Nor does our Poet, unless he be a charlatan, pretend to bring home some hieratic message above the understanding of his fellows: for he is an interpreter, and the interpreter’s success depends upon hitting his hearer’s intelligence. Failing that, he misses everything and is null. To put it another way—at the base of all Literature, of all Poetry, as of all Theology, stands one rock: the very highest Universal Truth is something so absolutely simple that a child can understand it. This is what Emerson means when he tells us that the great writers never seem to condescend...
The message, then, which one Poet brings home, is no esoteric one: as Johnson said of Gray’s Elegy, “it abounds with images which find a mirror in every mind, and with sentiments to which every bosom returns an echo.” It exalts us through the best in us, by telling it, not as anything new or strange, but so as we recognize it.
—Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch (pen name ‘Q’), “Poetry”