The Works of Thomas Gray Volume 2
General Books, Apr 30, 2012 - 72 pages
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1835 Excerpt: ... ESSAY ON THE POETRY OF GRAY. I. On the Manner of Composition attributed to Gray by Mason. II. On the Harmony of his Verse, with some Remarks on Verbal Imitation in Poetry. III. On hia Language or Poetical Diction. IV. On the Moral and Pathetic Character of his Writings. V. On the prophetic Character of the Bard; and on the construction of the Pindaric Ode. VI. On the Notes to this Edition. VII. On the Criticisms by Dr. Johnson on the Poetry of Gray. I. To ascertain the method of composition adopted by a writer of established excellence, and to discover the principles upon which he constructed his poetry, is not only a subject of reasonable curiosity; but may prove of no small advantage in enabling us to unfold some of the causes both of his beauties and defects. Mr. Mason observes, * " that Gray's conceptions, as well as his manner of disposing them, were so singularly exact, that he had seldom occasion to make many, except verbal emendations, after he had first committed his lines to paper. It was never his method to See Mason's Memoirs of Gray, vol. iii. p. 157. VOL. II. b sketch his general design in careless verse; he always finished as he proceeded: this, though it made his execution slow, made his compositions more perfect." And in a note to that passage he adds: "I have many of his critical letters by me on my own compositions: letters, which, though they would not amuse the public in general, contain excellent lessons for young poets; from one of these I extract the following passage, which seems to explain this matter more fully: ' Extreme conciseness of expression, yet pure, perspicuous, and musical, is one of the grand beauties of lyric poetry: this I have always aimed at, and never could attain. The necessity of rhyming is one great ...
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