculpture from its inflexibility, and its inability to exhibit perspective, as also from its definite mode of imitation, almost excluding the possibility of introducing anything approaching to obscurity, which has been shown to be so essential an element in all imaginative efforts, may appear ill adapted for any great achievements of this character; yet, on the other hand, from its limited manner of representing, giving form only, and leaving so much to the imagination to supply, it is eminently suggestive, and affords a greater opportunity to the mind to fill up the vacant space, than does painting. So far it is admirably fitted for certain imaginative representations. Indeed, not only the imaginative, but the supernatural has been no less daringly than successfully attempted in sculpture by Bernini, in his renowned statue of `Apollo and Daphne,’ which adorns the Villa Borghese at Rome, in which is exhibited with transcendent skill and imaginative power, the wondrous transformation of the limbs of the man into the trunk of the tree, the arms gradually growing into branches, and boughs and leaves sprouting out in various parts of the body. And yet there is nothing here to outrage, or obviously or even apparently at variance with nature. In fact, the nearer to nature is the representation, the more completely it accomplishes the supernatural. The more exactly it accords with our own experience of life, the more strongly are we impelled to credit the illusion at-tempted.

On the whole, however, perhaps, basso-relieves are better adapted for imaginative sculptural representations, than are completely formed figures of the size of life. Designs also for sculptural composition, which may be contended to partake more of the nature of the art of painting than that of sculpture, admit of much imaginative effort, as in those of our great sculptor Flaxman, from the ` Iliad’ and ‘ Odyssey,’ may be evinced very fully. They supply merely the outline, leaving the imagination by inference to furnish all the rest, which, if put into a proper course, it will often do far more vividly and effectually than the most skilful artistical representation could effect. Nevertheless, very imaginative subjects have occasionally been produced in sculpture, as in the instances already stated, and in the forms of deities and demons and other supernatural beings, as also of sirens and nymphs.

Of all the arts, poetry is no doubt the best adapted for efforts of the description of which I have been treating in the present chapter, as it affords the greatest scope for the range of ideas; and the element of obscurity which, as I have observed, so often contributes largely to the imaginative effect of representations of this nature, may here be exercised to the fullest extent.

There are, indeed, many scenes, and many imaginary transactions and objects, of which we can form but very indistinct and incomplete conceptions, which therefore cannot with propriety be represented in painting, but which may be de-scribed in poetry, because in the latter art no exact or defined idea is given of them, although from those with which they are associated, we are led to form in our minds certain obscure and undefined, but not altogether inadequate notions of them; while, on the other hand, whatever we describe in painting, must be for the most part clearly and distinctly portrayed. Thus, in some of the poetical parts of the Scriptures, as in the passages already quoted, and in Milton’s ‘ Paradise Lost,’ as also in certain of the tragedies of Shakespeare, we have descriptions of the Deity, and of supernatural beings, from which we are led to form sublime and indistinct, although vivid notions of them, while we are altogether unable to afford any clear representation of them upon canvas. In the following very grand and imaginative description by Milton, of the encounter of Satan with Abdiel and his repulse by the sword of the latter, we shall observe how extensively the account of Satan’s power energy and magnitude conduces to its effect ; and how much these endowments are also raised by the comparisons instituted, and by the ideas of great and extraordinary qualities which are either called forth or suggested : —

“Ten paces huge He back recoil’d ; the tenth on bended knee, His massy spear upstay’d, as if on earth Winds under ground, or waters forcing way Sidelong, had push’d a mountain from his seat Half sunk with all his pines.”

The narration of the encounter between Satan and Michael, is one of the noblest throughout the poem.* Not only the ideas of their appearance, but of their actions also, are much raised by instituting a comparison of the individuals introduced with beings and objects of a more exalted nature, and greater magnitude. Satan and Michael are here compared to Gods, and represented as of supernatural stature. Their shields are described as resembling ” two broad suns,” and their action is assimilated to the rushing together of planets.

