“And daffodils that come before the swallow dares”: welcome the daffodils of Spring.


How Shakespeare interpenetrates English literature- not just the verse but the literature as a whole! Too readily we take his genius for granted. The comment comes as I see the arrival of daffodils that perhaps above all, for us in Britain betokens after harsh winter the spring and the idea of renewal.

The Winter’s Tale is a wonderful late Shakespeare play, for it brings together in the one package, tragedy and spiritual restoration both a reminder of the tragic period (Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Lear) and the post-tragic period of the last plays ( eg. Pericles, The Tempest). In its first half King Leontes in the middle course of life destroys an apparently happy married life when he is seized by an irrational jealousy which leads to the imprisonment of his wife, the death of his young son and the abandonment of his baby daughter; yet Shakespeare is not content to let the play end there. Reconciliation, restoration, rebirth is possible beyond irrational destruction; as shown in the second half of the play.

For in exchange for the claustrophobia of a court seized by madness we are introduced to a world of pastoral. Perdita , the lost child, comes forth to offer us a new beginning when she acclaims the flowers of spring, especially those that come first:

                                               O Prosperina
For the flowers, that (frighted) thou let'st fall
From Dis's waggon: daffodils,
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty.


Shakespeare emphasises the bold splendour of the flowers standing out against the all too frequent “winds of March”. Later Wordsworth would take these same flowers and reflects again upon the flowers’ beauty and the hold of that beauty upon our minds.

It is a wonderful poem which should be known in all primary schools:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake , beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: 
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed- and gazed- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon the inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
and then  my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.


When I say Shakespeare interpenetrates English literature I do not necessarily mean Wordsworth here was influenced in his poetry by what Shakespeare had written on the subject. It is that it is as if Shakespeare contains the developments that occur in the poetry and the great novels and that would certainly include the great Romantic development from the late eighteenth -early nineteenth centuries.

So remembering what Shakespeare and the Romantics did for daffodils we herald the start of April.


I will never forget the effect of reading John Donne for the first time.

Donne (1572-1631) may have lived three hundred and more years before but he speaks with a living force on love and sex, and to me, a distinctly naive nineteen year old second year university student with little experience of what is called life, his poetry had and continues to have, startling immediacy.

Songs and Sonnets provides an astonishing range of love poetry from sensuous to playful, from platonic to loving and it does so with a direct urgency of voice that makes the poems vitally alive.

You just need to look at some of the opening stanzas :

I wonder , by my troth, what thou, and I 
Did, till we loved? were we not weaned till then 
But sucked on country pleasures childishly 
Or snorted we in the seven sleepers' den? 
'Twas so; but this all pleasures fancies be. 
If ever any beauty I did see 
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee. 


( “Did” and “got”; two of the most common verbs in English speech, but hardly poetic sounding; has ever a poet given them more force than here? Consider the power the enjambment gives to “Did”. Again look at “weaned”, sucked”,” “snorted”:all strongly physical Anglo-Saxon, Old English verbs considered too unpoetic in times where more euphemistic words would have might have been preferred).


 Busy old fool ,unruly sun, 
Why dost thou thus 
Through windows and through curtains call on us? 
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run? 
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide 
Late school boys and sour prentices 
Go tell court huntsmen that the king will ride 
Call country ants to harvest offices: 
Love, all alike, no season knows or clime, 
Nor hours, days , months  which are the rags of time.


(Notice the shocking scorn with which the sun, regarded traditionally as splendid, often in Elizabethan times aggrandised by classical references to Phoebus or Apollo. There is a wide view of society that suggests the wide sweep of Jacobean drama; the influence of Shakespeare is hinted at by – “Late school boys and sour prentices” which reminds one of the Seven Ages of Man speech In “As You Like It” -and the dismissive “country ants to harvest offices” suggests the royal indifference of say, a Richard ii.).


For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love, 
Or chide my palsy or my gout,
 My five grey hairs, or ruined fortune flout ,
With wealth your state, your minds with arts improve 
Take you a course, get you a place, 
Observe his honour or his Grace 
Or the King's real, or his stamped  face, 
Contemplate; what you will, approve, 
So you will let me love.  

