HIPPOLYTA, and PHILOSTRATE, with other
'Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers speak
More strange than true. I never may believe
These antique fables nor these fairy toys.
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
5Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact.
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold—
10That is the madman. The lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt.
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to Earth, from Earth to heaven.
And as imagination bodies forth
15The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
20It comprehends some bringer of that joy.
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigured so together,
25More witnesseth than fancy’s images
And grows to something of great constancy,
But, howsoever, strange and admirable.