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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.


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.

"Remòte from cíties lived a swáin,

Unvex'd with all the cares of gàin;
His head was silver'd o'er with age,
And lòng expérience made him sage.


A deep philosopher (whōse rules

Of moral life were drawn from schools),
The shepherd's hòmely cottage sought,
And thùs explored his reach of thought.
Whence is thy learning? Háth thy tòil
O'er books consumed the midnight oil?
Hast thou old Greèce and Ròme survéy'd,
And the vást sènse of Pláto weigh'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.

"Nōw night's dim shādes agàin involve the sky; Agáin the wanderers wánt a place to líe; Again they search, and find a lodging nigh."

"Is he a chúrchman? Then he's fond of pòwer:
A Quáker?-sly: a Presbytérian ?—soùr:
A smart fréethinker -all things in an hour."

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 alike with unction he did fill ; The scéptic, even, and fórmalist were silenced at his will; All classes sat and listen'd still-they listen'd to admíre, Like spéll-bound subjects at the touch of some wild Orphean lyre."

"Th' applause of listening sēnates to commánd, The threats of pain and rùin to despíse,

To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,

And read their history in a nation's eyes,

Their lót forbade; nor circumscribed alone

Their growing vírtues, but their crímes confìned;
Forbáde to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shút the gates of mercy on mankind."

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



"Thése, as they change, Almighty Fáther, these
Are but the varied God. The rolling year
Is fùll of thee. Fórth in the pleasing Spring
Thy beauty walks, thy tenderness and love.
Wide flush the fièlds; the sòftening áir is bàlm;
Echo the mountains roùnd; the fòrest smíles;
And every sense, and èvery heart is joy.
Then comes thy glōry in the Sùmmer months,
With light and heat refùlgent; then thy sun
Shoots fùll perféction through the swelling year:
And oft thy vòice in dréadful thùnder speaks;
And òft, at dawn, deèp nóon, or fàlling éve,
By brooks and gróves, in hōllow-whispering gàles.

Thy bounty shines in A'utumn unconfined,
And spreads a còmmon féast for all that lives.
In Winter, àwful Thou! with clouds and stōrms
Around thee thrówn; témpest d'er tempest róll'd;
Majèstic dárkness! On the whirlwind's wing
Riding sublíme, thou bid'st the world adóre,
And hùmblest Náture with thy northern blàst.
Mystèrious round; whát skill, whát fòrce divíne,
Dèep félt, in these appear! a simple tráin;
Yet so delightful míx'd, with such kìnd árt,
Such beauty and benèficence combined;
Sháde, unperceived, so sòftening into shade;
And áll so forming an harmònious whole;
That as they still succéed, they ravish stìll.
But, wandering óft, with brúte unconscious gáze,
Mán marks not Thée, màrks not the mighty hánd,
That, èver búsy, wheels the silent sphères;
Works in the secret déep; shoòts, steaming, thence
The fair profùsion that o'erspreads the Spring;
Flíngs from the sun direct the flaming day;
Fèeds every créature; hùrls the tempest fórth:
And, as on earth this grateful change revólves,
With transport toúches all the springs of life.
Náture attend! Jóin, every living sōul
Beneath the spacious temple of the sky,
In adoration jóin; and, árdent, raise
One géneral sòng! To Hím, ye vōcal gāles,
Breathe soft, whose spirit in your freshness breathes;

O talk of Him in sòlitary glóoms!

Where, ò'er the rock, the scarcely wāving pīne
Fills the brown shade with a religious àwe.

And yé, whose bolder note is heard afár,
Who shake th' astónish'd world, lift high to heav'n
Th' impètuous sóng, and say from whom you ràge;
His praise, ye broòks, attúne, ye trèmbling rílls,
And let me cátch it as I muse alòng.

Ye headlong torrents, ràpid and profound,
Ye sòfter floods, that lead the humid maze
Alòng the vále, and thoú, majèstic main,
A sécret world of wonders in thyself,

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