(The influence of the dramatic voice speaking forth is presented here; it is as if the the voice is arguing against the restraining influence of friends, from out of the midst of conversation as if it is an excerpt from a play of voices. Notice , here, and throughout the three examples the command of rhythm that makes the verse flow.).

John Donne (along with other so-called Metaphysical poets) was a shaping influence on T.S. Eliot’s poetry. Eliot saw his poetry, as showing a combination of intellect, wit and feeling at play and it was this combination he sought to recapture in his own verse. John Donne was central to his idea of the “dissociation of sensibility” which shall be discussed in a future post.

F.R. Leavis in his revaluation of English poetry makes Donne central in the “line of wit” and demonstrates how Donne’s language follows the rhythms of the the “speaking voice”: “the subtleties of Donne’s use of the speaking voice and spoken language are inexhaustible ….The art has evident affinities with Shakespeare’s”.

It is little wonder I was so startled by John Donne when I first read him. Reading and appreciating Eliot and Leavis inevitably involved regarding John Donne highly. There is of course much more to Donne than can be attempted in this post; as well as “Songs and Sonnets” he created satires and significant religious poetry. He is a poet I shall come back to.


Eduard Von Grutzner Falstaff 1896

The affections lead us on says Wordsworth. So does language. This is what Falstaff is resisting in connection with the word “honour” . He has landed himself in a battle but, no soldier, he does not want to fight:

..honour pricks me on. Yea but what if honour prick me off when I come on ? How then? can honour set to a leg? No Or an arm? No . Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery then? No. “What is honour? A word. What is in that word honour? Air-a trim reckoning! Who hath it? He that died a Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it no. Tis insensible then? Yea to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it. Therefore I’ll none of it. Honour is a mere scutcheon- and so ends my catechism.

William Shakespeare Henry IV Part 1 1597

(NB “scutcheon” painted shield with coat of arms identifying a dead nobleman. (“Henry iv P1 Signet Classics 1963) )

For Falstaff what comes first is self-preservation. The language of honour, of military and heroic ambition means nothing. Honour is mere air. A word. The speech is a marvellous piece of deflation. In the play we have a character who lives by honour. Hotspur is genuinely heroic, he believes in honour; but he drives himself impetuously on the word to the point of madness. He is made use of by others who encourage him into a risky rebellion. Behind “honour” we still need reason. Falstaff uses reason in this speech to safeguard self; Hotspur in holding to the inspiration of the word avoids thinking.

Nevertheless we do despite Falstaff and notwithstanding Hotspur live on the inspiration of words. They are not mere air. Or if they are air they are the air that stirs us into life. “Honour” is still a great word involving our essential self-respect. So is the closely connected word “troth”.

“And thereto I give thee my troth” are the words of commitment in Cranmer’s great marriage service.


Questioner: Excuse me, I am looking for language. Where can I find it?

Answerer:”I’m not sure what you mean. You are using language.

Q: Yes but where is the centre of the language I am using ?

A: Ah get a good dictionary. The Oxford one has a good reputation.!

Q: Yes, I have seen that. But it just gives me words and their meanings.

A : Ah, so you must need a book of grammar!

Q: That gives me the rules but it still doesn’t tell me where the centre is.

A: Again I am not with you. The English language is words in the minds of people who speak English. Likewise the French language is in the heads of French people. And so it goes on.

Q: So language is just subjective?

A: Yes and no. We need dictionaries to tell us the correct words and grammar to tell us the correct grammar. And language is public and it is important that it is used to tell truth and not lies. Hence all the controversy about fake news.

Q: So language is both subjective and objective, private and public.?

A: Yes. It’s rather like money. You have it in your pocket-it’s your private possession but then you take it out to buy something in public, in the market place. Langage is like currency. It’s in your head but it is also shared with others.

Q. : So, like the currency has or, at least had, the gold standard to give it official status and guarantee its validity, language has the dictionary and the grammar book.

A: Ah, now you’ve got it!

Q. : But no I haven’t!. I haven’t got to the centre of it yet. The dictionary is just lists of words and the grammar book is just rules to do with use. I guess I mean not so much language as individual words, but words in thinking, words in speech. Where does language in speech centre?

