The rose is sweetest washed with morning dew.
~ Sir Walter Scott
Aloof with hermit-eye I scan
The present works of present man –
A wild and dreamlike trade of blood and guile,
Too foolish for a tear, too wicked for a smile!
~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Photo: Tony Blair 'selfie' artwork - Catalyst: Contemporary Art and War
To be nobody-but-yourself – in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
~ E. E. Cummings
Photo: E. E. Cummings - 1938
Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. And in doing so, you must leave your subjective preoccupation with yourself. Otherwise you impose yourself on the object and do not learn. Your poetry issues of its own accord when you and the object have become one – when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden glimmering there. However well-phrased your poetry may be, if your feeling is not natural – if the object and yourself are separate – then your poetry is not true poetry but merely your subjective counterfeit.
Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our chearful faith that all which we behold
Is full of blessings.
~ William Wordsworth
It was an April morning: fresh and clear
The Rivulet, delighting in its strength,
Ran with a young man's speed; and yet the voice
Of waters which the winter had supplied
Was softened down into a vernal tone.
The spirit of enjoyment and desire,
And hopes and wishes, from all living things
Went circling, like a multitude of sounds.
~ William Wordsworth
Painting: Hobart Town Rivulet and Mount Wellington by John Skinner Prout
He had an only daughter call'd Haidee,
The greatest heiress of the Eastern Isles;
Besides, so very beautiful was she,
Her dowry was as nothing to her smiles:
Still in her teens, and like a lovely tree,
She grew to womanhood, and between whiles
Rejected several suitors, just to learn
How to accept a better in his turn.
~ Lord Byron
Painting: Byron as Don Juan, with Haidee by Alexandre-Marie Colin