And this hidden truth, that the fountains whence all this river of Time, and its creatures, floweth, are intrinsically ideal and beautiful, draws us to the consideration of the nature and functions of the Poet, or the man of Beauty, to the means and materials he uses, and to the general aspect of the art in the present time.
The breadth of the problem is great, for the poet is representative.
For poetry was all written before time was, and whenever we are so finely organized that we can penetrate into that region where the air is music, we hear those primal warblings, and attempt to write them down, but we lose ever and anon a word, or a verse, and substitute something of our own, and thus miswrite the poem.
The men of more delicate ear write down these cadences more faithfully, and these transcripts, though imperfect, become the songs of the nations.
Notwithstanding this necessity to be published, adequate expression is rare.
I know not how it is that we need an interpreter; but the great majority of men seem to be minors, who have not yet come into possession of their own, or mutes, who cannot report the conversation they have had with nature.
He stands among partial men for the complete man, and apprises us not of his wealth, but of the commonwealth.
The young man reveres men of genius, because, to speak truly, they are more himself than he is.
For nature is as truly beautiful as it is good, or as it is reasonable, and must as much appear, as it must be done, or be known.
Words and deeds are quite indifferent modes of the divine energy.