Friday, October 03, 2014

Recollection and Longing

...[W]e may term poetry the mind's transcendent recollection of the eternal. For the first and most ancient poetry, as the common memory of the human race—its higher organ of remembrance—passes on from century to century, and from nation to nation; and though ever dressing itself in the changing fashion of the day, yet, through all time, it refers us back to the primary and eternal.

Music, on the other hand, is eminently an art of longing. To this it owes all its ravishing enchantments—its magic and irresistible charms. In music, however, as in every other form of art, the higher and the earthly—the soul, as it were, and the body—the heavenly longing and the terrestrial are often blended together in the same note and tone, so as scarcely to be discriminated.

Friedrich von Schlegel, Philosophy of Language, Morrison, tr., p. 419.


  1. Greta3:29 PM

    ...I have so missed chatting with you here, but am almost afraid to comment in case the feeling is not mutual (one jokes at one's expense). The academic year began and I took on a job that required too much of my time, but I am trying to manage it now (and hope to catch up with Socrates).
    This extract reminded me of T. S. Eliot's Poetry and Drama, namely, what has perhaps become a hackneyed extract: "It is a function of all art to give us some perception of an order in life, by imposing an order upon it. The painter works by selection, combination and emphasis among the elements of the visible world; the musician, in the world of sound. It seems to me that beyond the nameable, classifiable emotions and motives of our conscious life when directed towards action – the part of life which prose drama is wholly adequate to express – there is a fringe of indefinite extent, of feeling which we can only detect, so to speak, out of the corner of the eye and can never completely focus; of feeling of which we are only aware in a kind of temporary detachment from action . . . This peculiar range of sensibility can be expressed by dramatic poetry, at its moments of greatest intensity. At such moments, we touch the border of those feelings which only music can express."

  2. branemrys5:46 PM

    The feeling is very certainly mutual, so you needn't worry!


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