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Non satis est pulchra esse poemata, dulcia sunto.

It is not enough that poetry is agreeable, it should also be interesting. HORACE-Ars Poetica. 99.

Versus inopes rerum, nugæque canoræ.

Verses devoid of substance, melodious trifles. HORACE—Ars Poetica. 322.

There are nine and sixty ways of constructing

tribal lays, And-every-single-one-of-them-is-right.

KIPLINGIn the Neolithic Age.

15 The time for Pen and Sword was when

“My ladye fayre,” for pity, Could tend

her wounded knight, and then
Grow tender at his ditty.
Some ladies now make pretty songs,

And some make pretty nurses:
Some men are good for righting wrongs,

And some for writing verses.



Ubi plura nitent in carmine, non ego paucis
Offendar maculis, quas aut incuria fudit,
Aut humana parum cavit natura.

Where there are many beauties in a poem I shall not cavil at a few faults proceeding either from negligence or from the imperfection of our nature. HORACE—Ars Poetica. 351.


It {"The Ancient Mariner") is marvellous in its mastery over that delightfully fortuitous inconsequence that is the adamantine logic of dreamland.

LOWELL-Among My Books. Coleridge.


Nonumque prematur in annum.

Let your poem be kept nine years. HORACE- Ars Poetica. 388.



For, of all compositions, he thought that the

sonnet Best repaid all the toil you expended upon it.

LOWELL-Fable for Critics. L. 368.


Never did Poesy appear

So full of heaven to me, as when
I saw how it would pierce through pride and fear

To the lives of coarsest men.
LOWELL-Incident in a Railroad Car. St. 18.

Wheresoe'er I turn my view,
All is strange, yet nothing new:
Endless labor all along,
Endless labor to be wrong:
Phrase that Time has flung away;
Uncouth words in disarray,
Trick'd in antique ruff and bonnet,
Ode, and elegy, and sonnet.
SAMUEL JOHNSONParody of the style of

BOSWELL'S Johnson. Sept. 18, 1777. Also

in Mrs. Piozzi's Anecdotes. The essence of poetry is invention; such invention as, by producing something unexpected, surprises and delights. SAMUEL JOHNSONThe Lives of the English

Poets. Life of Waller.



These pearls of thought in Persian gulfs were

bred, Each softly lucent as a rounded moon; The diver Omar plucked them from their bed, FitzGerald strung them on an English thread. LOWELL-In a Copy of Omar Khayyam.

(See also EASTWICK)



Still may syllables jar with time,
Still may reason war with rhyme,

Resting never!
BEN JONSON—Underwoods. Fit of Rhyme

Against Rhyme.

Musæo contigens cuncta lepore.

Gently touching with the charm of poetry. LUCRETIUSDe Rerum Natura. IV. 9.



These are the gloomy comparisons of a disturbed imagination; the melancholy madness of poetry, without the inspiration.

JUNIUSLetter No. VII. To Sir W. Draper.

The merit of poetry, in its wildest forms, still consists in its truth-truth conveyed to the understanding, not directly by the words, but circuitously by means of imaginative associations, which serve as its conductors.

MACAULAY-Essays. On the Athenian Orators.



Facit indignatio versum.

Indignation leads to the making of poetry. Quoted"Facit indignatio versus”-i.e., verses. JUVENAL-Satires. I. 79.

We hold that the most wonderful and splendid proof of genius is a great poem produced in a civilized age.

MACAULAY-On Milton. (1825)







Lap me in soft Lydian airs,

Curst be the verse, how well soe'er it flow, Married to immortal verse,

That tends to make one worthy man my foe, Such as the meeting soul may pierce,

Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear, In notes, with many a winding bout

Or from the soft-eyed virgin steal a tear! Of linked sweetness long drawn out.

POPE-Prologue to Satires. L. 283. MILTON-L'Allegro. L. 136. (See also WORDSWORTH)

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend

The brightest heaven of invention. My unpremeditated verse.

