I never was attached to that great sect,
Whose doctrine is, that each one should select
Out of the crowd a mistress or a friend,
And all the rest, though fair and wise, commend
To cold oblivion, though it is the code
Of modern morals, and the beaten road
Which those poor slaves with weary footsteps tread,
By the broad highway of the world, and so
With one chained friend, perhaps a jealous foe,
The dreariest and the longest journey go.
Note: I've been reading David Lehman's The State of the Art. This poem was discussed in the chapter titled 2013 with the subtitle, "It was his poetry that kept him going." It begins with the sentence: "Shelley's 'Defense of Poetry' (1821) culminates in an assertion of poetry as a source not only of knowledge but of power.
I've been thinking about that. Poetry, a source of power.