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THE BURDEN OF THE VICTORIA LYRIC
A Comparative Study of Elizabethan and Victorian Lyrics.
Race, epoch, and surroundings determine the character of the literature of any nation. In no literature is this more clearly seen than in the literature of the English people. The English race, strong, energetic, impulsive, of an enquiring and exploring mind,
gave expression to
their thoughts and feelings in prose and verse. For twelve centuries the pen of England has never ceased to write. During these twelve centuries great changes have taken place in the political, scientific, and religious history of England, and these have materially affected the literature. In no age are these changes more marked than in the Elizabethan and Victorian. During the Elizabethan period the Drama was the representative type, during the Victorian, the Novel, while the Lyric played an important part in both.
The drama showed a strong Italian influence. terest was centered in the court and it drew from the court the culture of Italy. The novel is the natural outcome of the Victorian age. In the novel the Englishman expresses his own individual ideas with greater freedom, attacks both social and scientific problems in a manner to suit
himself, advancing his own theory on matters under discussion or giving his opinion regarding theories already advanced. This freedom has given rise to the large number of novels treating of social questions written in this present century. To no less extent, however, is the change in thought and feeling apparent in the lyric qualities of English verse, and it is with the lyrics of these ages that we are concerned.
The term lyric can not be strictly defined; originally the term was used to denote the singing or song-like quality as contrasted with the telling quality of the epic; it was especially designed for lyre accompaniment. There is, however, a stronger element underlying this species of
it is a certain personality that gives to the lyr
the inner life of the poet. The lyric deals with the subjects of emotion and passion in their simplicity and may be defined as an adequate, harmonious, imaginative and real expression of feeling.
Its true test is sincerity.
While the epic is slow and majestic, the lyric is rapid; the epic has one fixed metre, as for example, Pentameter Blank verse in English, and Dactylic Hexameter in Greek; the lyric has no fixed metre, and some of its forms are more or less irregular. The epic sometimes begins with the first person but the third person is properly used