Henry V. Chorus. L. 1. Milton-Paradise Lost. Bk. IX. L. 24.

The elegancy, facility, and golden cadence of Yea, marry, now it is somewhat, for now it poesy. is rhyme; before it was neither rhyme nor reason. Love's Labour's Lost. Act IV. Sc. 2. L. 126. SIR Thos. MORE. Advising an author to put his MS. into rhyme.

I consider poetry very subordinate to moral Rhyme nor reason.

and political science. Said by PEELEEdward I. In As You Like

SHELLEY Letter to Thomas L. Peacock. It. Act III. Sc. 2. Comedy of Errors.

Naples. Jan. 26, 1819.
Act II. Sc. 2. Merry Wives of Windsor.
Act V. Sc. 5. Farce du Vendeur des
Lieures. (16th Cen.) L'avocat Patelin

A poem round and perfect as a star. (Quoted by TYNDALE, 1530.) The Mouse

ALEX. SMITH-A Life Drama. Sc. 2. Trap. (1606) See BELOE Anecdotes of

Literature. II. 127. Also in MS. in I was promised on a time,
Cambridge University Library, England. To have reason for my rhyme;
2. 5. Folio 9b. (Before 1500)

From that time unto this season,
See also SPUNSER)

I received nor rhyme nor reason.

SPENSER—Lines on His Promised Pension. An erit, qui velle recuset

See Fuller's Worthies, by NUTTALL. Vol. Os populi meruisse? et cedro digna locutus

II. P. 379. Linquere, nec scombros metuentia carmina nec

(See also MORE) thus. Lives there the man with soul so dead as

Jewels five-words-long, to disown the wish to merit the people's

That on the stretch'd forefinger of all Time applause, and having uttered words worthy

Sparkle for ever. to be kept in cedar oil to latest times, to

TENNYSONPrincess. Pt. II. L. 355. leave behind him rhymes that dread neither

(See also EASTWICK) herrings nor frankincense. PERSIUS—Satires, I. 41.

Tale tuum carmen nobis, divine poeta,

Quale sopor fessis in gramine. Verba togæ sequeris, junctura callidus acri,

Thy verses are as pleasing to me, O divine Ore teres modico, pallentes radere mores

poet, as sleep is to the wearied on the soft

turf. Doctus, et ingenuo culpam defigere ludo. Confined to common life thy numbers flow,

VERGILEcloge. V. 45. And neither soar too high nor sink too low;

17 There strength and ease in graceful union

One merit of poetry few persons will deny: meet,

it says more and in fewer words than prose. Though polished, subtle, and though poignant, VOLTAIRE-A Philosophical Dictionary. Poets.

sweet; Yet powerful to abash the front of crime Old-fashioned poetry, but choicely good. And crimson error's cheek with sportive IZAAK WALTONThe Compleat Angler. Pt. I. rhyme.

Ch. IV. PERSIUS—Satires. V. 14. GIFFORD's trans. 6

And so no force, however great, A peedless Alexandrine ends the song,

Can strain a cord, however fine, That, like a wounded snake, drags its slow

Into a horizontal line length along.

That shall be absolutely straight. POPE—Essay on Criticism. Pt. II. L. 156.

WILLIAM WHEWELL. Given as an accidental

instance of metre and poetry. 7

20 What woful stuff this madrigal would be, Give lettered pomp to teeth of Time, In some starv'd hackney sonneteer or me!

So "Bonnie Doon" but tarry: But let a lord once own the happy lines,

Blot out the epic's stately rhyme, How the wit brightens! how the style refines. But spare his Highland Mary!

POPEEssay on Criticism. Pt. II. L. 418. WHITTIER—Burns. Last stanza.

8 The varying verse, the full resounding line, The vision and the faculty divine; The long majestic march, and energy divine. Yet wanting the accomplishment of verse.

POPEHorace. Bk. IÍ. Ep. I. L. 267. WORDSWORTH-The Excursion. Bk. I.







