Summary and Analysis of The Poet Glossary


Apollo In Greek mythology, the god of poetry, prophecy, music, healing, and light.

Orpheus A legendary Greek poet and lyre player, he attempted to free his wife, Eurydice, from the Underworld by using his music to charm Hades, king of the Underworld.

Empedocles Fifth-century B.C. Greek philosopher and statesman.

Heraclitus The sixth-century B.C. Greek philosopher who claimed that strife and change are natural conditions of the universe.

Plato (c. 427-347 B.C.) A Greek philosopher, he formulated the philosophy of idealism, which holds that the concepts or ideas of things are more perfect — and, therefore, more real — than the material things themselves.

Plutarch (c. 46-120) Greek biographer; his Parallel Lives was a source for much of English literature, including several of Shakespeare's plays.

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet renowned for The Divine Comedy, completed in 1321.

Swedenborg, Emanuel (1688-1772) A Swedish scientist, mystic, and philosopher, he insisted that the scriptures are the immediate word of God; his teachings became the nucleus of the Church of the New Jerusalem.

Homer The eighth-century B.C. reputed author of the earliest surviving epic poems in the European tradition, the Iliad and the Odyssey.

Agamemnon In Greek mythology, the leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War; he was killed by his wife, Clytemnestra.

doctor In the Latin sense, "a teacher."

Chimborazo An inactive volcano in Ecuador.

oracles In the classical Greek tradition, oracles were prophetic voices or persons who could foretell the future but did so in ways that were generally impossible for listeners to interpret.

ocular All-seeing.

Jamblichus (fourth century B.C.) Syrian philosopher.

Spenser, Edmund (1552-99) The English poet whose best-known work is The Faerie Queene.

Proclus (d. 485) Greek philosopher.

See the great ball which they roll from Baltimore to Bunker Hill A political stunt used by the Whigs in the 1840 American presidential campaign to illustrate their growing majority.

Lowell goes in a loom, and Lynn in a shoe, and Salem in a ship Three cities in Massachusetts known for their individual industries: textile manufacturing, shoe making, and shipping, respectively.

Chatham, First Earl of (1708-78) More widely known as Willim Pitt the Elder, he supported the American colonists' bid for independence in the British Parliament.

Bailey's Dictionary Officially known as the Universal Etymological English Dictionary, compiled in 1721 by Nathaniel Bailey (d. 1742).

Vulcan In Roman mythology, the god of fire and metal-working.

Lyncaeus In Greek mythology, Lyncaeus was the keenest-sighted crewman on the ship Argo, which Jason and his fellow Argonauts sailed in search of the Golden Fleece.

agaric A form of fungi, including many edible mushrooms.

Phosphorus In Greek mythology, the god representing the morning star, or morning light.

alter idem Latin, meaning "the same, but somehow different"; in another reality.

Milton, John (1608-74) The English poet renowned for his religious epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), which sought to "justify the ways of God to men."

tropes literary devices that use words in non-literal ways, such as irony or metaphor.

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) A Greek philosopher who once studied with Plato, Aristotle advocated moderate behavior and the use of logic as the proper tool of investigation.

Vitruvius First-century B.C. Roman architect.

Socrates (d. 399 B.C.) The Greek philosopher who initiated a question-and-answer method of teaching — called the Socratic method — as a means of achieving self-knowledge; opponents of Socrates' method felt that he was undermining the authority of the state by teaching youths to question received knowledge. He was brought to trial, convicted of corrupting youth, and condemned to die; he carried out the sentence by drinking poison.

Charmides . . . Timaeus Two dialogues written by Plato.

Chapman, George (d. 1634) An English poet and dramatist noted for his translations of Homer.

Pythagoras (sixth century B.C.) Greek philosopher; considered to be the first true mathematician.

Paracelsus, Philippus (1493-1541) A German physician and alchemist, he introduced the concept of disease to medicine.

Agrippa, Cornelius (1486-1535) German physician.

Cardano, Girolamo (1501-76) Italian mathematician.

Kepler, Johann (1571-1630) The German astronomer who clarified the theory that the planets revolve around the sun.

Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von (1775-1854) German philosopher. Oken, Lorenz (1779-1851) German naturalist. mesmerism hypnotism. Behmen, Jacob (1575-1624) German mystic.

Brahmins Members of the cultural and social elite in India.

Calvinism A Christian theological perspective associated with the work of John Calvin, who advocated the final authority of the Bible and salvation by grace alone.

Methodism Founded by John Wesley (1703-91), Charles Wesley (1707-88), and others in England during the early 1700s, this Protestant religion emphasized doctrines of free grace and individual responsibility.

Unitarianism A form of Christianity that asserts that God is one person, the Father, rather than the three-in-one person as the doctrine of the Trinity asserts; Unitarians are confident in an individual's rational abilities for moral self-guidance.

Troy An ancient city in Asia Minor and the site of the Trojan War.

the temple of Delphi The Greek temple in the town of Delphi that was the home of the Delphic prophets and the oracle of Apollo.

logrolling Exchanging political favors.

stumps The name given to political speakers who employed the practice of addressing audiences from anywhere, including standing on the tops of tree stumps.

boats Boasts.

pusillanimity Cowardice.

Chalmers, Alexander (1759-1834) A Scottish biographer, he compiled the thirty-two volume British Biographical Dictionary.

ichor In Greek mythology, the heavenly fluid that flows through the veins of Greek gods.

Raphael (1483-1520) Italian painter.