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THE SONG. 221
songwright is he whose simple words and pregnant thoughts have embodied the universal joys, sorrows, and aspirations of the human heart in strains that, once heard, can never be forgotten. Nor, indeed, is it a small thing to charm with song the social circle; to excite, soothe, and thrill the jaded heart and soul; to enliven and keep sweet the home-life when the day's work is done, and to make
The night to be filled with music, And the cares that infest the day
To fold their tents like the Arabs, And as silently steal away.
To attempt to enumerate our song-writers, and present choice and representative specimens of their lyric art, greatly as it might enhance the charm of this volume to the general reader, would extend it beyond the limits of our main object, which is didactic. Besides, this has been already accomplished by several competent hands, and Anthologies of our lyric muse are both numerous and exhaustive. It will be sufficient, therefore, for our purpose to point out the chief varieties of songs, and the characteristics of each kind, with brief allusions to some of the best specimens.
I.—THE SACRED SONG OR HYMN.
"A good hymn should have simplicity, freshness, and reality of feeling, a consistent elevation of tone, and a rhythm easy and harmonious, but