Texts without Comment for Chapter Eight

by Jacques Maritain


Texts without comment for Chapter Eight of Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry.

Larger Work

Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry

Publisher & Date

Bollingen Foundation Inc., 1953


1. Coleridge, in Biographia Literaria (Ch. XIV):

The poet, described in ideal perfection, brings the whole soul of man into activity, with the subordination of its faculties to each other, according to their relative worth and dignity. He diffuses a tone and spirit of unity, that blends, and (as it were) fuses, each into each, by that synthetic and magical power, to which we have exclusively appropriated the name of imagination. This power, first put in action by the will and understanding, and retained under their irremissive, though gentle and unnoticed, control (laxis effertur habenis)reveals itself in the balance or reconciliation of opposite or discordant qualities: of sameness, with difference; of the general, with the concrete; the idea, with the image; the individual, with the representative; the sense of novelty and freshness, with old and familiar objects; a more than usual state of emotion, with more than usual order; judgment ever awake and steady self-possession, with enthusiasm and feeling profound or vehement; and while it blends and harmonizes the natural and the artificial, still subordinates art to nature; the manner to the matter, and our admiration for the poet to our sympathy with the poetry.

2. Francis Thompson, Coleridge:a

Around Coleridge the clamor of partisans is silent: none attacks, none has need to defend. The Ancient Mariner, Christabel, Kubla Khan, Genevieve, are recognized as perfectly unique masterpieces of triumphant utterance and triumphant imagination of a certain kind. They bring down magic to the earth. Shelley has followed it to the skies; but not all can companion him in that rarefied ether, and breathe. Coleridge brings it in to us, floods us round with it, makes it native and apprehensible as the air of our own earth. To do so he seeks no remote splendors of language, uses no brazier of fuming imagery. He waves his wand, and the miracle is accomplished before our eyes in the open light of day; he takes words which have had the life used out of them by the common cry of poets, puts them into relation, and they rise up like his own dead mariners, wonderful with a supernatural animation.

3. John Crowe Ransom, in The World's Body:b

Poetry distinguishes itself from prose on the technical side by the devices which are, precisely, its means of escaping from prose. Something is continually being killed by prose which the poet wants to preserve. But this must be put philosophically. (Philosophy sounds hard, but it deals with natural and fundamental forms of experience.)

The critic should regard the poem as nothing short of a desperate ontological or metaphysical manoeuvre. The poet himself, in the agony of composition, has something like this sense of his labors. The poet perpetuates in his poem an order of existence which in actual life is constantly crumbling beneath his touch. His poem celebrates the object which is real, individual, and qualitatively infinite. He knows that his practical interests will reduce this living object to a mere utility, and that his sciences will disintegrate it for their convenience into their respective abstracts. The poet wishes to defend his object's existence against its enemies. . . .


4. Mallarme, Divagation premiere:c

Tout ce qu'on reconnait émit dans l'acceptation technique, soit phrasé, comporte une mélopée: l’écriture n'étant que la fixation du chant immiscé au langage et lui-même persuasif du sens.

. . . Je me figure par un indéracinable sans doute préjugé d'écrivain, que rien ne demeurera sans être proféré; que nous en sommes précisément, a rechercher, devant une brisure des grands rythmes littéraires et leer éparpillement en frissons articulés proches de 'Instrumentation, un art d'achever la transposition, au Livre, de la symphonie ou uniment de reprendre notre Bien: car, ce n'est pas de sonorités élémentaires par les cuivres, les cordes, les bois, indéniablement mais de rintellectuelle parole a son apogée que doit, avec plénitude et évidence, résulter, en taut que l’ensemble des rapports existant dans le tout, la Musique.

5. Sappho, The Moon has set:

Δέδυκε μέν ά σέλαννα
καί Πληίαδες, μέσαι δέ
νυκτες παρά δ’ έρετ’ ώρα
έγωδέ μόνα κατεύδω.

(The moon has set, and the Pleiades; it is the middle of the night and time passes, time passes, and I lie alone.)d

6. Sappho, Atthis:

'Hράμαν μέν έγω σέθεν, ’Άτθι, πάλαι ποτά.

(I loved thee once, Atthis, long ago.)e

7. Webster, The Duchess of Malfi (IV, ii) :

Cover her face; mine eyes dazzle; she died young.

8. Keats, in La Belle Dame sans Merci:

O what can ail thee, knight at arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing!

