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usual form from the prevalence of chivalry. Ró. mances arose, and carried the marvellous to its summit. Their knights were patterns not only of the most heroic courage, but of religion, generosity, courtesy, and fidelity; and the heroines were no less distinguished for modesty, delicacy, and dignity of manners. Of these romances, the most perfect model is the Orlando Furioso. But, as magic and enchantment came to be disbelieved and ridiculed, the chivalerian romances were discontinued, and were succeeded by a new species, of fictitious writing Br 101 372 ཏི་ 1 T
Of the second stage of romance writing, the Cleopa tra of Madame Scuderi and the Arcadia of Sir Philip Sydney are good examples. In these, however, there was still too large a proportion of the marvellous; and the books were too voluminous and tedious. Romance writing appeared therefore in a new form; and dwindled down to the familiar novel. Interesting situations in real life are the ground work of novel writing. Upon this plan, the French have produced some works of considerable merit. Such are the Gil Blas of Le Sage and the Marianne of Marivaux....5 14% ! 14
In this mode of writing, the English are inferior to the French; yet in this kind there are some performánces which discover the strength of the British genius. No fiction was ever better supported than the Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Fielding's novels are highly distinguished for humour and boldness of character.
Richardson, the author of Clarissa, is the most moral of all of our novel writers; but he possesses the unfortu nate talent of spinning out pieces of amusement into (an immeasurable length. The trivial performances which daily appear under the title of lives, adventures, and histories, by anonymous authors, are most insipid, and, it must be confessed, often tend to deprave the morals, and to encourage dissipation and idleness.
NATURE OF POETRY. ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. VERSIFICATION.
WHAT, it may be asked, is poetry and how does it differ from prose? Many disputes have been maintained among critics upon these questions. The essence of poetry is supposed, by Aristotle, Plato, and others, to consist in fiction. But this is too limited a description Many think the characteristic of poetry lies in imita tion. But imitation of manners and characters may be carried on in prose as well as in poetry.
Perhaps the best definition is this, "poetry is the "language of passion, or of enlivened imagination, form"ed most commonly into regular numbers." As the primary object of a poet, is, to please and to move, it is to the imagination and the passions, that he addresses himself. It is by pleasing and moving, that he aims to instruct and reform, or a bars work.
Poetry is older than prose. In the beginning of society there were occasions upon which men met together for feasts and sacrifices, when music, dancing, and songs were the chief entertainment. The meetings of American tribes are distinguished by music and songs. The song's they celebrate their religious rites and martial achievements; and in such songs we trace the beginning of poetic composition.
Man is by nature both a poet and musician. The same impulse which produced a poetic style, prompted a certain melody or modulation of sound, suited to the emotions of joy or grief, love or anger. Music and poetry are united in song, and mutually assist and exalt each other. The first poets sung their own verses. Hence the origin of versification, or the arrangement of words to tune or melody.
Poets and songs are the first objects that make their appearance in all nations. Apollo, Orpheus and Amphion were the first tamers of mankind among the Greeks. The Cothic nations had their scalders, or poets. The Celtic tribes had their bards. Poems and songs are among the antiquities of all countries; and, as the occasions of their being composed are nearly the same, so they remarkably resemble each other in style. They comprise the celebration of gods, and heroes, and victories. They abound in fire and enthusiasm; they are wild, irregular, and glowing
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During the infancy of poetry, all its different kinds were mingled in the same composition; but in the progiess of society, poems assumed their different regular forms. Time separated into classes the several kinds of poetic composition. The, ode and the elegy, the epic poem and the drama, are all reduced to rule, and exercise the acuteness of criticism..
NATIONS, whose language and pronunciation were musical, rested their versification chiefly on the quantities of their syllables; but mere quantity has very little effect in English verse. For the difference, made between long and short syllables in our manner of pronouncing them, is very inconsiderable.
The only perceptible difference among our syllables arises from that strong percussion of voice which is termed accent. This accent however does not always make the syllable longer, but only gives it more force of sound; and it is rather upon a certain order and succession of accented and unaccented syllables, than upon their quantity, that the melody of our verse de pends.
In the constitution of our verse there is another essential circumstance.
This is the casural pause,
which falls near the middle of each line." This pause may fall after the fourth, fifth, sixth, or seventh syllable; and by this mean uncommon variety and 'fichness are added to English versification.
Our English verse is of Iambic structure, composed of a nearly alternate succession of unaccented and accented syllables. When the pause falls earliest, that is, after the fourth syllable, the briskest melody is thereby formed. Of this, the following lines from Pope, are a happy illustration:
On her white breast | a sparkling cross she wore,
When the pause falls after the fifth syllable, dividing the line into two equal portions, the melody is sensibly altered. The verse, losing the brisk air of the former pause, becomes more smooth and flowing.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind,
Each prayer accepted, | and each wish resign'd.
When the pause follows the sixth syllable, the melody becomes grave. The movement of the verse is
more solemn and measured,
The wrath of Peleus' son, the direful spring
Of all the Grecian woes, | O goddess, sing!