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EDINBURGH:
ADAM & CHARLES BLACK, NORTH BRIDGE,

BOOKSELLERS AND PUBLISHERS TO HER MAJESTY.

MDCCCXXXIX.

HARVARD UNIVERSITY LIRARY DEC 1 1961

BALFOUR AND JACK, PRINTERS.

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TREATISE

ON

PO E T R Y.

The difficulty of giving a definition of poetry, which shall include all that essentially belongs to it, and exclude all that is foreign or accidental to it, has been long felt and admitted. The definition of the ancients, which makes poetry "an imitative art," is obviously exposed to the double objection of being at once too comprehensive, since it would equally apply to the other imitative arts of painting and sculpture ; and too limited, since it would exclude many departments of poetry, in which, as in the lyrical, the art is not properly imitatire, but expressive; not copying in any sense the thoughts and actions of others, but presenting to the sympathy of the reader the emotions of the poet himself. Not less objectionable is the definition, that poetry is “ the art of expressing our thoughts by fiction;" which, while it is equally applicable to the novel and the romance, is, in fact, not necessarily true of poetry at all, except in this sense, that in all high poetry a certain transforming and

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