O what can ail thee, knight at arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full
And the harvest's done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever dew;
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.—

I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful, a faery's child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets, too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.

9. Coleridge, in The Ancient Mariner:

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.

Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
'Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!
I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.

I looked to heaven, and tried to pray;
But or ever a prayer had gusht,
A wicked whisper dame, and made
My heart as dry as dust.
The loud wind never reached the ship,
Yet now the ship moved on!
Beneath the lightning and the Moon
The dead men gave a groan.

They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes:
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.

10. Heine, Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam:

Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam
Im Norden auf kahler Hoh’.
Ihn schläfert; mit weisser Decke
Umhullen ihn Eis und Schnee.

Er träumt von einer Palme,
Die fern im Morgenland
Einsam und schweigend trauert
Auf brennender Felsenwand.

(A lonely pine is standing
In the North where the high winds blow.
He sleeps; and the whitest blanket
Wraps him in ice and snow.

He dreams—dreams of a palm tree
That far in an Orient land
Languishes, lonely and drooping,
Upon the burning sand.)f

11. Baudelaire, in L'Imprevu:

Reconnaissez Satan a son the vainqueur,
Enorme et laid comme le monde!
II faut que le gibier paye le vieux chasseur
Qui se morfond longtemps a raffia de la proie.
Je vais vows emporter a travers l'épaisseur,
Compagnons de ma triste joie,

A travers l'épaisseur de la terse et du roc,
A travers les amas confus de votre cendre,
Dans un palais aussi grand que moi, d'un seul bloc,
Et qui n'est pas de pierre tendre;

Car it est fait avec l'universel Péché,
Et contient mon orgueil, ma douleur et ma gloire!
—Cependant, tout en haut de l'univers juché,
Un Ange sonne la victoire

De ceux dont le coeur dit: "Que béni soit ton fouet,
Seigneur! que la douleur, o Père, soit bénie!
Mon ame dans tes mains n'est pas un vain jouet,
Et to prudence est infinie."

Le son de la trompette est si délicieux,
Dans ces soirs solennels de célestes vendanges,
Qu'il s'infiltre comme une extase dans tous ceux
Dont elle chante les louanges.

12. Gerard Manley Hopkins, in I wake and feel: g

I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.
Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
As I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse.

13. Jules Supervielle, Ce bruit de la mer:h

Ce bruit de la mer ou nous sommes tous,
Il le connait bien, l'arbre a chevelure,
Et le cheval noir y met l'encolure
Allongeant le cou comme Dour l'eau douce,
Comme s'il voulait quitter cette dune,
Devenir au loin cheval fabuleux
Et se mélanger aux moutons d'écume,
A cette toison faite pour les yeux,
Etre enfin le fils de cette eau marine,
Brouter l'algue au fond de la profondeur.
Mais it faut savoir attendre au rivage,
Se promettre encore aux vagues du large,
Mettre son espoir dans la mort certain,
Baisser de nouveau la tête dans l'herbe.

14. Hart Crane, in Atlantis (The Bridge):i

O Thou steeled Cognizance whose leap commits
The agile precincts of the lark's return;
Within whose lariat sweep encinctured sing
In single chrysalis the many twain—
Of stars Thou art the stitch and stallion glow
And like an organ, Thou, with sound of doom—
Sight, sound and flesh Thou leadest from time's realm
As love strikes clear direction for the helm.

15. Pierre Reverdy, Au bas-fond:j

Vierge et fière sur la lande animée
Elle tamise l'argent de ses branches
Elle sèche les roseaux qui chantent
Sous les voutes des ponts tournants
Elle coupe court aux bruits qui mentent
Elle tresse les nattes du vent
Elle tisse la nuit qui l'enroule
Elle émiette le pain noir
Elle étanche le sang qui coule
Sur la piste étoilée des larmes défendues
Et maintenant ombre détruite
Froissée dans les rafales du courant
Pêcheur de mort
Au ressac de la fuite
Allons plus loin
Plus personne n'écoute
Allons au fond des gouffres du remords

16. Allen Tate, in Idiot:k

The idiot greens the meadows with his eyes,
The meadow creeps implacable and still;
A dog barks, the hammock swings, he lies.
One two three the cows bulge on the hill.

