previous next
“ [36] ideas come as they will, I don't know how, in a stream.... If I can hold on to them, they begin to join on to one another, as if they were bits that a pastry cook should join on in his pantry. And now my soul gets heated, and if nothing disturbs me the piece grows larger and brighter, until, however long it is, it is all finished at once, so that I can see it at a glance.” In both arts, therefore, there occurs something which it is hardly extravagant to call inspiration, or direct inflow from some fountain unknown, and lying wholly outside of all science. There is absolutely no point at which science can even begin to investigate it, because the first essential of scientific observation — the recurrence of similar phenomena under similar conditions — is wanting. Coleridge's poem of “Kubla Khan” was left hopelessly a fragment by the inconvenient arrival of a man from Porlock; but there is no ray of evidence that its continuation could have been secured by placing Coleridge, at the same hour next day, before the same table, with the same pens and paper, and planting a piece of artillery before the front door to compel every resident of Porlock to keep his distance.

We have now the key to that atrophy on

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Coleridge (2)
Kubla Khan (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: