We have no adequate conception of the perfection of the ancient tragic dance. The pleasure which the greeks received from it had for its basis difference; & the more unfit the vehicle, the more lively was the curiosity & intense the delights at seeing the difficulty overcome.
For I was reared in the great city, pent with cloisters dim,and saw naught lovely but the sky and stars.But thou, my babe! Shalt wander like a breeze By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the cragsOf ancient mountains, and beneath the clouds,Which image in their bulk both lakes and shoresAnd mountain crags: so shall thou see and hearThe lovely shapes and sounds intelligible Of that eternal language, which thy GodUtters, who from eternity doth teachHimself in all, and al things in himselfGreat universal teacher! He shall moldThy spirit and by giving , make it ask.
[Coleridge] selected an instance of what was called the sublime, in DARWIN, who imagined the creation of the universe to have taken place in a moment, by the explosion of a mass of matter in the womb, or centre of space. In one and the same instant of time, suns and planets shot into systems in every direction, and filled and spangled the illimitable void! He asserted this to be an intolerable degradation -referring, as it were, all the beauty and harmony of nature to something like the bursting of a barrel of gunpowder! that spit its combustible materials into... Read more »
There is no slight danger from general ignorance; and the only choice which Providence has graciously left to a vicious government is either to fall by the people, if they are suffered to become enlightened, or with them, if they are kept enslaved and ignorant.
Poetry is not the proper antithesis to prose, but to science. Poetry is opposed to science, and prose to meter. The proper and immediate object of science is the acquirement, or communication of truth; the proper and immediate object of poetry is the communication of immediate pleasure.
I understood that you would take the Human Race in the concrete, have exploded the absurd notion of Pope's Essay on Man, [Erasmus] Darwin, and all the countless Believers-even (strange to say) among Xtians-of Man's having progressed from an Ouran Outang state-so contrary to all History, to all Religion, nay, to all Possibility-to have affirmed a Fall in some sense.
The imagination ... that reconciling and mediatory power, which incorporating the reason in images of the sense and organizing (as it were) the flux of the senses by the permanence and self-circling energies of the reason, gives birth to a system of symbols, harmonious in themselves, and consubstantial with the truths of which they are the conductors.