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A Dramatic Poem is designed to be acted on the stage. This species of poetry exists in the form called plays. Scenery, costume, dialogue, and action combine to reproduce the original events and represent the characters, as if really present. In such a poem, there is little that is commonplace; everything is positive and pronounced; the passion is strong, often tumultuous; the thought is vigorous; the incidents exciting. Like the epic it contains story, but unlike it the story is acted, not narrated.
The main divisions of the drama are tragedy and comedy.
Tragedy is carnest and serious, and deals often with great men and lofty actions. It represents the calamitous events of human life, with the design of arousing pity and fear in connection with admiration of nobility and scorn of baseness in character. The language is poetically pleasing, and the subjects are various. Shakespeare has given us a great variety of tragic situations in Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Julius Cæsar, Romeo and Juliet, and others.
Comedy represents the ludicrous side of life. It seeks chiefly the topics of common life, and deals largely in ridicule and satire; its many forms embrace the lowest personal caricature and the most refined humor. When the dialogue is low and the characters are of inferior rank, it is called a Farce. Gross exaggerations for the purpose of exciting mirth, or comical situations which are eminently absurd, produce the Travesty, or Mock-heroic. Scenes mingling the tragic and the comic, and interspersed with songs, constitute Melodrama. Of the genteel comedy, Goldsmith's Good-Natured Man and She Stoops to Conquer, and Sheridan's Rivals and The Critic, are illustrations.
CAPITALS AND PUNCTUATION.
If written language be efficient as a medium of communication, it must be clearly expressed; and to this end we should be able to make a just distinction of the symbols by which the thought is conveyed. For example, compare -“GIVE ME, O FATHER, TO THY THRONE ACCESS," with—“Give me, O Father, to thy throne access. Now suppose an entire page to be printed in the style of the first, and another in the style of the second; then we may readily perceive the advantages obtained in giving to the prominence of the idea a corresponding prominence of sign. Capital letters are, therefore, used for the sake of giving distinction to certain words, so that the sense may be more obvious. Notice the distinction between “Green Mountains," and “green mountains”; between “White Plains," and "white plains"; between "the principles of the Democratic party,” and “democratic principles.”
Capitals were formerly employed with far greater frequency than now. Almost every word of the slightest importance once had a capital as its initial. writers of the present day make an excessive use of capitals. In the German language every noun begins with a capital; but there is no reason for this practice in the En
A few great
glish language. Capitals are of advantage only when used so sparingly as to contrast with small letters.
The prevailing practice limits the use of capitals chiefly to the following cases:
1. The first word of every sentence; as, “Did you call John?” “No, sir; I did not."
2. The first word of every line of poetry; as,
“ Over the rail
3. All proper nouns, and words derived from them; as, “Richmond"; "Central America'; “The French nation"; “The English language”; “The Mohammedan religion.
4. The names of things strongly personified; as, “O Solitude! Where are the charms that sages have seen in thy face”; “They went to the Butterfly's ball."
5. The names of religious sects, and of political parties; as, “The Brahmins"; "The Protestants"; "The Democrats.
6. The names of important historical events; as, “The Restoration"; "The Reformation"; "The Declaration of Independence.”
7. Titles of office, honor, or respect, especially when applied to a particular person or when they precede a name; as, “The Count of Paris"; "President Harrison"; "Queen Anne”; “Uncle John”; “Mrs. Adams."
If such titles as king, lord, general, etc. occur frequently and are not followed by the name, the capital need not be used.
8. The names of the days of the week, and of the months
of the year, but not of the seasons; as, “It is Monday morning"; "The month of December"; "Snow fell during the winter.
9. All names of Deity; as, “The Almighty”; “The Divine Architect"; “The Most High"; "The Creator"; "Jehovah."'+
10. The names of the Bible, and any of its books; as, "The Holy Bible"; "The New Testament"; "The Holy Scriptures”; “The Gospel of John." I
II. The first word of a direct quotation; as, “He replied, 'My coffers are empty.””
* NOTE.—The words "north,' east," "south,"" west," when they denote parts of a country, should begin with capital letters, but when they denote simply direction, they should be written with small letters; as, “The West is rapidly developing her wealth"; "Indiana is west of Ohio."
† NOTE 1.—Pronouns referring to Deity, when equivalent to the name of Deity, should begin with a capital letter; but if the reference is perfectly clear the capitals may
be omitted. In the best editions of the English Bible the pronouns are printed with small letters, unless used emphatically without a noun; as, “O Thou that hearest prayer"; "To Him who guards us."
NOTE 2.- -When a name of Deity is applied to a created being, it does not begin with a capital; as, The Lord is a great God above all gods."
NOTE 3.- Providence, when used to mean the One who provides for us, begins with a capital. When the word "heaven" is used to mean the Deity, it should begin with a capital; when it means the firmament, it should begin with a small letter; when it refers to the abode of the blest, it is written by some with a capital, and by others with a small letter: usage is not uniform.
NOTE.— When the Bible is spoken of simply as a book, no capital is needed; as, "Seven bibles were placed upon the shelf.”
& NOTE 1.-Should the quotation, however, consist of a single word or merely a part of a sentence, the capital is not necessary.
NOTE 2.- The first word of an important statement should begin with a capital letter; thus, “The question is, Who shall take the lead"; "My opinion is this: If we do not succeed now, we shall never succeed.”
12. The pronoun I and the interjection 0 are always capitals. Single letters forming abbreviations should be capitals.
13. In the titles of books, or the headings of essays, etc., every noun, adjective, verb, and adverb should begin with a capital letter
14. The first word of each of a series of numbered clauses or phrases should begin with a capital letter; as, “He directed his efforts to these points: (1) The necessity for gaining time; (2) How time might be gained; (3) That the way he recommended was the only practical one.”
15. The first word of a clause or a sentence, when used as an example, should begin with a capital letter. Thus: “Proper names should begin with capitals; as, ‘His home is in Virginia.
16. The first word after an introductory word or clause should begin with a capital; as, “Voted, To appoint Mr. William Brown commissioner"; “Be it enacted, That a tax of two mills,” etc.
DIRECTION.— Correct the capitalization of the following examples, and give the reason for every change :
1. Thou shalt not Steal. 2. have you studied french or german? 3. June and july are Summer months. 4. The american revolution continued eight years. 5. He devoted himself to the Study of the holy scriptures. 6. His advice to his little Son was, “get Money, Boy, get Money."
7. i've seen yon weary Winter sun
twice forty times return,