‘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, 20 July 2013

Liam Neeson Memorial Blogpost: Punching Wolves, 1803 edition

On the 28th of February [1803], about one in the morning, Cit. Francis Lanaud and his wife, residing near Lons le Saulnier, in the department of Jura, were suddenly awaked by the barking of the dog on the outside of the house. Scarcely was the door opened, when a wolf flew upon the man, who, though having nothing on but his shirt, succeeded in bringing the beast to the ground- The furious animal, however, recovering himself, made another attack upon his enemy, already wounded; and, though twice compelled by the man to quit his hold, still returned to the charge. The last time, Lanaud, seizing him by the jaw, thought to stifle him, by running his fist down his throat. The wolf, however, disengaged himself again, and was in the act of springing into the house, when Lanaud's wife, who had seen the whole transaction, shutting the door suddenly, caught one of his paws between that and the post. In this interval, two neighbours arrived, and soon dispatched him. One of Lanaud's wrists was nearly torn away, besides several other bites upon his arms. His wife, too, was bitten. The prefect of the department has ordered provision to be made for them.
From The Sporting Magazine, 24:139 (1804), 49.

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