This page of the book is from "The New Student's Reference Work: Volume 3" by Chandler B. Beach, Frank Morton McMurry and others.
POETRY 15™ POGGENDORFF
in which an unaccented syllable is followed by one which is accented. This is illustrated in the following six-accented or hexameter line: "When balmy showers refresh the mower's soil." The trochee is the reverse of the iambus, having an accented syllable followed by one which is unaccented, as in the following five-accented or pentameter line : ' ' Spake full well in language quaint and olden." The anapest is like the iambus, but has two unaccented syllables preceding one which is accented, as in the following four-accented or tetrameter line: "There the warrior lay stretched in the midst of his pride." The dactyl is the reverse of the anapest, being like the trochee, but having two unaccented syllables followed by one which is accented. This is illustrated in the following three-accented or trimeter line: "Here we securely may hide us all." Stanzas are composed of groups of such lines, bound together by rime or a similarity in the sounds with which they end. Stanzas are not always used, and rime is not absolutely necessary, but rhythm is essential to poetry. Blank verse or unrhymed iambic pentameter, is the favorite verse of Shak-spere and Milton. The melody is often increased by the careful use of pauses; by alliteration or the repetition of the sounds with which words begin; by assonance or the repetition of the same arrangement of vowels in two or more words; and by onomatopoeia or a close suiting of the sound to the sense.
The most characteristic forms of poetic structure are the lyric, the epic and the drama.
Lyric Poetry, which is much the more common, had its origin in singing, and still possesses many qualities which associate it with music. It usually deals in a personal and individual way with interests which are definite and present and usually of a subjective and emotional nature. It is best when spontaneous, sincere and brief. Its many varieties have grown from variations in form suited to its wide range of subjects. It may deal with religion, as in Whittier's The Eternal Goodness; with patriotism, as in Lowell's Commemoration Ode; with affection, as in Poe's Annabel Lee; with nature, as in Bryant's Thanatopsis; with grief, as in Emerson's Threnody; with reflection, as in Longfellow's My Lost Youth; with social life, as in Holmes's The Boys. There also are numerous fixed forms of the lyric, the chief of these being the sonnet, with fourteen lines always and a specified arrangement of rimes.
The epic, which probably was the earliest form of poetry, had its origin in recitation. As contrasted with the lyric, it is impersonal in attitude and general in interest, dealing usually with objective events of a national or racial character, especially as they are represented in the experiences of a
typical hero. In form it is long, simple and regular. The Greek Iliad and Odyssey, the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf, the medieval romances of King Arthur and a few modern poems like Longfellow's Hiawatha are examples. Related forms are the allegory, like Dante's Divine Comedy; the idyl, like Whittier's Snow-Bound; and the ballad, as in the Robin Hood cycle.
The drama, having its origin in acting, unites many of the characteristics of the epic and of the lyric. It presents the past as present, gives outward form to inward spirit, and embodies general characteristics of human nature in its characters and fundamental laws of cause and effect in its plots. Both the ancient and the modern drama began as religious ceremonies, but by the time of Shakspere the drama had become wholly secular. In general, each play either is a tragedy, in which the hero is overcome through his fault or error or fate; or is a comedy, in which the hero triumphs. There is a great distinction between the poetic drama and that which is merely intended for the stage, but even the latter suggests the introduction, complication, climax, solution and conclusion which are the characteristic divisions of almost every work of literature.
It will be evident, in conclusion, that poetry, in addition to delighting the reader with a "beauty [which] is its own excuse for being," may be a means of cultivating fine emotion, informing the mind, developing the intellect, and training and stimulating the will.
To select the best out of the great mass that has been and is being written is not difficult after one has experienced the pleasure and profit to be derived from familiarity with even one example of such poetry as the world has long judged great. The thorough enjoyment of a drama by Shakspere, a lyric by Wordsworth or one of Tennyson's Idyls of the King is an experience which enables the student to recognize excellence in any poetry he may meet, and will make the reading of any but the excellent a disappointment. In the study of any poem one may well attend to the nature, source and handling of the material; to the mood of the poet and its development ; the essential theme, its treatment and conclusion; the diction, meter, form; and any other notable characteristics. It always is interesting and valuable to become familiar with enough examples of the work of a single author to acquire an impression of the general character of his product, his personal attitude toward life and his individual suggestion for the solution of its problems.
Pog'gendorff, Johann Christian, an eminent German physicist, was born at Hamburg, Dec. 29, 179Ŏ; and died at Berlin, Jan. 2, 1877. He is best known, perhaps, in his capacity as editor of the great Ger-