|Poets are all who love,who feel great truths,|
And tell them.
BaileyFestus. Sc. Another and a Better World.
|A poet not in love is out at sea;|
He must have a lay-figure.
BaileyFestus. Sc. Home.
|Heureux qui, dans ses vers, sait dune voix légère|
Passer du grave au doux, du plaisant au sévère.
Happy the poet who with ease can steer
From grave to gay, from lively to severe.
BoileauLArt Poetique. I. 75.
|Ah, poet-dreamer, within those walls|
What triumphs shall be yours!
For all are happy and rich and great
In that City of By-and-by.
A. B. BragdonTwo Landscapes.
| Theres nothing great|
Nor small, has said a poet of our day,
Whose voice will ring beyond the curfew of eve
And not be thrown out by the matins bell.
E. B. BrowningAurora Leigh. Bk. VII. Probably EmersonEpigram to History. There is no great and no small.
|O brave poets, keep back nothing;|
Nor mix falsehood with the whole!
Look up Godward! speak the truth in
Worthy song from earnest soul!
Hold, in high poetic duty,
Truest Truth the fairest Beauty.
E. B. BrowningDead Pan. St. 39.
|Gods prophets of the Beautiful,|
These Poets were.
E. B. BrowningVision of Poets. St. 98.
| One fine day,|
Says Mister Mucklewraith to me, says he,
So! youve a poet in your house, and smiled.
A poet? God forbid, I cried; and then
It all came out: how Andrew slyly sent
Verse to the paper; how they printed it
In Poets Corner.
Robert BuchananPoet Andrew. L. 161.
| Poets alone are sure of immortality; they are the truest diviners of nature.|
Bulwer-LyttonCaxtoniana. Essay XXVII.
|And poets by their sufferings grow,|
As if there were no more to do,
To make a poet excellent,
But only want and discontent.
|Ovids a rake, as half his verses show him,|
Anacreons morals are a still worse sample,
Catullus scarcely has a decent poem,
I dont think Sapphos Ode a good example,
Although Longinus tells us there is no hymn
Where the sublime soars forth on wings more ample;
But Virgils songs are pure, except that horrid one
Beginning with Formosum Pastor Corydon.
ByronDon Juan. Canto I. St. 42.
| A Poet without Love were a physical and metaphysical impossibility.|
|Most joyful let the Poet be;|
It is through him that all men see.
William E. ChanningThe Poet of the Old and New Times.
|He koude songes make and wel endite.|
ChaucerCanterbury Tales. Prologue. L. 95.
|Who all in raptures their own works rehearse,|
And drawl out measurd prose, which they call verse.
ChurchillIndependence. L. 295.
|Adhuc neminem cognovi poetam, qui sibi non optimus videretur.|
I have never yet known a poet who did not think himself super-excellent.
CiceroTusculanarum Disputationum. V. 22.
|Poets by Death are conquerd but the wit|
Of poets triumphs over it.
Abraham CowleyOn the Praise of Poetry. Ode I. L. 13.
|And spare the poet for his subjects sake.|
CowperCharity. Last line.
|Ages elapsed ere Homers lamp appeared,|
And ages ere the Mantuan Swan was heard;
To carry nature lengths unknown before,
To give a Milton birth, asked ages more.
|Greece, sound thy Homers, Rome thy Virgils name,|
But Englands Milton equals both in fame.
CowperTo John Milton.
|There is a pleasure in poetic pains,|
Which only poets know.
CowperThe Task. Bk. II. L. 285. Same in WordsworthMiscellaneous Sonnets. Knights ed. VII. 160.
|They best can judge a poets worth,|
Who oft themselves have known
The pangs of a poetic birth
By labours of their own.
CowperTo Dr. Darwin. St. 2.
|Sure there are poets which did never dream|
Upon Parnassus, nor did taste the stream
Of Helicon; we therefore may suppose
Those made not poets, but the poets those.
Sir John DenhamCoopers Hill.
|I can no more believe old Homer blind,|
Than those who say the sun hath never shined;
The age wherein he lived was dark, but he
Could not want sight who taught the world to see.
Sir John DenhamProgress of Learning. L. 61.
| The poet must be alike polished by an intercourse with the world as with the studies of taste; one to whom labour is negligence, refinement a science, and art a nature.|
Isaac DIsraeliLiterary Character of Men of Genius. Vers de Société.
|For that fine madness still he did retain,|
Which rightly should possess a poets brain.
