Puslapio vaizdai
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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

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S the title which, for want of a better, has been given to this book does not explain itself as lucidly as could be wished, it will be acceptable to the reader, perhaps, if the Editor attempts here what it was necessary for him to do in his own mind at the very beginning of his task, namely, to frame a correct or at least intelligible definition of what is meant by vers de société. Fortunately, as he discovered after the present collection was nearly completed, such a definition has been furnished by Mr. Frederick Locker, himself probably the most sympathetic student, as he is certainly second to none as a writer, of this species of verse. In the Introduction to his "Lyra Elegantiarum" he says: "Lest any reader who may not be familiar with this description of poetry should be misled by the adoption of the French title, which the absence of any precise English equivalent renders necessary, it may be as well to observe that vers de société need by no means be confined to topics of artificial life. Subjects of

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the most exalted and of the most trivial character
may be treated with equal success, provided the man-
ner of their treatment is in accordance with the fol-
lowing characteristics. Genuine vers de socité and
vers d'occasion should be short, elegant, refined, and
fanciful, not seldom distinguished by chastened sen-
timent, and often playful. The tone should not be
pitched high; it should be idiomatic, and rather in the
conversational key; the rhythm should be crisp and
sparkling, and the rhyme frequent and nerver forced,
while the entire poem should be marked by tasteful
moderation, high finish, and completeness; for, how-
ever trivial the subject-matter may be, indeed rather
in proportion to its triviality, subordination to the
rules of composition and perfection of execution
should be strictly enforced. The definition may be
further illustrated by a few examples of pieces which,
from the absence of some of the foregoing qualities,
or from the excess of others, cannot be properly
classed as vers de société, though they may bear
a certain generic resemblance to that species
of poetry. The ballad of John Gilpin,' for in-
stance, is too broadly and simply humorous; Swift's
Lines on the Death of Marlborough,' and Byron's
'Windsor Poetics,' are too savage and trucelent ;
Cowper's My Mary' is far too pathetic; Herrick's
lyrics to 'Blossoms' and 'Daffodils' are too
elevated; Sally in our Alley' is too homely, and

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