Chambers's Encyclopædia







LYRIC, the name given to a certain species of poetry because originally accompanied by the music of the lyre. It is rapid in movement, as befitting the expression of the mind in its emotional and impassioned moments, and naturally its principal themes are love, devotion, patriotism, friendship, and the Bacchanalian spirit. It was a favourite form among the ancient Greeks and Romans, and here it may be enough to mention the names of such masters as Sappho, Pindar, Tyrtæus, Simonides, of many unknown writers in the Greek Anthology, and of Catullus and Horace. The most important form of the modern lyric is the song, with its religious sister, the hymn, neither of which, as we might expect, extends usually to any great number of lines. Lyric poetry obviously concerns itself with the thoughts and emotions of the writer's own mind, and is thus subjective as opposed to the epic, for example, which is essentially objective in character; while from beginning to end it should express but one incident, situation, or spasm of emotion. Modern English literature is remarkably rich in poetry in lyric forms, although it would be difficult to bring together any three of their contemporaries to outweigh Goethe, Schiller, and Heine. As admirable examples of devotional lyrics may be named Milton's 'Christmas Ode,' Byron's Hebrew Melodies, Moore's Sacred Melodies, and our thousand hymns of greater or less poetic value; of love-songs, the masterpieces of Herrick and other Caroline lyrists, and of Burns, the best dozen of whose songs stand safely first in their order, as well as, in later times, the unmatched utterances in Tennyson's Maud of the love-passion in its swift progress from hope to despair; of loyal, and patriotic, and martial lyrics, the Royalist, and especially the Jacobite group, Campbell's 'Ye Mariners of England,' 'Hohenlinden,' and 'The Battle of the Baltic,' Burns's 'Scots wha hae,' Byron's 'Isles of Greece,' and Tennyson's 'Charge of the Light Brigade' and 'The Last Fight of the Revenge.' An admirable selection from the whole range of English poetry is Palgrave's Golden Treasury (1861, often reprinted). See SONG.





Erstdruck und Druckvorlage

Chambers's Encyclopædia.
A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge.
New Edition.
Volume VI. London; Edinburgh: Chambers; Philadelphia: Lippincott 1901, S. 758.


Die Textwiedergabe erfolgt nach dem ersten Druck (Editionsrichtlinien).

Chambers's Encyclopædia (New Edition. 10 Bde. 1901)   online








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Lyriktheorie » R. Brandmeyer