Monday, February 13, 2006

"A Defense of Poetry"

"A poem is the very image of life expressed in its eternal truth."

"poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted."

"A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds"

"Poetry is indeed something divine. It is at once the center and circumference of all knowledge"

"Poetry is not like reasoning, a power to be exerted according to the determination of the will. A man cannot say, 'I will compose poetry.' The greatest poet even cannot say it"

"Poetry . . . is, as it were, the interpenetration of a diviner nature through our own; but its footsteps are like those of a wind over the sea, which the morning calm erases, and whose traces remain only as on the wrinkled sand which paves it."

"Poetry . . . transmutes all that it touches, and every form moving within the radiance of its presence is changed by wondrous sympathy to an incarnation of the spirit which it breathes; its secret alchemy turns to potable gold the poisonous waters which flow from death through life; it strips the veil of familiarity from the world, and lays bare the naked and sleeping beauty which is the spirit of its forms."

"poetry . . . compels us to feel that which we perceive, and to imagine that which we know. It creates anew the universe, after it has been annihilated in our minds by the recurrence of impressions blunted by reiteration. It justifies the bold and true words of Tasso: Non merita nome di creatore, se non Iddio ed il Poeta."

"Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world."

(Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Defense of Poetry)

"Non merita nome di creatore, se non Iddio ed il Poeta"
("None merits the name of creator except God and the Poet.")

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