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elegy, the bucolic or pastoral, the lyric, the satiric, the dramatic, and the epic. It is wonderful that though they had the works of He. siod before them, and afterwards the income parable Georgics, and Art of Poetry of Horace, they should have omitted so important a class as the didactic. Of poetry professedly descriptive the antients bad indeed almost none; nor till the time of Phædrus, scarcely any tales or fables in verse. The modern epitaph may also be considered as a new species of poetry, unless it may be regarded as a kind of short elegy; for it cannot properly class with the epigram, ei. ther according to the antient or modern acceptation. The sonnet is also an entire modern invention, unless it is regarded as a short ode.
I must therefore adopt a new classification, and as it has been usual to begin with the lighter and more trifling kinds of poetry, I shall treat of them in the following order : 1st. The epi. gram ; 2d. the epitaph; 30. the sonnet; 41h. pastoral ; 5th. didactic poetry; 6th. satire ; 7th. descriptive; 8th. elegy; 9th. lyric poetry; 10th. the drama; and lastly, epic or heroic poetry.
I. The word EPIGRAM means an inscription, from the Greek preposition exi, upon; and ypatuma, a writing ; having been generally engraven or written on pillars, porches, or the pedestals or bases of statues. The modern sense is somewhat different. It now means a short and witty poem, the point or humour of which is expressed in the latter lines. Yet even in the Greek epigrams (properly so called) or inscriptions, there was a terseness and point approaching to the modern idea.
Such was the famous inscription on the statue of Venus by Praxiteles
Γυμνην οιδι Περις με, και Αγκισης, και Αδωνις,
Tος τρεις οιδα μονος, πραξιλελης δι ποθεν ?
Mr. Prior has very happily extended this thought in the following pretty little poem, which has the true spirit of the epigram
" When Chloe's picture was to Venus shewn; “ Surpriz’d the goddess took it for her own. “ And what said she does this bold painter mean? “ When was I bathing thus, and naked seen? “ Pleas’d Cupid heard, and check'd his mother's pride; " And who's blind now, mamma? the urchin cried.
« 'Tis Chloe's eye, and cheek, and lip and breast,
Friend Howard's genius fancied all the rest.” By the way, while I am speaking of inscriptions, I must mention a very good couplet, written I believe by Mr. Pope, and engraven on the collar of a dog belonging to the late Princess Dowager of Wales
“I am her Highness' dog at Kew
Pray tell me, Sir, whose dog are you ?"
Another extempore epigram by the same hand will give a good idea of this kind of poem. It was written on glass with the diamond pencil of the late Lord Chesterfield
Accept a miracle, instead of wit;
Martial is the author among the antients whose poems approach the nearest to the modern idea of epigram.' Those of Catullus I do not account such, though they go by that name. Several of Martial's have wit, though many of them appear to be merely short complimentary poems, such as are many of Waller, Cowley, Prior, and our other English poetæ minores, modern and antient.
The following will serve to give you an idea of the wit of Martial
" Petit Gemellus nuptias Maronillæ,
“ Curmudgeon the rich widow courts,
" Ad coenam nuper Varus me fortè vocavit, “ Oruatus dives parvula cæna fuit.
Auro, non dapibus, oneratur mensa ministri
Apponunt oculis plurima, pauca gulæ. “ Tunc ego non oculos, sed ventrem pascere yeni : " Aụt appone dapes, Vare, vel aufer opes."
16 With lace bedizen'd comes the man,
spare ; " I came to dine, and not to stare."
" Cum sitis similes, paresque vitæ,
* Alike in temper and in life,
“ The devil's in't they don't agree." • Callidus imposuit nuper mihi caupo Ravenna, “ Cum peterem mixtum, vendidit ille merum." • A landlord of Bath put upon me a queer hum, " } ask'd him for punch, but the dog gave me mere
“ Non amo te, Sabidi, non possum dicere quare,
“ I do not like thee Dr. Fell,
“Quem recitas meus est, Fidentine, libellus;
" The verses, friend, which thou hast read are mine; " But as thou read'st them, they may pass for thine.".
« Texatus pulchre rides mea, Zoile, trita ;
I have inserted so many specimens not only to introduce you to an author, who is seldom, i