Then still a purpose enclosing all, and over and beneath all, ever since what might be call’d thought, or the budding of thought, fairly began in my youthful mind, I had had a desire to attempt some worthy record of that entire faith and acceptance to justify the ways of God to man... which is the foundation of moral America... to formulate a poem whose every thought or fact should directly or indirectly be or connive at an implicit belief in the wisdom, health, mystery, beauty of every process, every concrete object, every human or other existence, not only consider’d from the point of view of all, but of each. While I can not understand it or argue it out, I fully believe in a clue and purpose in Nature, entire and several; and that invisible spiritual results, just as real and definite as the visible, eventuate all concrete life and all materialism through Time.
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A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape and significance of the universe, helps to extend everyone's knowledge of himself and the world around him.
Could Hamlet have been written by a committee, or the Mona Lisa painted by a club? Could the New Testament have been composed as a conference report? Creative ideas do not spring from groups. They spring from individuals. The divine spark leaps from the finger of God to the finger of Adam, whether it takes ultimate shape in a law of physics or a law of the land, a poem or a policy, a sonata or a mechanical computer.
The noble person tries to create harmony in the human heart by a rediscovery of human nature, and tries to promote music as a means to the perfection of human culture. When such music prevails and the people’s minds are led toward the right ideas and aspirations, we may see the appearance of a great nation. Character is the backbone of our human nature, and music is the flowing of character... The poem gives expression to our heart, the song gives expression to our voice, and the dance gives expression to our movements. these three arts take their rise from the human soul, and then are given further expressions by means of musical instruments.
The world’s history is a divine poem of which the history of every nation is a canto and every man a word. Its strains have been pealing along down the centuries, and though there have been mingled the discords of warring cannon and dying men, yet to the Christian philosopher and historian - the humble listener - there has been a divine melody running through the song which speaks of hope and halcyon days to come.
He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much: Who has gained the respect of intelligent men, and the love of little children: Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task: Who has left the world better than he has found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem or a rescued soul: Who has never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it: Who has looked for the best in others and given the best he had: Whose life was an inspiration: whose memory is a benediction.