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The Elizabethan writers not only the dramatists, but the authors of romances interspersed their blank verse or their prose narration with short lyrical poems, just as in the days of Mozart the airs and concerted pieces in an opera were connected by wastes of recitative that were most aptly called 'dry'; and as it was left to a modern poet to tell, in a series of lyrics succeeding one another without interval, a dramatic story such as that of Maud, so was it a modern composer who carried to completion, in 'Tristan und Isolde', the dramatic expression of passion at the highest point of lyrical utterance.

The exact phrases eluded him; perhaps, indeed, it was the underlying sentiment of nearly ALL of Tennyson's earlier poems of which she reminded him those lyrics which are at once so romantic and so irreproachable morally. "We must give you Americans credit for imagination at any rate," she said smilingly, making her Pomeranian sit up on his hind legs and beg for a morsel of crisp bacon.

It contains his most exquisite lyrics, his tenderest love passages, and one glimpse of fairyland which I cannot but think outshines the utmost beauty of A Midsummer Night's Dream: Prospero's farewell to the "elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves." Again a miracle; these are things which cannot be staled by repetition.

The conventional opening of a love poem by a description of spring is also in evidence; in short, the commonplaces, the technical language and formulae of later Provençal lyrics were in existence during the age of this first troubadour.

If it were but as a stepping-stone to those perfect lyrics, so full of natural truth and feeling, with which Burns afterwards brought to a climax the songs of his country, the Tea-table Miscellany would have a merit of its own.

Kitty's eyebrows, a hundred years or more ago, would have stirred to tender lyrics the quills of Prior and Lovelace and Suckling: arched when interested, a funny little twist to the inner points when angered, and when laughter possessed her. . . . Let Thomas indite the sonnet! Just now they were widely arched. "I am very fond of the book," explained Thomas diffidently.

Some of his best work, however, appears in short pieces that might best be described as lyrics of the farm, or, to use a title discarded by Tennyson, Idylls of the Hearth. Mr. Pierce knows the lonely farm-houses of New England, both by inheritance and habitation, and is a true interpreter of the spirit of rural life.

A poet himself, he enriched the religious service, which he organized, by lyrics some of them composed by himself of unrivaled devotional depth and poetic beauty. He organized his military force as well, and established an orderly civil administration.

Walter Scott owed to Dandie the text of the "Raid of Wearie" in the "Minstrelsy"; and made him welcome at his house, and appreciated his talents, such as they were, with all his usual generosity. The Ettrick Shepherd was his sworn crony; they would meet, drink to excess, roar out their lyrics in each other's faces, and quarrel and make it up again till bedtime.

One of the most important, characteristic, and artistically charming categories of mediæval love lyrics is that comprising the Provençal serena and alba, with their counterparts in the langue d'oil, and the so-called Wachtlieder of the minnesingers; and this category of love poetry may be defined as the drama, in four acts, of illicit love.