Verse > Anthologies > Robert Bridges, ed. > The Spirit of Man: An Anthology
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Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
 
From A Defence of Poetry

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
 
POETRY 1 awakens and enlarges the mind by … a thousand unapprehended combinations of thought. Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world … The great secret of morals is Love; or a going out of our own nature, and an identification of ourselves with the beautiful which exists in thought, action, or person, not our own. A man to be greatly good must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is the imagination … Poetry enlarges the circumference of the Imagination … [and] strengthens the faculty which is the organ of the moral nature of man, in the same manner as exercise strengthens a limb.  1
 
Note 1. Shelley. ‘A Defence of Poetry’, written at Pisa. 1821. Forman’s edition. 1880. [back]
 
 
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