The poet is the Namer or Language-maker naming things
sometimes after their appearance, sometimes after their essence,
and giving to every one its own name and not another´s. The poets
made all the words, and therefore language is the archives of history,
and, if we must say it, a sort of tomb of the Muses. For though the
origin of most of our words is forgotten, each word was first a stroke
of genius, and obtained currency because for the moment it symbolized
the world to the first speaker and to the hearer. The etymologist finds
the deadest word to have been once a brilliant picture….
Language is fossil poetry. As the limestone of the continent
consists of infinite masses of shells of animalcules, so language
is made up of images or tropes, which now, in their secondary use,
have long ceased to remind us of their poetic origin. But the poet
names the thing because he sees it….
Ralph Waldo Emerson