The Routledge Anthology of Poets on Poets: Poetic Responses to English Poetry from Chaucer to Yeats
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The Routledge Anthology of Poets on Poets collects together writings by all the major poetic figures from Chaucer to Yeats demonstrating their vivid responses to each other, ranging from elegiac eulogy to burlesque and satire.
The anthology is arranged in two sections.
Part One contains poets' writings on the nature, qualities and purpose of poetry
Part Two is a chronological collection of poets' writings on their peers, with an individual entry for each poet.
Each extract is presented in modernized spelling and punctuation, and is carefully annotated to provide full explanations of unfamiliar phrases and references. The index has been fully revised for this paperback edition.
The Routledge Anthology of Poets on Poets will be stimulating and enjoyable for anyone interested in the history of English poetry, but will also be an invaluable collection of primary source material for students and their teachers.
Edinburgh Magazine, and later Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University; his first volume of verse, The Isle of Palms, appeared in 1812. 56 The poet as imitator As to imitation, poetry is a mimetic1 art. It creates, but it creates by combination and representation. Poetical abstractions are beautiful and new, not because the portions of which they are composed had no previous existence in the mind of man or in nature, but because the whole produced by their combination has some
divide the classes of men; he is in the most holy sanctuary, and he is suffered by Providence for wise ends, and has also his great use, and his grand leading destiny. His companion, the Summoner, is also a devil of the first magnitude: grand, terrific, rich, and honoured in the rank of which he holds the destiny…. The Good Parson [is] an apostle, a real messenger of heaven, sent in every age for its light and its warmth. This man is beloved and venerated by all, and neglected by all. He serves
mankind. He is many times flat, insipid, his comic wit degenerating into clenches,3 his serious swelling into bombast. But he is always great when some great occasion is presented to him. No man can say he ever had a fit subject for his wit, and did not then raise himself as high above the rest of poets ‘quantum lenta solent inter viburna cupressi’ [‘as high as cypress trees often do among the bending osiers’].4 ((1668) John Dryden (1631–1700), from Of Dramatic Poesy: an Essay) 1.
laurels wear, To study Nature be your only care; Whoe’er knows Man, and by a curious1 art Discerns the hidden secrets of the heart; He who observes and naturally can paint The jealous fool, the fawning sycophant, A sober wit, an enterprising ass, A humorous Otter,2 or a Hudibras,3 May safely in these noble lists engage, And make ‘em act and speak upon the stage. Strive to be natural in all you write, And paint with colours that may please the sight. Nature in various figures does
Cowper has been reflecting on his love of a life of rural retirement. 3. moving, affecting. 4. see 223 n.6. 5. sources of illumination, authorities; many critics of Cowper’s day had animadverted on the (to them) poor taste of Cowley’s fanciful ingenuity. 6. see 197 n.3. 7. see 223 n.6; it was at Chertsey that Cowley had composed his Essays (see 15 n.19, 226 n.4). 229 Cowley’s extravagance Dispenser of wide-wasting woe, Creation’s laws you overthrow. Mankind in your fierce flames you burn