How, according to Sydney, is a poet superior to a philosopher?

Introduction: Sir Philip Sydney is a critic poet who established the superiority of the poet and shown that poets are superior than the philosopher and historians. In “Apology for Poetry “Sydney has defended the poets from the attack of Puritan writers. Defending the poetry and poets Sydney has represented the outmost honor and respect to the poets.

Manner of teaching: According to Sydney, the manner of teaching is different both the poets and the historian and philosopher. History teaches us about the past event and the philosopher provided us the virtual fact. But the poet is supreme in his way of teaching. They provided the knowledge through delight. Sydney claims that philosopher makes his subject matter too difficult to understand. One must need an assistant to understand the philosophy. Poetry has a universal appeal and capacity to teach virtue. Sometimes poets have upheld popular philosophic statements and historic truth. Poets are capable to teach philosophy and history through their poetry so the superiority of poets are obtained by the poetry.

For conclusion I say the philosopher teacheth , but he teacheth obscurely, so as the learned only can understand him; that is to say, he teacheth them that are already taught

Source of knowledge: Poetry is the store house of knowledge. It is the great source of knowledge. According to Sydney, poets are the first light-giver to ignorant people he also informs that the development of other tough and rather the dull branches of knowledge has happened only through the delectable aid of poetry. In Greek mythology the Delphic oracle are delivered by verse. From this point of view, we can say in accordance with Sydney. Poetry is the more rectified branches of knowledge.

Read More: Discuss Sydney’s view on the antiquity and universality of poetry.

Power of imagination: Sydney utters that poetry is an art of imagination. Poetry is like all other arts imitates natural. For example, S.T. Coleridge’s poetry Kubla Khan is the great example of imagination of art. Throughout the poetry the poet has shown his power of imagination.

That imitation whereof poetry is hath the most conveniency to nature of all others

A gateway of creation: Poets are considered as the house of suggestive and philosophical view and poetry is a gateway of this house. Poets are more superior than the historians and the philosopher. The moral philosopher deals with natural virtues, vice and passion of man.  The historian deals with what man have done. But the poet is a maker, a creator in the real sense of term. So, while the other art is tied to nature the poet is not a slave to nature. He creates something new and new with a suggestive way.

Poetry is of all human learning the most ancient and of most fatherly antiquity as from whence other learnings have taken their beginnings

Supremacy of Excellence: Poetry is the supreme than all art exists in the human civilization. By creating a new and newer poetry the poets have shown their excellency to the art. In a wide range of poetry is dealt with philosophic morals. Sometimes poets deal with the historic allusion. Sydney probes that Poets are created the of their own supremacy and shown their own excellence.

Conclusion: In termination we may conclude that in his literary criticism Sydney established the superiority of the poet over the philosopher and the historian on the basis of the universality of poets.

To read more : What are the four objections raised against poetry in ‘An Apology for Poetry”?

Mottaleb Hossain
Mottaleb Hossain

This is Motaleb Hossain, working on studying, a researcher on English literature and Theology.

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