William Blake, the Romantic Era painter and poet (1757–1827) is the author of many famous lines of poetry.
He seeks the crown of this season’s Scarriet Poetry March Madness with this one:
He who mocks the infant’s faith
Shall be mocked in age & death
But he’s up against a monster!
Blow bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
Poetry participates in sound.
The Modernists make the absurd claim that poetry can be prose—which implies that prose cannot be poetic. But. Yes. Prose can be poetic—-in every manner in which the Modernists define poetry—and so we see the complete absurdity of the Modernist definition of poetry—which is no definition at all.
If there are no rules for baseball, there is no baseball, there is chaos, and there is already plenty of chaos in the universe. But if there are rules for baseball, we have baseball, which adds to the world’s enjoyments. Rules add. Freedom subtracts. One should celebrate definitions and rules—for they produce bounty. Scarcity, anxiety, and boredom come about when definitions and rules are destroyed.
We love the sentiment of Blake’s couplet, and the strange and marvelous “infant’s faith.”
But the Tennyson is pure poetry of the highest kind.
Blake’s is the impulse for poetry.
Tennyson’s is poetry.