Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"A God's Inside Me": Poetry, Prophecy, Inspiration

Inspired poets' predictions do not fail of fulfillment:
a new laurel-wreath for Jove while the first's still green!
These are now my words you read (I'm away on the Danube,
its waters drink for the ill-pacified Goths):
no, this is the voice of a god, a god's inside me,
it's a god that makes me predict and prophesy!
(Ovid, Black Sea Letters III.4.89-94)

Ovid claims a very literal sense. A spirit is in him, a god's inside him. The god possesses him. Poetic inspiration and prophetic inspiration are inseparable: each divinely inspired, each folding into one another. Inspired speech is heightened speech, poetic speech. They flow from the same source: Apollo.

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