” Likest Gods they seem’d, Stood they or mov’d, in stature, motion, arms, Fit to decide the empire of great Heav’n. Now wav’d their fiery swords, and in the air Made horrid circles : two broad suns their shields Blaz’d opposite, while expectation stood In horror : from each hand with speed retir’d, Where erst was thickest fight, th’ angelic throng, And left large field, unsafe within the wind Of such commotion : such as, to set forth Great things by small, if nature’s concord broke, Among the constellations war were sprung, Two planets rushing from aspect malign Of fiercest opposition in mid-sky Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound. Together both with next to ‘Almighty arm Uplifted imminent, one stroke they aim’d That might determine, and not need repeat, As not of pow’r at once ; nor odds appear’d In might or swift prevention. But the sword Of Michael from the armoury of God, Was giv’n him temper’d so, that neither keen Nor solid might resist that edge. It met The sword of Satan with steep force to smite Descending, and in half cut sheer ; nor stay’d, Bat with swift wheel reverse, deep ent’ring shar’d All his right side : then Satan first knew pain, And writh’d him to and fro convolv’d.”

The allusion to Satan’s first feeling pain, and the description of him as writhing like a serpent, contribute much to give a supernatural air to his character, and to cast a veil of obscurity over it which add much to the imaginative effect.

The stupendous fall of Satan and his powers from heaven on their being driven down headlong into the infernal regions, is represented with great sublimity.* Instead of giving a direct enumeration of those who were thus precipitated, and describing the extent of the vast space through which they were hurled, all this is attained by a reference merely to the amazing confusion and dismay which their descent produced, and to the time which was occupied in its accomplishment. Thus, it is left in obscurity for the imagination to infer the terrible nature of the overthrow, and to measure out the vast depth of that dreadful abyss into which they were plunged.

Hell heard th’ unsufferable noise ; Hell saw Heav’n ruining from Heav’n, and would have fled Affrighted ; but strict fate had cast too deep Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound. Nine days they fell: confounded Chaos roar’d, And felt tenfold confusion in their fall Through his wild anarchy, so huge a rout Incumber’d him with ruin. Hell at last Yawning, receiv’d them whole, and on them clos’d : Hell their fit habitation, fraught with fire Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain.”

Another very splendid example from the same great poem of the imaginative effect in description produced by the combination together of different qualities, comparisons with various objects, and obscurity with regard to the whole, so that much is left to the imagination to infer, is afforded by the following representation of death : –

” The other shape, If shape it might be call’d, that shape had none Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb, Or substance might be call’d that shadow seem’d, For each seem’d either ; black it stood as Night ; Fierce as ten Furies ; terrible as Hell, And shook a dreadful dart. What seem’d his head The likeness of a kingly crown had on.”

Notwithstanding the beauty excellence and merit, as imaginative efforts more especially, of some of the descriptions in Dante already cited; it must be allowed that in many in-stances he is too sensual and corporeal to be highly successful in this sublime walk, besides being in certain cases very repulsive from the direct reference to blood and mangled bodies and gushing entrails, contained in those passages, which detract extensively from the dignity and celestiality and imaginative effect and power of the poem. The following representation of the spirits t is open to the objection of being too material and gross as well as undignified, for beings of so divine a nature, as also for so noble a theme :—

” Confused they lay, One o’er the belly, o’er the shoulders one Roll’d of another; sideling crawl’d a third Along the dismal pathway.”

Virgil’s account of the death of Laocoon, already quoted is one of the very finest in poetry, and is peculiarly valuable as affording ample illustration of the principles which I have propounded. In the description of the serpents, the aid of the supernatural is at once resorted to in the opening of the narration, as regards their immense size, the commotion which they cause, the terror they excite, and the splendour and extra-ordinary nature of their appearance. Their mode of action and motions are also finely represented. By the narrative of their attack upon Laocoon and his two sons our feelings are strongly excited, on account of the physical sufferings endured by each, and yet more by the mortal agony which the father underwent from seeing his children so cruelly tortured before his eyes ; as also by hearing that he himself fell a victim to his vain efforts to rescue them. The action of the serpents feeding on the living frames of the youths, the contortions and writhings of the latter, the struggles and cries of the father, and the blood and venom sprinkling the sacred fillets, still further call forth our pity-. The subsequent action of the serpents, with which the account closes, serves yet more to assure us of their supernatural qualities, and that they were directed as instruments of Divine vengeance, thus adding both divineness and dignity to the whole description.

