Watts’s devotion to the aesthetics of the sublime went further than paying lip-service to a theory of divine poetry. It helped to consummate those factors which, in the poetry of More and Norris, were reflecting the modern consciousness and contributing to the disappearance of any living Metaphysical tradition. In Watts’s poetry these various factors — a desire for expressionism, an interest in the aesthetics of infinity, a cultivation of Platonic rhapsody, an assertion of introspective egotism and a taste for the prospect poem — come together and are seen to be connected. Many of these factors are aesthetic expressions of aspects of the Enlightenment mind, and it is not surprising that they should be found together in the work of one whose thought so faithfully reflects the nature of the English Enlightenment.


Cartesian Dualism Metaphysical Tradition Philosophical Truth 18th Century Philosophy Enlightenment Mind 
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  1. 9.
    Casimire Sarbiewski (1595–1640), a Polish Jesuit, published his neo-latin Horadan odes and biblical paraphrases in 1625 and 1628. English versions include those of G. Hils (1616), Henry Vaughan ( 1651 ), Cowley, Norris, Watts, and John Hughes (1720).Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    Hermes Trismegistus, Hermetica, ed. Walter Scott (4 vols.; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924 ).Google Scholar
  3. 49.
    Thomas Burnet, The Theory of the Earth (1684), 3rd ed. 1697, quoted in Rostvig, II, 35.Google Scholar

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© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1971

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  • John Hoyles

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