One of the surest tests [of the superiority or inferiority of a poet] is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest.
Eliot, T.S., “Philip Massinger,” The Sacred Wood, New York: Bartleby.com, 2000.
Good Poets Borrow, Great Poets Steal… | Protect | and | Leverage