A: I’m baffled at what you mean. There are millions of dialogues , conversations, group discussions going on all the time. There is no centre, there is just development.

Q: So are there models of good speech, are there speech modes that guide people?

A: Well, there are examples of good speaking! There is received pronunciation. There is Queen’s English . There is great oratory-like say Winston Churchill. There is poetry. There are phrases from great books like the Bible or Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer or Shakespeare that have seeped into the language. Do you mean that kind of thing?

Q : Well that’s getting closer!

A: The thing is, these kind of models operate on people less and less. They are not so fashionable. No one bothers if you speak proper or not. Perhaps we are more democratic today and don’t need models. Or perhaps we live such fast lives we don’t develop speech as an art anymore. Perhaps its new electronic technology that affects laguage and the way we use it and it is all very much more streamlined.

Q: Now here’s a thing. All these speeches you referred to, going on all the time-as they have done in every era, carry with them evaluations what is good, what is bad, what is cool. fashionable. That is they carry with them moral implications of the good and the bad; right and wrong. The society of the day gives a certain weight of approval or disapproval to these valuations. They may vary according to political views etc.- one person might be politically correct in their speech. Another might be deliberately provocative. Is that right?

A: Yes as long as you accept- as towards the end of what you said- there that these “evaluations”, as you call them, will be tremendously various.

Q: Now before that you said something tremendously interesting. You mentioned Churchill but also great works of literature like Shakespeare and also having religious significance like the Bible and Cranmer. Apart from Churchill, did you notice all these works stemmed from around the Elizabethan age- a little before with Cranmer , a little after with the Authorised Version?.

A: Yes, but nowadays you don’t hear the Authorised Version even in church . They all use modern translations with up to date commonplace language, not so much for the public voice. Cranmer is rare. Shakespeare, too, may be popular but is a minority interest.

Q: Exactly. Now for centuries English centred there. The language of the Bible, of Cranmer and what his language made of the language of marriage-“for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish and forsaking all other” and funerals: “Rest eternal grant unto them, O lord; and let light perpetual shine upon them.” This language and its rhythms penetrated the lives of everyone, whether they attended church or not because they still got married and went to funerals. It did not mean they held to the valuations but the valuations were known to them. Shakespeare too is all about the moral evaluations of an immense array of characters. He would have been known to the educated. Remember the character in Jane Austen who said,” Shakespeare one gets acquainted with without knowing how. It is part of an Englishman’s consitution.” And this language of strong moral evaluation was carried on by the great poets and writers. But now if all that is gone I repeat the question: “Where does English centre? Where is or are the great public forums where the language is most profoundly alive as it was alive and is still alive in Cranmer, Shakespeare, the Authorised Version created for public worship. Where is the real English now ? Where does it centre? “

A: I’m afraid I cannot answer that.



So great a genius was Shakespeare that the very word “genius” had to be adapted in meaning to account for him.

That is quite a fact so please read the first sentence again to make sure you have taken it in!

For earlier meanings I refer again to our authority Logan Pearson Smith:

In classical Latin the word “genius” meant promarily a person’s tutelary god or attendant spirit…… It was also used , but rarely in Latin, as more or less a synonym for ingenum, “natural bent and disposition”. in this latter sense the word frequently appears in English in the seventeenth century, meaning both with endowment of natural ability or capacity, and also, occasionally, the person so endowed. Dr. Johnson (who in his Dictionary 1755) defined the “true genius” as ” a mind of large general powers, accidentally determined to some particular direction.” But long before Dr. Johnson’s time the word had begun to acquire other meanings and associations.

Other meanings derived from the Latin ingenum emphasised the connection with a particular, special talent.

So far so straightforward but then like other words which developed in the pre-Romantic era that we have noted (“original”, “create”, “creative”-see previous posts on the word “romantic”) the word took off from religious roots.

One association was the Arabic word “jinn”. Jinn are supernatural spirits or demons often harmful, sometimes supportive associated with Arabian mythology and then adopted by Islam. We are likely to know this association through the genie (jinn) in the story of Aladdin and the genie of the magic lamp . The first edition of Arabian Nights in English appeared in the early 18th century.

