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Wisdoms of the Poets

Some truly profound poetic insights




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Human Spirituality, although elusive of our full knowledge, seems to have "Islands of Certainty" that are well known to its most experienced and intrepid voyagers.

The profoundly impact-FULL quotations set out below will hopefully persuade that many quotations from the supreme Poets actually recognise the significance of numerous, and identifiable, "Aspects of Spirituality and of Being".


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Some famous, inspirational and familiar
quotations and quotes showing
the Wisdom of the Poets


  Several famous quotations about ~

A Disdain for Material Things



  All the world's a stage
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,-
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then the whining School-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like a furnace, with a woful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard;
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble Reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the Justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin'd
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances,-
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd Pantaloon,
With spectacle on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose well sav'd, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans ‐ everything.

William Shakespeare



  The glories of our church and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings.

James Shirley



  Poor and content is rich, and rich enough.

William Shakespeare



  The loss of wealth is loss of dirt,
As sages in all times assert;
The happy man's without a shirt

John Heywood



  Lord of himself, though not of lands;
And having nothing, yet hath all.

Sir Henry Wotton




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  Several familiar quotations about -

A Distrust of Intellect



  O for a life of sensations rather than thoughts.

John Keats



  What the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth.

John Keats



  The intellectual power, through words and things,
Went sounding on, a dim and perilous way!

William Wordsworth



  Errors like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls must dive below.

John Dryden



  Into the eye and prospect of his soul.

William Shakespeare



  Here the heart
May give a useful lesson to the head,
And learning wiser grow without his books

William Cowper




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  Two insight-full quotations which suggest that -

Poetical Insights are possible!



  God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;

William Butler Yeats



  It is a secret which every intellectual man quickly learns, that, beyond the energy of his possessed and conscious intellect, he is capable of a new energy (as of an intellect doubled on itself), by abandonment to the nature of things; that, beside his privacy of power as an individual man, there is a great public power, on which he can draw, by unlocking, at all risks, his human doors, and suffering the ethereal tides to roll and circulate through him: then he is caught up into the life of the Universe, his speech is thunder, his thought is law, and his words are universally intelligible...

Ralph Waldo Emerson




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  Several inspirational quotes about -

Charity



  Poets are all who love, who feel great truths,
and tell them: and the truth of truths is love.

Philip James Bailey

  All love is sweet,
Given or returned. Common as light is love,
And its familiar voice wearies not ever


They who inspire it most are fortunate
As I am now; but those who feel it most
Are happier still.

Percy Bysshe Shelley



  That best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love.

William Wordsworth



  He hath a tear for pity, and a hand
Open as day for melting charity

William Shakespeare




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  Several famous quotations about -

Purity of Heart



  Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind:
The thief doth fear each bush an officer.

William Shakespeare



  My conscience hath a thousand several tongues
And every tongue brings in a several tale
And every tale condemns me for a villain

William Shakespeare



  A peace above all earthly dignities,
A still and quiet conscience.

William Shakespeare



  O! while you live, tell the truth,
And shame the devil!

William Shakespeare



  What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted!
Thrice is he armed that has his quarrel just,
And he but naked, though locked up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted

William Shakespeare



  There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats;
For I am armed so strong in honesty
That they pass by me as the idle wind,
Which I respect not.

William Shakespeare



  Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful.

William Shakespeare




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  Several familiar quotations about -

Humility


  The best of men
That e'er wore earth about him, was a sufferer,
A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit,
The first true gentleman that ever breathed.

Thomas Dekker



  Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.

Alexander Pope



  I charge thee, fling away ambition
By that sin fell the angels. How can man then,
The image of his maker hope to win by it ?
Love thyself last: cherish those hearts that hate thee;
Corruption wins not more than honesty
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues: be just, and fear not.
Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's,
Thy God's and truth's

William Shakespeare




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  Several inspirational quotes about -

Meekness



  Thy steady temper, Portius,
Can look on guilt, rebellion, fraud, and Caesar,
In the calm lights of mild philosophy.

Joseph Addison



  Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice,
And could of men distinguish her election,
Sh'hath sealed thee for herself, for thou hast been
As one in suff'ring all that suffers nothing,
A man that Fortune's buffets and rewards
Hast ta'en with equal thanks; and blest are those
Whose blood and judgement are so well co-medled,
That they are not a pipe for Fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please: give me that man
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
In my heart's core, ay in my heart of heart,
As I do thee.

William Shakespeare




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Many of our visitors seem to find the content of one of our pages -


Which is about Human Nature, (and 'Very Possibly' related matters)


- to be particularly fascinating!!!


