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Literary Quotes: Newtonian Influence? Pre-May Seminar February 28, 2011 John Dryden (1631-1700) Mere poets are sottish as mere drunkards are, who live in a continual mist, without seeing or judging anything clearly. A man should be learned in several sciences, and should have a reasonable, philosophical and in some measure a mathematical head, to be a complete and excellent poet. Le Bovier de Fontenelle (1657-1757) The geometrical spirit is not so attached to geometry that it cannot be carried over to other knowledge as well. A work of ethics, of politics, of criticism, perhaps even of eloquence will be better, all things being equal, if it is made by the hand of a mathematician. The order, clarity, precision, and exactitude which have reigned in the better works recently, can well have had their first source in this geometrical spirit which extends itself more than ever and which in some fashion communicates itself even to those who have no knowledge of geometry.—On the Utility of Mathematics and Physics, 1699. Alexander Pope (1688-1744) Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night: God said, "Let Newton be!" and all was light. Joshua Reynolds: Seven Discourses on Art We may let pass those things which are at once subjects of taste and sense, and which having as much certainty as the senses themselves, give no occasion to inquiry or dispute. The natural appetite or taste of the human mind is for truth; whether that truth results from the real agreement or equality of original ideas among themselves; from the agreement of the representation of any object with the thing represented; or from the correspondence of the several parts of any arrangement with each other. It is the very same taste which relishes a demonstration in geometry, that is pleased with the resemblance of a picture to an original, and touched with the harmony of music. Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) All these have unalterable and fixed foundations in nature, and are therefore equally investigated by reason, and known by study; some with more, some with less clearness, but all exactly in the same way. A picture that is unlike, is false. Disproportionate ordinance of parts is not right because it cannot be true until it ceases to be a contradiction to assert that the parts have no relation to the whole. Colouring is true where it is naturally adapted to the eye, from brightness, from softness, from harmony, from resemblance; because these agree with their object, nature, and therefore are true: as true as mathematical demonstration; but known to be true only to those who study these things. William Wordsworth (1771-1850) True is it Nature hides Her treasures less and less.--Man now presides In power, where once he trembled in his weakness; Science advances with gigantic strides; But are we aught enriched in love and meekness? William Wordsworth The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon, The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers, For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.