Of fools and poets ii

The range of jesterly skills included the capacity to versify, at least in improvising witty ditties, and there are instances of a court poet having something of the jester’s role.

In some cases, such as in China, jesters were able to write poems which passed muster in a court context where poetry was highly prized.  On one occasion, the jester Adding Clarity Li even made up a poem to shame the emperor.

The connection between poets and fools is found in various European contexts, including this quirky quest in search of England’s greatest fool.  And here we see it mentioned by Gabriel Hécart, himself a poet, suggesting that poets are fools or simply crazy:

Ne dit-on pas que les poètes sont fous?


Is it not said that poets are fools?

Source: Gabriel Antoine Joseph Hécart, Stultitiana ou Petite Biographie des Fous de la Ville de Valenciennes (1823), p. 14

Image credit: Ángel Zárraga, ‘The Poet’ (1917), courtesy of Collecion Blaisten, Mexico


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