Margaret Cavendish

Some thoughts on poets

 

The Motion of Poets Thoughts

The thoughts of Poets must be quick, yet so as they must go even without jostling, strong without striving, nimble without stumbling, for their thoughts must be as an Instrument well strung, and justly tuned to Harmony.

Great schollars are not excellent poets

Scholars are never good Poets, for they incorporate too much into other men, which makes them become less themselves; in which great scholars are metamorphosed or transmigrated into as many several shapes, as they read Authors, which makes them monstrous, and their head is nothing but a lumber stuft with old commodities, so it is worse to be a learned Poet, than a Poet unlearned, but that which makes a good Poet, is that which makes a good Privie Councellor, which is, observation, and experience, got by time and company.

Wit Mistaken

They are not mistaken that think all Poets wits: but those are mistaken that think there is no other wit but in Poets, or to think wit lies in mere jests, or only in words, or Method, or scholastical knowledge, for many may be very wise, and knowing, yet have not much wit: not but wit may be in every one of these before mentioned, for wit makes use of all things, but wit is the purest element, and swiftest motion of the brain: it is the essence of thoughts, it encircles all things: and true wit is like the Elixir, that keeps nature always fresh and young.

Some think wit no wit, when it is not understood, but surely, a fool makes not the wit the less, although it loseth its aim, if none knows it but the author.

(1671)

MLA Citation

Cavendish, Margaret. “Some thoughts on poets.” 1671. Quotidiana. Ed. Patrick Madden. 23 Oct 2008. 21 Jul 2017 <http://essays.quotidiana.org/cavendish/some_thoughts_on_poets/>.

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