Verse > Anthologies > Robert Bridges, ed. > The Spirit of Man: An Anthology

Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
From Preface to Lyrical Ballads

William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
.. THE POET 1 writes under one restriction only, namely, the necessity of giving immediate pleasure …  1
  Nor let this necessity … be considered as a degradation of the Poet’s art. It is far otherwise. It is an acknowledgment of the beauty of the universe, an acknowledgment the more sincere because not formal, but indirect; it is a task light and easy to him who looks at the world in the spirit of love; further, it is a homage paid to the native and naked dignity of man, to the grand elementary principle of pleasure, by which he knows and feels and lives and moves …  2
  Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the impassioned expression which is in the countenance of all Science …  3
  In spite of difference of soil and climate, of language and manners, of laws and customs,—in spite of things silently gone out of mind, and things violently destroyed, the Poet binds together by passion and knowledge the vast empire of human society, as it is spread over the whole earth, and over all time … Poetry is the first and last of all knowledge—it is as immortal as the heart of man.  4
Note 1. Wordsworth. From pref. to 2nd edit, of ‘Lyrical Ballads’. [back]
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