The second influence was “inspiration.” Let Pearson Smith take up the story:

the word (genius) came to be connected with the ancient term inspiration, which, with its half-evaporated classical and religious associations, lingered on in the poetical vocabulary, with its meaning, as Dr. Johnson gives it of “infusion into the mind of a superior power”.

Confer the frequency with which the Muse is addressed by poets when seeking inspiration. In Greek mythology the Muses were nine sister-goddesses who presided over various arts and branches of learning.

This idea of inspiration managed to continue in an age of increasing scepticism set by rationalist minded intellectuals of the seventeenth century who regarded words like inspiration and enthusiasm as doubtful (as they treated the word “Romantic”- see post (1) of this series). Following the Civil War there was a reaction against words associated with the enthusiasm of religious fanatics and with the philosopher Hobbes this included invocations to the Muses by those who should know better : “by which a man enabled to speak wisely from the principles of Nature and his own meditations, loves rather to be thought to speak by inspiration, like a Bagpipe”. Pearson Smith, however, goes on to show that this prevailing intellectual reaction was a limited view:

Every Ass that’s Romantick believes he’s inspired”…..and the notion that the pretence to inspiration was either a delusion. or more probably an imposture of the poets, devised to give worth to their poetry in vulgar minds, recurs not infrequently in the criticism of the time. But no ridicule could banish this idea of inspiration, based as it was on real experience; for poets, finding that their idea came to them in special moments of excitement, and from some source as it were outside themselves, would by natural symbolism still call the poetic impulse a gift from the gods.

So where does Shakespeare come in all this? Until the Romantics there seemed to be no satisfactory explanation for Shakespeare. His genius was such that mere “talent” could not explain (were not contemporaries Christopher Marlowe and Ben Johnson also exceptionally talented?) It was such that learning was not the explanation. From his contemporary Ben Johnson (Shakespeare “had small Latin and less Greek”) to the learned Milton to whom Shakespeare was “Fancy’s child” whose “strains were native woodnotes wild” the explanation for his outpouring of creative work was “natural genius”.

It was in fact the tremendous achievement of Shakespeare , his “originality”, his miraculous power of “creating” supernatural beings as well as his unprecedented and untutored genius as they conceived it, which did more than anything else to disintegrate the neo-classical theory of poetry.”

A last flurry of opposition to the idea of “natural genius” was raised by Dr Johnson and Sir Joshua Reynolds, the classical artist in the grand style and President of the Royal Academy who in his Discourses warned “students against what he called “the phantom of Inspiration” the false opinion, “too prevalent among artists, of the imaginary powers of native genius, and its sufficiency in great works”.

The contradictory attempt to explain Shakespeare despite his classical short-comings was transformed by the appearance of the great Romantics, particularly by the criticism of Samuel Talor Coleridge.

But, before Coleridge, the word “genius” was strongly reinforced by taking a trip to Germany. The starting point for this curious journey was a work by a writer you have likely never heard of ,Edward Young, entitled Conjectures on Original Composition (1759), which you are even less likely to have heard of, which got translated into German very quickly where it had an “electrical effect” (Herder). Let Pearson Smith again take up the story.

The new generation [in Germany] were eager to free themselves from the tyranny of French classism; and in the book by Young they found the faith, the gospel and the watchwords which they needed. Young boldly proclaimed the superiority of the original genius, who went direct to Nature, who performed great things by the force of his inborn powers, untaught by rules and precedents and models; and declared that Shakespeare was the great original genius of modern times.

In England the popular conception of Shakespeare as a wild, untutored genius was generally stated apologetically; he had, it was admitted, great faults, but these were condoned by his great and original merits. Above all things he was regarded as inimitable; but Young, on the contrary declared that he must be imitated; writers should try to be original like Shakespeare, should imitate, not his works but his methods; they should, like him, disregard all rules and traditions and go direct to Nature.