17. Raissa Maritain, La Chute d'Icare (d'apres Breughel):l

Un rameau fleuri encadre la mer
Des navires songent l'univers
Au rivage des moutons s'endorment
Icare est tombé du zénith
Comme une mouette qui plonge
Tout repose au soleil de midi
Rien ne trouble la beauté du monde

18. T. S. Eliot, in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:m

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? . . .
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all"—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: "That is not what I meant at all;
That is not it, at all."
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

19. Guillaume Apollinaire, Le Pont Mirabeau:n

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Et nos amours
Faut-il qu'il m'en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine

Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
Les jours s'en vont je demeure

Les mains clans les mains restons face a face
Tandis que sous
Le pont de nos bras passe
Des eternels regards l'onde si lasse

Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
Les jours s'en vont je demeure

L'amour s'en va comme cette eau courante
L'amour s'en va
Comme la vie est lente
Et comme l'espérance est violente

Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
Les jours s'en vont je demeure

Passent les lours et passent les semaines
Ni temps passe
Ni les amours l'eviennent
Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine

Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
Les jours s'en vont je demeure


20. Pierre Reverdy, Image:o

L'image est une creation pure de l'esprit. Elle ne peut naitre d'une comparaison, mais du rapprochement de deux réalités plus ou moins eloignees. . . . Une image n'est pas forte parce qu'elle est brutale ou fantastique,—mais parce que l'assooiation des idees est lointaine et juste. . . . On ne cree pas d'image en comparant (toujours faiblement) deux realites disproportionnees. On cree, au contraire, une forte image, neuve pour l'esprit, en rapprochant sans comparaison deux realites distantes dont resprit setil a saisi les rapports.

21. Mallarme, Divagation premiere:p

Instituer une relation entre les images, exacte, et que s'en detache un tiers aspect fusible et clair presente a la divination. . . . Abolie, la pretention, esthetiquement une erreur, malgre qu'elle regit presque tous les chefs-d'oeuvre, d'inclure au papier subtil du volume autre chose que par exemple l'horreur. de la foret, ou le tonnerre muet epars au feuillage: non le bois intrinseque et dense des arbres. Quelques jets de l'intime orgueil veridiquement trompetes eveillent l'architecture du palais, le seul habitable; hors de toute pierre, sur quoi les pages se refermeraient mal.

22. Marianne Moore, in Poetry:

. . . all these phenomena are important. One
must make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets,
the result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
'literalists of
the imagination'—above
insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, 'imaginary gardens with real toads in them,'
shall we have
it. In the meantime, it you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, then you are interested in poetry.

23. Vergil, Aeneid (VI, 442-54):

Hic, quos durus amor crudeli tabe peredit,
secreti celant calles et myrtea circum
silva tegit . . .
. . . Phoenissa recens a volnere Dido
errabat silva in magna, quam Troius heros
ut primum iuxta stetit adgnovitque per umbras
obscuram, qualem primo qui surgere mense
aut videt aut vidisse putat per nubila lunam. . . .

(Here those whom stern love has consumed with cruel wasting are hidden in walks withdrawn, embowered in a myrtle grove. . . . With wound still fresh, Phoenician Dido was wandering in the great forest, and soon as the Trojan hero stood nigh and knew her, a dim form amid the shadows—even as, in the early month, one sees or fancies he has seen the moon rise amid the clouds. . . .)r

24. Dante, Purgatorio (Canto XXVII, 100—108):

Sappia, qualunque mio nome dimanda,
ch'i'mi son Lia, e vo movendo intorno
le belle mani a farmi una ghirlanda.

Per piacermi allo specchio qui m'adorno;
ma mia suora Rachel mai non si smaga
dal cm miraulio e siede tato criorno.

Ell a de' suoi belli occhi veder vaga,
com' io de l'adornarmi con le mani:
lei lo vedere, e me l'ovrare appaga.

(Know, whoso asketh my name, that I am Leah, and go moving my fair hands around to make me a garland.

To please me at the glass here I deck me; but Rachel my sister ne'er stirs from her mirror, and sitteth all day.

She is fain to behold her fair eyes, as I to deck me with my hands: her, contemplation; me, action, doth satisfy.)s

25. Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra (V,ii):

Peace, peace:
Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
That sucks the nurse asleep.

26. Shakespeare, Hamlet (II, ii):

O God! I could be bounded in a nut-shell, and count myself a king of infinite space; were it not that I have bad dreams.

27. Donne, in The Extasie:

But as all severall soules contain
Mixture of things, they know not what,
Love, these mixt soules doth mire again,
And makes both one, each this and that.
A single violet transplant,
The strength, the colour, and the size. . . .

