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nowned Grecian or Roman which antiquity can produce. The modern ode and the song are in general distinguishable by their subject, by the different degree of elevation and ornament in the language, and by a greater length and irregularity in the measure of the former, which is not adapted to vocal music. Yet as these distinctions are rather relative than absolute, it is easy to see that they may approach each others limits fo as to render it dubious under which class they range, which would be the case with many of Horace's odes if converted to English poems.
We are now prepared to make use of the general deduction of the progress of the mind through the different stages of poetical composition, formerly attempted, in forming an arrangement of songs into a few distinct classes.
The rude original pastoral poetry of our country furnishes the first class in the popular pieces called ballads. These consist of the village tale, the dialogue of rustic courtship, the description of natural objects, and the incidents of a rural life. Their language is the language of nature, simple and unadorned; their story is not the wild offspring of fancy, but the probable adventure of the cottage ; and their sentiments are the unstudied expressions of passions and emotions common to all mankind.
Nature, farther refined, but still nature, gives the second class of pieces containing the sentimental part of the former, abstracted from the tale and rural landscape, and improved by a more studied observation of the internal feelings of paffion and their external symptoms. It is the natural philosophy of the mind, and
the description of sensations. Here love appears in all its various forms of desire, doubt, jealousy, hope, despair ; and suggests a language, rich, strong, and figurative. This is what may strictly be called the pathetic in poetry.
The third class is formed upon an artificial turn of thinking, and the operation of the fancy. Here the sentiments arise from cool reflexion and curious speculation, rather than from a present emotion. They accordingly require enlivening by ingenious comparison, striking contrast, unexpected turns, a climax finishing in a point, and all the pleasing refinements of art which give the denomination of ingenious and witty to our conceptions. Some effential distinctions will appear in this class arising from the various kinds of wit; but they all agree in the circumstance of springing rather from fancy than passion, and con
fequently of exciting pleasure and surprize rather than the sympathetic emotions.
It is observable that it is this class alone which answers the idea Mr. Phillips gives of fong-writing in his little effay; and hence he has been betrayed into a little inconsistency; for while he compares song-writing in general to the gay and amorous species of antient Lyric poetry, he refers us to the French songs as examples of perfection, which are almost folely of the witty and ingenious kind, and totally different from most of the remains of antiquity. In particular the little epigrammatic song which he there cites and translates, is so entirely disimilar to the celebrated piece of Sappho which he has so happily made his own, that it is wonderful the distinction did not strike him.
I SHALL just farther remark with regard
to the proposed arrangement of our collection, that when genius is left to itself without fixed laws to conduct it, each different species of writing is so apt by imperceptible gradations to Nide into the next in kindred, that it is frequently impossible for the critic to preserve his classes pure and free from mixture, without a too scrupulous rejection of pieces really beautiful though somewhat faulty in regularity. The reader will easily perceive, and I hope make
allowances for several instances of equivocal arrangement, which from this cause I have not been able to. avoid.