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.
SEVERAL leading kinds of poetry are named as follows: Epic, Dramatic, Lyric, Elegiac, Pastoral, and Didactic.
Epic poetry pertains to the narrative, descriptive, and heroic in character, and is the highest and most difficult of poetry to write well. Among the best of the Epic poems may be mentioned, Homer's "Iliad" in Greek, Virgil's "AEneid" in Latin, and Milton's " Paradise Lost" in English.
Dramatic poetry is also an elevated species of poetry, and takes nearly equal rank with the Epic. This kind of poetry includes the dramas, tragedies, comedies, melodramas, and operas.
Lyric poetry, as its name indicates, was the kind of verse originally written to be sung as an accompaniment to the lyre. This class of poetry is the oldest in the language of all nations, comprising, as it does, the songs of the people. In the Lyric are included the Songs, Hymns, Odes, and Sonnets.
Elegiac poetry includes the elegies, such as Milton's "Lycidas," Tennyson's "InMemori-am," and poems of grave, solemn, and mournful character. Gray's "Elegy, Written in a Country Churchyard" is undoubtedly the most complete specimen of this class of poetry to be found in any language
In the early history of the world, throughout certain portions of Europe, a distinct occupation was that of the shepherd, whose duty was to care for the flocks, as they roamed in the valleys and among the hills. Leading thus a life of dreamy ease among the charms of nature, the shepherds of better culture took readily to the writing of verse, which poetry, usually descriptive of rustic life, became known as Pastoral poetry.*
This class of poetry includes the poems that relate to country scenes, and the quiet, the simplicity, and the happiness found in rural life.
Didactic poetry pertains chiefly to the meditative and instructive, and includes such poems as Bryant's "Thanatopsis," Campbell's "Pleasures of Hope," Thomson's "Seasons," Pope's "E-say on Man," and kindred poems.