‘Could a rule be given from without, poetry would cease to be poetry, and sink into a mechanical art. It would be μóρφωσις, not ποίησις. The rules of the IMAGINATION are themselves the very powers of growth and production. The words to which they are reducible, present only the outlines and external appearance of the fruit. A deceptive counterfeit of the superficial form and colours may be elaborated; but the marble peach feels cold and heavy, and children only put it to their mouths.’ [Coleridge, Biographia ch. 18]
‘ποίησις’ (poiēsis) means ‘a making, a creation, a production’ and is used of poetry in Aristotle and Plato. ‘μóρφωσις’ (morphōsis) in essence means the same thing: ‘a shaping, a bringing into shape.’ But Coleridge has in mind the New Testament use of the word as ‘semblance’ or ‘outward appearance’, which the KJV translates as ‘form’: ‘An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form [μóρφωσις] of knowledge and of the truth in the law’ [Romans 2:20]; ‘Having a form [μóρφωσις] of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away’ [2 Timothy 3:5]. I trust that's clear.
There is much more on Coleridge at my other, Coleridgean blog.
Saturday, 13 May 2017
The Great Comet, Now Rapidly Approaching, Will It Strike the Earth? (1857)
After a very long preamble, in which we discover that Newton believed observable novae and supernovae were caused by comets falling into their parent stars, and that ‘the darkness which suddenly overshadowed the face of nature during the Crucifixion of our Saviour, was caused, it is said,—the Moon not then being in a position to cast its shadow on the Sun,— by a Comet's interposing its mighty bulk betwixt the Earth and the Sun’, we get to the punchline:
That's a no, then. Still, on the offchance ...
So it's not going to happen. But if it did ...