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Po'etry (lit. 'creation,' from Gr. poieō, 'I make') has been defined by two of the world's greatest thinkers, Aristotle and Bacon, not in itself but by its accidents, the former laying stress on the fact that it is initiative and truthful, the latter on the fact that it is feigned or creative; the one holding that it produces the pleasure of a truth, the other that of a lie. Simonides makes P. merely 'word-painting.' Among the moderns, Johnson calls it 'metrical composition,' and that which pleases by 'exhibiting an idea more grateful to the mind than things themselves afford.' Whately calls it 'elegant and decorated language in verse,' and Masson 'creation and imagery in verse' — definitions that deal with the form to the exclusion of the essence, and take no account of such compositions as the Book of Job or Canticles. As colour is not essential to a picture, so neither is metre, alliteration, or rhyme to a poem; they are simply means employed by the poet as those best suited to produce an illusion on the imagination. A truer, because wider, definition of P. is Aytoun's, as 'the art which has for its object the creation of intellectual pleasures by means of imaginative and passionate language, and language generally, though not necessarily, formed into regular numbers.' Under their various heads will be found Epic P., with its kindred forms the ballad; pastoral and heroic verse; the Drama; the Lyric, to which belong the song, sonnet, ode, elegy, hymn, anthem, &c.; the Satire; and lastly, Didactic P. See Zimmermann's Geschichte der Poesie aller Völker (Stuttg. 1847); Dallas' Poetics: an Essay on P. (1852); Shairp's Studies in P. and Philosophy (1868), and Poetic Interpretation of Nature (1877); and Doyle's Lectures on P. (1869).





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Volume V. Boston: Estes & Lauriat 1879, S. 149.


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Lyriktheorie » R. Brandmeyer