And thus is senseless of th’ impending Blow.
Thus flies the simple Bird into the Snare,
That skilful Fowlers for his Life prepare.
But let my Sons attend, Attend may they
Whom Youthful Vigour may to Sin betray;
Let them false Charmers fly, and guard their Hearts
Against the wily Wanton’s pleasing Arts,
With Care direct their Steps, nor turn astray,
To tread the Paths of her deceitful Way;
Lest they too late of Her fell Power complain,
And fall, where many mightier have been Slain.
* * * * *
No. 411. Saturday, June 21, 1712. Addison.
’Avia Pieridum peragro loca, nullius
Trita solo; juvat integros accedere fonteis;
Our Sight is the most perfect and most delightful of all our Senses. It fills the Mind with the largest Variety of Ideas, converses with its Objects at the greatest Distance, and continues the longest in Action without being tired or satiated with its proper Enjoyments. The Sense of Feeling can indeed give us a Notion of Extension, Shape, and all other Ideas that enter at the Eye, except Colours; but at the same time it is very much streightned and confined in its Operations, to the number, bulk, and distance of its particular Objects. Our Sight seems designed to supply all these Defects, and may be considered as a more delicate and diffusive kind of Touch, that spreads it self over an infinite Multitude of Bodies, comprehends the largest Figures, and brings into our reach some of the most remote Parts of the Universe.
It is this Sense which furnishes the Imagination with its Ideas; so that by the Pleasures of the Imagination or Fancy (which I shall use promiscuously) I here mean such as arise from visible Objects, either when we have them actually in our View, or when we call up their Ideas in our Minds by Paintings, Statues, Descriptions, or any the like Occasion. We cannot indeed have a single Image in the Fancy that did not make its first Entrance through the Sight; but we have the Power of retaining, altering and compounding those Images, which we have once received, into all the varieties of Picture and Vision that are most agreeable to the Imagination; for by this Faculty a Man in a Dungeon is capable of entertaining himself with Scenes and Landskips more beautiful than any that can be found in the whole Compass of Nature.