Fore thought, or the projection of conception or attention with will, is a marvelous preparation for all kinds of art work. He who can form the habit of seeing a picture mentally before he paints it, has an incredible advantage, and will spare himself much labor and painting out.
“Quaerit Franciscus Valesius, Delrio, Gutierrus, et alii, unde vulgaris ilia fascini nata sit opinio de oculo fascinante visione et ore fascinando laudando.”—De Faseinatione Fatatus. A. D. 1677.
I have in Chapter Fifth mentioned several of the subjects to attain which the Will may be directed by the aid of self-hypnotism, preceded by Forethought. If the reader has carefully studied what I have said and not merely skimmed it, he must have perceived that if the power be fully acquired, it makes, as it were, new existence for its possessor, opening to him boundless fields of action by giving him the enviable power to acquire interest—that is to say agreeable or profitable occupation—in whatever he pleases. In further illustration of which I add the following:
To recall bygone memories or imperfectly remembered sensations, scenes and experiences or images.
This is a difficult thing to describe, and no wonder, since it forms the greatest and most trying task of all poets to depict that which really depends for its charm on association, emotion and a chiaroscuro of the feelings. We have all delightful reminiscences which make ridiculous Dante’s assertion that
“There is no greater
grief than to recall in pain
The happy days gone by;”
which, if true, would make it a matter of regret that we ever had a happy hour. However, I assume that it is a great pleasure to recall, even in grief, beautiful bygone scenes and joys, and trust that the reader has a mind healthy and cheerful enough to do the same.
What constitutes a charm in many memories is often extremely varied. Darkly shaded rooms with shutters closed in on an intensely hot American summer day. Chinese matting on the floors—the mirrors and picture frames covered with tulle—silence—the scent of magnolias all over the house—the presence of loved ones now long dead and gone—all of these combined form to me memory-pictures in which nothing can be spared. The very scent of the flowers is like musk in a perfume or “bouquet” of odors—it fixes them well, or renders them permanent. And it is all like a beautiful vivid dream. If I had my life to live over again I would do frequently and with great care, what I thought of too late, and now practice feebly—I would strongly impress on my mind and very often recall, many such scenes, pictures, times or memories. Very few people do this. Hence in all novels and poems, especially the French, description generally smacks of imitation and mere manufacture. It