Society & Culture & Entertainment Education

Sir Philip Sidney on Why Poets are Better than Historians

The historian, laden with old mouse-eaten records, authorizing himself (for the most part) upon other histories, whose greatest authorities are built upon the notable foundation of hearsay; having much ado to accord differing writers and to pick truth out of partiality; better acquainted with a thousand years ago than with the present age, and yet better knowing how this world goeth than how his own wit runneth; curious for antiquities and inquisitive of novelties; a wonder to young folks and a tyrant in table talk; denieth, in a great chafe, that any man for teaching of virtue, and virtuous actions, is comparable to him.

Sir Philip Sidney. 1595. An apology for poetry.

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