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than those other refinements of taste which study and practice can communicate ; yet is it a desideratum the importance of which cannot be overestimated. It imparts freshness, enlivens the subject, and checks that insipidity of speech which the educated ear rejects, as alike painful to the hearer and prejudicial to the speaker.
POETICAL DELIVERY. What constitutes poetry? Elevation of sentiment, originality of conception, concentration of thought, clothed in proportionally precise and glowing language—“ words that glow, and thoughts that burn”.
-are some of its distinctive features. Where there is no peculiar reach of thought, where the ideas are trite and commonplace, however sensible in themselves and grammatically expressed, there is no genuine poetry. The writer who chooses to express such sentiments in the measured quantities of verse, commits an egregious error, inasmuch as he dresses them in an attire to which they have no natural alliance. Mere versification is not poetry, neither is it strictly essential to poetry; notwithstanding that the world has been so accustomed to hear mere versification so denominated, while destitute of the qualities essential to the art, that the two terms have become nearly synonymous. Who has not detected, in the countless attempts ever issuing from the press, a frequent absence of the poetic talent,—little originality,—none of that concentration of sense which Shakspeare has characterised as the soul of wit ; but, in place of these, a commonness of idea and tameness of flight, as if the wing on which it rose had been lamed in its progress ? All such ordinary level of thought and illustration would better suit the simpler arrangements of unassuming prose, than the higher pretensions of verse.
Since it is mind, then-the inventive faculty —that forms the essential feature of poetry, it is clear there may be found much poetry in prose. The writings of Ossian are equal, in fertility of imagination and power of description, to any poetry extant. There is much poetry in the prose writings of Sir Walter Scott and Washington Irving, and much in the sermons of Dr Chalmers.
Without entering into the consideration of the several orders of poetic composition, as being foreign to our object, it may be proper to remind the juvenile reader that Rhyme is that species of versification in which a harmony of sound occurs at the close of some successive or alternate verse; whereas Blank Verse recognises no such similarity of sound, and differs from prose only in the precision of its quantities. With regard to the reading of poetry, it is to be understood that, whatever principles apply to prose, apply equally to verse. The rules of the Affirmative member, Negative, Concessive, &c., belong to every class of composition; any peculiarities that may be advanced in reference to verse, are to be considered as subordinate to these.
Poetical composition, it may be premised, admits more of the monotone, and a greater fulness and length of tone than prose. This is supposed to proceed from the frequent recurrence of the long syllable, as well as the sublimity of the composition itself. The thoughts and language are supposed to be so engrossing, as not to admit of a rapid delivery. The reader is so arrested by the imagery, so captivated by the originality and truthfulness of the poet's delineations, that he is compelled to pause, both that he may enjoy the subject himself and recommend it to others. It is, indeed, a sure evidence of deficiency in the poetic talent, a proof of the paucity of thought and barrenness of invention that pervade the composition, when the reader feels inclined to take leave of his author. He may be likened to one journeying over an arid waste, where, tired of the sterility that surrounds him, he hurries forward to the fresher green that lies beyond ; unlike to him who enjoys a walk by some winding stream, where
enchantment dwells, and prompts him, at every step, to pause and admire the beauties of the scene.
Elocutionists agree in assigning a special arrangement of modulation to certain forms of stanza—the Couplet, Triplet, and Quatrain or Quadruplet.
The Couplet is that form in which every successive couple of verses rhyme ; the former of which verses generally takes the rising, and the latter the falling, unless prevented by the superior claim of the Seven Principles.
“Remote from cities lived a swáin,
Unvéx'd with āll thē cāres of gàin;
A deèp philosopher (whose rūles
And the vast sènse of Pláto wõigh'd ?”. The Triplet is that form of stanza in which every three successive verses rhyme; the first of which generally takes the monotone, the second the rising inflection, and the last the falling, unless some general rule interferes.
“Now night's dim shādes again invõlve the sky; Agáin the wanderers want a place to lie; Again they search, and find a lodging nìgh."
“ Is he a churchman? Then he's fond of power:
The Quatrain stanza consists of four verses rhyming successively or alternately; of which the first is supposed to take
the monotone, the second and third the rising inflection, and the last the falling, with the same qualification as before. “Stròng mén and babes alīke with ūnction hē did fill; The scéptic, even, and formalist were silenced at his will; All clàsses sat and līsten'd still—they listen’d to admíre, Like spéll-bound sūbjects at the touch of some wild Orphean
“Th’applaūse of līstening sēnates to commánd,
The threats of pain and rùin to despise,
And réad their history in a nātion's éyes,
Their growing virtues, but their crímnes confined;
And shut the gates of mércy on mānkind.” Blank Verse is subject to the same general principles as prose, and is distinguished from it only by the fulness and continuance of tone peculiar to poetry. As an exercise in Blank Verse, exemplifying the Seven General Principles, the reader may take
HYMN TO THE DEITY ON THE SEASONS OF
“Thése, as they chánge, Almighty Fáther,-these
Thy bóunty shines in A'utumn unconfined,