Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"On Naive and Sentimental Poetry"

"The poets are everywhere, by their very definition, the guardians of nature. Where they can no longer quite be so and have already felt within themselves the destructive influence of arbitrary and artificial forms or have had to struggle with them, then they will appear as the witnesses and avengers of nature. They will either be nature, or they will seek lost nature."

"The poetic spirit is immortal and inalienable in mankind, it cannot be lost except together with humanity or with the capacity for it. For even if man should separate himself by the freedom of his fantasy and his understanding from the simplicity, truth and necessity of nature, yet not only does the way back to her remain open always, but also a powerful and ineradicable impulse, the moral, drives him ceaselessly back to her, and it is precisely with this impulse that the poetic faculty stands in the most intimate relationship. For this faculty is not forfeited along with the lost simplicity of nature; it merely assumes a new direction."

(Friedrich Schiller, "On Naive and Sentimental Poetry")

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