From POEMS by Edgar Allen Poe
Here is a quote from Edgar Allen Poe that touches on a discussion recently in this space, particularly the relation of taste to intellect and moral sense. I am delighted to see he is of an alike mind with me with his reverence for Truth, and for the cool-hearted approach on must take toward that most virginal of goddesses. I differ from him somewhat in that I see a profound and obscure interconnection between truth and beauty, or, if you like, between the needs of drama and the needs of logic. Here is the quote:
With as deep a reverence for the True as ever inspired the bosom of man, I would nevertheless limit, in some measure, its modes of inculcation. I would limit to enforce them. I would not enfeeble them by dissipation. The demands of Truth are severe. She has no sympathy with the myrtles. All that which is so indispensable in Song is precisely all that with which she has nothing whatever to do. It is but making her a flaunting paradox to wreathe her in gems and flowers. In enforcing a truth we need severity rather than efflorescence of language. We must be simple, precise, terse. We must be cool, calm, unimpassioned. In a word, we must be in that mood which, as nearly as possible, is the exact converse of the poetical. He must be blind indeed who does not perceive the radical and chasmal difference between the truthful and the poetical modes of inculcation. He must be theory-mad beyond redemption who, in spite of these differences, shall still persist in attempting to reconcile the obstinate oils and waters of Poetry and Truth.
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