Page images

According to Chap. IV, every monosyllabic closing thesis may, according to the analogy of the opening thesis or anacrusis, be considered irrational, and the short may be exchanged for a long. This liberty is used in the feminine catalectic terminations of dactylic, anapaestic, cretic, and choriambic rhythms. The transmutation of a short into a long is allowed not only at the end of the closing series in a verse consisting of several united series, but also at the end of each series, even in the middle of a word.

Thus the last syllable of every unconnected series is undetermined ; a long may be put for a short, as well as a short for a long.

The final long syllable for which, according to what has been said above, a short may be put, is called syllaba anceps, συλλαβή αδιάφορος. The mark is

Where a syllaba anceps can take place, the long is not allowed to be resolved into two shorts, because it might then appear as is the two shorts stood for a long.

The syllaba anceps is not to be confounded with the middle time. A middle-timed short is longer by a half time than a rational short, and a middle-timed long is shorter by a half time, than a rational long; hence where a short stands for a middle-timed thesis, a long which then is = 14 times, may

11 be put. The middle-time takes place at the commencement and end of every series, even the united series; the anceps at the end of the closing series only. It is not necessary that the middle-time should be the end of a word ; the anceps can occur at the end of a word only.





Combination of Series. Definition of Verse. Hiatus. Several series may be united together and formed into a whole, and they may be either of a like kind, for example

three iambic monometers v.

(iambic trimeter); or dissimilar, for example a trochaic monometer

[ocr errors]

with a dactylic logaoedic series, verse).


The principal requisite of beautiful rhythm we have stated to be the constant interchange of arsis and thesis; hence, if series are combined, when the one ends with the thesis, the other must begin with arsis, and the reverse.

But if, by the combination, arsis and arsis, or thesis and thesis, come together, an arrhythmy is the consequence, even though the series themselves may have the highest metrical perfection. The ancient grammarians called such measures uérpa xar dvrirátatav mixtá; yet, misled by false measurements, they reckoned many such, which are not so.

The concurrence of two arses produces a strong arrhythmy, and is therefore often used with great effect for the representation of passion, of sorrow, of despair, in general of every state in which the harmony of the soul is disturbed ;for the imitation of discordant noises, and the like. The shortest form of such a composition consists of the antispast

. '' ۔

When two longs concur, there is not always, of necessity an arrhythmy. Often one long is in thesi :

[ocr errors]

or even if both longs are in arsi, the thesis is often supplied by a pause falling between, as in the elegiac pentameter;

If two theses come together, then also the variety of the rhythm is interrupted; and as in this case a feeble arrhythmy ensues, such a composition is of an undignified character, and therefore more rarely used. The fundamental type of such a composition is the choriambus --.

A series, we have above defined to be a combination of equal feet or metres, which stand to each other in the relation of arsis and thesis. The limit in the series is not essential; we may conceive a series to be lengthened by one or more feet, without its ceasing on that account to be a series. The alternation of the feet may even be extended to infinity; then indeed the series would cease to be limited, but it would nevertheless continue a series. In the definition of a verse, on the other hand, a definite limitation is the essential point, and the verse may consist of a single series or of different series. Hence it follows, that verse (orixos, versus) is a rhythm, limited in itself, determinately separated from others. The Greek word orixos, which indicates a limited extent in


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

length, a line, is used metaphorically of a limited rhythm, a

At the end of the verse, there may always be a stop: hence at the end of the verse the anceps is unconditionally allowed. Further, the stop at the end of the verse, justifies the hiatus also (xaouodia), that is, the succession of two vowels, one of which closes one verse and the other begins the following. In the verse, the hiatus is only allowed under certain conditions, because the concurrence of two vowels of itself forces the voice to a small stop and thereby disturbs the rhythm.

The poets have not all avoided the hiatus with equal care, partly because the sequence of certain vowels was less difficult for the organs, as τί ούν, τί αύ, τί άν, τί είπας, τί ήν, τι oủ, nepi ävdod, and the like (Comp. Mt. Gr. Gr. Ø 42.) and therefore more readily admit of a union, and partly because the greater license of many species of poetry, was less particular in this respect also. Further, the more cultivated a language or a dialect is, the more carefully it avoids all that is harsh and offensive; hence in the Attic dialect, even in the prose writers, the hiatus was almost universally avoided ; in the other dialects, as in the Ionic, less so. Among the Romans, the hiatus was avoided by the poets of the Augustan age, and their imitators, more strictly than by the Greeks, while the elder poets, particulraly the dramatists, and Plautus most of all, were less careful in this matter. (Comp. C. Linge de hiatu in versibus Plautinis. Vratisl. 1817.)

