Biographia Literaria: Or, Biographical Sketches of My Literary Life and Opinions, Volume 1, Issue 1

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W. Pickering, 1847

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Page clxxvii - 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 clxxi - I learned 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 53 - ... 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 55 - You may conceive the difference in kind between the Fancy and the Imagination in this way, — that if the check of the senses and the reason were withdrawn, the first would become delirium, and the last mania. The Fancy brings together images which have no connection natural or moral, but are yoked together by the poet by means of some accidental coincidence...
Page 55 - The sun had long since, in the lap Of Thetis, taken out his nap, And, like a lobster boil'd, the morn From black to red began to turn...
Page 49 - Descriptive Sketches; and seldom, if ever, was the emergence of an original poetic genius above the literary horizon more evidently announced.
Page 5 - Of old things all are over old, Of good things none are good enough : — We'll show that we can help to frame A world of other stuff! " I, too, will have my kings that take From me the sign of life and death : Kingdoms shall shift about, like clouds, Obedient to my breath.
Page 22 - ... with the name of reading. Call it rather a sort of beggarly day-dreaming during which the mind of the dreamer furnishes for itself nothing but laziness and a little mawkish sensibility; while the whole materiel and imagery of the doze is supplied ab extra by a sort of mental camera obscura manufactured at the printing office, which pro tempore fixes, reflects and transmits the moving phantasms of one man's delirium, so as to people the barrenness of an hundred other brains afflicted with the...
Page clxxxv - ... poets sacrificed the passion, and passionate flow of poetry, to the subtleties of intellect and to the starts of wit; the moderns to the glare and 'glitter of a perpetual yet broken and heterogeneous imagery, or rather to an amphibious something, made up, half of image and half of abstract* meaning. The one sacrificed the heart to the head, the other both heart and head to point and drapery.
Page 53 - Repeated meditations led me first to suspect, (and a more intimate analysis of the human faculties, their appropriate marks, functions, and effects matured my conjecture into full conviction,) that fancy and imagination were two distinct and widely different faculties, instead of being, according to the general belief, either two names with one meaning, or, at furthest, the lower and higher degree of one and the same power.

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