‘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.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Star Camp (1865)

The Flagship of the 18th-Century French Aerial Navy. I found this in Christopher Hatton Turnor's Astra Castra: Experiments and Adventures in the Atmosphere (1865), a survey of manned flight from Greek myth into possible futurity. He found it who-knows-where, except that it is a post-Revolutionary French design.

Among my favourites: this rather-you-than-me-mate early-model parachute:

... and this nifty Persian airborn throne:

Here is Turnor's frankly over-propellered idea for a future dirigible:

He concludes with this slightly tinted glimpse of the future:

Twentieth-century Revelation indeed!


  1. I grew up with this as a coloured print and a series of others (balloon with cannon; balloon with cavalryman sitting on stag (?) etc) on my bedroom wall. I used to study them by torchlight after I'd been sent to bed. The four prints are somewhere in storage but if I find some photos I'll let you know.

    1. Excellent -- it's obviously better-known than I realised.

  2. Here you will find the excellent Ascension de Margat sur son Cerf Aeronaute Coco - because, why not: http://www.finerareprints.com/margat-ascending-on-his-stag-in-1817-16833

    And here the first of the prints above: La Minerve Vaisseau Aerien destinemaux decouvertes, 1803 - http://www.finerareprints.com/vintage-balloon-artists/la-minerve-vaisseau-aerien-destinemaux-decouvertes-1803-16829

    Possibly more than you wanted to know ....