Poetical And Literary Terms.
Epigram. In poetry, a short poem or composition in verse, treating of one thing only, and ending with some point, or lively ingenious thought.
Epitaph. A monumental inscription in honour, or memory, of a person defunct; or an inscription engraven, or cut on a tomb, to mark the time of a person's decease, his name, family, and usually some eulogy of his virtues, or good qualities.
Emblem. A kind of painted enigma, which, representing some obvious history, with reflections underneath, instructs us in some moral truth, or other matter of knowledge ; such as that very significant image of Scaevola holding his hand in the fire, with the words agere etpali fortia Romanum est, (to do and to sutler courageously is Roman.) An emblem is somewhat plainer than an enigma. Gale defines emblem, an ingenious picture, representing one thing to the eye, and another to the understanding. The emblems of Alciatus have been in as much reputation among the learned as those of Quarles among the vulgar.
Acrostic. In poetry, a kind of ingenious composition, disposed in such a manner that the initial letters of the verses form the name of some person, kingdom, place, motto, etc. The acrostic is considered by the critics as a species of false wit. Some pretend to find acrostics in the psalms, particularly in those called abedarian.
Eclogue. In poetry, a kind of pastoral composition, wherein shepherds are introduced as conversing together. Theocritus and Virgil, among the ancients, have written eclogues. There were certain prose compositions termed eclogues, as those of Diodorus, Polybius. Ctesias, Theophrastus, Strabo, etc, in which sense the word signifies only extract or collection. M. Fontenelle observes, that the beauty of the eclogue is not attached to what is rural, but rather to what is calm and easy in the rural life.
Ode, among the ancients, signified no more than song, or a composition proper to be sung, and composed for that purpose; and the singing was usually accompanied with some musical instrument, chiefly the lyre. The odes of the undents, Vossius observes, had a regular return of the same kind of rent, and the same quantify of syllables in the same place of every similar verse; but in the modern ode (says he) there is nothing but confusion of quantities. The ancient odes are generally in honour of their gods ; - the English odes are generally in praise of heroes, and great exploits. The distinguishing character of an ode is sweet-and sublimity.