The second period, which produced the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey", needs no description here: but it is very important to observe the effect of these poems on the course of post-Homeric epic. As the supreme perfection and universality of the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" cast into oblivion whatever pre-Homeric poets had essayed, so these same qualities exercised a paralysing influence over the successors of Homer.
In its third period, therefore, epic poetry shows two divergent tendencies.
Such a poetry could not be permanently successful, because the subjects of which it treats -- if susceptible of poetic treatment at all -- were certainly not suited for epic treatment, where unity of action which will sustain interest, and to which each part should contribute, is absolutely necessary.
If, by "sustained effort," any little gentleman has accomplished an epic,
1* us frankly commend him for the effort -- if this indeed be a thing conk mendable--but let us forbear praising the epic on the effort's account.
While the epic mania, while the idea that to merit in poetry prolixity is indispensable, has for some years past been gradually dying out of the public mind, by mere dint of its own absurdity, we find it succeeded by a heresy too palpably false to be long tolerated, but one which, in the brief period it has already endured, may be said to have accomplished more in the corruption of our Poetical Literature than all its other enemies combined.
Wheatley invokes God on numerous occasions in Poems On Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, and while her God does not intervene on her behalf, as do the gods and goddesses in classical epics
, supernatural forces are at work in her "epic
." Wheatley enumerates the workings and intentions of God in "Thoughts on the Works of Providence," illustrating a picture of God authorizing the growth of Wheatley's America.
A long verse narrative with climactic epic
construction comprising beast tales, or stories of animals represented as acting with human feelings and motives.
Once again, it is as Turner recalls earlier epics
that we encounter the most provocative implications of his poem.
The so - called classical, or art, epic
is distinctly the work of a single author.
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