THE CRITIC 165 �have been nothing of unreason in rebutting the charge as urged either against Mr. Longfellow, Mr. Aldrich, or Mr. Hood, by the proposition that no true poet can be guilty of a meanness that the converse of the pro- position is a contradiction in terms. Should there be found any one willing to dispute with me this point, I would decline the disputation on the ground that my arguments are no arguments to him. �It appears to me that what seems to be the gross inconsistency of plagiarism as perpetrated by a poet, is very easily thus resolved: the poetic sentiment (even without reference to the poetic power) implies a peculiarly, perhaps abnormally keen appreciation of the beautiful, with a longing for its assimilation, or ab- sorption, into poetic identity. What the poet intensely admires, becomes thus, in very fact, although only par- tially, a portion of his own intellect. It has secondary origination within his own soul an origination al- together apart, although springing from its primary origination from without. The poet is thus possessed by another's thought, and cannot be said to take of it, possession. But, in either view, he thoroughly feels it as his own and this feeling is counteracted only by the sensible presence of its true, palpable origin in the volume from which he has derived it an origin which, in the long lapse of years it is almost impossible not to forget for in the meantime the thought itself is forgotten. But the frailest association will regen- erate it it springs up with all the vigor of a new birth its absolute originality is not even a matter of suspicion and when the poet has written it and printed it, and on its account is charged with plagiar- ism, there will be no one in the world more* entirely ��� �
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