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16. So said he, and the barge with oar and sail moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan that, fluting a wild carol ere her death, ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood with swarthy webs. Long stood Sir Bedivere revolving many memories, till the hull looked one black dot against the verge of dawn, and on the mere the wailing died away.

17. At some lone homestead in the Cumner hills, where at her open door the housewife darns, thou hast been seen, or hanging on a gate to watch the threshers in the mossy barns. Children, who early range these slopes and late for cresses from the rills, have known thee eying, all an April-day, the springing pastures and the feeding kine; and marked thee, when the stars come out and shine, through the long dewy grass move slow away.

18. There is a stern round tower of other days, firm as a fortress, with its fence of stone, such as an army's baffled strength delays, standing with half its battlements alone, and with two thousand years of ivy grown, the garland of eternity, where wave the green leaves over all by time o'erthrown ;-what was this tower of strength? within its cave what treasure lay so locked, so hid?-A woman's grave.




The old-established division of the highest types of poetry is into epic, lyric, dramatic. This division is based on a very important difference of attitude towards human action. In epic and in the varieties akin to epic, the poet narrates: lyric expresses the feelings of the doer of the action, or of the sufferer, or of the spectator: in dramatic, the action is represented with appropriate speeches.

These varieties are often mixed. A play of Shakespeare's may contain the blank verse of the drama, and lyrical outbursts; with prose passages in addition.

EPIC. The epic deals with one great complex action-of national interest, for example, and with characters that are historic (or believed to be so) and grand. The epic must possess unity: i.e. nothing irrelevant to the action must appear. Necessary and interesting episodes may occur; but a series of episodes does not make an epic, even though the episodes centre round one hero. The style is elevated, and the verse long. The great epic of English is Milton's Paradise Lost. Old English has Beowulf. Works like Blackmore's Prince Arthur, Glover's Leonidas, and Wilkie's Epigoniad, hardly deserve mention.

ROMANTIC POEMS, OR ROMANCES. Compared with the epic, the romantic incidents are less credible, and may be incredible; the unity is less, the action is not so complex, the style is lower, and the verse, as a rule, shorter. Personal interest, also, predominates; and love often plays an important part. In Middle English we find King Horn, Havelok the Dane, King Alisaunder, Richard Cœur de Lion, Chaucer's Knight's Tale, and Barbour's Bruce. In modern days the chief romantic poems are Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel, Marmion, Lady of the Lake, Rokeby, Lord of the Isles. Others are Byron's Giaour, Corsair, Bride of Abydos; Moore's Lalla Rookh; Tennyson's Idylls of the King.

TALES, OR NARRATIVE POEMS. These are short narratives, chiefly of personal or domestic interest. The action is not great, nor are the actors grand. Examples are Chaucer: The Nun's Priest's Tale, and other of The Canterbury Tales; Gower: Confessio Amantis; Dryden: Fables; Burns: Tam o' Shanter; Keats: Isabella.

BALLADS. Popular ballads are short narrative poems, told in a simple, unconventional style, and usually in the ballad metre (see p. 302). They originated in a rude state of society and were intended to be sung. They were, for long, handed down by tradition, and in that process were naturally changed. The authors are unknown. English possesses many of these ballads; as the Robin Hood Cycle, Chevy Chace, The Nut Brown Maid, Sir Patrick Spens, Clerk Sanders, Tamlane, The Battle of Otterburn, Kinmont Willie, Edom o' Gordon.

Many ballads have been written in imitation of these; as Prior's Henry and Emma; Goldsmith's Edwin and Angelina; Cowper's John Gilpin; Coleridge's Ancient Mariner; Macaulay's Lays.

LYRIC. The lyric is the expression of the mind in an impassioned moment, and is rapid in movement. The subjects are such as love, devotion, patriotism, friendship. A lyric should express one emotional incident or situation. Lyrics are divided into odes, songs, elegies, sonnets.