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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.
CHAUCER—Canterbury Tales. Prologue. L.




Heureux qui, dans ses vers, sait d'une 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. BOILEAU-L'Art Poetique. I. 75. (See also DRYDEN, also POPE under

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. BRAGDON—T'wo Landscapes.

“There's 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 matin's bell.
E. B. BROWNING—Aurora Leigh. Bk. VII.

Probably EMERSON-Epigram to History. “There is no great and no small.”

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Ages elapsed ere Homer's lamp appeared,
And ages ere the Mantuan Swan was ard;
To carry nature lengths unknown before,
To give a Milton birth, asked ages more.
COWPER-Table Talk.

(See also DRYDEN) 22 Greece, sound thy Homer's, Rome thy Virgil's

name, But England's Milton equals both in fame. COWPER—To John Milton.

(See also DRYDEN) 23 There is a pleasure in poetic pains, Which only poets know. COWPER-The Task. Bk. II. L. 285. Same

in WORDSWORTH-Miscellaneous Sonnets. Knight's ed. VII. 160.

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They best can judge a poet's worth,

Neuere Poeten thun viel Wasser in die Tinte. Who oft themselves have known

Modern poets mix too much water with The pangs of a poetic birth

their ink. By labours of their own.

GOETHE-Sprüche in Prosa. III. Quoting
CoWPERTo Dr. Darwin. St. 2.

STERNE- Koran. 2. 142.
Sure there are poets which did never dream Thou best-humour'd man with the worst-hu-
Upon Parnassus, nor did taste the stream

mour'd muse.
of Helicon; we therefore may suppose

GOLDSMITH-Retaliation. Postscript.
Those made not poets, but the poets those.


(See also ROCHESTER) Sir John DENHAM—Cooper's Hill.

Singing and rejoicing,

As aye since time began,
I can no more believe old Homer blind,

The dying earth's last poet
Than those who say the sun hath never shined;

Shall be the earth's last man.
The age wherein he lived was dark, but he

Could not want sight who taught the world to

His virtues formed the magic of his song.
SIR JOHN DENHAMProgress of Learning. L.

Inscription on the Tomb of Cowper. L. 10. 61.

See HAYLEY's Life of Cowper. Vol. IV.

P. 189.

16 The poet must be alike polished by an in

Lo! there he lies, our Patriarch Poet, dead! tercourse with the world as with the studies of taste; one to whom labour is negligence,

The solemn angel of eternal peace

Has waved a wand of mystery o'er his head, refinement a science, and art a nature. ISAAC D'ISRAELILiterary Character of Men

Touched his strong heart, and bade his pulses

of Genius. Vers de Société.

Paul H. HAYNETo Bryant, Dead.
For that fine madness still he did retain,
Which rightly should possess a poet's brain.

We call those poets who are first to mark
DRAYTONTo Henry Reynolds. Of Poets and

Through earth's dull mist the coming of the
Poesy. L. 109.

dawn,(See also DRYDEN under INSANITY)

Who see in twilight's gloom the first pale spark,

While others only note that day is gone.
Happy who in his verse can gently steer

HOLMES—Memorial Verses. Shakespeare.
From grave to light, from pleasant to severe.
DRYDENThe Art of Poetry. Canto I. L. 75.

Where go the poet's lines? -
(See also BOILEAU)

Answer, ye evening tapers!

Ye auburn locks, ye golden curls,

Speak from your folded papers!
Three poets in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy, and England did adorn.

HOLMESThe Poet's Lot. St. 3.
The first in loftiness of thought surpass'd;

The next, in majesty; in both, the last.

In his own verse the poet still we find,
The force of nature could no further go;

In his own page his memory lives enshrined,
To make a third, she join'd the former two.

