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180
LYRICAL

placed near to or on the ground, at the base of a rock or foot of a tree, and is closely woven of ine but strong roots or other fibres, and lined with feathers, around all which is heaped a mass, in shape of an oven, of sticks, grass, moss and leaves, so as to project over and shelter the interior structure, while an opening in the side affords entrance and exit. Only one egg is laid, and this of rather large size in proportion to the bird, of a purplish-grey colour, suffused and blotched with dark purplish-brown. Incubation is believed to begin in July or August, and the young is hatched about amonth later. It is at first covered with dark down, and appears to remain for some weeks in the nest. It is greatly to be hoped that so remarkable a form as the lyrebird, the nearly sole survivor apparently of a very ancient race of beings, will not be allowed to become extinct-its almost certain fate so far as can be judged-without many more observations of its manners being made. Several examples of M enum have been brought alive to Europe, and some have long survived in captivity.

Three species of Menura have been indicated-the old M. superba, the lyre-bird proper, which inhabits New South Wales the southern part of Queensland, and

perhaps some parts of Victoria; M.

vicloriae, separated from the former by Gould (Proc. Zool. Soc., 1862, p. 23), and said to take its place near Melbourne; and M. alberti, first described

by C. L. Bonaparte (Consp. Avium, i.

215) on Gou ld's authority, and, though discovered on the Richmond river in New South Wales, having apparently a more northern range than the other two. All a 6 those have the apparent bulk of a hen pheasant, but are really much smaller, and their general plumage is of a sooty brown, relieved by rufous on the chin, throat, some of the wing-feathers and the tail-coverts. The wings, consisting of twenty-one remiges, are rather short and rounded; the legs* and feet very strong, with long, nearly straight claws. In

the immature and female the tail is

somewhat long, though affording no very remarkable character, except the possession of sixteen rectrices; but in the fully-plumaged male of M. superba and M. 'vieloriae it is developed in the extraordinary fashion that gives the bird its common English name. The two exterior feathers (fig. 1, a, b) have the outer web very narrow, the inner very broad, and they

Fig. 2. FIG. 3.

curve at first outwards, then somewhat inwards, and near the tip outwards again, bending round forwards so as to present a lyre-like form. But this is not all; their broad inner web, which is of a lively chestnut colour, is apparently notched at regular intervals by spaces that, according to the angle at which they are viewed, seem either black or transparent; and this effect is, on examination, found to be due to the barbs at those 1 The metatarsals are very remarkable in form, as already noticed by Eyton (loc. cil.), and their tendons strongly ossified. spaces being destitute of barbules. The mid'dle pair of feathers (fig. 2, a, b) is nearly as abnormal. These have no outer web, and the inner web very narrow; near their base they cross each other, and then diverge, bending round forwards near their tip. The remaining twelve feathers (fig. 3) except near the base are very thinly furnished with barbs, about i in. apart, and those they possess, on their greater part, though long and flowing, bear no barbules, and hence have a hair-like appearance. The shafts of all are exceedingly strong. In the male of M. alberti the tail is not only not lyriform, but the exterior rectrices are shorter than the rest. (A.N.)


LYRICAL POETRY, a general term for all poetry which is, or can be supposed to be, susceptible of being sung to the accompaniment of a musical instrument. In the earliest times it may be said that all poetry was of its essence lyrical. The primeval oracles were chanted in verse, and the Orphic and Bacchic Mysteries, which were celebrated at Eleusis and elsewhere, combined, it is certain, metre with music. Homer and Hesiod are each of them represented with a lyre, yet if any poetry can be described as non-lyrical, it is surely the archaic hexameter of the Iliad and the Erga. These poems were styled epic, in direct contradistinction to the lyric of Pindar and Bacchylides. But inexactly, since it is plain that they were recited, with a plain accompaniment on a stringed instrument. However, the distinction between epical and lyrical, between τἁ ἔπη, what was said, and τἁ μέλη, what was sung, is accepted, and neither Homer nor Hesiod is among the lyrists. This distinction, however, is often without a difference, as for example, in the case of the so-called Hymns of Homer, epical in form but wholly lyrical in character. Hegel, who has gone minutely into this question in his Esthetik, contends that when poetry is objective it is epical, and when it is subjective it is lyrical. This is to ignore the metrical form of the poem, and to deal with its character only. It would constrain us to regard Wordsworth's Excursion as a lyric, and Tennyson's Revenge (where the subject is treated exactly as one of the Homeridae would have treated an Ionian myth) as an epic. This is impossible, and recalls us to the importance of taking the form into consideration. But, with this warning, the definition of Hegel is valuable. It is, as he insists, the personal thought, or passion, or inspiration, which gives its character to lyrical poetry.

The lyric has the function of revealing, in terms of pure art, the secrets of the inner life, its hopes, its fantastic joys, its sorrows, its delirium. It is easier to exclude the dramatic species from lyric than to banish the epic. There are large sections of drama which it is inconceivable should be set to music, or sung, or even given in recitative. The tragedies of Racine, for example, are composed of the purest poetry, but they are essentially non-lyrical, although lyrical portions are here and there attached to them. The intensity of feeling and the melody of verse in Othello does not make that work an example of lyrical poetry, and this is even more acutely true of Le Misanthrope, which is, nevertheless, a poem. The tendency of modern drama is to divide itself further and further from lyric, but in early ages the two kinds were indissoluble. Tragedy was goat-song, and the earliest specimens of it were mainly composed of choruses. As Prof. G. G. Murray says, in the Suppliants of Aeschylus, the characters “are singing for two-thirds of the play,” accompanied by tumultuous music. This primitive feature has gradually been worn away; the chorus grew less and less prominent, and disappeared; the very verse-ornament of drama tends to vanish, and we have plays essentially so poetical as those of Ibsen and Maeterlinck written from end to end in bare prose.

To return again to Greece, there was an early distinction, soon accentuated, between the poetry chanted by a choir of singers, and the song which expressed the sentiments of a single poet. The latter, the μέλος or song proper, had reached a height of technical perfection in “the Isles of Greece, where burning Sappho loved and sung,” as early as the 7th century B.C. That poetess, and her contemporary Alcaeus, divide the laurels of the pure Greek song of Dorian inspiration. By their side, and later, flourished the great poets who set words to music for choirs, Alcman, Arion, Stesichorus, Simonides and Ibycus, who lead us