‘Could a rule be given from without, poetry would cease to be poetry, and sink into a mechanical art. It would be μóρφωσις, not ποίησις. The rules of the IMAGINATION are themselves the very powers of growth and production. The words to which they are reducible, present only the outlines and external appearance of the fruit. A deceptive counterfeit of the superficial form and colours may be elaborated; but the marble peach feels cold and heavy, and children only put it to their mouths.’ [Coleridge, Biographia ch. 18]

‘ποίησις’ (poiēsis) means ‘a making, a creation, a production’ and is used of poetry in Aristotle and Plato. ‘μóρφωσις’ (morphōsis) in essence means the same thing: ‘a shaping, a bringing into shape.’ But Coleridge has in mind the New Testament use of the word as ‘semblance’ or ‘outward appearance’, which the KJV translates as ‘form’: ‘An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form [μóρφωσις] of knowledge and of the truth in the law’ [Romans 2:20]; ‘Having a form [μóρφωσις] of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away’ [2 Timothy 3:5]. I trust that's clear.

There is much more on Coleridge at my other, Coleridgean blog.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Early Experiments with Electricity

It was in the year 1746 that those celebrated experiments were made by Muschenbroek, Cuneus, and Kleist. ... one of the party who was holding the bottle attempted to disengage the wire communicating with the prime conductor of a powerful machine; the consequence was, that he received a shock, which ... his fright magnified and exaggerated in an amusing manner. In describing the effect produced on himself by taking the shock from a thin glass bowl, Muschenbroek stated in a letter to Réaumer, that "he felt himself struck in his arms, shoulders, and breast, so that he lost his breath, and was two days before he recovered from the effects of the blow and the terror," adding, "he would not take a second shock for the kingdom of France." M. Allamand, on taking a shock, declared "that he lost the use of his breath for some minutes, and then felt so intense a pain along his right arm, that he feared permanent injury from it." Winkler stated that the first time he underwent the experiment, "he suffered great convulsions through his body; that it put his blood into agitation; that he feared an ardent fever, and was obliged to have recourse to cooling medicines." The lady of this professor took the shock twice, and was rendered so weak by it, that she could hardly walk. The third time it gave her bleeding at the nose.
From Henry Minchin Noad, Lectures on Electricity (1844).

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