A Defense of Poetry

Cover A Defense of Poetry
Genres: Nonfiction

Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. Excerpt from book: Section 3THE FOUR AGES OF POETRY. By Thomas Love Peacock. X'fciO. Qui inter hxc nutriuntur non magis sapere possum, quam bene olere qui in culina habitant. ? Petronius. Poetry, like the world, may be said to have four ages, but in a different order: the first age of poetry being the age of iron ; the second of gold ; the third of silver; and the fourth of brass. The first, or iron age of poetry, is that in which rude bards 5 celebrate in rough numbers the exploits of ruder chiefs, in « j^j, days when every man is a warrior, and when the great practical maxim of every form of society, "to keep what we have and to catch what we can," is not yet disguised under names of justice and forms of law, but is the naked motto of the 10 naked sword, which is the only judge and jury in every question of textit{meum and textit{tuum [mine and thine]. In t


hese days, the only three trades flourishing (besides that of priest, which flourishes always) are those of king, thief, and beggar; the beggar being, for the most part, a king deject, and the thief 15 a king expectant. The first question asked of a stranger is, whether he is a beggar or a thief; 1 the stranger, in reply, usually assumes the first, and awaits a convenient opportunity to prove his claim to the second appellation. The natural desire of every man to engross to himself as 20 much power and property as he can acquire by any of the means which might makes right, is accompanied by the no less natural desire of making known to as many people as possible the extent to which he has been a winner in this .-L universal game. .'The successful warrior becomes a chief; the 2S vj*successful chief becomes a king; his next want is an organ to disseminate the fame of his achievements and the extent of his possessions, and this organ he finds in a bard, who is always ...

A Defense of Poetry
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