As in their amber sweets the smothered bees,DRYDENUnder Mr. Milton's Picture. Homer,

As the fair cedar, fallen before the breeze, Virgil, Milton

Lies self-embalmed amidst the mouldering trees. (See also COWPER, SALVAGGI)

HOLMES—Songs of Many Seasons. Bryant's

Seventieth Birthday. Št. 17 and 18. For 8 Poets should be law-givers; that is, the

same idea see ANT, FLY, SPIDER. boldest lyric inspiration should not chide and 20

Mediocribus esse poetis insult

, but should announce and lead the Non homines, non di, non concessere columnæ, civil code, and the day's work.

Neither men, nor gods, nor booksellers' EMERSON—Essays. Of Prudence.

shelves permit ordinary poets to exist.

HORACE—Ars Poetica. 372.
men are poets at heart.
EMERSONLiterary Ethics.

Poets, the first instructors of mankind,

Brought all things to their proper native use. 10 “Give me a theme,” the little poet cried,

HORACE–Of the Art of Poetry. L. 449. "And I will do my part,”.


“'Tis not a theme you need,” the world replied; Quod si me lyricis vatibus inseris,
"You need a heart."

Sublimi feriam sidera vertice.
R. W. GILDER—Wanted, a Theme.

If you rank me with the lyric poets, my 11

exalted head shall strike the stars.
Wer den Dichter will verstehen

HORACE_Carmina. I. 1. 35.
Muss in Dichters Lande gehen.
Whoever would understand the poet

Genus irritabile vatum.
Must go into the poet's country.

The irritable tribe of poets.
GOETHE-Noten auf West-o. Divans.

HORACE—Epistles. II. 2. 102.

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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

She never will cry till she's out of the wood!

LOWELL-Fable for Critics. L. 73.

For a good poet's made, as well as born.
BEN JONSONTo the Memory of Shakespeare.

Trans. of Solus aut rex aut poeta non quo-
tannis nascitur. FLORUS—De Qualitate Vi-
. Fragment. VIII. Poeta nascitur non
fit. The poet is born not made. Earliest
use in CÆLIUS RHODIGINUS-Lectiones An-
tiquæ I. VII. Ch. IV. P. 225. (Ed.

O'tis a very sin For one so weak to venture his poor verse In such a place as this.

KEATS-Endymion. Bk. III. L. 965.





Sithe of our language he was the lodesterre. LYDGATE—The Falls of Princes. Referring to CHAUCER.

(See also SPENSER) For his chaste Muse employed her heaven

taught lyre None but the noblest passions to inspire, Not ne immoral, one corrupted thought, One line, which dying he could wish to blot. LORD LYTTLETON—Prologue to Thomson's Coriolanus.

(See also SWIFT) Non scribit, cujus carmina nemo legit.

He does not write whose verses no one reads. MARTIAL-Epigrams. 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.

MARTIAL-Epigrams. Bk. VIII. Ep. 49.

Much have I travell’d 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-brow'd 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 Look'd at each other with a wild surmise,

Silent, upon a peak in Darien. KEATS. "On first looking into CHAPMAN'S

HOMER. Cortez confused with Balboa.





Je chantais comme l'oiseau gémit.

I was singing as a bird mourns.
LAMARTINE-Le Poète Mourant.

(See also TENNYSON)

Poets are sultans, if they had their will:
For every author would his brother kill.
ORRERYPrologues. (According to JOHN-

Valeant mendacia vatum.

Good-bye to the lies of the poets.
OvidFasti. VI. 253.

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Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand.

PLATOThe Republic. Bk. II. Sec. V.


All that is best in the great poets of all countries is not what is national in them, but what is universal.


For voices pursue him by day,

And haunt him by night,
And he listens, and needs must obey,

When the Angel says: “Write!”
LONGFELLOW-L'Envoi. The Poet and His

Songs. St. 7.

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Like the river, swift and clear,
Flows his song through many a heart.

JONGFELLOW-Oliver Basselin. St. 11.

Dulness! whose good old cause I yet defend, With whom my muse began, with whom shall

end. POPE-Drunciad. Bk. I. L. 165.

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