‘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.
Monday, 31 December 2018
Tyger tyger burning bright
In the forests of the night
I watch thee with anguish. Sir?
Fetch a fire extinguisher!
As the firemen aimed their hose
Where the plume of smoke arose
Did they smile this work to see?
Did he who made Roast Lamb make thee?
Tyger, have we come too late?
Art thou carved upon this plate?
What immortal hand or eye,
Adds Garlic and some Rosemary?
Tyger Tyger in my tum
With this glass of Sauvignon
I salute your fiery soul!
Now: for a profiterole.