Poems of the Past and the Present
he meant to press on from where he left off with Jude the Obscure, as his note of 17 October 1896 shows (Life, 284–5):
if what distinguishes the greatest poets is their powerful and profound application of ideas to life, which surely no good critic will deny,§
Poetry. Perhaps I can express more fully in verse ideas and emotions which run counter to the inert crystallized opinion - hard as a rock - which the vast body of men have vested interests in supporting. To cry out in a passionate poem that (for instance) the Supreme Mover or Movers, the Prime Force or Forces, must be either limited in power, unknowing, or crud - which is obvious enough, and has been for centuries — will cause them merely a shake of the head; but to put it in argumentative prose will make them sneer, or foam, and set all the literary contortionists jumping upon me, a harmless agnostic, as if I were a clamorous atheist, which in their crass illiteracy they seem to think is the same thing …. If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the Inquisition might have let him alone.
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