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37 Every, work of art that is conformable to the natural course of our ideas, is so far agreeable; and every work of art that reverses that course, is so far disagreeable. Hence it is required in every such work, that, like an organic system, its parts be orderly arranged and mutually connected, bearing each of them a relation to the whole, some more intimate, some less, according to their desti. nation : when due regard is had to these particulars, we have a sense of just composition, and so far are pleased with the performance. Homer is defective in order and connexion; and Pindar more remarkably. Regularity, order, and connexion, are painful restraints on a bold and fertile imagi. nation; and are not patiently submitted to, but after much culture and discipline. lo Horace there is no fault more eminent than want of connexion : instances are without pumber. In the first four. teen lines of ode 7. lib. 1. he mentions several towns and districts, more to the taste of some than of others; in the remainder of the ode, Plancus is exhorted to drown his cares in wine. Having narrowly escaped death by the fall of a tree, this poet* takes occasion to observe justly, that while we guard against some dangers, we are exposed to others we cannot foresee: he ends with displaying the power of music.
of music. The parts of ode 16. lib. 2. are so loosely connected as to disfigure a poem otherwise extremely beautiful. The 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 11th, 24th, 27th odes of the 3d book, lie open all of them to the same censure.
The first satire, book 1. is so deformed by want of connexion, as upon the whole to be scarce agreeable : it commences with an important question, How it hap. pens that people, though much satisfied with them.
* Lib. ii. ode 13.
selves, are seldom so with their rank or condition. After illustrating the observation in a sprightly manner by several examples, the author, forgetting his subject, enters upon a declamation against avarice, which he pursues till the line 108. There he makes an apology for wandering, and promises to return to his subject; but avarice having got possession of his mind, he follows out that theme to the end, and never returns to the question proposed in the beginning
Of Virgil's Georgics, though esteemed the most complete work of that author, the parts are ill connected, and the transitions far from being sweet and easy. In the first book* he deviates from his subject to give a description of the five zones: the want of connexion here, as well as in the description of the prodigies that accompanied the death of Cæsar, are scarce pardonable. A digression on the praises of Italy in the second book,t is not more happily introduced: and in the midst of a declamation upon the pleasures of husbandry, which makes part of the same book,f the author introduces himself into the poem without the slightest connexion. In the Latrin, the Goddess of Dis. cord is introduced without any connexion : she is of no consequence in the poem; and acts no part, except that of lavishing praise upon Lewis XIV. The two prefaces of Sallust look as if by some blunder they had been prefixed to his two bistories; they will suit any other history as well, or any subject as well as history. Even the members of these prefaces are but loosely connected: they look more like a number of maxims or observations than a connected discourse.
An episode in a narrative poem, being in effect
* Lin. 231.
+ Lin. 136.
# Lin. 475.
an accessory, demands not that strict union with the principal subject, which is requisite between a whole and its constituent parts : it demands, however, a degree of union, such as ought to subsist between a principal and accessory; and therefore will not be graceful if it be loosely connected with the principal subject. I give for an example the descent of Æneas into hell, which employs the sixth book of the Æneid : the reader is not prepared for that important event: no cause is assigned that can make it appear necessary, or even natural, to suspend for so long a time the principal action in its most interesting period : the poet can find no pretext for an adventure so extraordinary, but the hero's longing to visit the ghost of his father, recently dead : in the mean time the story is interrupted, and the reader loses his ardour. Pity it is that an episode so extremely beautiful, were not more happily introduced. I must observe at the same time, that full justice is done to this incident, by considering it to be an episode ; for if it be a constituent part of the principal action, the connexion ought to be still more intimate. The same objection lies against that elaborate description of Fame in the Æneid :* any other book of that heroic poem, or of any heroic poem, has as good a title to that description as the book where it is placed.
In a natural landscape, we every day perceive a multitude of objects connected by contiguity solely; which is not unpleasant, because objects of sight make an impression so lively, as that a relation even of the slightest kind is relished. This, however, ought not to be imitated in description : words are so far short of the eye in liveliness of impression, that in a description connexion ought to be carefully studied; for new objects introduced in description are made more or less welcome in proportion to the degree of their connexion with the principal subject. In the following passage, different things are brought together without the slightest connexion, if it be not what may be called verbal, i. e. taking the same word in different meanings.
* Lib. iv. lin. 173.
Surgamus : solet esse gravis cantantibus umbra.
Virg. Buc. x. 75. The introduction of an object metaphorically or figuratively, will not justify the introduction of it in its natural appearance: a relation so slight can never be relished:
Distrust in lovers is too warm a sun;
Part 2. Conquest of Granada, Act III.
The relations among objects have a considerable influence in the gratification of our passions, and even in their production. But that subject is reserved to be treated in the chapter of emotions and passions.*
There is not perhaps another instance of a build. ing so great erected upon a foundation so slight in appearance, as the relations of objects and their arrangement. Relations make no capital figure in the mind, the bulk of them being transitory, and some extremely trivial : they are, however, the
Chap. 2. part i. sect. 4.
links that, by uniting our perceptions into one connected chain, produce connexion of action, because perception and action have an intimate correspondence. But it is not sufficient for the conduct of life, that our actions be linked together, however intimately: it is beside necessary that they proceed in a certain order; and this also is provided for by an original propensity. Thus order and connexion, while they admit sufficient variety, introduce a method in the management of affairs: with . out them our conduct would be fluctuating and de. sultory; and we should be hurried from thought to thought, and from action to action, entirely at the mercy of chance.