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OF POETIC DICTION.
Poetry, as defined by Dr. Blair, “is the language of passion, or of enlivened imagination, formed, most commonly, into regular numbers. The style of poetry differs, in many respects, from that which is commonly adopted in prose. Poetic diction abounds in bold figures of speech, and unusual collocations of words. A great part of the figures which have been treated of under the head of prosody, are purely poetical. The primary aim of a poet, is to please and to move; and, therefore, it is to the imagination, and thó passions, that he speaks.' He may, and he ought to have it in his view, to instruct and reform; but it is indirectly, and by pleasing and moving, that he accomplishes this end. The exterior and most obvious distinction of poetry, is versification: yet there are some forms of verse so loose and familiar, as to be hardly distinguishable from prose; and there is also a species
prose, so measured in its cadences, and so much raised in its tone, as to approach very nearly to poetical numbers.
POETICAL PECULIARITIES. The following are some of the most striking peculiarities in which the poets indulge, and are indulged :1. They very often omit the ARTICLES; as,
“What dreadful pleasure ! there to stand sublime,
Like shipwreck'd mariner on desert coast !”—Beattie. II. They abbreviate many NOUNS: as, amaze, for amazement; acclaim, for acclamation; consult, for consultation ; corse, for, çorpse; eve, or even, for evening; fount, for fountain ; helm, for helmet; lament, for lansentation; morn, for morning; plaint, for complaint ; targe, for target; weal, for wealth.
III. They employ several nouns that are not used in prose, or are used but rarely; as, benison, boon, emprise, fane, guerdon, guise, ire, ken, lore, meed, siré, steed, stithy, welkin, yore.
IV. They introduce the noun self after an other noun of the possessivo case; as, 1. " Affliction's semblance bends not o'er thy tomb,
Affliction's self deplores thy youthful doom."-Byron. 2. “Thoughtless of beauty, she was beauty's self.”—Thomson. V. They place before the verb, nouns, or other words, that usually come after it; and, after it, those that usually come before it: as, 1. “No jealousy their dawn of love o'ercast,
Nor blasted were their wedded days with strife."--Beattie.
5. “That purple grows the primrose pale.”—Langhorne. VI. They often place ADJECTIVES after their nouns; as, 1. " Or where the gorgeous East, with richest hand,
Showers on her kings barbaric, pearl and gold."-Milton.
Come, nymph demure, with mantle blue." tivol
VII. They ascribe qualities to things to which they do not literally bea ong; as, 1. “Or drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds.”—Gray. 2. “Imbitter'd more and more from peevish day to day."--Thomson. 3. “ All thin and naked, to the numb cold night.”—Shakspeare.
VIII. They use concrete terms to express abstract qualities; (i. e., adjectives for nouns ;) as, 1. “Earth's meanest son, all trembling, prostrate falls,
And on the boundless of thy goodness calls.”—Young. 2. “Meanwhile, whate'er of beautiful or new,
Sublime or dreadful, in earth, sea, or sky,
IX. They substitute quality for manner; (i. e., adjectives for adverbs ;) as, 1. "
-The stately-sailing swan,
feet Bears forward fierce, and guards his osier isle."--Thomson. 2. “Thither continual pilgrims crowded still.”—Id.
X. They form new compound epithets; as, 1. In world-rejoicing state, it moves sublime.”—Thomson. 2. “The dewy-skirted clouds imbibe the sun."--Id.
By brooks and groves in hollow-whispering gales.”—Id. 4. " The violet of sky-woven vest.”—Langhorne. 5. “A league from Epidamnum had we sailed,
Before the always-wind-obeying deep
Gave any tragic instance of our harm."-Shakspeare. XI. They connect the comparative degree to the positive; as, 1. “ Near and more near the billows rise."-Merrick. 2. “ Wide and wider spreads the vale.”—Dyer, 3. “ Wide and more wide, the o'erflowings of the mind
Take every creature in, of every kind.”—Pope. XII. They form many adjectives in y, which are not common in prose; as, A gleamy ray,towerý height,--steepy hill, --steely casque,-heapy harvests, ---moony shield,-writhy snake,-stilly lake,-vastý deep,—paly circlet.
XIII. They employ adjectives of an abbreviated form: as, dread, for dreadful; drear, for dreary; ebon, for ebony; hoar, 'for hoary; loné, for lonely; scant, for scanty; slope, for sloping ; submiss, for submissive ; vermil, for vermillion ; yon, for yonder.
XIV. They employ several adjectives that are not used in prose, or are used but seldom; as, azure, blithe, boon, dank, darkling, darksome, doughty, dun, fell, rife, rapt, rueful, sear, sylvan, twain, wan.
XV. They employ personal PRONOUNS, and introduce their nouns
That on the thicket streams;
The sun's retiring beams ?"-Id.