The description by Virgil of Elysium, and his representation of supernatural scenes and objects, is in many respects far inferior to that of Milton. It is as a whole too material, too much based upon our notions of terrestrial scenes and objects, and greatly needs the aid of the supernatural. Some of the passages are doubtless very fine, and the incidents introduced touching and affecting. The account of Anchises surveying in a shady valley his descendants, of his recognizing AEneas, and of the latter stretching out his arms in affectionate eagerness to embrace him when he discovers that it is but a shadow that he is addressing, is extremely beautiful and moving.

“At pater Anchises pentus convalle virenti Inclusas animas superumque ad lumen ituras, Lustrabat studio recolens, omnemque suorum Forth recensebat numerum carosque nepotes, Fataque fortunasque virûm moresque manusque. Isque ubi tendentem adversum per gramina vidit AEnean, alacris palmas utrasque tetendit, Effusæque gens lacrimae; et vox cecidit ore : Venisti tandem, tuaque spectata parenti Vicit iter durum pietas ? datur ora tueri, Nate, tua ; et notas audire et reddere voces ?’ Sic memorans, largo fletu simul ora rigabat. Ter conatus ibi collo dare brachia circum ; Ter frustra comprensa manus effugit imago, Par levibus ventis volucrique simillima somno.”

Virgil’s account of the descent into the infernal regions, of the sights of woe and horror and wonder there witnessed, of the sibyl, of Charon and Cerberus, of the shades wandering in the groves, and of the nature of those regions, is very imaginative and very touching, although throughout it must be allowed to be tarnished by the defects alluded to.

But the most perfect imaginative description which equals if not surpasses anything of the kind, is that relating to the shade of Dido, which AEneas sees wandering alone :–

” Inter quas Phcenissa recens à vulnere Dido Errabat silvâ in magna.: quam Troïus heros Ut primum juxta stetit agnovitque per umbras Obscurami, qualem primo qui surgere mense Aut videt aut vidisse putat per nubila lunam, Demisit lacrimas, dulcìque affatus amore est : Infelix Dido.”

The simile of the new moon rising through a thin cloud, which the gazer at is doubtful whether he sees or not, is one of extreme beauty and exquisite delicacy. The mystic dim aerial appearance of the shade could not have been more finely portrayed ; and the associations connected with the solemn twilight of the moon are highly suitable and effective. Milton possibly from this adopted his comparison of Satan after his fall to the sun newly risen, looking through the horizontal misty air, shorn of its beams. t Milton’s simile is, however, neither so appropriate nor so beautiful as Virgil’s. From its not being so natural a comparison in Milton’s description as in the former, it seems the more probable that he borrowed the idea from Virgil, in-stead of taking it directly from nature.

But beautiful and imaginative as Virgil’s description undoubtedly is of the regions of eternal bliss, and of the condition of those who enjoy them, it is immeasurably below that which is afforded us by Revelation, and which is contained in the Apocalypse, whose representations are infinitely more exalted, more grand, and more highly imaginative than anything of the same order elsewhere attempted. The account here given of the splendour and majesty of the Eternal, the glorious cities, the seas of crystal, the golden pavements, the adamantine walls, the celestial choirs, the myriads of the nations of the earth, the angelic throngs, the transformations of the celestial bodies, the mighty convulsions with which through the wide empire of the universe nature is rent ;—how far in majesty and grandeur, and, above all, in imaginative power, does it transcend what Virgil tells us of the green fields and streams and bowers, of which the description of his heaven is made up !

The finest and noblest, the most exalted and perfect examples of imaginative description are, indeed, those afforded in the Apocalypse. Here a number of vast and sublime images are combined together; the comparisons instituted are of the grandest nature; the attributes ascribed are the most stupendous, dignified, and powerful; the inferences raised from the objects introduced often impel the mind on to an infinite extent; a solemn veil of obscurity and mystery is diffused over the narration ; the scenes and visions represented are mainly of a supernatural order; and their celestial nature at once throws an air of sublimity over the whole.

