Beware of metaphor beware of symbol beware of slack simile that will fill your pages to no good purpose
No one thing is like another and the truth is irreducible to fragments just as love and beauty are whole in and of themselves
Clarity is not a virtue it is the cornerstone a sine qua non : the lark that soars in the summer air the nightingale the thrush that drinks from the garden pool— these are not ciphers and they stand for nothing but themselves their lives are their intrinsic celebration
The beauty of truth and the truth of beauty were what drove Keats and Shelley to poetry the musical phrase that sustains the fancy as they called it
Beware of death and those who espouse death and those who condone death and those who promote death
Pound’s late lament that he betrayed Dante that he tried to make a paradiso terrestre from the very muck of civilization and that he failed to disown death
Admission at last that the cycle must be reset that the ship must again be hauled down to the shore to set forth once more upon the ungodly sea so that Helen may be returned to her rightful home and the golden fleece to its rightful place
The British Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) wrote his celebrated essay, A Defence of Poetry, in 1821. It was published posthumously in 1840. It is not difficult to perceive in the tone and content of Shelley’s eloquent and passionate thesis, a reflection of the civic values of the French Revolution (Liberty, Equality and Fraternity) which so fired the imagination of the Romantic poets in England.
In the wake of the terrible atrocities perpetrated in Paris on 13 November, it is important to remain vigilant and to defend the core human, cultural values to which Shelley alludes in his defence of poetry. These universal, life-affirming values are enshrined in the liberties of the great French cultural tradition that has enriched the world’s heritage with timeless works across the whole range of the arts from poetry to painting to music to dance, liberties that should never be surrendered.
A Defence of Poetry (an adapted extract)
Poetry is indeed something divine it is the centre and circumference of knowledge it comprehends all science it is the root and blossom of all other systems of thought it is that from which all spring and that which adorns all and that which if blighted, denies the fruit and the seed and withholds from the barren world the nourishment and the succession of the scions of the tree of life It is the perfect and consummate surface and bloom of all things it is as the odour and the colour of the rose to the texture of the elements which compose it as the form and splendor of unfaded beauty to the secrets of anatomy and corruption What were virtue lovepatriotismfriendship what were the scenery of this beautiful universe which we inhabit what were our consolations on this side of the grave and what were our aspirations beyond it if poetry did not ascend to bring light and fire from those eternal regions where the owl-winged faculty of calculation dare not ever soar ? 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 for the mind in creation is as a fading coal which some invisible influence like an inconstant wind awakens to transitory brightness this power arises from within like the colour of a flower which fades and changes as it is developed and the conscious portions of our natures are unprophetic either of its approach or its departure