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236. THE SONNET is a short poem containing fourteen lines, which are divided into two stanzas of four lines each, and two of three lines. In the first eight lines there must be only three rhymes.
237. EPIGRAM. - The word Epigram originally meant an inscription, which was generally engravedl or written on pillars, porches, or the pedestals or bases of statues; but it now signifies a short and witty poetical composition, the point or humour of which is expressed in the latter lines.
238. The EPITAPH is nearly allied to the epigram and has a similar derivation, meaning, literally, an inscription. Like the epigram, too, it was orig nally very simple in its structure, consisting frequently of a single line, or even of a few words, which served to attract the notice of the passenger. - In a good epitaph, the name, and something of the character of the deceased should be introduced ; but every thing that is either light, trifling, or fulsome, should be avoided.
239. MADRIGAL is a little piece not confined either to the scrupulous regularity of a sonnet, or the pointedness of an epigram; but consisting of some tender and delicate, yet simple thought, suitably expressed.
For Exercises on this Lesson, a series of Questions may be proposed.
SECTION II. -- MUTATION OF POETRY INTO PROSE.
LESSON 86. DIRECTIONS AND MODEL Lesson. 240. The Exercises in this Section may comprise two operations :
1st. The Mutation of Poetry into Prose; 2nd. Critical Remarks on the Example.
241. MUTATION OF THE POETICAL EXTRACT INTO PROSE. — 1. In rendering the Poetical Extract into correct Prose, it must be observed, that every sentence in Poetry will require a corresponding one in Prose.
2. As much as possible, the exact meaning and spirit of the original must be retained.
3. Poetical terms and idioms must be carefully excluded, and appropriate prose constructions substituted in their place.
4. Regard must be had to accuracy of Punctuation, and a skilful connection of the sentences.
242. CRITICAL REMARKS. — These will consist of such observations as may reasonably be expected from youths of average ability, whose attention has been directed to subjects of this kind. Whether a full discussion of every particular comprised under the following heads, or only a selection of one or two may be deemed the preferable mode, must depend on the discretion of the Instructor.
1. An Analysis, or (if too difficult) a brief Enumeration of the leading topics, sentiments, or
incidents contained in the Exercise; with remarks on their practical tendency, or the justness of the Author's reasonings.
2. Observations on the suitableness of any Figure of Speech introduced.
3. Observations on the appositeness and significancy of the Epithets employed.
4. Underline whatever instances of Poetical License may occur.
243. THE MODEL LESSON.
He brandishes his pliant length of whip,
Cowper. 244. The preceding rendered into Prose. In a thorny world as ours is, in which all are exposed to some annoyance, or feel, at times, some prickly sorrow, it is the part of wisdom frequently to contrast our own condition with that of others less distinguished, or less fortunate. We may thus learn to bear with patience what cannot be removed, and to sympathize with others whose sufferings exceed our OWA.
In a wintry snow-storm, ill fares the traveller; and equally so, the poor waggoner who stalks in ponderous boots beside his reeking team. The wain whose wheels are clogged by congregated loads adhering close goes heavily ; and in its sluggish noiseless pace appears a moving hill of snow. The toiling steeds expand the nostrils wide, while every breath forced downward by respiration strong, is soon consolidated upon their jutting chests. He, formed to bear the pelting
brunt of the tempestuous night, plods on, with half-shut eyes and puckered cheeks, and teeth presented bare against the storm. One hand secures his hat, except when with both he brandishes his pliant length of whip which oft resounding is never heard in vain. Happy man! to whom has been denied that sensibility of pain which accompanies refinement. Thy robust and hardy frame feels indeed the piercing cold, but feels it unimpaired. Thy vigorous pulse no learned finger needs explore. The unhealthful east that breathes the spleen, and searches every bone of the infirm, is wholesome air to thee. Thy days roll on exempt from household care. Thy waggon is thy wife, and the poor beasts that drag the dull companion from place to place are thy helpless charge, dependent on thy care. Ah, treat them kindly, rude as thou appearest ; and show that thou hast mercy, which the great with needless hurry whirled from place to place, though seemingly humane, do not always show.
245. Remarks. 1. The poet commences his subject by laying down the proposition, that since we are all more or less exposed to the sorrows and annoyances of life, we shall become better enabled to endure what cannot be avoided by contrasting our condition with that of others less favourably circumstanced. He then proceeds to notice a man who, from his occupation, is compelled to undergo every inclemency of weather. Hard as this condition appears to be, it is not entirely destitute of advantages. The human frame inured to toil gradually becomes vigorous and robust, so as ultimately neither to fear the pelting storm nor feel the withering blast. Nor does this condition of life exclude the exhibition of kindliness of feeling towards the animals committed to our care; a feeling not always manifested by those whose position in life is greatly above that of the humble waggoner.
2. In the phrases — “ Thy waggon is thy wife,” and “ the poor beasts thy helpless charge,” we have two metaphors.