There's neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee.
William Shakespeare

"…can we possibly refuse to admit that there exist in each of us the same generic parts and characteristics as are found in the state? For I presume the state has not received them from any other source. It would be ridiculous to imagine that the presence of the spirited element in cities is not to be traced to individuals, wherever this character is imputed to the people, as it is to the natives of Thrace, and Scythia, and generally speaking, of the northern countries; or the love of knowledge, which would be chiefly attributed to our own country; or the love of riches, which people would especially connect with the Phoenicians and the Egyptians.
From Plato's most famous work ~ The Republic ~ detailing conversations entered into by his friend, and teacher, Socrates


Please click for more detail . . .




Pythagoras was a prominent figure in the intellectual life of the Greek world of the sixth century B.C.
Alongside his genuine contributions to mathematics and geometry Pythogoras is also considered to have recognised that there was evidently a "Tripartite" complexity to Human Nature:-
 Pythagoras who, according to Heraclides of Pontus, the pupil of Plato and a learned man of the first rank, came, the story goes, to Philus and with a wealth of learning and words discussed certain subjects with Leon the ruler of the Philasians. And Leon after wondering at his talent and eloquence asked him to name the art in which he put most reliance. But Pythagoras said that for his part he had no acquaintance with any art, but was a philosopher. Leon was astonished at the novelty of the term and asked who philosophers were and in what they differed from the rest of the world.

 Pythagoras, the story continues, replied that the life of man seemed to him to resemble the festival which was celebrated with most magnificent games before a concourse collected from the whole of Greece. For at this festival some men whose bodies had been trained sought to win the glorious distinction of a crown, others were attracted by the prospect of making gains by buying or selling, whilst there was on the other hand a certain class, and that quite the best class of free-born men, who looked neither for applause no gain, but came for the sake of the spectacle and closely watched what was done and how it was done: So also we, as though we had come from some city to a kind of crowded festival, leaving in like fashion another life and nature of being, entered upon this life, and some were slaves of ambition, some of money; there were a special few who, counting all else as nothing, ardently contemplated the nature of things. These men he would call "lovers of wisdom" (for that is the meaning of the word philo-sopher).


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In all districts of all lands, in all the classes of communities thousands of minds are intently occupied, the merchant in his compting house, the mechanist over his plans, the statesman at his map, his treaty, & his tariff, the scholar in the skilful history & eloquence of antiquity, each stung to the quick with the desire of exalting himself to a hasty & yet unfound height above the level of his peers. Each is absorbed in the prospect of good accruing to himself but each is no less contributing to the utmost of his ability to fix & adorn human civilization.
In William H. Gilman (ed.) The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, vol II, 1822-1826, 305


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In what is perhaps Ralph Waldo Emerson's most famous essay - 'History' - we read such things as:-
… There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same. He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato has thought, he may think; what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any time has be-fallen any man, he can understand. Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent.

Of the works of this mind history is the record. Its genius is illustrated by the entire series of days. Man is explicable by nothing less than all his history. Without hurry, without rest, the human spirit goes forth from the beginning to embody every faculty, every thought, every emotion, which belongs to it in appropriate events. But the thought is always prior to the fact; all the facts of history preexist in the mind as laws. Each law in turn is made by circumstances predominant, and the limits of nature give power to but one at a time. …

… We are always coming up with the emphatic facts of history in our private experience, and verifying them here. All history becomes subjective; in other words, there is properly no history; only biography. Every mind must know the whole lesson for itself, -- must go over the whole ground. What it does not see, what it does not live, it will not know. …

… In old Rome the public roads beginning at the Forum proceeded north, south, east, west, to the centre of every province of the empire, making each market-town of Persia, Spain, and Britain pervious to the soldiers of the capital: so out of the human heart go, as it were, highways to the heart of every object in nature, to reduce it under the dominion of man. A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and fruitage is the world. His faculties refer to natures out of him, and predict the world he is to inhabit, as the fins of the fish foreshow that water exists, or the wings of an eagle in the egg presuppose air. He cannot live without a world. …


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"History is for human self-knowledge ... the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is."
R. G. Collingwood


To access our page about Human Nature, (and 'Very Possibly' related matters), - please click here:-


Human Nature (and the Courses of History?)




  An inspirational quote about -

Communion with God



  I would think - I would feel. I would be the vehicle of that divine principle that lurks within & of which life has afforded only glimpses enough to assure me of its being.

Ralph Waldo Emerson ~ Journal entry of July 14, 1832




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Links to our series of Spiritual And Poetical Wisdoms pages are available a little further down this page.

As can be seen from the many impact-FULL quotations, on our "Central" mysticism insights page the True Mystics - be they Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Taoists, or whatever - all seem to recognise these very same "aspects of spirituality", (i.e. Charity, Humility etc.), as being of an Utmost Significance.

There are however slight differences between the Wisdoms of the Poets and the Wisdoms identified by the Mystics.
These differences in recognition, and emphasis, between "poetic insights" and "spiritual insights" are perhaps more evident in relation to those insights considered on our "Other" insights pages than on the "Central" insights pages.