Biographia Literaria, Volume 1

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Oxford University Press, 1907 - Aesthetics - 334 pages
 

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Page xl - Risest from forth thy silent sea of pines How silently ! Around thee and above Deep is the air, and dark, substantial, black, An ebon mass: methinks thou piercest it, As with a wedge! but when I look again, It is thine own calm home, thy crystal shrine, Thy habitation from eternity! 0 dread and silent mount! I gazed upon thee, Till thou, still present to the bodily sense, Didst vanish from my thought: entranced in prayer 1 worshipped the Invisible alone.
Page lxvii - The primary Imagination I hold to be the living power and prime agent of all human perception, and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM...
Page xxxvii - But now afflictions bow me down to earth: Nor care I that they rob me of my mirth; But oh! each visitation Suspends what nature gave me at my birth, My shaping spirit of Imagination.
Page 202 - I consider as an echo of the former, co-existing with the conscious will, yet still as identical with the primary in the kind of its agency, and differing only in degree, and in the mode of its operation. It dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order to re-create: or where this process is rendered impossible, yet still at all events it struggles to idealize and to unify.
Page xxxviii - O Lady ! we receive but what we give, And in our life alone does Nature live: Ours is her wedding garment, ours her shroud ! And would we aught behold, of higher worth, Than that inanimate cold world allowed To the poor loveless ever-anxious crowd, Ah ! from the soul itself must issue forth A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud Enveloping the Earth — And from the soul itself must there be sent A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth, Of all sweet sounds the life and element!
Page 4 - I learnt from him, that Poetry, even that of the loftiest, and, seemingly, that of the wildest odes, had a logic of its own, as severe as that of science ; and more difficult, because more subtle, more complex, and dependent on more, and more fugitive causes.
Page xxxvii - My shaping spirit of Imagination. For not to think of what I needs must feel, But to be still and patient, all I can; And haply by abstruse research to steal From my own nature all the natural man — This was my sole resource, my only plan: Till that which suits a part infects the whole, And now is almost grown the habit of my soul.
Page 125 - Who, too deep for his hearers, still went on refining, And thought of convincing, while they thought of dining...
Page 59 - It was the union of deep feeling with profound thought ; the fine balance of truth in observing, with the imaginative faculty in modifying the objects observed ; and above all the original gift of spreading the tone, the atmosphere, and with it the depth and height of the ideal world around forms, incidents, and situations, of which, for the common view, custom had bedimmed all the lustre, had dried up the sparkle and the dew drops.
Page 272 - Fancy does not require that the materials which she makes use of should be susceptible of change in their constitution, from her touch ; and, where they admit of modification, it is enough for her purpose if it be slight, limited, and evanescent. Directly the reverse of these, are the desires and demands of the Imagination. She recoils from everything but the plastic, the pliant, and the indefinite. She leaves it to Fancy to describe Queen Mab as coming, In shape no bigger than an agate-stone On...

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