Excerpt from Demonstrations in Latin Elegiac Verse
The great educational value of Elegiac Verse lies in this that it gives the student a clear notion of literary form. There is a form in all good literary compositions; in prose, not less truly than in verse. But the form and rhythm of prose are difficult to appreciate, and are really understood only by minds which have been carefully trained. In verse, on the other hand, the form is clearer; and the Elegiac form is so simple and so obvious, that few who have tried to write in this kind can fail to know it is there. This once understood, the teacher can point out that all kinds of composition have this form; and if a boy gets no further than to learn that there is such a thing, this is no small advantage.
In the next few pages I shall try to explain what is the form of Elegiac Verse, and how it may be imitated.
In the first place, Elegiac Verse is mainly Rhetorical. It is concerned, that is to say, with Antithesis of word, phrase, and thought, not with logic, or the due subordination of one thought to another. Secondly, it is vivid; the ideas must be so pre sented that they call up a picture, or excite an emotion. Both these are just the qualities which make a popular speech successful.
I. A Rhetorical character is got by avoiding complex sentences, and by using Antithesis, Parataxis, and Parenthesis. Let us take these in order, with examples from Ovid.
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