28. William Blake, A Divine image:

Cruelty has a Human Heart,
And Jealousy a Human Face;
Terror the Human Form Divine,
And Secrecy the Human Dress.

The Human Dress is forged Iron,
The Human Form a fiery Forge,
The Human Face a Furnace seal’d,
The Human Heart its hungry Gorge.

29. Mallarme, Le Vitrier:

Le pur soleil qui remise
Trop d'eclat pour l'y trier
Ote ebloui sa chemise
Sur le dos du vitrier.

30. Hart Crane, in Lachrymae Christi:t

Whitely, while benzine
Rinsings from the moon
Dissolve all but the windows of the mills. . . .

31. Jules Supervielle, in Feux du ciel:u

L'air demeure angoisse 'de mouettes immobiles
Et leur coeur est une He de glace sous les plumes.

32. Djuna Barnes, Watchman, What of the Night:

The very constitution of twilight is a fabulous reconstruction of fear, fear bottom-out and wrong side up. Every day is thought upon and calculated, but the night is not premeditated. The Bible lies the one way, but the night gown the other. The night, 'Beware of that Dark Door!' . . .

His heart is tumbling in his chest, a dark place! Though some go into the night as a spoon breaks easy water, others go head foremost against a new connivanoe; their horns make a dry crying, like the wings of the locust, late come to their shedding.

33. Paul Claudel, in La Perle:w

L'âme blessée et fécondée possède au fond d'elle-même un appareil qui lui permet de solidifier le temps en éternité. C'est la perle .. .

La perle, fruit de la mer et conception de la durée, n'a d'autre valeur que sa beauté et sa perfection intrinsèque, resultant de sa simplicite, de sa purete et de son ec'lat, et que le désir qu'elle inspire. . . . Elle est cette sagesse supérieure que nous préférons a notre substance. . . .

Mais voici au flan de cette autre perle une lueur qui croft, quelque chose de gai, de vif et de vivant, que Yon appelle l'orient, comme un coeur qui, du cote de l'amour, se découvre une espèce de partialité. Comme un visage qui se tourne, comme une joue sous le regard qui se oolore de serisibilité et de pudeur, un point lumineux s'est éveillé, un reflet rose a quoi un vert ineffable n'est pas toujours étranger. Une espèce de conscience virginale, une innocence ouverte a la predilection. Une fenétre a éclos, une âme qui surmonte le voile, la lampe qui répond an rayon, le mérite qui acoueille la grâoe, la purete qui épouse le pardon. . . .

Et je n'ai pas pane des perles noires, de ces gouttes de nuit liquide et mordorée qui, elles aussi, ont un orient et qui rayonnent! Ce qui fait la gloire des Elus chez elles en est le pressentiment. "Je suis noire, mais je suis belle," dit le Cantique. C'est comme une voix qui s'est tue, mais le regard est la qui trahit le chant. . . .

34. Robert Frost, The Silken Tent:x

She is as in a field a silken tent
At midday when a sunny summer breeze
Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
And its supporting central cedar pole,
That is its pinnacle to heavenward
And signifies the sureness of the soul,
Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
By countless silken ties of love and thought
To everything on earth the compass round,
And only by one's going slightly taut
In the capriciousness of summer air
Is of the slightest bondage made aware.

35. T. S. Eliot, in Burnt Norton:y

Garlic and sapphires in the mud
Clot the bedded axle-tree.
The trilling wire in the blood
Sings below inveterate scars
And reconciles forgotten wars.
The dance along the artery
The circulation of the lymph
Are figured in the drift of stars
Ascend to summer in the tree
We move above the moving tree
In light upon the figured leaf
And hear upon the sodden floor
Below, the boarhound and the boar
Pursue their pattern as before
But reconoiled among the stars.

36. T. S. Eliot, in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:z

When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a tableaa

37. Gertrude Stein, in What Happened:bb

A blame what is a blame, a blame is what arises and cautions each one to be calm and an ocean and a masterpiece.

38. Marianne Moore, in A Grave:cc

The firs stand in a procession, each with an emerald turkey-foot at the top.

39. Marianne Moore, in People's Surroundings:dd

and the acacia-like lady shivering at the touch of a hand

40. Lautreamont, in Chants de Maldoror (VI):

Mais sachez que la poesie se trouve partout n'est pas le sourire, stupidement railleur, de l'homme a la figure de canard.

