Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to Read Poetry

Excerpt from Introductory Essay to "Sacred Poetry of the Seventeenth Century including the whole of Giles Fletcher's Christ's Victory and Triumph.....In Two Volumes"

"It is an error that the purpose of poetry is to merely afford an elegant pastime, or to supply a pleasing but aimless excitement. This mistake, so fatal to the just influence of some of the noblest effortrs of the human mind, we may expect to find prevailing in an age distinguished at once by the love of pleasure, and an eager devotion to the affairs of life. The delicate slaves of luxury, contented with the stimulus which animated verse applies to the imagination, and the edge it imparts to the sensibility, willingly rest here in their appreciation of its worth: the enjoyment, and still more the application, of what lies beyond, demands an exertion of the higher faculties of the mind to whish they are unaccustomed, and which they therefore decline with disgust."

- R.C.

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