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is, and the impassioned lines of Burns and Scott are kept vividly in mind, the different forms of poetry will be assigned their proper respective rank, and the charge of mental weakness be fully met as applied to the poetry of feeling. Oratory has been defined as "thought with an impulse in it." If we add the characteristic of meter, the definition will apply to lyric verse. It is the metrical expression of ideas in impassioned forms.

2. What will probably be the next important transition in English poetry? Our poetry may be said still to retain something of its main characteristic as a poetry of feeling, distinct, on the one hand, from the creative school of Elizabethan times, and, on the other, from the critical school of Queen Anne. The true poetic passion which poured into the language through the writings of Goldsmith and Thomson, of Cowper and Burns, is to some degree exhibited in many of their immediate successors. This is especially seen in the writings of Byron, Scott, and Moore. They were impassioned in the same sense and to the same degree in which Burns was; the very name "romantic," as applied to the school of Byron, marking it sharply from all that is conventional and formal. The noonday glory of this poetry of

true sentiment is no sooner reached, however, than we can see the signs of its temporary reign and possible decline. Even the Lake Poets are reflective in their verse rather than emotional. Though it was their purpose and their pride to write in the interests of human life and the beauties of natural scenery, the cast of the lines is too contemplative to admit of the freest expression of feeling or to remind one in any striking manner of lyric ardor. Just at this time, moreover, in the very heart of the era, arose what with justice may be called the revival of the poetry of Pope in real Augustan form. We see this in the classical school of Gif-` ford, Rogers, Campbell, and Landor no one of whom, whatever his lyric fervor may have been, at all approached the natural sentiment of Byron. Glancing down the line of our more modern English poets the same critical order of verse is too apparent to be without its prophetic teaching. The very names applied by literary historians to these modern schools the Alexandrine, the Androtheistic, the Realistic, and the Art school teach the same lesson. We plainly see this classical bias in Keats and Robert Browning; in Arnold, and, to some degree, in Tennyson. Mrs. Browning, more than any one, in this later era, reminds us

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of the deep pathos of the earlier. All this is suggestive, and gives us fair warning, that since the days of Scott a transition has been in progress from the impassioned order of poetry. Is the transition to be partial and temporary or complete and prolonged? Here we are inclined to take a hopeful attitude, as the later Victorian lyrists evince a tendency to recall their age to the idyllic excellence of earlier days. It is along this line of impassioned song that Watson and Masefield and Noyes and the English laureate, Bridges, are working.



THE object now before us is to sketch this interesting history from its earliest period, in the Golden Age, on through the following centuries, to the days of Coleridge and Matthew Arnold,— the chief exponent of the more modern era.

THE AGE OF SIDNEY AND BACON (1550-1625) The earliest substantive expression of English criticism takes us back to the days of Elizabeth, to the middle years of the sixteenth century. Just here it is significant to note that the rise of English criticism, as a separate form of literary art, is thus coterminous with the rise of Modern English, both as a language and a literature, as distinct from that of Old and Middle English.

The importance of this concurrence lies in the fact that it confirms the natural relation of original authorship and the judicial examination of it as a finished product. This is not to affirm that the literary criticism of Elizabethan days was at



all as high in quality as was the creative product which it examined, but that as soon as English literature had fairly established itself as a national type, English criticism, also, historically arose, as if, from the outset, to guide and guard its unfolding history. Prior to Shakespeare, we look in vain for any authoritative example of criticism on the literary side. It is not found in Caxton, as the first English printer and editor; nor in More, nor in Ascham, though in the educational reflections of his Schoolmaster" he borders on the realm of the critic proper. Even in the days of Elizabeth, but few names can be cited, these few having the honor of doing pioneer work in this new departure and opening the way for all later effort. Chief among these are Sidney, Puttenham, and Webbe, authors, respectively, of "Apologie for Poetrie," "Arte of English Poesie," and "Discourse of English Poetrie." It is noticeable that each of them, as critic, dealt with poetry, discussing both its general aspects as an art and its special expression in English letters. Herein is revealed the fact of the primacy of poetry in the Elizabethan Age, and, also, that there is a sense, tacitly accepted, that in poetry, as a specifically æsthetic product, there is found an especially ap

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