From The Dyer's Hand (1948) by W. H. Auden: "There is nothing a would-be poet knows he has to know."
How true. He does speculate, however.
From The White Goddess (1948) by Robert Graves: Though recognized as a learned profession [poetry] is the only one for the study of which no academies are open and in which there is no yard-stick, however crude, by which technical proficiency is considered measurable."
From The Prelude (1805) by William Wordsworth: "Our daily meals were frugal, Sabine fare!"
I would like this poem better if it had less boasting.
From a New York Review of Books review of Duke Ellington's America (2010) by Harvey G. Cohen: "'The ear cats loved what the schooled cats did,' [Ellington] wrote, 'and the schooled cats, with fascination, would try what the ear cats were doing.'"
After much thought, I've decided that, as a musician, I'm a schooled cat and, as a poet, I'm an ear cat.
From Moby-Dick (1851) by Herman Melville: "But as the mind does not exist unless leagued with the soul, therefore it must have been that, in Ahab's case, yielding up all his thoughts and fancies to his one supreme purpose; that purpose, by its own sheer inveteracy of will, forced itself against gods and devils into a kind of self-assumed, independent being of its own."
The mind does not exist unless leagued with the soul?
From Villette (1853) by Charlotte Bronte: "It will be conjectured that I was of course glad to return to the bosom of my kindred. Well! the amiable conjecture does no harm, and may therefore be safely left uncontradicted. Far from saying nay, indeed, I will permit the reader to picture me, for the next eight years, as a bark slumbering through halcyon weather, in a harbour still as glass--the steersman stretched on the little deck, his face up to heaven, his eyes closed: buried, if you will, in a long prayer. A great many women and girls are supposed to pass their lives something in that fashion; why not I with the rest?"
Sigh. Or maybe Ouch.