It was on this conception of Shakespeare and Shakespeare’s methods, and on Young’s belief that they could and should be imitated, that the Germans seized with propagandist zeal. The duty of every artist to rely on his own gifts and inspiration became the fashionable doctrine; and in that wild period, which was called at the time Genieperiode, but has since acquired the name of Sturm and Drang, the great watchwords Genius, Originalty, Creative acquired a resonance, an aggressive and propagandist momentum, which they had certainly never possessed in England. And these terms acquired moreover in Germany a much greater profundity of philosophical meaning, and became the foundation stones of a metaphysical aesthetic; when we read in Kant that ” creative imagination is the true source of genius and the basis of originality”; that Genius makes rules instead of receiving them; that it embodies in art aesthetic ideas which are creations of the imagination, and suggest more than can be exhausted by any definite concept, we become aware that our home-bred English words have indeed undergone a strange sea-change by being so deeply immersed in the vast and bottomless ocean of Teutonic thought.

The great Romantic poets – Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats- brought in a new poetic, individual to each, but stressing imaginative creativity and the originality of genius. Coleridge, had absorbed the new German thinking and both as a critic and philosopher he made the positive case for Shakespeare as being the great poet to celebrate, one whose poetic genius was based on a rooted imaginative art rather than a more cerebral, willed deployment of poetic fancy. (We shall return to this in a future post).

Appreciation of Shakespeare’s creativity had led to a new understanding of what the word “genius” meant. In the more prosaic language of the Shorter English Oxford Dictionary genius had predominantly come to mean:

inborn, exalted, intellectual power; instinctive and extraordinary imaginative, creative or inventive capacity, freq.opp.to talent”.

Without the struggle to make sense of the capacity of Shakespeare that definition would have been wanting. And from Shakespeare it would come to be applied to other exalted company such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Einstein.


Words can be presences that inspire and encourage us forward; words can act like a pillory holding you down, keeping you confined. Great poets recreate the language, making it new. That was what Wordsworth and the great Romantics did. But the language was ready for them to act on it.

As Logan Pearsall Smith (see “Looking at the Word “Romantic” Part 1) argues there is a group of terms that come under the umbrella of the word “romantic” that suddenly came to the fore and were used in different ways from what they had been before. They are words that reflect our consciousness of what is possible and of what poetry can do. These words broke the ground assisting the startling growth of Romantic creativity.

The words Logan Pearsall Smith focused on are words we might use every day. They have become ordinary.

“We had creative writing today at school.” “To improve our sales we need to be creative”. “What a beautifully creative shot!” But how did the word “creative” used, as in these examples, come into being?

“She just repeats things. There is not an original thought in her head!” “Can’t think of anything to do? Be original!” Where did “original” as a term of commendation come from?

“I’ve just watched Federer play tennis. He is a genius!” Genius : someone who stands out away above every one else. There have always been geniuses -however rare-haven’t there?

Actually in English Literature there has been one genius and because his genius required explaining this set of words came into new being and it was taken up by the great Romantics as a vocabulary that entailed new ideas about what it was to be a poet.

if poetry was the product of the imagination; if the imagination was creative, and “originality” was the mark of its creations, then a word was needed to describe this special kind of poetic imagination.”

The word was “genius” and the “genius” was Shakespeare and the Romantics saw in Shakespeare the epitome of what it meant to write great literature. Words such as “creative”, “original”, “genius” do have ancient antecedents but the way they are used nowadays, as every day words, only came into being, and developed in popularity because they were required by a new way of thinking, stimulated by Shakespeare’s genius, and a new kind of practice, associated with Romanticism.

With “creative”, derived from “create”, and “original”, the antecedents are theological. “Create” spoke of the “original” creator acting in Genesis 1. “Creative power” would have belonged to Him and Him only. Original” that from which everything is derived” came to English in the fourteenth century, especially with the use of the term “original sin “.

By a middle route “original” took on a secular meaning. It developed from the vocabulary of painting. Let Logan Smith take up the story:

It was easy to borrow from painting the distinction between an original picture and a copy; the distinction is found in literary criticism in the middle of the seventeenth century; it was adopted by Dryden, who speaks of Shakespeare’s Juliet and Desdemona as “originals”; and it soon became a current term with reference to Shakespeare being authorised by Pope’s famous sentence in his preface to Shakespeare’s works : “If ever an author deserved the name of an Original, it was Shakespear “.…..

All art, the early critics agree, was imitation; but there were two kinds of imitation: the writer who drew his materials from observation of Nature was an original writer….. Originality was simply newness and truth of observation or invention. The great original poets, like Homer and Shakespeare, were those who had most directly imitated Nature ( by Nature they meant very much what we mean by life) and given the richest and most profound renderings of what they found there.

