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POETRY
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[ Also see Art Authorship Ballads Books Criticism Fancy Imagination Literature Music Philosophy Plagiarism Poets Prose Quotations Reading Romance Shakespeare Songs Style Words Writing ]

Over all life broods Poesy, like the calm blue sky with its motherly, rebuking face. She is the great reformer, and where the love of her is strong and healthy, wickedness and wrong cannot long prevail.
      - James Russell Lowell

It ["The Ancient Mariner"] is marvellous in its mastery over that delightfully fortuitous inconsequence that is the adamantine logic of dreamland.
      - James Russell Lowell,
        Among My Books--Coleridge

For, of all compositions, he thought the sonnet
  Best repaid all the toil you expended on it.
      - James Russell Lowell, Fable for Critics
         (l. 368)

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.
      - James Russell Lowell,
        In a Copy of Omar Khayyam

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.
      - James Russell Lowell,
        Incident in a Railroad Car (st. 18)

Gently touching with the charm of poetry.
  [Lat., Musaeo contigens cuncta lepore.]
      - Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus),
        De Rerum Natura (IV, 9)

He who, in an enlightened and literary society, aspires to be a great poet, must first become a little child.
      - Thomas Babington Macaulay

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.
      - Thomas Babington Macaulay,
        Essays--On the Athenian Orators

We hold that the most wonderful and splendid proof of genius is a great poem produced in a civilized age.
      - Thomas Babington Macaulay, On Milton

A Poem should be palpable and mute
  As a globed fruit.
      - Archibald MacLeish, Ars Poetica

Poetry is enthusiasm with wings of fire; it is the angel of high thoughts, that inspires us with the power of sacrifice.
      - Giuseppe Mazzini

Poetry is fact given over to imagery.
      - Rod McKuen

Poetry has done enough when it charms, but prose must also convince.
      - Henry Louis Mencken

Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
  Married to immortal verse,
    Such as the meeting soul may pierce,
      In notes, with many a winding bout
        Of linked sweetness long drawn out.
      - John Milton, L'Allegro (l. 136)

My unpremeditated verse.
      - John Milton, Paradise Lost (bk. IX, l. 24)

We have more poets than judges and interpreters of poetry. It is easier to write an indifferent poem than to understand a good one. There is, indeed, a certain low and moderate sort of poetry, that a man may well enough judge by certain rules of art; but the true, supreme, and divine poesy is equally above all rules and reason. And whoever discerns the beauty of it with the most assured and most steady sight sees no more than the quick reflection of a flash of lightning.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Poetry is all nouns and verbs.
      - Marianne Craig Moore

You do not seem to realize that beauty is a liability rather than
  An asset--
    Your thorns are the best part of you.
      - Marianne Craig Moore,
        Selected Poems of Marianne Moore

Yea, marry, now it is somewhat, for now it is rhyme; before it was neither rhyme nor reason.
      - Sir Thomas More,
        advising an author to put his manuscript into rhyme

Poesy, drawing within its circle all that is glorious and inspiring, gave itself but little concern as to where its flowers originally grew.
      - Karl Otfried Muller

When writing poetry, it is not that produces a bright idea, but the bright idea that kindles the fire of.
      - Cesare Pavese

Rhyme nor reason.
      - said by George Peele, Edward I

The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.
      - James Gates Percival

Lives there the man with soul so dead as to disown the wish to merit the people's applause, and having uttered words worthy to be kept in cedar oil to latest times, to leave behind him rhymes that dread neither herrings nor frankincense.
  [Lat., An erit, qui velle recuset
    Os populi meruisse? et cedro digna locutus
      Linquere, nec scombros metuentia carmina nec thus.]
      - Persius (Aulus Persius Flaccus), Satires
         (I, 41)

Confined to common life thy numbers flow,
  And neither soar too high nor sink too low;
    There strength and ease in graceful union meet,
      Though polished, subtle, and though poignant, sweet;
        Yet powerful to abash the from of crime
          And crimson error's cheek with sportive rhyme.
            [Lat., Verba togae sequeris, junctura callidus acri,
              Ore teres modico, pallentes radere mores
                Doctus, et ingenuo culpam defigere ludo.]
      - Persius (Aulus Persius Flaccus), Satires
         (V, 14), (Gifford's translation)


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