‘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, 16 April 2020

Lockdown Poem

Sumer is icumen in
Lhude sing loccdown
Groweþ plump
doun in þe dump
and scowlþ þe wide froun
Sing loccdown

Ma bleteþ after gin
stil in her nightgown
Netflics sterteþ
faþer farteþ
gloomie sing loccdown.

Loccdown loccdown
Wel singes þu loccdown
ne swik þu nauer nown

Sing loccdown nu • Sing loccdown.
Sing loccdown • Sing loccdown nu.

1 comment:

  1. Bonus points for a recording of you and your family singing this!