Shelley’s “Defence of Poetry” (1821)


Here’s a snippet of Shelley’s “Defence of Poetry” [sic]. Scholars could have a field day stripping it of its presumptuously universalizing magic. 
But let’s just take a moment to revel in it for what it is: a thing of beauty (as Keats might say).  

“A poem is the very image of life expressed in its eternal truth… the creation of actions according to the unchangeable forms of human nature, as existing in the mind of the Creator, which is itself the image of all other minds… universal, and contains within itself the germ of a relation to whatever motives or actions have place in the possible varieties of human nature…
A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds; his auditors are as men entranced by the melody of an unseen musician, who feel that they are moved and softened, yet know not whence or why.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s