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POETS
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[ Also see Authors Burns, Robert Fancy Holmes, Oliver Wendell Homer Imagination Milton, John Poetry Sandburg, Carl Shakespeare Songs Visions Wordsworth, William Writers ]

Most joyful let the Poet be;
  It is through him that all men see.
      - William Ellery Channing,
        The Poet of the Old and New Times

He koude songes make and well endite.
      - Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
         (prologue, l. 95)

Who all in raptures their own works rehearse,
  And drawl out measur'd prose, which they call verse.
      - Charles Churchill, Independence (l. 95)

I have never yet known a poet who did not think himself super-excellent.
  [Lat., Adhue neminem cognovi poetam, qui sibi non optimus videretur.]
      - Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero) (often called "Tully" for short),
        Tusculanarum Disputationum (V, 22)

All poets pretend to write for immortality, but the whole tribe have no objection to present pay, and present praise. Lord Burleigh is not the only statesman who has thought one hundred pounds too much for a song, though sung by Spenser; although Oliver Goldsmith is the only poet who ever considered himself to have been overpaid.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

Poets by Death are conquer'd but the wit
  Of poets triumphs over it.
      - Abraham Cowley, On the Praise of Poetry
         (ode I, l. 13)

And spare the poet for his subject's sake.
      - William Cowper, Charity (last line)

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

There is a pleasure in poetic pains,
  Which only poets know.
      - William Cowper, Task (bk. II, l. 285)

They best can judge a poet's worth,
  Who oft themselves have known
    The pangs of a poetic birth
      By labours of their own.
      - William Cowper, To Dr. Darwin (st. 2)

Greece, sound, thy Homer's, Rome thy Virgil's name,
  But England's Milton equals both in fame.
      - William Cowper, To John Milton

Sure there are poets which did never dream
  Upon Parnassus, nor did taste the stream
    Of Helicon; we therefore may suppose
      Those made not poets, but the poets those.
      - Sir John Denham, Cooper's Hill

I can no more believe old Homer blind,
  Than those who say the sun hath never shined;
    The age wherein he lived was dark, but he
      Could not want sight who taught the world to see.
      - Sir John Denham, Progress of Learning
         (l. 61)

A poet is a painter of the soul.
      - Isaac D'Israeli

The poet must be alike polished by an intercourse with the world as with the studies of taste; one to whom labour is negligence, refinement a science, and art a nature.
      - Isaac D'Israeli,
        Literary Character of Men of Genius--Vers de Societe

For that fine madness still he did retain,
  Which rightly should possess a poet's brain.
      - Michael Drayton,
        To Henry Reynolds--Of Poets and Poesy
         (l. 109)

Happy who in his verse can gently steer
  From grave to light, from pleasant to severe.
      - John Dryden, The Art of Poetry
         (canto I, l. 75)

Three poets in three distant ages born,
  Greece, Italy, and England did adorn.
    The first in loftiness of thought surpass'd;
      The next, in majesty; in both, the last.
        The force of nature could no further go;
          To make a third, she join'd the former two.
      - John Dryden, Under Mr. Milton's Picture
         (Homer, Virgil, Milton)

To be a poet is too have a soul so quick to discern that no shade of quality escapes it, and so quick to feel that discernment is but a hand playing with finely ordered variety on the chords of emotion: a soul in which knowledge passes instantaneously into feeling, and feeling dashes back as a new organ of knowledge.
      - George Eliot (pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans Cross)

One more royal trait properly belongs to the poet. I mean his cheerfulness, without which no man can be a poet,--for beauty is his aim. He loves virtue, not for its obligation, but for its grace; he delights in the world, in man, in woman, for the lovely light that sparkles from them. Beauty, the spirit of joy and hilarity, he sheds over the universe.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our poets are men of talents who sing, and not the children of music.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The experience of each new age requires a new confession, and the world seems always waiting for its poet.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The poet's habit of living should be set on a key so low that the common influences should delight him.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The sign and credentials of the poet are that he announces that which no man foretold.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Poets should be law-givers; that is, the boldest lyric inspiration should not chide and insult, but should announce and lead the civil code, and the day's work.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays--Of Prudence


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