Bookcase Poetry


(c) Arike van de Water 2007-2009

Adaptation of Defence of Poetry

Original author: Percy Bysshe Shelley.

ACCORDING to one mode of regarding those two classes of mental action which are called Reason and Imagination, the former may be considered as mind contemplating the relations borne by one thought to another, however produced; and the latter as mind, acting upon those thoughts so as to colour them with its own light, and composing from them as from elements, other thoughts, each containing within itself the principle of its own integrity. The one is the to poiein, or the principle of synthesis and has for its objects those forms which are common to universal nature and existence itself; the other is the to logizein or principle of analysis and its action regards the relations of things, simply as relations; considering thoughts, not in their integral unity but as the algebraical representations which conduct to certain general results. Reason is the enumeration of quantities already known; Imagination is the perception of the value of those quantities, both seperately and as a whole. Reason respects the differences, and Imagination the similitudes of things. Reason is to Imagination as the instrument to the agent, as the body to the spirit, as the shadow to the substance.