Thus, the opening account of the wonders which were revealed is of extraordinary majesty and sublimity, to which latter quality its extreme simplicity much conduces.

” Behold a throne was set in heaven, And One sat on the throne.”

The comparison of His appearance to jasper and sardine stone, and the representation of the rainbow around the throne like an emerald, raise in our imagination very noble sentiments. The description of the elders clothed in white with crowns of gold; of the spirits of God which were before it; of the lightnings and thunderings and voices which proceeded from it; of the glorious sea of glass like unto crystal ; of the four mysterious beasts about the throne so wonderful in their nature; and of the eternal ceaseless adoration paid to Him who sat upon the throne ;—all contribute together to fill the mind with the most sublime and awful and grand ideas.

The representations afforded of the Lamb, of the song of the elders and voices of the angels, of the beasts, and of all the hosts of heaven joining together at once in the adoration of the Lamb, are also exceedingly fine.* The account of the opening of the seals, and the description of the pale horse and of death riding forth accompanied by hell, and having power given unto him to destroy a fourth part of the earth, are especially of this character.

“And I looked, and behold a pale horse : And his name that sat on him was Death, And Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, To kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.”

The same sublime and mysterious tone belongs also to the description of the souls of those who had suffered for the word, which were under the altar and crying aloud for vengeance. The representation of the earthquake on the opening of the sixth seal :—” the sun black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon as blood; the stars of heaven falling to the earth ; the heavens passing away like a scroll rolled together ; the mountains and islands moved out of their places; and the kings and great men of the earth terror-stricken and hiding themselves in the dens and rocks of the mountains, and calling upon them to cover them and hide them from the face of Him who sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,”§—is ‘calculated to excite in the mind the most sublime ideas, and to afford extensive suggestions to the imagination. These descriptions owe their imaginative power to the mysterious and exalted nature of the topics contained in them. Everything is told with the utmost simplicity. The most overwhelming events are narrated calmly and without excitement,—like the silent and still tale which nature unfolds in her grandest scenes.

The representation of the ” four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, so that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree,” II seems to be the precursor of some dreadful pestilence, or some awful convulsion. It reminds us at once of that sublime occurrence we have all’witnessed in nature, the dead and dread stillness preceding the outburst of a thunderstorm. The account of the number of those sealed, and the description of the vast ” multitude which no man could number of all nations, and kindred, and people, and tongues, standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, all clothed in white and bearing palms in their hands,” and all at once joining in adoration,* is suggestive of a truly sublime and noble and vast spectacle.

The description of the silence in heaven for the space of half an hour after the opening of the seventh seal, seems to forbode some momentous event ;t while that of the ” resounding of the voices, and thunderings, and lightnings” from the earth, and the earthquake, is awfully grand. The account of the “hail and fire mingled with blood,” which was “cast upon the earth and burnt up a third part of the trees, and all green grass ;” of the “great mountain, burning with fire, cast into the sea,” a third part of which became blood, and of the destruction which followed; of the burning star which fell from heaven upon the third part of the rivers and fountains of waters ; of the smiting of the sun, and darkness, and calamities which followed; and of the ” angel flying through the midst of heaven” proclaiming “woe, woe to the inhabiters of the earth;” are alike magnificent and wonderful.

In another part, mysterious and very dreadful events are mentioned as occurring. The fall of the star, the bottomless pit, and the darkening of the sun by its smoke, the issuing forth of the locusts against the inhabitants of the earth, and perhaps, beyond all, the description of the locusts are peculiarly sublime, and highly imaginative,

” And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle ; And on their heads were as it were crowns like gold; And their faces were as the faces of men ; And they had hair as the hair of women And their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates as it were breastplates of iron ; And the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots, of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails, and their power was to hurt man five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name is Abaddon.” The passages here cited doubtless contain creations of the utmost imaginative power. The description, too, of the myriad army of horsemen is very wonderful and striking : “And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, Having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth and brimstone : And the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions ; And out of their mouths issued fire, and smoke, and brimstone.”

