The UVic Writer's Guide


An epigram is a very short, light-hearted and witty poem, sometimes lightly satirical or in the form of a brief narrative. The following example is by the Roman epigrammatist Martial:

You're rich and young, as all confess, And none denies your loveliness; But when we hear your boastful tongue You're neither pretty, rich, nor young.

Many of Pope's closed couplets are epigrammatic:

"Some praise at morning what they blame at night; / But always think the last opinion right" ("An Essay on Criticism" [1711]).

(See also Aphorism.)

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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated May 13, 1995