An essay on genius by Alexander Gerard

By Alexander Gerard

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This connexion is so intimate, that a man can scarce. be said to have invented till he has exercised his judgment (Ƙ). But still it is true that imagination invents, and judgment only scrutinizes and determines concerning what it has invented. It is imagination that produces genius; the other intellectual faculties lend their assistance to rear the offspring of imagination to maturity. It is also true, that in matters of speculation, imagination resigns its discoveries into the hands of reason, sooner than in the arts, and leaves it more to finish.

All the ancients who are most celebrated for genius in the greater kinds of poetry, eiJ ther invented some new species* or brought a species already invented, to higher perfection; or at least produced compositions distinguished from those of others, by a diversity of subject, or by a peculiar and original manner. Ƙschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, not only composed several tragedies, by which they displayed invention, in the contrivance of the fable, in imagining incidents, in forming characters, in conceiving sentiments adapted to them; but each of them made some considerable improvements in the construction of the drama (b).

17. follows follows in its foot-steps, keeps pace with it, and recalls it when it has made an useless excursion. It followsj that the two last operations which Locke assigns to reason, are the only ones which properly and strictly belong to it. Its business is, to perceive the connexion or force of the proofs, after they are discovered and arranged; and from the whole train of them to infer a just conclusion. This is performed by every man who learns. a science from the writings or instructions of others.

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