Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Heinrich Heine on Nature and Poetry

"Like a good poet, nature does not like abrupt transitions. The clouds, as bizarre as they sometimes appeared to be shaped, have a white or at least a soft tint that corresponds harmoniously with the blue sky and the green earth, so that all the colors of a region melt into one another like gentle music, and every view of nature has the effect of quieting pain and calming the spirit. [...] Just like a great poet, nature knows how to produce the greatest effects with the fewest means. It has only a sun, trees, flowers, water, and love. To be sure, if the last is lacking in the heart of the observer, the whole view will probably seem to be a poor one; the sun is then only so-and-so many miles in diameter, the trees are good for kindling, the flowers are classified by their stamens, and water is wet."

-- from The Hartz Journey, The German Library 32, pg. 125
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