Excerpt from Poems and Ballads
This somewhat mystical and rather unsatisfactory composition, which appears by way of preface to the author's miscellaneous poems, is certainly not conceived in his happiest manner, though, like all his other writings, it has been most carefully elaborated. It seems intended to supply the place of the invocation to the muse, with which the ancient poets almost invariably commenced as a sort of sanctifyin g ceremony; but the custom, appropriate enough so long as the inspiration of the sacred Nine was acknowledged, or even typically accepted, has now fallen into general disuse. The substitution of the Goddess of Nature, or the Genius of Poetry, appears to our English taste but a clumsy expedient. Goethe, however, thought otherwise; and his example has since been fol lowed by various German poets of lesser note, who have vouch safed to us glimpses of their communings with some visionary Egeria.
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