41. Leon-Paul Fargue, On dit: qu'il cache une partie de sa vie:ee

Un grand rouet d'or &vide son coeur aux crocs d'un buisson plein de fleurs.

42. Leon-Paul Fargue, in La Lampe s'allume:ff

Le phare qui tourne pleins poings son verre de sang dans les etoiles traverse un bras de mer pour toucher ma tete et la vitre.

43. St.-John Perse, in Anabase:gg

Un enfant triste comme la mort des singes.

44. St.-John Perse, in Anabase:hh

Et les vaisseaux plus hauts qu'Ilion sous le paon blanc du ciel.

45. Raissa Maritain, in Aux Morts desesperes:ii

Notre deuil est si grand que le soleil m'etonne.

46. Raissa Maritain, in Colonnes:jj

Le ciel et la terre et les iles
Tout est fait de mon exil.

47. Pierre Reverdy, in Grand Caractere:kk

Quand les lèvres du temps brulees par le malheur
Remuent dans la clarte mal assise des lampes.

48. Pierre Reverdy, in Danse de terre:ll

Les fours glissent comme des lettres dans la boite
Les nuits sont au fond des cercueils.

49. Jean Cocteau, in Hotel de France et de la Poesie:mm

Le ciel est un marin assis sur les maisons.

50. Paul Eluard, in Poeme perpetual:nn

Le soleil doux comme une taupe.

51. Paul Eluard, in Defense de savoir:oo

Les astres sont dans l'eau la beauté n'a plus d'ombres.


a. In Works (London: Burns and Oates, 1913), Vol. III.

b. New York: Scribner, 1938.

c. In Vers et Prose (Paris: Perrin, 1935).

d. Fragsent cxi.—Trans. anon.,from The Limits of Art, coll. and ed. Huntington Cairns (Bollingen Series XII; New York: Pantheon Books, 1948), p. 55.

e. Fragment xlviii.—Ibid., p. 53.

f. Trans. Louis Untermeyer in his Heinrich Heine: Paradox and Poet (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1945), Vol. 2.

g. Poem. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1938).

h. In 1939-1945, Poemes (Paris: Gallimard, 1946).

i. Collected Poems (New York: Liveright, 1933).

j. In Le Chant des Morts, 19441948; reprinted in Main d'OEuvre (Paris: Mercure de France, 1949).

k. Poems 1922-1947 (New York: Scribner, 1948 ).

l. In Lettre de Nuit (Paris: Desclée De Brouwer, 1939).

m. Collected Poems 1909-35 (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1936).

n. In Alcools (Paris: N. R. F., 1920).

o. "Nord-Sud," N° 13, March, 1918. — Cf. Andre Breton, Manifeste du Surréalisme (Paris: Sagittaire, 1924), pp. 58-59.

p. In Vers et Prose (Paris: Perrin, 1935; "Crise du Vers," in Divagations, Paris: Fasquelle, 1949).

q. Collected Poems (New York: Macmillan, 1951).

r. Trans. H. R. Fairclough, in the Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1932).

s. Trans. Thomas Okey (The Temple Classics; London: J. M. Dent and Sons, 1946).

t. Collected Poems (New York: Liveright, 1933).

u. Le Forcat Innocent (Paris: Gallimard, 1930).

v. In Nightwood (New York: New Directions, 1937).

w. L'OEil écoute (Paris: Gallimard, 1936).

x. In Complete Poems (New York, Henry Holt, 1949).

y. Four Quartets (London: Faber and Faber, 1944).

z. Collected Poems.

aa. Lautreamont had said: "Beau comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine a coudre et d'un parapluie." In both cases we have to do, I would say, less with an illuminating than with an intelligence-bom and intelligence-titillating image.

bb. "What Happened, a Five-Act Play," in Selected Writings (New York: Random House, 1946).

cc. Collected Poems.

dd. Ibid

ee. Poemes (Paris:N. R. F., 1919 ).

ff. Ibid.

gg. Anabasis, with a translation into English by T. S. Eliot ( New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1938).

hh. Ibid.

ii. Lettre de Nuit.

jj. Portes de l'Horizon, Poemes, with an English version by the Author (Bethlehem, Connecticut: Regina Laudis, 1952).

kk. Ferraille.

ll. Le Chant des Morts. mm. Vocabulaire.

nn. Chanson complete (Paris: Gallimard, 1939).

00. L'Amour la Poesie.

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