The representation of the “mighty angel” which came down from heaven, is wonderfully magnificent and imaginative. He is clothed with a cloud, and adorned with a rainbow, his countenance is as the sun, and his feet are as pillars of fire. His vast stature and strength are evinced by his having his right foot on the sea, and his left on the earth, while his voice is as that of a lion, and is accompanied or re-echoed by seven thunders. t When he sware he lifted up his hand to heaven, and seemed to reach the very clouds, so vast was his stature.* And he ” sware by him that liveth for ever and ever,” who created heaven and earth and all things. II The oath sworn to heaven by this mighty and tremendous being was of the most momentous nature, ” that time should be no more.”** Everything relating to him, as regards his form, his stature, his adornments, his voice and action, his denunciations, all the at-tributes ascribed to him, and the comparisons instituted regarding him, are of the most sublime and supernatural character. The imaginative effect is here, indeed, much heightened by the grandeur of the description.

The comparison of the voice from heaven to the sound of many waters, and to thunder, is extremely fine. The description of the ” angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to proclaim to every nation,” excites also very noble and grand images.

The account of the angel’s pouring out his vial upon the sea, which became as the blood of a dead man, and of the pouring out of the vials on the sun and upon Euphrates, is especially imaginative and sublime. The description of the ” three unclean spirits like frogs which came out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, and which are the spirits of devils working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty,” + is a very wonderful and supernatural representation. The narrative of the pouring by the seventh angel of his vial into the air ; of the ” great voice out of the temple of heaven from the throne” which followed it ; and of the “voices and thunders and lightnings, and great earthquake” and mighty convulsions which succeed,—the islands fleeing away, the mountains vanishing ; and the terrific hail falling from heaven, §—is truly grand and stupendous.

In another passage, the description of the earth being illumined by the glory of the angel which descended with great power from heaven, is also very fine.

The comparisons of the voice which was heard to “the noise of a great multitude talking, to the murmur of many waters, and to the sound of mighty thunderings,” are extremely sublime. The adoration offered accords well with the character of the mode in which it is done. The descriptions are also very rich and imaginative of heaven opening, and the white horse with One sitting upon it;-{t of the appearance of Him who rode upon the horse, whose ” eyes were as a flame of fire, and on whose heads were many crowns.” t The mysterious declaration that ” He had a name written that no man knew but He Himself,” excites the most sublime ideas.§§ As do also the descriptions of His vesture dipped in blood ;II II of “the armies of heaven following Him upon white horses, and clothed in fine linen ;”* and of the ” angel standing in the sun,” and “crying aloud to the fowls of the air that fly in the midst of heaven, to come together to eat the flesh of the kings, and captains, and great men, and their horses, and of all men.”

In the following passage the narration, although simple in the extreme, is passingly sublime, wonderful, and beautiful,

“And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat upon it.” Such were His appearance and majesty, that “From His face the earth and the heaven fled away ; ” And there was no place found for them. ”

No language, no description the most elaborate, no power of expression could give a more noble idea of the transcendent majesty and terrible nature of the being who sat on the throne, than we here obtain, as also from the events resulting from His presence. The extract which follows is also remarkable for the same simple sublimity : —

“And I saw the dead, the small and the great, stand before God; ” And the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life : “And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the book according to their works.”

This plain narration excites in the mind the most vast and tremendous ideas of the scene here referred to, more especially as regards the countless myriads of the multitude assembled, the majesty and glory of the judge, the grandeur awe and magnificence of the whole occurrence.

The account which follows also raises in the mind ideas of the utmost wonder and awe :

“And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; ” And death and hell gave up the dead which were in them, ” And they were judged every man according to their works.”

The most laboured representation could not possibly contribute more to raise our minds than is here done as to the wonderful nature of the events described. The allusions to the sea from her inmost depths restoring those whom she had swallowed up, and hell and death from their dark and gloomy recesses surrendering those whom they had held captive,—are suggestive of ideas of the sublimest order.

“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.”

