A Defence of Poesie and Poems by Philip Sidney

A Defence of Poesie and Poems Author: Philip Sidney
eBook Title: A Defence of Poesie and Poems
ISBN10: 1406805580
ISBN13: 978-1406805581
Language: English
Publisher: Echo Library (September 14, 2006)
Category: Literature & Fiction
Subcategory: Poetry
Size ePub vers.: 1252 kb
Size PDF vers.: 1474 kb
Other formats: cb7, odf, pdf, azw, ibooks, mobi
Rating: 3.6
Votes: 312

Excerpt: ...which bred them, so as they be not abused, which is likewise stretched to poetry. Saint Paul himself sets a watchword upon philosophy, indeed upon the abuse. So doth Plato upon the abuse, not upon poetry. Plato found fault that the poets of his time filled the world with wrong opinions of the gods, making light tales of that unspotted essence, and therefore would not have the youth depraved with such opinions. Herein may much be said; let this suffice: the poets did not induce such opinions, but did imitate those opinions already induced. For all the Greek stories can well testify that the very religion of that time stood upon many and many-fashioned gods; not taught so by poets, but followed according to their nature of imitation. Who list may read in Plutarch the discourses of Isis and Osiris, of the cause why oracles ceased, of the Divine providence, and see whether the theology of that nation stood not upon such dreams, which the poets indeed superstitiously observed; and truly, since they had not the light of Christ, did much better in it than the philosophers, who, shaking off superstition, brought in atheism. Plato, therefore, whose authority I had much rather justly construe than unjustly resist, meant not in general of poets, in those words of which Julius Scaliger saith, "qua authoritate, barbari quidam atque insipidi, abuti velint ad poetas e republica exigendos 71:" but only meant to drive out those wrong opinions of the Deity, whereof now, without farther law, Christianity hath taken away all the hurtful belief, perchance as he thought nourished by then esteemed poets. And a man need go no farther than to Plato himself to know his meaning; who, in his dialogue called "Ion," 72 giveth high, and rightly, divine commendation unto poetry. So as Plato, banishing the abuse, not the thing, not banishing it, but giving due honour to it, shall be our patron, and not our adversary. For, indeed, I had much rather, since truly I may do it, show...