“For is there aught in sleep can charm the wise ?”—Thomson. XVII. They omit the antecedent, or introduce it after the relative; as, 1. “ Who never fasts, no banquet e’er enjoys, who never toils or watches, never sleeps."-- Armstrong.
2. " Who dares think one thing and an other tell,
My soul detests him as the gates of hell.”—Pope's Homer. XVIII. They remove relative pronouns and other connectives, into the body of their clauses; as, 1. “Parts the fine locks, her graceful head that deck."--Darwin. 2. “Not half so dreadful rises to the sight
Orion's dog, the year when autumn weighs.”—Pope's Homer.
-A while he stands,
To meditate the blue profound below.”—Thomson. 2. “Still in harmonious intercourse, they liv'd
The rural day, and talk'd the flowing heart.”—Id. XX. They give to the imperative mood the first and the third persón; as, 1. “ Turn we a moment fancy's rapid flight.”—Thomson. 2.“ Be man's peculiar work his sole delight." —Beattie. 3. “And what is reason? Be she thus defin'd:
Reason is upright stature in the souli”—Young. XXI. They employ can, could, and would as principal verbs transitive; as, 1. “ What for ourselves we can, is always ours.' 2. “ Who does the best his circumstance allows,
Does well, acts nobly :-angels could no more."— Young. 3. " What would this man? Now upward will he soar,
And, little less than angel, would be more.”—Pope. XXII. They place the infinitive before the word on which it depends; as,
" When first thy sire to send on earth
Virtue, his darling child, design'd.”—Gray. XXIII. They place the auxiliary after its principal; as,
“No longer heed the sunbeam bright
That plays on Carron's breast lie can.”—Langhorne. XXIV. Before verbs they sometimes arbitrarily employ or omit prefixes : as, begird, bedim, evanish, emove; for gird, dim, vanish, move :-lure, wail, wilder, reave; for allure, bewail, bewilder, béreave.
XXV. They abbreviate verbs: as, list, for listen; ope, for open.
XXVI. They employ several verbs that are not used in prose, or are used but rarely; as, appal, astound, brook, cower, dof, ken, wend, ween, trow.
XXVII. They sometimes imitate a Greek construction of the infinitive; as, 1. Who would not sing for Lycidas ? he knew
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.”—Milton. 2. “ For not, to have been dipp'd in Lethe lake,
Could save the son of Thetis from to die."-Spenser. XXVIII. They employ the PARTICIPLES more frequently than prose writers, and in a construction somewhat peculiar; as, 1. “He came,
standing in the midst, explain'd The peace rejected, but the truce obtain'd.”—Pope. 2. As a poor miserable captive thrall
Comes to the place where he before had sat
A spectacle of ruin or of scorn."- Milton. XXIX. They employ several ADVERBS that are not used in prose, or are used but seldom; as, oft, haply, inly, blithely, cheerily, deftly, felty, rifely, ruefully, starkly, yarely.
XXX. They give to adverbs a peculiar location; as, 1. “Peeping from forth their alleys green.”-Collins. 2. "Erect the standard there of ancient night.”—Milton. 8. “The silence often of pure innocence
Persuades, when speaking fails."--Shakspeare. 4. " Where universal love not smiles around..
-Thomson. 8. “Robs me of that which not enriches him.”-Shakspeare. XXXI. They omit the introductory adverb there; as,
“Was nought around but images of rest.”—Thomson. XXXII. They employ the CONJUNCTIONS, or–or, and nonnor, as correspondents; as, 1. “Or by the lazy Scheldt or wandering Po.”—Goldsmith. 2. “Wealth heap'd on wealth, nor truth nor safety buys."-Johnson. 3. “Who by repentance is not satisfied,
Is nor of heaven, nor earth."-Shakspeare. XXXIII. They often place PREPOSITIONS and their adjuncts, before the words on which they depend; as,
Against your fame with fondness hate combines;
The rival batters, and the lover mines.”—Johnson. XXXIV. They sometimes place the preposition after its object; as, 1. “When beauty, Eden's bowers within,
First stretch'd the arm to deeds of sin,
The pitying angels bent and wept.”—Hogg. 2. “ The Muses fair, these peaceful shades among,
With skillful fingers sweep the trembling strings.”—Lloyd. XXXV. They employ INTERJECTIONS more frequently than proso writers; as,
“O let me gaze !-Of gazing there's no end.
O let me think !—Thought too is wilder'd here.” – Young. XXXVI. They employ ANTIQUATED WORDS and modes of express sion; as, 1. “ Withouten that would come an heavier bale."--Thomson. 2. “He was to weet, a little roguish page,
Save sleep and play, who minded nought at all.”-Id. 3. “Not one eftsoons in view was to be found.”—Id. 4. “To number up the thousands dwelling here,
An useless were, and eke an endless task."--Id. 8. “Of clerks good plenty here you mote espy.”—Id. 6. “But these I passen bỹ, with nameless numbers moe."- Ib.
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