Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
As imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name. (5.1.7-12).
This stanza taken from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream delightfully describes the romantic concept of imagination held by both Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and John Keats. For many Romantic writers imagination is creation: "...The living power and prime agent of all human perception, and is a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I am". According to this statement from Coleridge's, Biographia Literaria, the human imagination, at its highest level, inherits and maintains the divine creative endeavors of the Great I am of the Old Testament. Referenced by St. John makes in his gospel as the logos or Word, which he tells us was the common origin of human language and consciousness, as well as the world that contains them. Thus implying that the creative imagination can be applied not only to the creation and meditation of works of art, but also to the consideration of nature herself.
For Coleridge the imagination is just as poignant as a religious concept as a purely literary one. The same may be said of John Keats. In a letter to Benjamin Bailey he writes of imagination; "I am certain of nothing but of the holiness of the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination - what the imagination seizes as Beauty must be Truth - whether it existed before or not...The imagination may be compared to Adam's dream - he awoke and found it truth." This being a reference to the deep sleep that comes over Adam in which he dreams about Eve and awakes to find her created. Keats too references the bible in the existence of the imagination and its role as a creative power. He continues...