from Biographia Literariaby Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Almost as timeless as his “Kubla Khan” are Coleridge’s biting and incisive meditations on art, literature, and love, some flecked with the wit and hopefulness—and occasional hopelessness—that attended his chaotic inner life.
If I should die without having destroyed this & my other Memorandum Books, I trust, that these Hints & first Thoughts . . . may not be understood as my fixed opinions—but merely as the suggestions of the disquisition; & acts of obedience to the apostolic command of Try all things: hold fast that which is good.
Virtue makes us not worthy of Happiness, only worthier.
Wit consists in presenting thoughts or images in an unusual connection with each other, for the purpose of exciting pleasure by the surprise.
The Poet should paint to the imagination, not to the fancy.
It is the prime merit of genius . . . to represent familiar objects as to awaken in the minds of others a kindred feeling.
Could a rule be given from without, poetry would cease to be poetry, and sink into a mechanical art.
Critics upon all writers there are many,
Planters of Truth of Knowledge scarcely any.
Experience informs us that the first defence of weak minds is to recriminate.