Elizabeth Barrett Browning in one of her less-quoted Sonnets from the Portuguese (XXXII) modestly describes herself as " ... more like an out-of-tune / Worn viol, a good singer would be wroth / To spoil his song with, and which, snatched in haste, / Is laid down at the first ill-sounding note." But she then turns the image around and apologizes for not realizing that " ... perfect strains may float / 'Neath master-hands, from instruments defaced ...."
In plain language, the poet is saying that great skill shows itself in calling forth beauty from modest, imperfect materials. Similarly, great thought can emerge from rough, incomplete, confused experience --- if we can see through the distractions and ephemera to recognize underlying ideals and pure concepts.
Tuesday, June 22, 1999 at 05:56:04 (EDT) = Datetag19990622