Friday, February 27, 2009

Poesy is the flower of the Sun, and disdains to open to the eye of a candle

Unlimited free visits to Litter for anyone who can identify the source of this quote. It's been bugging me for some time. Come on, you erudite bunch! Is it a real quotation, or have I invented it? (In which case, is it any less real...?)

Quote now corrected, thanks to Sam Ward (see comments)

7 comments:

AidanSemmens said...

I'm sure you'd already tried this, Alan, but I just googled the 'quote' and it took me straight... back here! :-)

Alan Baker said...

Hi Aidan
This could end up having a seriously post-modern twist: Alan Baker's blog being cited as the source of this 'quotation'...

AidanSemmens said...

Indeed. I always liked the story of an aged Thomas Hardy having a sudden doubt about a word he'd used, looking it up in a dictionary and being pleased to find it there, defined exactly as he thought it should be. Then seeing it was attributed to one of his own early novels. :-D

Sam said...

No, you've not invented it. It's from George Chapman's preface to his translation of The Iliad: "Poesy is the flower of the Sun, and disdains to open to the eye of a candle."

richard lopez said...

wow, that's very good sam! i was wracking my brain to come up with the source of the quote, and couldn't. didn't want to resort to pulling books off the shelves or going to google. but that probably wouldn't have helped either. my mind is a seive.

i know what you maan, alan, wondering whether it was a real quote or one that is made up by you but seems like another's text. i do it all the time. i'll have lines buzzing in my head and sometimes when i go to write them down i sometimes down't know whether the line is from something i did, or just composed, or from my reading.

Alan Baker said...

Sam, you're a hero. I should have known you'd know it. Honestly, I've been carrying that phrase around in my head for years. Should've just asked you.

Richard: you have to be careful don't you? You could end up writing someone else's poem (without attribution).

John B-R said...

Damn, Sam, I thought I wrote it. At least you'll find it in the most recent bit of my ongoing poem. Lifted, of course from Alan. I feel lucky. I know, I mean know, I'm always writing someone else's poem!