These stand respectively for the love of truth, for the love of good, and for the love of beauty. Each is that which he is essentially, so that he cannot be surmounted or analyzed, and each of these three has the power of the others latent in him, and his own patent.The poet is the sayer, the namer, and represents beauty. For the world is not painted, or adorned, but is from the beginning beautiful; and God has not made some beautiful things, but Beauty is the creator of the universe.He stands among partial men for the complete man, and apprises us not of his wealth, but of the commonwealth.
Therefore the poet is not any permissive potentate, but is emperor in his own right.
Criticism is infested with a cant of materialism, which assumes that manual skill and activity is the first merit of all men, and disparages such as say and do not, overlooking the fact, that some men, namely, poets, are natural sayers, sent into the world to the end of expression, and confounds them with those whose province is action, but who quit it to imitate the sayers.
But Homer's words are as costly and admirable to Homer, as Agamemnon's victories are to Agamemnon.
The poet does not wait for the hero or the sage, but, as they act and think primarily, so he writes primarily what will and must be spoken, reckoning the others, though primaries also, yet, in respect to him, secondaries and servants; as sitters or models in the studio of a painter, or as assistants who bring building materials to an architect.
But the highest minds of the world have never ceased to explore the double meaning, or, shall I say, the quadruple, or the centuple, or Nature, Emerson explains how "Particular natural facts are symbols of particular spiritual facts." and "Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact."')" CLASS="popup"much more manifold meaning, of every sensuous fact: Orpheus, Empedocles, Heraclitus, Plato, Plutarch, Dante, Swedenborg, and the masters of sculpture, picture, and poetry.
For we are not pans and barrows, nor even porters of the fire and torch-bearers, but children of the fire, made of it, and only the same divinity transmuted, and at two or three removes, when we know least about it.There is no man who does not anticipate a supersensual utility in the sun, and stars, earth, and water.These stand and wait to render him a peculiar service.They receive of the soul as he also receives, but they more.Nature enhances her beauty to the eye of loving men, from their belief that the poet is beholding her shows at the same time.Those who are esteemed umpires of taste, are often persons who have acquired some knowledge of admired pictures or sculptures, and have an inclination for whatever is elegant; but if you inquire whether they are beautiful souls, and whether their own acts are like fair pictures, you learn that they are selfish and sensual.Their cultivation is local, as if you should rub a log of dry wood in one spot to produce fire, all the rest remaining cold.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.Their knowledge of the fine arts is some study of rules and particulars, or some limited judgment of color or form which is exercised for amusement or for show.It is a proof of the shallowness of the doctrine of beauty, as it lies in the minds of our amateurs, that men seem to have lost the perception of the instant dependence of form upon soul. We were put into our bodies, as fire is put into a pan, to be carried about; but there is no accurate adjustment between the spirit and the organ, much less is the latter the germination of the former.