The forms of poetical composition chiefly cultivated by the Alexandrians were epic and lyric, or elegiac. Great epics are wanting; but in their place, as might almost have been expected, are found the historical and the didactic or expository epics.
The sudden flash which disclosed to the eyes of Hebal the whole epic of humanity cannot be reproduced in language trammelled by time and space.
The next step in the development of epic narrative was the single lay of an episodic character, sung by a single individual, who was frequently a member of a distinguished family, not merely a professional minstrel.
Hieronymus Vespasian Kohcowski (1633-1699) was a soldier-poet, who went through the campaigns against the Swedes and Cossacks; he has left several books of lyrics full of vivacity, a Christian epic and a Polish psalmody.
The use of that dialect (instead of Aeolic) by the Boeotian poet Hesiod, in a kind of poetry which was not of the Homeric type, tends to the conclusion that the literary ascendancy of the epic dialect was anterior to the Iliad and Odyssey, and independent of the influence exercised by these poems.
The epic achievements of the Portuguese in that century, the discoveries and the wars in Africa, hardly find an echo, even in the verses of those who had taken part in them.
What Petofi had done for lyrical he did for epic poetry.
In 1761 he announced the discovery of an epic on the subject of Fingal, and in December he published Fingal, an Ancient Epic Poem in Six Books, together with Several Other Poems composed by Ossian, the Son of Fingal, translated from the Gaelic Language, written in the musical measured prose of which he had made use in his earlier volume.
As to the creative acts, we may admit that the creation of light does not form one of them in the epic (cf.
There are many translations of the epic into modern German, the best known being that of K.