This is the final consummation of the overthrow of the once rampant powers of darkness. By every true lover of poetry, and every admirer of imaginative effort of the most exalted kind, this glorious and sublime masterpiece of inspired narration cannot but be studied with rapture. Indeed, as regards the greatness and boldness of the images introduced, the beauty of the allusions, the variety and supernatural order of the scenes portrayed, it is altogether without a parallel in poetic description.

Narrations in eloquence, and those in poetry of the character treated of in the present chapter, are so nearly allied that the principles here laid down as applicable to the one, may be considered as equally so to the other.

In descriptions of this class by eloquence, metaphor is very extensively had recourse to, and serves to supply to a certain extent the opportunity which poetry, from its nature and mode of operation, so much more largely possesses, of representing scenes and subjects of an ideal and imaginative character.

Indeed, the passages here quoted from the Apocalypse, might be contended to belong rather to prose than to poetry, as, in our version at least, they are not placed in any set rhyme, and it may be doubtful whether they were ever in this form ; although it appears that they are a kind of mixed prose and rhyme, the greater part being in prosaic style, while particular passages, such as solemn proclamations and odes, being rendered into metre. This composition must consequently be presumed to be neither poetry nor eloquence, but something rising superior to either, having the wildness and effectiveness of the first, though free from its restraint; and being possessed of the command of language and copiousness of words appertaining peculiarly to the latter,—possibly a sort of angelical language, or rather rhapsody, the very idiom of heaven.

From the peculiar nature of its material, as well as from its freedom and power, music is, perhaps, of all the arts, in many important respects, the best adapted to excite and to lead on the imagination, if not actually to direct it to a definite point. In music the exercise of the imagination, as also the invention of new pieces, are much aided by the observation of sounds in nature, as is original composition of each kind. But music, as I have already remarked, must be considered rather as mainly fitted to aid the other arts in the production of imaginative narrations or descriptions, when made use of to accompany them, than as capable of itself in-dependently to attain any such ends. Thus, in scenic theatrical representation it adds greatly to the imaginative effect, which works in the other arts of painting sculpture poetry eloquence and also architecture, are calculated to produce.

It is, indeed, chiefly by creating in our minds associations of ideas, that music is enabled to accomplish the extensive ends which it occasionally effects. It is perhaps mainly successful in aiding poetry in the description of imaginative and super-natural and celestial scenes and objects, and in carrying on the mind to the furthest limits in its efforts to soar into the highest regions to which these compositions would lead it.

Probably in none of the arts is more scope afforded to invention, and even to imagination also in a certain way, than there is in architecture. Why the architect, whose natural province appears to be variety,—inasmuch as the forms of trees and other natural objects from which the art first derived its invention are of a variety almost infinite,—should be confined to following the styles already discovered, and excluded from all at-tempts at origination, appears altogether inexplicable. From this cause it is that the most unsuitable designs have been appropriated to purposes entirely different from those for which they were first used, such as Pagan styles of architecture for temples of Christian worship. The vast difference between our climate and those of Greece and Italy, ought surely to have induced the foundation of new styles of architecture varying from theirs. Nor does there seem to be any reason whatever why new orders of architecture should not be invented, provided they are controlled and regulated by the same principles of taste which govern those already established.

Architecture, and also gardening and costume, owe in reality as much to invention, if not to imagination, as do painting and sculpture and poetry. The former of these arts originated and grew up from the imitation and the combination of different forms which nature presented to our view, as the trunks and outlines of trees, the shapes of mountains, and the forms of caves.* Nay, the very leaves of the trees and the disposition of their fibres, and the shapes of flowers themselves, the mouldings of shells and the figures of certain animals, even of the insect world, all present to us designs and suggestions, and materials for designs worthy of our deepest contemplation and closest study; and admit, moreover, of almost endless combinations out of which new varieties will arise.

All that is most beautiful in art originated in the imitation, direct or indirect, of nature. In later times, other forms and shapes, besides those which nature presented, have been imitated, though but little beauty or richness has been produced.