DraytonTo Henry Reynolds. Of Poets and Poesy. L. 109.
|Happy who in his verse can gently steer|
From grave to light, from pleasant to severe.
DrydenThe Art of Poetry. Canto I. L. 75.
|Three poets in three distant ages born,|
Greece, Italy, and England did adorn.
The first in loftiness of thought surpassd;
The next, in majesty; in both, the last.
The force of nature could no further go;
To make a third, she joind the former two.
DrydenUnder Mr. Miltons Picture. Homer, Virgil, Milton.
| Poets should be law-givers; that is, the boldest lyric inspiration should not chide and insult, but should announce and lead the civil code, and the days work.|
EmersonEssays. Of Prudence.
|All men are poets at heart.|
|Give me a theme, the little poet cried,|
And I will do my part,
Tis not a theme you need, the world replied;
You need a heart.
R. W. GilderWanted, a Theme.
|Wer den Dichter will verstehen|
Muss in Dichters Lande gehen.
Whoever would understand the poet
Must go into the poets country.
GoetheNoten auf West-O. Divans.
|Neuere Poeten thun viel Wasser in die Tinte.|
Modern poets mix too much water with their ink.
GoetheSprüche in Prosa. III. Quoting SterneKoran. 2. 142.
|Thou best-humourd man with the worst-humourd muse.|
|Singing and rejoicing,|
As aye since time began,
The dying earths last poet
Shall be the earths last man.
Anastasius GrünThe Last Poet.
|His virtues formed the magic of his song.|
Inscription on the Tomb of Cowper. L. 10. See Hayleys Life of Cowper. Vol. IV. P. 189.
|Lo! there he lies, our Patriarch Poet, dead!|
The solemn angel of eternal peace
Has waved a wand of mystery oer his head,
Touched his strong heart, and bade his pulses cease.
Paul H. HayneTo Bryant, Dead.
|We call those poets who are first to mark|
Through earths dull mist the coming of the dawn,
Who see in twilights gloom the first pale spark,
While others only note that day is gone.
HolmesMemorial Verses. Shakespeare.
|Where go the poets lines?|
Answer, ye evening tapers!
Ye auburn locks, ye golden curls,
Speak from your folded papers!
HolmesThe Poets Lot. St. 3.
|In his own verse the poet still we find,|
In his own page his memory lives enshrined,
As in their amber sweets the smothered bees,
As the fair cedar, fallen before the breeze,
Lies self-embalmed amidst the mouldering trees.
HolmesSongs of Many Seasons. Bryants Seventieth Birthday. St. 17 and 18. For same idea see Ant, Fly, Spider.
| Mediocribus esse poetis|
Non homines, non di, non concessere columnæ.
Neither men, nor gods, nor booksellers shelves permit ordinary poets to exist.
HoraceArs Poetica. 372.
|Poets, the first instructors of mankind,|
Brought all things to their proper native use.
HoraceOf the Art of Poetry. L. 449. Wentworth Dillons trans.
|Quod si me lyricis vatibus inseris,|
Sublimi feriam sidera vertice.
If you rank me with the lyric poets, my exalted head shall strike the stars.
HoraceCarmina. I. 1. 35.
|Genus irritabile vatum.|
The irritable tribe of poets.
HoraceEpistles. II. 2. 102.
|Disjecti membra poetæ.|
The scattered remnants of the poet.
HoraceSatires. I. 4. 62.
|Aut insanit homo, aut versus facit.|
The man is either mad or he is making verses.
HoraceSatires. II. 7. 117.
|Was ever poet so trusted before!|
Samuel JohnsonBoswells Life of Johnson. (1774).
|For a good poets made, as well as born.|
Ben JonsonTo the Memory of Shakespeare. Trans. of Solus aut rex aut poeta non quotannis nascitur. FlorusDe Qualitate Vitæ. Fragment. VIII. Poeta nascitur non fit. The poet is born not made. Earliest use in Cælius RhodiginusLectiones Antiquæ. I. VII. Ch. IV. P. 225. (Ed. 1525).
| O tis a very sin|
For one so weak to venture his poor verse
In such a place as this.
