It may be here worth our while to Examine how it comes to pass that several Readers, who are all acquainted with the same Language, and know the Meaning of the Words they read, should nevertheless have a different Relish of the same Descriptions. We find one transported with a Passage, which another runs over with Coldness and Indifference, or finding the Representation extreamly natural, where another can perceive nothing of Likeness and Conformity. This different Taste must proceed, either from the Perfection of Imagination in one more than in another, or from the different Ideas that several Readers affix to the same Words. For, to have a true Relish, and form a right Judgment of a Description, a Man should be born with a good Imagination, and must have well weighed the Force and Energy that lye in the several Words of a Language, so as to be able to distinguish which are most significant and expressive of their proper Ideas, and what additional Strength and Beauty they are capable of receiving from Conjunction with others. The Fancy must be warm to retain the Print of those Images it hath received from outward Objects and the Judgment discerning, to know what Expressions are most proper to cloath and adorn them to the best Advantage. A Man who is deficient in either of these Respects, tho’ he may receive the general Notion of a Description, can never see distinctly all its particular Beauties: As a Person, with a weak Sight, may have the confused Prospect of a Place that lies before him, without entering into its several Parts, or discerning the variety of its Colours in their full Glory and Perfection.
[Footnote 1: [that]]
A NEW EDITION
REPRODUCING THE ORIGINAL TEXT BOTH AS FIRST ISSUED AND AS CORRECTED BY ITS AUTHORS
WITH INTRODUCTION, NOTES, AND INDEX
PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LITERATURE, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON
IN THREE VOLUMES
* * * * *
No. 417. Saturday, June 28, 1712. Addison.
’Quem tu Melpomene semel
Nascentem placido lumine videris,
Non illum labor Isthmius
Clarabit pugilem, non equus impiger, &c.
Sed quae Tibur aquae fertile perfluunt,
Et Spissae nemorum comae
Fingent AEolio carmine nobilem.’