Quotation by Leo Stein

I know of only one mystical poem that is satisfactorily successful, The Obscure Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross. In that amazing poem, what is said counts for almost nothing, but is sublimated into the purposed significance. The artist does not intend to go so far as that, but in seeking an incorruptible unity, he is always something of a mystic. Unlike the mystic, he clings to the world of things, though he transmutes it. He can never say the whole of what he means, but the mystic cannot say at all what he means; for his meaning is something singular and indivisible, something absolute in its inexpressibility. The simple lover in Cyrano can only say "I love you," but the poet Cyrano can say the same thing in a hundred elaborate ways.
Leo Stein (1872–1947), U.S. art critic. Appreciation: Painting, Poetry, & Prose, ch. 2, Crown (1947).
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