KeatsEndymion. Bk. III. L. 965.
|Much have I travelld in the realms of gold,|
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browd Homer ruled as his demesne,
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific,and all his men
Lookd at each other with a wild surmise,
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
Keats. On first looking into Chapmans Homer. Cortez confused with Balboa.
|Je chantais comme loiseau gémit.|
I was singing as a bird mourns.
LamartineLe Poète Mourant.
|For next to being a great poet is the power of understanding one.|
LongfellowHyperion. Bk. II. Ch. III.
| All that is best in the great poets of all countries is not what is national in them, but what is universal.|
LongfellowKavanagh. Ch. XX.
|For voices pursue him by day,|
And haunt him by night,
And he listens, and needs must obey,
When the Angel says: Write!
LongfellowLEnvoi. The Poet and His Songs. St. 7.
|Like the river, swift and clear,|
Flows his song through many a heart.
LongfellowOliver Basselin. St. 11.
|O ye dead Poets, who are living still|
Immortal in your verse, though life be fled,
And ye, O living Poets, who are dead
Though ye are living, if neglect can kill,
Tell me if in the darkest hours of ill,
With drops of anguish falling fast and red
From the sharp crown of thorns upon your head,
Ye were not glad your errand to fulfill?
|The clear, sweet singer with the crown of snow|
Not whiter than the thoughts that housed below!
LowellEpistle to George William Curtis. L. 43. Postscript.
|A terrible thing to be pestered with poets!|
But, alas, she is dumb, and the proverb holds good,
She never will cry till shes out of the wood!
LowellFable for Critics. L. 73.
|Sithe of our language he was the lodesterre.|
LydgateThe Falls of Princes. Referring to Chaucer.
|For his chaste Muse employed her heaven-taught lyre|
None but the noblest passions to inspire,
Not one immoral, one corrupted thought,
One line, which dying he could wish to blot.
Lord LyttletonPrologue to Thomsons Coriolanus. 17.
|Non scribit, cujus carmina nemo legit.|
He does not write whose verses no one reads.
MartialEpigrams. III. 9. 2.
| You admire, Vacerra, only the poets of old and praise only those who are dead. Pardon me, I beseech you, Vacerra, if I think death too high a price to pay for your praise.|
MartialEpigrams. Bk. VIII. Ep. 49.
|Poets are sultans, if they had their will:|
For every author would his brother kill.
OrreryPrologues. (According to Johnson.)
|Valeant mendacia vatum.|
Good-bye to the lies of the poets.
OvidFasti. VI. 253.
| Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand.|
PlatoThe Republic. Bk. II. Sec. V.
|Tamen poetis mentiri licet.|
Nevertheless it is allowed to poets to lie. (Poetical license.)
Pliny the YoungerEpistles. Bk. VI. 21.
|While pensive poets painful vigils keep,|
Sleepless themselves to give their readers sleep.
PopeDunciad. Bk. I. L. 93.
|Dulness! whose good old cause I yet defend,|
With whom my muse began, with whom shall end.
PopeDunciad. Bk. I. L. 165.
|Poets like painters, thus unskilld to trace|
The naked nature and the living grace,
With gold and jewels cover every part,
And hide with ornaments their want of art.
PopeEssay on Criticism. L. 293.
|Vain was the chiefs, the sages pride!|
They had no poet, and they died.
PopeOdes of Horace. Bk. IV. Ode 9.
|Then from the Mint walks forth the man of rhyme,|
Happy to catch me, just at dinner-time.
PopePrologue to Satires. L. 13.
|The bard whom pilferd pastorals renown,|
Who turns a Persian tale for half a crown,
Just writes to make his barrenness appear,
And strains from hard-bound brains eight lines a year.
PopePrologue to Satires. L. 179.
|And he whose fustians so sublimely bad,|
It is not poetry, but prose run mad.
PopePrologue to Satires. L. 185.
|For pointed satire I would Buckhurst choose,|
The best good man with the worst-natured muse.
Earl of Rochester. An allusion to HoraceSatire X. Bk. I.
|Græcia Mæonidam, jactet sibi Roma Maronem|
Anglia Miltonum jactat utrique parem.
Greece boasts her Homer, Rome can Virgil claim;
England can either match in Miltons fame.
SalvaggiAd Joannem Miltonum.
| * * * For neer|
Was flattery lost on Poets ear;
A simple race! they waste their toil
For the vain tribute of a smile.
