Things Real

Things real - such as existences of Sun Moon & Stars and passages of Shakspeare.

You know my ideas about Religion. I do not think myself more in the right than other people, and that nothing in this world is proveable. I wish I could enter into all your feelings on the subject merely for one short 10 Minutes and give you a Page or two to your liking. I am sometimes so very sceptical as to think Poetry itself a mere Jack a lanthen to amuse whoever may chance to be struck with its brilliance. As Tradesmen say every thing is worth what it will fetch, so probably every mental pursuit takes its reality and worth from the ardor of the pursuer - being in itself a nothing - Ethereal things may at least be thus real, divided under three heads - Things real - things semireal - and no things. Things real - such as existences of Sun Moon & Stars and passages of Shakspeare. Things semi-real such as Love, the Clouds &c which require a greeting of the Spirit to make them wholly exist - and Nothings which are made Great and dignified by an ardent pursuit - which by the by stamps the burgundy mark on the bottles of our Minds, insomuch as they are able to "consecrate whate'er they look upon". I have written a Sonnet here of a somewhat collateral nature - so don't imagine it an a propos des botte.
Four Seasons fill the Measure of the year;
Four Seasons are there in the mind of Man.
He hath his lusty spring when fancy clear
Takes in all beauty with an easy span:
He hath his Summer, when luxuriously
He chews the honied cud of fair springs thoughts,
Till, in his Soul dissolv'd they come to be
Part of himself. He hath his Autumn ports
And Havens of repose, when his tired wings
Are folded up, and he content to look
On Mists in idleness: to let fair things
Pass by unheeded as a threshhold brood.
He hath his Winter too of pale Misfeature,
Or else he would forget his mortal nature.
Aye this may be carried - but what am I talking of - it is an old maxim of mine and of course must be well known that every point of thought is the centre of an intellectual world - the two uppermost thoughts in a Man's mind are the two poles of his World he revolves on them and every thing is southward or northward to him through their means. We take but three steps from feathers to iron. Now my dear fellow I must once for all tell you I have not one Idea of the truth of any of my speculations - I shall never be a Reasoner because I care not to be in the right, when retired from bickering and in a proper philosophical temper. So you must not stare if in any future letter I endeavour to prove that Apollo as he had cat gut strings to his Lyre used a cats's paw as a Pecten - and further from said Pecten's reiterated and continual teasing came the term Hen peck'd.

From a letter to Benjamin Bailey, written on
March 13th, 1818