This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
"Poetry is the blossom and fragrance of all human knowledge, human thoughts, human passions, emotions, language." - Coleridge.
The GENTLE stillness of a spring-time evening, when, with heart attuned to the glories of the twilight scene, we listen enraptured to the closing song of busy nature, hushing to repose - this is poetry!
The coming storm, preceded by the rushing wind; the dark, angry, approaching clouds, capped with the flashing, darting lightning, with the low muttering, and anon the deep-toned thunder, coming nearer and nearer in its awful grandeur! To the lover of the grand and sublime - this is poetry!
The silvery quiet of the moonlight night, when we wander amid the jessamines and roses, with our darling, whispering words of love, and dreaming of the future - this is poetry!
The midnight hour in the attic, when, through the crevices of the roof and windows, we catch glimpses of the flashing lightning, and listen, slumber, and dream to the music of the pattering rain-drops on the roof - this is poetry !
The roaring cataract, the silvery rivulet, the towering mountain, the dark ravine, the opening rosebud, the cherub child, the waving grain, the modest violet, - all breathe the music of poetry!
The beautiful face, the gentle, thrilling pressure of the hand, the kettle singing for tea, the joyous meeting of the husband and wife on the return from labor at the twilight hour, the smile, the kiss - all this is poetry !
To appreciate, to comprehend, and to interpret this golden, sunny halo of beauty, is the gift of the poet.
Poetry is not necessarily told in rhyme. It is oftentimes revealed as beautifully in prose. B. F. Taylor illustrates this very strikingly in the following description of
"Last evening we were walking leisurely along. The music of choirs in three churches came floating out into the darkness around us, and they were all new and strange tunes but one; and that one, it was not sung as we had heard it, but it awakened a train of long buried memories, that rose to us even as they were before the cemetery of the soul had a tomb in it. It was sweet old 'Corinth' they were singing - strains that we have seldom heard since the rose-color of life was blanched - and we were in a moment back again to the old church; and it was a summer afternoon, and yellow sunbeams were streaming through the west windows, and the silver hair of the old deacon who sat in the pulpit was turned to gold in its light, and the minister, who, we used to think, could never die, so good was he, had concluded 'application' and 'exhortation,' and the village choir were singing the last hymn, and the tune was 'Corinth.'
"It is years - we dare not think how many - since then, and the prayers of' David the son of Jesse' are ended, and the choir scattered and gone - the girl with blue eyes that sang alto, and the girl with black eyes that sang air; the eyes of one were like a June heaven at noon, and the other like the same heaven at night. They both became wives, and both mothers, and both died. Who shall say they are not singing 'Corinth' still, where Sabbaths never wane, and congregations never break up? There they sat, Sabbath after Sabbath, by the square column at the right of the 'leader,' and to our young ears their tunes were 'the very soul of music' That column bears still their penciled names, as they wrote them in those days in life's June, 183 - , before dreams of change had overcome their spirits like a summer's cloud.
"Alas ! that with the old singers most of the sweeter tunes have died upon the air! But they linger in memory, and they shall yet be sung in the sweet reunion of song that shall take place by and by, in a hall whose columns are beams of morning light, whose ceiling is pearl, whose doors are gold, and where hearts never grow old. Then she that sang alto, and she that sang air, will be in their places once more."
More frequently, however, the poet gives expression to his emotions in rhyme, such form of expression having the advantage of musical sound, accompanied by sentiment. Unfortunately, however, much of that which passes for poetry is but rhyme, being devoid of sense or moral.
For the assistance and guidance of those who would correctly write poetry, we give herewith the rules of versification, accompanied by a vocabulary of rhymes, followed by a number of standard poems from the best authors, that are models in their respective kinds of verse.