The most important cases in which the hiatus may occur are the following :

1. When the hiatus, as a help to the prosody, serves to shorten a syllable, originally long. The necessity of shortening the long syllable by rapid pronunciation causes the hiatus to be less observed. But this license, in the different rhythms, is subject to certain limitations, as will be more precisely pointed out hereafter, when the several metres are treated of.

2. The dactylic, and even the trochaic arsis, though more rarely, justified the hiatus, because where there is a greater extension by nature, as is the case in the arsis, another, which is produced by the gap between two vowels, can be easily concealed.

3. Sometimes in the junction of the series united together the hiatus is admitted, because a stop can take place there more readily.

[ocr errors]

4. Proper names allow a greater license also with regard to the hiatus.

5. A strong interpunction, or in the dramatists the change of persons, causes the hiatus to be less remarked.

6. Finally, the hiatus is permitted in interjections, which, when they are monosyllabic, would entirely disappear by elision, in exclamations, addresses and the like.

The hiatus is often only apparent. This applies to the case when it occurs by elision, as teúxe Ownę; tua erat. The elision makes a rapid connection of the two words necessary and thereby removes the interruption which belongs to the hiatus. Finally, by the adoption of digamma in Homer, Hesiod, the later Épic poets, and in Pindar, a number of cases, where the hiatus occurs, disappear. (Comp. Mt. § 9.)

Since, where a stop or pause takes place, a word must necessarily end, every verse also will be required to end with a word. The broken verses, so called, which end in the middle of a word, which the ancient grammarians, and with them, the modern metricians assume in the higher lyrical poetry of the Greeks, are nothing else than series, which with one or more following belong to one verse.

The fact, that if the broken verses are rejected, uncommonly long verses often have to be adopted in the productions of the lyrical poets, especially Pindar, and in the chorusses of the tragedians, is no argument in favor of maintaining the broken verses, against which a passage in Hephaestion expressly declares, παν μέτρον εις τελείαν περατούται λέξιν. Such verses always indicate a rapid and animated delivery, and therefore most frequently occur in poems of the Aeolian mood. But it is a matter of entire indifference whether such verses are written in one line or are divided according to their component parts.

When, on the other hand, in the ordinary measures, as in the iambic trimeter, in the hexameter, in the elegiac distich, a word runs into two verses, it is an intentional departure from the law, for the purpose of producing some special effect. For, as the stop falls in the middle of the word, it thereby acquires an almost monstrous extent. the gravity of the poetical thought is reflected in the strict observance of the form, humour on the contrary often purpose ly transgresses the laws, in order, as it were, to jest at its own fetters; so always a similar license is admissible only in poems of a less grave character. The monstrous, the huge,

But yet, as

is painted by the sundering of the word, after the manner of a caricature. At the same time, it must be remarked that such a word, running into two verses, is generally compounded, and that the end of the verse falls in its juncture. Some examples may confirm what has been said. The comic poet Eupolis avails himself of this license, to describe jestingly a decree of monstrous length:

'Αλλ' ουχί δυνατόν έστιν ου γαρ άλλο προ

Βούλευμα βαστάζουσι της πόλεως μέγα. Horace, when he wishes to give a comic importance to an oath : Sat. II. 2, 180.

Praeterea, ne vos titillet gloria, jure

Jurando obstringam ambo. The same to indicate the extraordinary age of a man: Sat. II. 3, 117.

Age, si et stramentis incubet unde

Octoginta annos natus. Sometimes a proper name, which otherwise would not fit into the verse, forces the poet to use this license, as Simonides in Hephaestion :

Η μέγ' Αθηναίοισι φάος γενεθ', ήνικ 'Αριστο

Γείτων Ιππαρχον κτείνε και Αρμόδιος: Or Nicomachus in Hephaestion :

Ούτος δή σου κλεινός ες "Ελλαδα πάσαν 'Απολλό

Δωρος. A careful poet is reluctant to close his verse with those words which belong, with respect to the signification to what follows, as the article, conjunction, preposition, interjection. Yet where this occurs, we must not assume a stop at the end of the verse, but pass on to the following without a pause. The same remark applies when an elision occurs between two verses. In Latin, where the syllable to be elided is written out, the verses become apparently too long, and are called versus hypermetri, e. g. Virg. Aen. IV. 558.

Omnia Mercurio similis vocemque coloremque

Et crines flavos et membra decora juventae. Besides the three external marks of the termination of the verse, which do not belong to the rhythm, namely the anceps,

« PreviousContinue »