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230
ORTHOMETRY.
refuge in jest, and passion hides itself in scepticism of passion. We are not going to wear our hearts upon our sleeves, rather than that we shall pretend to have no heart at all; and if, perchance, a bit of it should peep out, we shall hide it again as quickly as possible, and laugh at the exposure as a good joke." * This kind of verse has rarely been produced by the professional poet of recluse habits and deep thought; men busily engaged in the affairs of the world, but with a keen zest for leisured culture, such as Suckling, Herrick, Swift, Prior, and Landor, have succeeded best. Their fancy and sense of humour have seized upon those incidents and situa­tions of moving life most fitted for poetic treatment, while their ingenuity and wit have turned them —over their cakes and ale—into things of beauty. Perhaps it is because there is an after-dinner flavour about many of these miniature poems that coarseness occasionally disfigures their beauty, and debars their racy wit from wider appreciation. These trifles should always be refined and grace­ful, humorous rather than witty, the tone should not be pitched too high, nor need the treatment advance much beyond the conventional limits of social usages; their measure should run smoothly, and the rhymes ring out clearly, while a playful warmth should be perceptible throughout. Little more need be added at present, beyond reproducing a few typical specimens.
• Tha reader is referred to the " Lyra Elegantiarum, " by Frederick Locker- La m pson.






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