EPIGRAM (Lat. (pigramma, Gk. irtypagya, pi gra m ma, inscription, from ha, epi, upon ypdpaa, gramma, writing, from graphein, to write). The epigrams of the early Greeks were simply inscriptions on tombs, statues, and monu ments, written in verse, and marked by brevity and simplieity of style, but having nothing in com mon with what now passes under the name. It was among the Romans that the epigram first assumed a satirical character. The great masters were Ca tu I I us and Martial. In modern times an epigram is understood to be a very short poem, generally from two to eight. lines, containing a witty or ingenious thought expressed in pointed phraseology, and in general reserving the essence of the wit until the close. The term is also more lily applied to thought expressed concisely. Epigrams flourished in the period following the revival of learning. John Ileywood wrote six
111111(1ml. and almost every Elizabethan versi fier tried his hand at them. Later, Pope became Ihe great master. Among the French Alarot was one of the first to write epigrams. lie WAS afterwards excelled by Polka'', Voltaire, and Pima. Epigrams in Ger are for the most part happily expressed proverbs, but the Nenien of Schiller and ttoctiae contain not a few sharp and biting verses of a sal irical ells racier. In English the art of epi gram after having been praetteed by Byron and Attin., fell info disuse, until revived by William Watson in his Epigrams of Art, Life, and Nature I Liverpool, 1884 ) . Consult: Booth, Epigrams, Ancient and Modern (2d ed., London, 1865); Dodd, Epigrammatists of Mediteval and Modern Times (2d ed., London, 1875); and Adams, Book of Epigrams (London, 1890).