Lyrical text characteristics types and examples

Lyrical text

The lyrical text is one where the author expresses his feelings, emotions, and sensations freely. Its textual expression is the poem. It can be in verse or prose. When the lyric text is in verse, its formal expression indicates that each verse (or line of the poem) has rhythm and rhyme. On the contrary, when it is in prose, the rhyme does not appear but a certain rhythm and musicality of the language is maintained, and poetic prose is said to it. Lyrical text characteristics types

It is called lyrical because in ancient times, in Greece, poems were recited accompanied by a musical instrument that was, generally, a lyre. Over time, the instrument fell into disuse but not the custom of reciting. From there come medieval troubadours and current songs.

Aristotle, in his Poetics (4th century BC), established the literary genres, and divided them into epic, lyrical and dramatic genres. The epic refers to the poetic texts where legendary events were narrated; examples of this can be the Iliad or the Cantar de Mío Cid.

The lyric, as we already mentioned, is where the author expresses emotions and feelings. And the dramatic genre is the text linked to the theater.

Characteristics of lyrical texts

The lyrical text is characterized by the presence of certain language features and literary elements.

1-Lyrical speaker

The lyrical speaker is the one who expresses himself through the poem (not to be confused with the real author), who makes his inner world known. This figure is also known as “the poetic self.”

For purposes of literary analysis, this creation is fictitious, not real, although many times the author is recounting a real event and his own feelings about it. Lyrical text characteristics types


The great load of subjectivity is one of its main features, and it is what differentiates the lyrical text to the greatest extent from the epic and the dramatic.

3-Use of abundant literary resources

The poet uses metaphors, epithets, metonymies, comparisons, hyperbole, and other rhetorical figures to express himself.

Let’s see, for example, this well-known verse by Quevedo:

  • “Once upon a man stuck a nose”.

His intention to point out the exaggerated size of such a nose is evident, but he does so with an aesthetic, poetic intention. That is why he does not use normal, everyday language.


A lyrical text, unlike epic or dramatic, is usually short. The content, consequently, will be condensed, and that is why it turns to metaphors and other rhetorical figures, to express multiple meanings in a few words.

This can also give it a somewhat more difficult character to understand, since the poetry reader will have to interpret these rhetorical figures and find what the author wanted to say.

The Chilean poet Vicente Huidobro recommended to those who wrote poetry: “Suggest, suggest, never say.” The suggestion then becomes images with a new meaning.

5-Metric and rhyme

The meter is the number of syllables that make up a verse, and the rhyme is the repetition of sounds that is heard from the last stressed vowel of the last word of the verse. The rhyme can be consonant or assonance. Lyrical text characteristics types

  • Rhyme

It occurs when between two or more similar verses, the phonemes of its last letters are identical from the vowel that is stressed. An example would be: “nation / vision”.

  • Assonance rhyme

It exists when the repetition of the last stressed vowels resembles, but is not the same. An example would be: “good / lamb”.

The free verse is the one that lacks rhyme and meter, but maintains a rhythm in the language. At the end of the 19th century, especially in Western poetry, it was used to express greater freedom both in poetic language and in its structure.

It is very close to poetic prose, and is distinguished from it because it maintains the typographical arrangement of the verses in lines.

Types of lyrical text: classification

We can classify the lyrical text into different types, major and minor: among the major, the song, the eclogue, the elegy, the ode, the sonnet , the satire; and among the minors, there are the letrilla and the madrigal.

1-Major genres


It is a musical composition, made for the human voice, which is usually accompanied by musical instruments. There have been musicians who have put music to poems turning them into songs, such as those of Miguel Hernández, León Felipe, Antonio Machado or Mario Benedetti, to which Joan Manuel Serrat put music.

We can also mention Paco Ibáñez, another Spanish musician, who scored poems by Quevedo, Jorge Manrique or José Agustín Goytisolo. Lyrical text characteristics types


Poems of bucolic (pastoral) themes that deal with the loves of its protagonists. The atmosphere is rural, and nature is seen as a perfect and heavenly place. Eclogues Garcilaso de la Vega, Juan del Encina or Lope de Vega, among others, wrote.


Poems where the pain for the loss or absence of someone is exalted. “Coplas a la muerte de su padre”, by Jorge Manrique, is a good example, or the poem “Elegía”, by Miguel Hernández, where he mourns the death of his friend Ramón Sijé.


It is a poem where a theme is exalted in a reflective way. An example is “Ode to the onion” by Pablo Neruda.


It is a poetic composition characterized by four stanzas, made up of two quartets and two triplets and a total sum of 14 verses. The sonnet can deal with any subject, and the most representative poets are Lope de Vega, Luis de Góngora, Quevedo, Cervantes, Calderón de la Barca (from the golden age) and more modern, Antonio Machado, among others.


Satire is a poetic composition that expresses mockery or sharpness, but also indignation towards something or someone. It was common in ancient Latin and Greek literature , and has been used often in later times to denounce situations or mock authorities.

Examples are “El Buscón” by Quevedo or “El diablo cojuelo” by Luis Vélez de Guevara.

2-Minor genres


The letrilla had several stanzas of short meter where usually at the end of each one a chorus is repeated, and it was composed to be sung. His tone is light, burlesque and satirical. An example would be “Powerful gentleman is Mr. Money“, by Francisco de Quevedo.


It is a poetic composition in which heptasyllable verses (of 7 syllables) and hendecasyllables (of 11 syllables) are combined, whose theme is generally love. It arose in Italy and was very common during the Renaissance. Lyrical text characteristics types

Examples of lyrical text

Example 1: “Elegy”, by Miguel Hernández (elegy)

“I want to be crying the gardener

of the land you occupy and manure,

soul mate, so early ”.

Example 2: “Ode to wine”, by Pablo Neruda (ode)

“Wine color by day,

wine color at night,

came with purple feet

or topaz blood,


starry son

from the earth”.

Example 3: “Madrigal”, by Gutierre de Cetina (madrigal)

“Clear, serene eyes,

if you are praised with a sweet look,

Why, if you look at me, do you look angry?

If the more pious

you seem more beautiful to the one who looks at you,

do not look at me with anger,

because you do not seem less beautiful.

Oh, raging torments!

Clear, serene eyes

since that is how you look at me, look at me at least ”.

Example 4: “Defeat”, by Rafael Cadenas (free verse)

“I who have never had a job

that above all competitor I have felt weak

that I lost the best titles for life Lyrical text characteristics types

that as soon as I get to a place I want to leave (believing that moving is a solution) ”.

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