Epode. The third or last part of an ode, the ancient ode being divided into strophe, antistrophe, and epode. The epode was sung by the priest, standing still before the altar, after all the turns and returns of the strophe and antistrophe. The word epode then properly signified the end of the song.
Stanzas were first introduced from the Italian into the French poetry about the year 1580, and thence transferred into the English. Most of the Italian poems are divided into stanzas. A stanza is a number of grave verses, containing some perfect sense, terminating in a pause. There are stanzas of four, six, eight, ten, or twelve verses. The word is Italian, and signifies a stand, or station.
Prologue. In dramatic poetry, a discourse addressed to the audience before the drama or the play begins. The original intention of the prologue was to advertise the audience of the subject of the piece, and to prepare them to enter more easily into the action, and sometimes to make an apology for the poet. This last article seems to have almost excluded the two former in the English drama, and to be in 6ole possession of the prologue. The prologue is of a more ancient standing than the epilogue. Among the ancients the prologue was a part of the piece, not indeed an essential, but an accessory part; with us it is no part at all; with them the drama was opened with the appearance of the prologue, hut with us it is not opened till after the prologue is delivered.
Epilogue. The last part of a discourse, or treatise, containing ordinarily a recapitulation of the principal matters delivered. Epilogue, in the drama, is a poetical composition addressed to the audience, when the play is over, by one of .the principal persons or actors therein ; containing usually some reflections on certain incidents in the play, particularly those of the part of the person that speaks it.
Epitome. An abridgment, or a reduction of the principal matters of a large book into a little compass.
Madrigal is a little poetic piece, generally amatory, not confined either to the scrupulous regularity of a sonnet, or the subtilty of an epigram, but consisting of some tender, delicate, yet simple thoughts, suitably expressed. An epigram is noted for its pointed wit; but this rather for its tenderness and beautiful simplicity. The Italian and French songs and airs are often of the madrigal kind.
Pindaric. In poetry, an ode formed in imitation of the manner of Pindar. Pindar, whence the manner takes its name, was of Thebes; he flourished about four hundred and seventy-eight years before Christ, and was contemporary with AEschylus; what we have remaining of his, is a book of odes, all in praise of the victors in the Olympian, Pythian, Nemaean, and Isthmian games; whence the first is entitled the Olympians, the second the Pythians, the third Nemaeans, and the fourth Isthmians. Pindar is full of force and fire; his thoughts sententious, his style impetuous ; his sallies daring, and frequently running as it were at random; he effects a beautiful disorder, which is said to be the effect of the greatest art. The supposed irregularity of his numbers has made several of his imitators imagine themselves Pindaric poets by the mere wildness and irregularity of their verses. None of our writers seem to have succeeded in the Pindaric character better than Cowley; though some may prefer reading " Our modern Pindar, who, with artful story, Took wicked pains to tarnish kingly glory."
Apophthegm is a short, sententious, and instructive remark, pronounced by a person of distinguished character ; as that of Augustus - featina lente.
Aphorism is a maxim, or precept, or the principle of a science, or a sentence which comprehends a great deal in a few words. The term is chiefly used in medicine and law. We say the aphorisms of Hippocrates, Boerhaave, etc. ; aphorisms of the civil law ; etc.
Epic Poem. An heroic poem; or a poem reciting some great and signal transaction of a hero; called also epopoeia, or epopee. Such are the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, the AEneid of Virgil, the Gierusalemme of Tasso, and the Paradise Lost of Milton, which are the principal poems of the epic, kind.