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4
ORTHOMETRY.
In this broad signification poetry is to be found embodied in the higher forms of prose quite as much as in verse. Creations of ideal grace and love­liness abound in amorphous prose, but as in that shape their dress lacks the wavy flow of rhythm, the designation of poetry is denied them. Fre­quently in impassioned prose there is, indeed, a perceptible rhythm which approaches very nearly the measured movement of verse. Many passages from George Eliot, Dickens, and Ruskin, for in­stance, not to mention others of the skilled masters in word-painting, might well be arranged as poetic lines. Yet, as metrical rules have not been observed in them throughout, as the cadences cease abruptly, they cannot be dignified by the name of poetry. The poet must always conform to metrical laws, while hjjs brother artist only occasionally falls under their seductive influence.
Again, the two forms of literary composition differ with respect to their object; prose seeks for the most part to instruct, whereas the aim of the poet is to give pleasure. And here again we find the two frequently running upon parallel lines, the fictions of romance and the creations of the poet showing a marked family likeness which the pre­sence or absence of rhythmical arrangement alone can differentiate.
In addition to these distinctions of form, matter, and aim, the style and diction of poetry differs in many respects from that of prose. Poetry should be " simple, sensuous, and passionate,' said Milton; hence it chooses picturesque images and quaint






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III