Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

A dog’s chance

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Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch

What are the great poetical names of the last hundred years or so? Coleridge, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Landor, Keats, Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, Morris, Rossetti, Swinburne—we may stop there. Of these, all but Keats, Browning, and Rossetti were university men; and of these three, Keats, who died young, cut off in his prime, was the only one not fairly well-to-do. It may seem a brutal thing to say, and it is a sad thing to say: but as a matter of hard fact the theory that poetical genius bloweth where it listeth, and equally in poor and rich, holds little truth…

These are dreadful facts, but let us face them. It is—however dishonoring to us as a nation—certain that by some fault in our commonwealth, the poor poet has not in these days, nor has he had for two hundred years, a dog’s chance. Believe me…we prate of democracy, but actually a poor child in England has little more hope than had the son of an Athenian slave to be emancipated into that intellectual freedom of which great writings are born.

Arthur Quiller-Couch

Written by nevalalee

June 28, 2015 at 7:30 am

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