Preface to the Lyrical Ballads William WordsworthWhat is a Poet?...He is a man speaking to men: a man, it is true,endowed with more lively sensibility, more enthusiasm andtenderness, who has a greater knowledge of human nature, anda more comprehensive soul, than are supposed to be commonamong mankind; a man pleased with his own passions andvolitions, and who rejoices more than other men in the spirit of lifethat is in him; delighting to contemplate similar volitions andpassions as manifested in the goings-on of the Universe, andhabitually impelled to create them where he does not find them.I have said that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerfulfeelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.Examples: “Tintern Abbey,” “Nutting,” “We Are Seven,” etc.
A Defence of Poetry Percy ShelleyPoetry, in a general sense, may be defined to be “the expression ofthe imagination: And poetry is connate with the origin of man.The whole objection, however, of the immorality of poetry restsupon a misconception.... [Poetry] awakens and enlarges the minditself by rendering it the receptacle of a thousand unapprehendedcombinations of thought. Poetry lifts the veil from the hiddenbeauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if theywere not familiar;...Our sympathy in tragic fiction depends on this principle; tragedydelights by affording a shadow of the pleasure which exists inpain. This is the source also of the melancholy which isinseparable from the sweetest melody. The pleasure that is insorrow is sweeter than the pleasure of pleasure itself.
Shelley’s PoetryOzymandiasI met a traveller from an antique landWho said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stoneStand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,Tell that its sculptor well those passions readWhich yet survive, stamped on these lifelessthings,The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:And on the pedestal these words appear:"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" Mujtaba ChohanNothing beside remains. Round the decayOf that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
Shelley’s PoetryOde to the West Wind – Stanza VMake me thy lyre, even as the forest is: AWhat if my leaves are falling like its own! BThe tumult of thy mighty harmonies AWill take from both a deep, autumnal tone, BSweet though in sadness. Be thou, spirit fierce, CMy spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one! BDrive my dead thoughts over the universe CLike withered leaves to quicken a new birth! DAnd, by the incantation of this verse, CScatter, as from an unextinguished hearth DAshes and sparks, my words among mankind! EBe through my lips to unawakened earth DThe trumpet of a prophecy! O, wind, EIf Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? E
From the Letters of John KeatsI am certain of nothing but the holiness of the hearts affections andthe truth of imagination — what the imagination seizes as beautymust be truth.... (to Benjamin Bailey, Nov. 22, 1817)[N]egative capability, that is, when a man is capable of being inuncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reachingafter fact and reason. (to George & Thomas Keats, Dec. 21, 1817)I think Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by singularity— it should strike the reader as a wording of his own highestthoughts, and appear almost a remembrance — Its touches ofBeauty should never be halfway thereby making the readerbreathless instead of content.... [Yet] if Poetry comes not as naturallyas the leaves to a tree it had better not come at all. (to John Taylor,Feb. 27, 1818)
Keats’s PoetryOde to a Nightingale – Stanza 2O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,Tasting of Flora and the country green, Dance, and Provencal song, and sunburnt mirth!O for a beaker full of the warm South, Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, And purple-stained mouth; That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, And with thee fade away into the forest dim: J. Dietrich
Keats’s PoetryOde to a Nightingale – Stanza 8Forlorn! the very word is like a bell To toll me back from thee to my sole self!Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well As she is fam’d to do, deceiving elf.Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades Past the near meadows, over the still stream, Up the hill-side; and now ’tis buried deep In the next valley-glades: Was it a vision, or a waking dream? Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?
“The Irish Incognito” Maria Edgeworth It was true that Phelim did not speak with any Irish brogue: hismother was an English woman, and he had lived much withEnglish officers in Cork, and he had studied and imitated theirmanner of speaking so successfully, that no one, merely by hisaccent, could have guessed that he was an Irishman. "Hey! brother, I say!" continued Phelim, in a triumphantEnglish tone; "I never was taken for an Irishman in my life.Colonel Broadman told me the other day, I spoke English betterthan the English themselves; that he should take me for anEnglishman, in any part of the known world, the moment I openedmy lips. You must allow that not the smallest particle of brogue isdiscernible on my tongue."
“Love and Friendship” Jane AustenLetter the Fifth: Mary, without waiting for any further commands immediatelyleft the room and quickly returned introducing the most beauteousand amiable Youth, I had ever beheld. The servant, she kept toherself. My natural sensibility had already been greatly affected by thesufferings of the unfortunate stranger and no sooner did I firstbehold him, than I felt that on him the happiness or Misery of myfuture Life must depend.
“Love and Friendship” Jane AustenLetter the Ninth: By our arrival their Expenses were considerably encreased tho theirmeans for supplying them were then nearly exhausted. But they, ExaltedCreatures! scorned to reflect a moment on their pecuniary Distresses andwould have blushed at the idea of paying their Debts.—Alas! what wastheir Reward for such disinterested Behaviour! The beautiful Augustuswas arrested and we were all undone. Such perfidious Treachery in themerciless perpetrators of the Deed will shock your gentle nature DearestMarianne as much as it then affected the Delicate sensibility of Edward,Sophia, your Laura, and of Augustus himself. To compleat suchunparalelled Barbarity we were informed that an Execution in the Housewould shortly take place. Ah! what could we do but what we did! Wesighed and fainted on the sofa.
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