On the other hand, it is clear that a poem may be improperly brief.
A remarkable instance of the effect of undue brevity in depressing a poem, in keeping it out of the popular view, is afforded by the following exquisite little Serenade--
The "Precepts of Chiron" was a didactic poem made up of moral and practical precepts, resembling the gnomic sections of the "Works and Days", addressed by the Centaur Chiron to his pupil Achilles.
Even less is known of the poem called the "Great Works": the title implies that it was similar in subject to the second section of the "Works and Days", but longer.
What the plan of the poem is Spenser explains in a prefatory letter to Sir Walter Ralegh.
For a single illustration, the description of the House of Alma in Book II, Canto Nine, is a tediously literal medieval allegory of the Soul and Body; and occasional realistic details here and there in the poem at large are merely repellent to more modern taste.
But in the Epic poem the absurdity passes unnoticed.
This condition will be satisfied by poems on a smaller scale than the old epics, and answering in length to the group of tragedies presented at a single sitting.
At the corner he stepped into the Western Union and sent a telegram to THE PARTHENON, advising them to proceed with the publication of the poem.
Half in delirium, he began muttering aloud the lines of an anonymous poem Brissenden had been fond of quoting to him.
All who read it were delighted with the poems
, and said that if there was any more such poetry in the Highlands, it should be gathered together and printed before it was lost and forgotten for ever.
Johnson and others, who had dared to say in their time that the poems
of Ossian were not genuine lays of the Gaelic bard, handed down from father to son, and taken from the lips of old women in Highland huts, as Macpherson claimed.