Criticism is infested with a cant of materialism, which assumes that manual skill and activity is the first merit of all men, and disparages such as say and do not, overlooking the fact that some men, namely poets, are natural sayers, sent into the world to the end of expression, and confounds them with those whose province is action but who quit it to imitate the sayers.But Homer's words are as costly and admirable to Homer as Agamemnon's victories are to Agamemnon.
The poet is the sayer, the namer, and represents beauty. For the world is not painted or adorned, but is from the beginning beautiful; and God has not made some beautiful things, but Beauty is the creator of the universe.
Therefore the poet is not any permissive potentate, but is emperor in his own right.
Those who are esteemed umpires of taste are often persons who have acquired some knowledge of admired pictures or sculptures, and have an inclination for whatever is elegant; but if you inquire whether they are beautiful souls, and whether their own acts are like fair pictures, you learn that they are selfish and sensual.
Their cultivation is local, as if you should rub a log of dry wood in one spot to produce fire, all the rest remaining cold.
In love, in art, in avarice, in politics, in labor, in games, we study to utter our painful secret.
The man is only half himself, the other half is his expression.
They receive of the soul as he also receives, but they more.
Nature enhances her beauty, to the eye of loving men, from their belief that the poet is beholding her shows at the same time.
For the Universe has three children, born at one time, which reappear under different names in every system of thought, whether they be called cause, operation, and effect; or, more poetically, Jove, Pluto, Neptune; or, theologically, the Father, the Spirit, and the Son; but which we will call here the Knower, the Doer, and the Sayer.
These stand respectively for the love of truth, for the love of good, and for the love of beauty. Each is that which he is essentially, so that he cannot be surmounted or analyzed, and each of these three has the power of the others latent in him, and his own, patent.