But even in our day it might be presumed that out of the rich, and, indeed, endless varieties of nature, enough may still be found to afford suggestions for new styles to the architect. In each art the origin of it was from external nature ; the modification and completion of it is from the internal mind of man. The latter is as unfitted to originate, as the former is to complete this undertaking.

The most imaginative transactions may be represented with all due effect on the stage. Perhaps, however, the scenery here, in which painting is the chief auxiliary, and for which it is resorted to, is that on which we principally depend. In the representation of the supernatural, more especially, it is the main aid. Possibly the true test of the efficiency of any dramatic imaginative piece is this,—whether it exceeds or falls short of the previous ideas of the scene in the mind of the spectator. But this must to a certain degree more or less depend upon and fluctuate with the particular genius of each spectator ; it ought, however, at any rate to exceed the average conception of the scene.

Costume of itself, although it affords the fullest scope for the exercise of invention, does not appear to allow of much opportunity for the display of imaginative power. As in the case of architecture, costume is, indeed, far more favourable for efforts in invention than for those in imagination ; its capacities for the former are, in fact, almost unlimited, and here the ingenuity and taste of those who are engaged in this pursuit have full scope to display themselves, so that new styles in each branch of costume are continually invented, being, however, mainly adopted from, or rather gradual variations of those which have been already in fashion. Caprice and taste alike urge us on, and aid us here.

In gardening, imagination as well as invention may some-times find free scope for exercise, and the most important results may be effected through their aid in the production of artificial effects and illusive appearances. Sunk fences, which give to several enclosures the effect of being thrown into one vast plain, and the disposal of different pieces of water so that the whole may seem to form part of one great natural lake or river, and the imitation of islands by the formation of promontories on its banks, may afford ample scope both to invention and imagination in the art of gardening. For the only real and noble examples of imaginative efforts in this art, we must, however, appeal to nature herself in her vastest and boldest enterprises ; to the ravines of Switzerland, where rocks and crags run into all sorts of wild and fantastic shapes, and glaciers and avalanches set off the scene, rendering it like one of enchantment, or of the regions of another world ;—territories in which both entire freedom and full scope are afforded to nature to indulge in all kinds of imaginative creations. Nevertheless, in the art of gardening, much has been accomplished in some instances, not only as regards the vigour and boldness of the design, but in efforts of an imaginative character, corresponding with those which nature has effected in her sublimest prospects, in her savage Alpine glens, the ravines of the Pyrenees, and the crags of Skye. Thus, from the wild and rude elements which have been introduced into the extensive and picturesque grounds of certain of our nobility, as is more especially the case at Alton Towers and at Hawkstone,-art aiding nature, carrying on what she has commenced, and completing what she has suggested, —and through the tasteful and judicious disposition of water and rock and wood, scenes not only of boldness and grandeur but of imagination also, have been attained in the art of gardening. Some of the most picturesque and daring feats of nature have thus been successfully imitated, if not rivalled. Wild and rare objects, such as are peculiarly calculated to rouse and to set at work the imagination, will be found, and present themselves to the eye at each turn. Here a rugged crag, there a deep ravine, in another spot a foaming cascade are made to appear; and the whole is set off with every variety of foliage and stately trees and wild plants, and all those pro-ducts of nature which contribute to enhance the effect of scenes of this description.

Indeed, where sufficient space is allowed, and nature has been propitious in disposing of the ground for the purpose, and has kindly contributed the material elements which in landscape scenery serve to make up imaginative prospects ; there appears to be no reason why the invention and ingenuity of man, which have accomplished such prodigious feats of imaginative power in the other arts, should not here second, or rather follow the efforts of nature, walking in her footsteps, and thus raising landscape gardening to the level of the other arts, by developing its entire capacity for the loftiest artistical efforts, even in that noble department now under discussion.

On the whole, we may conclude, to whatever branch of art we apply for illustration, that as art itself is the sublimest of studies, so the employment of art in imaginative creation is, of all its vast efforts, the highest and the most celestial. Its achievements here have been, moreover, at once the most stupendous and the most complete. It is to its success here that it mainly owes its exalted rank as an intellectual pursuit. And to this noble end have ever been consecrated the powers of those whose genius in either department has been most resplendent.