ODE. The ode is an expression of intense, usually sublime, emotion. The verse is elaborate, and may be regular, i.e. with a definite arrangement of stanzas; or irregular, i.e. without definite arrangement. Examples are (1) Regular: Spenser's Epithalamium; Ben Jonson's To Himself; Milton's On the Morning of Christ's Nativity; Gray's Progress of Poesy, and Bard; Wordsworth's To Duty; Keats's On a Grecian Urn, and To a Nightingale ; Shelley's To the West Wind, To Liberty, and To a Skylark. (2) Irregular: Cowley's Pindarique Odes; Dryden's Alexander's Feast; Coleridge's Dejection; Wordsworth's Intimations of Immortality; Tennyson's Lotos-Eaters, and On the Death of the Duke of Wellington.

SONG. Compared with the ode, the song is less intense and sublime in feeling, less elaborate in form. Shakespeare has numerous songs in his dramas ("Who is Silvia ?" "Full fathom five," "Where the bee sucks," etc.). Other songwriters are Herrick, Lovelace, Suckling, Burns, Shelley, Scott, Tennyson.

Sacred lyrics-most of them intended for singing-are usually termed hymns. Of the hymn-writers, note Wesley, Cowper, Keble, Newman. The metrical psalms are sacred lyrics.

ELEGY. Originally a complaint, elegy is now usually restricted to a poem of lamentation for the death of someone, or of mournful reflections on the fact of death. Examples are Spenser's Astrophel, Ben Jonson's To the Memory of Shakespeare, Milton's Lycidas, Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard, Shelley's Adonais, Tennyson's In Memoriam, M. Arnold's Thyrsis.

SONNET. See pp. 300 sq., where the form of the sonnet is discussed and the chief writers of the sonnet are named. The sonnet is short-always fourteen iambic lines. It is complete in itself, and expresses in condensed manner one feeling. Compared with other lyrics, it is not so spontaneous; for the metre acts as a restraint on the emotion, especially in the strict form ; where the riming is intricate, and where there frequently occurs a division of the sense, as there always is of the metre. Besides expressing lyrical emotion, sonnets may be poems of reflection

or description. They are sometimes arranged in a series or sequence; as Shakespeare's. Each sonnet then deals with some distinct part of a general theme.

In the following sonnet, Wordsworth has compressed the history of the sonnet to the days of Milton:

"Scorn not the sonnet: Critic, you have frowned,
Mindless of its just honours! With this key
Shakespeare unlocked his heart; the melody
Of this small lute gave ease to Petrarch's wound;
A thousand times this pipe did Tasso sound;
With it Camöens soothed an exile's grief;
The Sonnet glittered a gay myrtle leaf
Amid the cypress with which Dante crowned

His visionary brow; a glow-worm lamp,

It cheered mild Spenser, called from Faery-land

To struggle through dark ways; and, when a damp

Fell round the path of Milton, in his hand

The thing became a trumpet, whence he blew

Soul-animating strains--alas! too few."

DRAMA. Scenes of life are imitated by acting and speaking, and are performed before spectators. The literature forming the text for the performance is called a drama.

TRAGEDY. When the drama represents an action which ends in disaster, it is a tragedy. Such are Marlowe's Doctor Faustus; Shakespeare's Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Coriolanus, Antony and Cleopatra; Ben Jonson's Sejanus, Catiline.

COMEDY. A drama ending happily is a comedy. In some comedies the happiness throughout the play is mixed with little or no unhappiness; as in Shakespeare's As You Like It, Midsummer Night's Dream, Merry Wives of Windsor, Twelfth Night. In others there may be much seriousness, approaching even to tragedy; as in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, and Measure for Measure. These are sometimes called tragi-comedy.

HISTORICAL PLAYS. A portion of history dramatised, with or without the addition of fictitious persons or incidents, is an historical play; as Marlowe's EdwardII.; Shakespeare's Henry IV., Henry V., Henry VI.

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