The Works of Edgar Allan Poe: Autobiography, criticism, and index.
The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Autobiography criticism and index Author:Edgar Allan Poe Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: GEORGE P. MORRIS. There are few cases in which mere popularity should be considered a proper test of merit; but the case of song- writing is, I think, one of ... more »the few. In speaking of song- writing, I mean of course the composition of brief poems, with an eye to their adaptation for music in the vulgar sense. In this ultimate destination of the song proper lies its essence—its genius. It is the strict reference to music—it is the dependence upon modulated expression—which gives to this branch of letters a character altogether unique, and separates it, in great measure and in a manner not sufficiently considered, from ordinary literature; rendering it independent of merely ordinary proprieties ; allowing it, and in fact demanding for it, a wide latitude of Law; absolutely insisting upon a certain wild license and indefinitweness—an indefinitiveness recognised by every musician who is not a mere fiddler, as an important point in the philosophy of his science—as the soul, indeed, of the sensations derivable from its practice—sensations which bewilder while they enthral —and which would not so enthral if they did not so bewilder. That indefinitweness, which is at least one of the essentials of true music, must of course be kept in view by the songwriter ; while, by the critic, it should always be considered in his estimate of the song. It is in the author a consciousness—sometimes merely an instinctive appreciation of this necessity for the indefinite, which imparts to all songs richly conceived that free, affluent, and hearty manner, little scrupulous about niceties of phrase, which cannot be better expressed than by the hackneyed French word abandonne- ment, and which is so strikingly exemplified in both the serious and joyous ballads and carols of our old English progenitors. W...« less