‘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, 16 September 2013

Elizabethan Peers

Well, this is interesting:
In the first fourteen years of her reign, Queen Elizabeth created seven English peers (Lord Hunsdon, Lord St John of Bletsoe, Viscount Bindon, the Earl of Leicester, Lord Buckhurst, Lord Burghley and Lord Norris of Rycote). She also restored the attainted Marquis of Northampton and the heirs of two other attainted peers (the Earls of Hertford and Warwick) and promoted two peers within the peerage (the Earls of Essex and Lincoln). Thereafter (it was after the aristocratic conspiracies of I569-72) her parsimony of peerages was heroic. Except for two members of the Howard family, both honoured in 1597 (Lord Thomas Howard, created Lord Howard de Walden, and Lord Howard of Effingham, promoted to the earldom of Nottingham), she neither created nor promoted, in a space of thirty-one years, a single peer. In these years abeyance, extinction and attainder absolutely diminished the peerage. [H. R. Trevor-Roper, 'The Elizabethan Aristocracy: An Anatomy Anatomized' The Economic History Review, n.s. 3:3 (1951), 295]

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