THE NATURE OF METAPHYSICAL POETRY
AN examination of the many diverse theories of poetry current since the romantic revival of a hundred years ago would reveal unanimity on one point at least. Rhetoric and thought have been expended, often with ingenious results, on the manner and style of poetry--on questions of the necessity of metre and rhyme, on the relative merits of the ode and sonnet, and on such external subjects as the propriety of realism or the ethical confusions of romanticism. But the poetry thus generously treated approximates in every case to that type known as the lyric; if it is not exactly a lyric, it is a "lyrical passage" from some other kind of poem. In short, poetry has been identified with lyricism. There is, of course, a very good reason for this universal confusion, and my first intention is to make it distinct.
The etymological significance of the word lyric is largely lost, but generally it now connotes that quality in writing which we may for the moment be content to call "emotional". A lyric poem has in addition certain formal characteristics, such as brevity, simplicity, and directness, and for this