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plagiarism. And yet it may not be every instance of similarity, that will satisfy here, For the question recurs, “ whether of the . several forms, of which his materials are
“ susceptible, there be nothing in the nature -56 of things, which determines the artist to “ prefer a particular one to all others.” For it is possible, that general principles may as well account for a conformity in the manner, as we have seen them do for an identity of matter, in works of imitation, - And to this question nothing can be replied, till we have taken an accurate survey of this second division of our subject. Luckily, the allusion to architecture, just touched upon, points to the very method, in which it may be most distinctly pursued. For here too, the MANNER of imitation, if considered in its full extent, takes in, 1. The general plan or disposition of a paem. 2. The choice and application of particular subjects : and 3. The expression. .
1. All poetry, as lord Bacon admirably observes, “ nihil aliud eft quam HisTORIAE 65 IMITATIO AD PLACITUM.” By which is not meant, that the poet is at liberty tą
conduct his imitation absolutely in any
"1. Cum res gestae et eventus, qui
36 vera successus rerum minime pro meritis us virtutum & fcelerum, narret; corrigit « eam poësis, & exitus & fortunas, secundum «6 merita, & ex lege Nemefeos, exhibet. “ 3. Cum historia vera, obviâ rerum fatie“ tate & fimilitudine, animae humanae fafti« dio sit; reficit eam poësis, inexpectata, & “ varia & viciffitudinum plena canens. " Quare & merito etiam divinitatis cujuspiam “ particeps videri poffit; quia animum erigit 66 & in sublime rapit; rerum fimulachra ad .66 animi desideria accommodando, non animum .“ rebus (quod ratio facit, & historia) sub. ;“ mittendo [r].”
These advantages chiefly respect the narrative poetry, and above all, the Epos. There are others, still more general, and more directly to the purpose of this inquiry. For 4. The historian is bound to record a Series of independent events and actions; and so, at once, falls into two defeets, which make him incapable of affording perfect pleasure to the mind. For 1. The flow of pafsion, produced in us by contemplating any signal event, is greatly checked and dis[r] DE AUGM. Scient, lib, ii, c. 13.
turbed amidst a variety and fucceffion of actions. And 2. being obliged to pass with celerity over each transaction (for otherwise history would be too tedious for the purpose of information) he has not time to draw out single circumstances in full light, and impress them with all their force on the imagination. Poetry remedies these two defects. By confining the attention to one object only, it gives the fancy and affection's fair play: and by bringing forth to vie and even magnifying all the circumstances of that one, it gives to every subject its proper dignity and importance. 5. Lastly, to satisfy the human mind, there must not only be an unity and integrity, but a strict con-, nexion and continuity of the fable or action represented. Otherwise the mind languishes, and the transition of the passions, which gives the chief pleasure, is broken and interrupted. The historian fails, also, in this. By proceeding in the gradual and orderly succession of time, the several incidents, which compose the story, are not laid close enough together to content the natural avidity of our expectations. Whilft poetry, neglecting this regularity of fuccef
fion, and setting out in the midst of the story, gratifies our instinctive impatience, and carries the affe&tions along, with the utmost rapidity, towards the event.
These advantages are common both to narrative and dramatic poetry. But the drama, as professing to copy real life, contents itself with these. The rest belong entirely to the province of narration.
Now the general forms of poetical mea thod, as distinct from that of history, are the pure result of our conclusions concerning the expediency and fitness of these means, as conducive to the proper end of poetry. Which, without more words, will inform us, how it came to pass, that the true plan or disposition of poetical works, was so early hit upon in practice, and established by exact theories ; and may therefore satisfy us of the necessary resemblance and uniformity of all productions of this kind, whether their authors had, or had not, been guided by the pole-star of example..
So much for the general forms of the two greater kinds of poetry. If a proper allowance be made for a diversity of subje£t