Poetry is at the heart of human nature and civilization. When one looks back over the history of civilization, it is often accompanied by, or begins with, poetry. The very apogee of the civilization in question inevitably converges with the age of poetic acme. Indeed, the very ascent of civilization and the spiritual vitality that accompanies civilization always stands alongside the poetry which inspired grand visions and the eloquence of language which the soul ascends to.
The rise of Hellenic civilization began not with Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle, but with Hesiod, Homer, and Sappho. What of the glory of Rome? Though not a poet, per se, Cicero’s language stands unrivaled and makes him a spiritual poet, or a politician and philosopher of poetic verse one could say. Nevertheless, it is often to the poets Virgil, Ovid, Horace, and Statius where people point to when considering the grandeur of that city which once took the world captive. The “golden age” of Rome was preceded by the Golden Age of Latin literature, just as the golden age of Greece was preceded by the ingenuity of the Greek poets and playwrights.
Likewise, the rise of the splendor of English civilization is found in Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton instead of Hobbes, Locke, or Mill. The revival of English high culture and civilization from the ruins of the late Enlightenment and Napoleonic Wars began with the explosion of romantic and Gothic literature and poetry by such names as Jane Austen, Lord Byron, and Charles Dickens, not to mention Wordsworth and Coleridge, among others. Their gifts are for the whole world and continue to move the soul long after their deaths.