"A Good Poet's Made, As Well As Born"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: From the time of Horace's Art of Poetry of the first century B.C. to Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), whom Samuel Putnam quotes in Paris Was Our Mistress (1947) as saying: "Easy writing makes hard reading," writers have known that it takes more than inspiration to make a great poet. Hard work is also necessary. Jonson, in contributing to the First Folio edition of Shakespeare's plays a dedicatory poem with the long title "To the Memory of my Beloved, the Author, William Shakespeare," says:

. . . He
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat
(Such as these are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muses' anvil; turn the same,
(And himself with it) that he thinks to frame;
Or for the laurel, he may gain a scorn,
For a good poet's made, as well as born.