But the word “imitation” was found inadequate for Shakespeare. For Shakespeare had formed characters not found in Nature. This included his characterisation of faeries and presentation of scenes of magic and, especially for Dryden, the “creation” of Caliban.

“Shakespeare seems to have created a person which was not in Nature”.

When first used the word that stood out in the quoted sentence above was “created”. God created. Humans made or “invented” ie. made out of exising materials: hence the medieval “makars” ( makers) of Scotland. But did humans “create” as God created? Surely that power was only divine. John Donne, a poet of genius, however, pointed to the new possible recognition. In one of his Sermons he says ” Poetry is a counterfeit creation and makes things that are not as though they were”. (Sermons 1640 LXXX)

So because of Shakespeare(reinforced by Homer) it was possible to speak of art being “original” and because his work was more than “imitation” or ” invention” it became possible to speak of poetic creation or a human “creator”. In using this gift, poets were being “creative”. The word was first used in English in the mid-seventeenth century and came to be linked with “Imagination” (which we looked at in Part 1) and with “originality”. Let Pearsall Smith take up the story again:

Dryden was not the first writer to employ in literary criticism the word “create” but its use in this connexion, before he gave it currency, was sporadic. We find it after Dryden in…Addison who echoes much of Dryden’s criticism in the Spectator, this use of the word when, writing of ” fairies, witches, magicians , departed spirits… “he says, “we are led as it were into a new creation” and “cannot forbear thinking them natural, though we have no rule by which to judge them”. In speaking of the power of affecting the imagination, which “is the very life and highest perfection of poetry” he says in a phrase which became famous : “It has something in it like creation. It bestows a kind of existence, and draws up to the reader’s view several objects which are not found in being.” Shaftesbury in his Characteristicks (1711) , joins together the notion of originality and creation, when he somewhat ironically the new and free way of writing with the manufacture of silks and stuffs; each new pattern he says, must be an “original”, and the designer “must work originally and in a manner create each time anew”.

Originality thus acquired a new signification; it came to mean, in the critical parlance of the time, not only the direct observation of Nature, but also the invention or creation of things (for the most part supernatural beings) which did not exist in Nature. This notion of “creation”, and of the artist as a “creator” soon became current, and before long it began to beget a group of other terms which were needed for its adequate expression. Among these we may note the important adjective creative, which first appearing in the seventeenth century, became …..by the eighteenth century, a common adjective in literary criticism. We find it usually in connexion with the words “imagination ” and “fancy”, for it was to the imagination this power of creation was ascribed. ….. Thomson writes of Shakespeare’s ” creative fancy”, and Joseph Warton of his “lively creative imagination”, and calls The Tempest “the most striking instance of his creative power. He has thus given the reins to his boundless imagination, and has carried the romantic, the wonderful, the wild, to the most pleasing extravagance” . In Duff’s Essay on Original Genius (1767) … he calls “creative imagination the distinguishing characteristic of true genius”.

(Logan Pearsall Smith Words and Idioms : ” Four Romantic Words”)

In the last two quotations we notice a combination of words completely at odds with the prized regularity and formality of typically admired eighteenth century Augustan (or classical verse) and the celebration of a kind of imaginative creativity that finds room for the extravagant and wild (neither of which were Augustan qualities), uniting the poetry of Shakepeare with the word “romantic” and “Genius”. We shall come to “genius” in the next of these linguistic explorations, but with our eye to the words we have focused on we can see a movement. “Originalty”, ” create” , “creative” all words associated with God and His creative power have become identified with the human capacity to form poetry. Ultimately this appropriation of a vocabulary relating to the divine was to inform the great outburst of a poetic that took many different manifestations but combined a belief in the supremacy of the imagination and bestowed on the poet divinely inspired qualities.

If, for us, words like “imagination”, “create”, “creative”, “original”, “originality” have been reduced to becoming ordinary, that is a loss of potency of our vocabulary that might betoken a diminution of insight into the significance of these words that we surely need to rectify: perhaps by going back to the same poets!

We need to rediscover our words’ worth!