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13 January, 2012
Anna LŠtitia Barbauld
"Midway the hill of science, after steep
And rugged paths that tire the' unpractised feet,
A grove extends; in tangled mazes wrought,
And filled with strange enchantment:--dubious shapes
Flit through dim glades, and lure the eager foot
Of youthful ardour to eternal chase.
Dreams hang on every leaf: unearthly forms
Glide through the gloom; and mystic visions swim
Before the cheated sense. Athwart the mists,
Far into vacant space, huge shadows stretch,
And seem realities; while things of life,
Obvious to sight and touch, all glowing round,
Fade to the hue of shadows--Scruples here,
With filmy net, most like the autumnal webs
Of floating gossamer, arrest the foot
Of generous enterprise; and palsy hope
And fair ambition with the chilling touch
Of sickly hesitation and blank fear.
Nor seldom Indolence these lawns among
Fixes her turf-built seat; and wears the garb
Of deep philosophy, and museful sits,
In dreamy twilight of the vacant mind,
Soothed by the whispering shade; for soothing soft
The shades; and vistas lengthening into air,
With moonbeam rainbows tinted.--Here each mind
Of finer mould, acute and delicate,
In its high progress to eternal truth
Rests for a space, in fairy bowers entranced;
And loves the softened light and tender gloom;
And, pampered with most unsubstantial food,
Looks down indignant on the grosser world,
And matter's cumbrous shapings. Youth beloved
Of Science--of the Muse beloved,--not here,
Not in the maze of metaphysic lore,
Build thou thy place of resting! lightly tread
The dangerous ground, on noble aims intent;
And be this Circe of the studious cell
Enjoyed, but still subservient. Active scenes
Shall soon with healthful spirit brace thy mind;
And fair exertion, for bright fame sustained,
For friends, for country, chase each spleen-fed fog
That blots the wide creation.--
Now Heaven conduct thee with a parent's love!"
- Poem "To Mr. S.T.Coleridge: 1797 "
- "A real Poet must always appear indolent to the man of the world. The alacrity and method of business is not to be expected in his occupation. His mind works in silence, and exhausts itself with the various emotions which it cherishes, while to a common eye it appears fixed in stupid apathy. The Poet requires long intervals of ease and leisure; his imagination should be fed with novelty, and his ear soothed by praise. "
- - Introductory essay to her 1797 edition of Collins
- "Women I think may be led on by sentiment to passion; but men must be subdued by passion before they can taste sentiment. "
- - In a letter to Dr. Aiken, 1774
- "I believe it is rare in all professions for the same person to amass and to enjoy riches. Even with regard to the treasures of the mind, which one should suppose would include the power of using them, the laborious collector of facts and dates produces some ponderous volume, which sleeps on the shelf till some light and airy wit skims it for tale and anecdote, or some original genius shapes and moulds it into a system."
- - In a letter to Mrs. Fletcher, 1813