When you defile the pleasant streams,
And the wild bird's abiding place,
You massacre a million dreams,
And cast your spittle in God's face
A lyric, it is true, is the expression of personal emotion, but then so is all poetry, and to suppose that there are several kinds of poetry, differing from each other in essence, is to be deceived by wholly artificial divisions which have no real being.
So it is in poetry. All we ask is that the mood recorded shall impress us as having been of the kind that exhausts the imaginative capacity; if it fails to do this the failure will announce itself either in prose or in insignificant verse.
For while the subjects of poetry are few and recurrent, the moods of man are infinitely various and unstable. It is the same in all arts.
It should here be added that poetry habitually takes the form of verse.
When the poet makes his perfect selection of a word, he is endowing the word with life.
Poetry being the sign of that which all men desire, even though the desire be unconscious, intensity of life or completeness of experience, the universality of its appeal is a matter of course.
The musician - if he be a good one - finds his own perception prompted by the poet's perception, and he translates the expression of that perception from the terms of poetry into the terms of music.
The poet's perfect expression is the token of a perfect experience; what he says in the best possible way he has felt in the best possible way, that is, completely.
To know anything of a poet but his poetry is, so far as the poetry is concerned, to know something that may be entertaining, even delightful, but is certainly inessential.
To take an analogy: if we say that a democratic government is the best kind of government, we mean that it most completely fulfills the highest function of a government - the realisation of the will of the people.
We recognise in the finished art, which is the result of these conditions, the best words in the best order - poetry; and to put this essential poetry into different classes is impossible.
But in the finished art of the song the use of words has no connection with the use of words in poetry.
The written word is everything.
Poetry is the communication through words of certain experiences that can be communicated in no other way.
It is commonly asserted and accepted that Paradise Lost is among the two or three greatest English poems; it may justly be taken as the type of supreme poetic achievement in our literature.
If it is an imperfect word, no external circumstance can heighten its value as poetry.
Grant us the wil1 to fashion as we feel, Grant us the strength to labor as we know, Grant us the purpose, ribbed and edged with steel, To strike the blow.
There can be no proof that Blake's lyric is composed of the best words in the best order; only a conviction, accepted by our knowledge and judgment, that it is so.
This be my pilgrimage and goal Daily to march and find The secret phrases of the soul, The evangels of the mind.
And not a girl goes walking Along the Cotswold lanes But knows men's eyes in April Are quicker than their brains.
Any long work in which poetry is persistent, be it epic or drama or narrative, is really a succession of separate poetic experiences governed into a related whole by an energy distinct from that which evoked them.
Great men are rare, poets are rarer, but the great man who is a poet, transfiguring his greatness, is the rarest of all events.
In the corridors under tehre is nothing but sleep. And stiller than ever on orchard boughs they keep Tryst with the moon, and deep is the silence, deep On moon-washed apples of wonder.
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