ScottLay of the Last Minstrel. Canto IV. Last stanza.
|Call it not vain:they do not err,|
Who say that, when the Poet dies,
Mute Nature mourns her worshipper,
And celebrates his obsequies.
ScottLay of the Last Minstrel. Canto V. St. 1.
|I would the gods had made thee poetical.|
As You Like It. Act III. Sc. 3. L. 15.
|Never durst poet touch a pen to write|
Until his ink were temperd with Loves sighs.
Loves Labours Lost. Act IV. Sc. 3. L. 346.
|The poets eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,|
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poets pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Midsummer Nights Dream. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 12.
| Most wretched men|
Are cradled into poetry by wrong;
They learn in suffering what they teach in song.
ShelleyJulian and Maddalo. L. 556.
|Dan Chaucer, well of English undefyled,|
On Fames eternall beadroll worthie to be fyled.
SpenserFaerie Queene. Bk. IV. Canto II. St. 32.
|I learnt life from the poets.|
Madame de StaëlCorinne. Bk. XVIII. Ch. V.
|With no companion but the constant Muse,|
Who sought me when I needed herah, when
Did I not need her, solitary else?
R. H. StoddardProem. L. 87.
| The Poet in his Art|
Must intimate the whole, and say the smallest part.
W. W. StoryThe Unexpressed.
|Then, rising with Auroras light,|
The Muse invoked, sit down to write;
Blot out, correct, insert, refine,
Enlarge, diminish, interline.
|Unjustly poets we asperse:|
Truth shines the brighter clad in verse,
And all the fictions they pursue
Do but insinuate what is true.
|Villon, our sad bad glad mad brothers name.|
SwinburneBallad of François Villon.
| To have read the greatest works of any great poet, to have beheld or heard the greatest works of any great painter or musician, is a possession added to the best things of life.|
SwinburneEssays and Studies. Victor Hugo. LAnnée Terrible.
|The Poets leaves are gathered one by one,|
In the slow process of the doubtful years.
Bayard TaylorPoets Journal. Third Evening.
| I do but sing because I must,|
And pipe but as the linnets sing.
TennysonIn Memoriam. XXI. 6.
|The poet in a golden clime was born,|
With golden stars above;
Dowerd with the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn,
The love of love.
|For now the Poet cannot die,|
Nor leave his music as of old,
But round him ere he scarce be cold
Begins the scandal and the cry.
TennysonTo , after Reading a Life and Letters. St. 4.
|A bard here dwelt, more fat than bard becomes|
Who void of envy, guile and lust of gain,
On virtue still and natures pleasing themes
Poured forth his unpremeditated strain.
ThomsonCastle of Indolence. Canto I. St. 68. (Last line said to be writ by a friend of the author.)
|Poets lose half the praise they should have got,|
Could it be known what they discreetly blot.
Edmund WallerMiscellanies. Upon the Earl of Roscommons Translation of HoraceArs Poetica. L. 41.
|God, eldest of Poets.|
William WatsonEngland, my England.
|He saw wan Woman toil with famished eyes;|
He saw her bound, and strove to sing her free.
He saw her falln; and wrote The Bridge of Sighs;
And on it crossed to immortality.
|Threadbare his songs seem now, to lettered ken:|
They were worn threadbare next the hearts of men.
|A dreamer of the common dreams,|
A fisher in familiar streams,
He chased the transitory gleams
That all pursue;
But on his lips the eternal themes
Again were new.
William WatsonThe Tomb of Burns.
|It was Homer who inspired the poet.|
WaylandThe Iliad and the Bible.
|In Spring the Poet is glad,|
And in Summer the Poet is gay;
But in Autumn the Poet is sad,
And has something sad to say.
Byron Forceythe WillsonAutumn Song.
| That mighty orb of song,|
The divine Milton.
WordsworthExcursion. Bk. I. L. 252.
| And, when a damp|
Fell round the path of Milton, in his hand
The Thing became a trumpet; whence he blew
Soul-animating strains,alas! too few.
WordsworthMiscellaneous Sonnets. Pt. II. Scorn not the Sonnet.
|Blessings be with them, and eternal praise,|
Who gave us nobler loves, and nobler cares,
The Poets, who on earth have made us heirs
Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays!
|I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy,|
The sleepless Soul that perished in his pride;
Of him who walked in glory and in joy,
Following his plough, along the mountain side.
WordsworthResolution and Independence. St. 7.