Page images
PDF
EPUB

the hiatus, and the end of the word, there is yet another, which is contained in the rhythm ; that is to say, every verse is a whole, sometimes more perfect, sometimes more imperfect. As such, it has a beginning (øvituos frag/os), a primary rhythm, (numerus primarius) and a close (clausula), and thus must appear finished in itself. An acute perception will therefore, in most cases, be able to detect the verse, without these external marks, and to separate it from others. Where it cannot, the structure of the verse is imperfect. For all verses cannot have the same degree of perfection : sometimes the beginning, sometimes the end is defective. These imperfect verses generally are connected with other rhythms, and with them form a whole.

The connection of the series, of which a verse consists, is sometimes more strict and sometimes more loose. In the former there is no pause at the juncture of the series ; hence neither the anceps nor the hiatus is allowed, and a word also need not end with the series; in the latter, with the end of the series upon which another follows, the pause and therefore the anceps and the hiatus may be placed. Verses in which the series are united in this way, are called asynartete, στίχοι ασυνάρτητοι, versus asynarteti.

CHAPTER I X.

Of the Combination of Series and Verses into greater rhyth

mical Masses. SINGLE verses and series can be repeated or united with others. Hence arise the different kinds of composition, systems (συστήματα).

The succession of one and the same verse is called a composition, xatà orixov, composition by the line. The character of this composition is uniformity and composure; hence it is properly used in the epos, the dialogue of the drama (diverbium), and in certain lower kinds of lyrical poetry, in which there is less of poetic elevation. The greater the compass

of the poem is, the greater must be the variety of the measure of which the verse to be repeated by the line, is capable, in order not to weary by uniformity. Thus the heroic hexameter being capable of an infinite variety is best suited for the com

a

prehensive epic, the iambic trimeter for the dialogue in the drama, while the phalaecean hendecasyllabus or the anacreontic verse is, on account of its uniformity, appropriate for shorter lyric poems only.

A rhythmical mass which arises from the repetition of similar series, is called a cúornua &ouoiwv, systematic composition. There is commonly no stop between the single series; hence, with certain exceptions, the hiatus and anceps are not permitted in the middle of the system, and a word can run into two series. At the end of the system the stop takes place unconditionally, with all its consequences, the end of a word, the anceps, and the hiatus. The last series of the system, on account of the close, assumes commonly a catalectic form, or a particular rhythm is added as a conclusion. The proportionate shortness of a system marks it as the form of a single lyric thought. The simplicity which belongs to a system, on account of the similarity of its parts, would ill contrast with the variety of sentiment of the more elevated lyric poetry; the latter does not, therefore, use it. The Ionic and Aeolian lyric poets and the dramatists employ it with more propriety. With the latter it forms usually the transition from the dialogue to the melic part of the drama; in general the system, as to its form, occupies a position between the composition by the line and that by strophes.

The shortest combination of different kinds of verses is the distich composition. The necessity of introducing a principal verse by another, or of letting another follow as a conclusion, furnished the first occasion for this composition. Such an introductory verse is called orixos ntqoqdós, versus proodus, and the concluding verse orixos éroðós, versus epodus. The greater variations of the rhythms and the small extent of the rhythmical mass, which this kind of composition presents, render it suitable for expressing single lyrical sentiments, chiefly of an elegiac (distichum elegiacum), jocose, satirical or epigrammatic import.

The asynartete verses stand between the verse and the composition by distichs. Here, too, a series is either premised as proodus to a principal verse, or attached as epodus, so, however, that both parts are not closely connected, as series which form a verse, nor on the other hand entirely separated like verses that form a distich. Hence the stop with its consequences sometimes takes place at the juncture of two series forming such verses, sometimes it does not. This uncertainty in its treatment renders the asynartete verse unfit for the higher lyric poetry. It was more used by writers of epodes.

The combination of several verses into a rhythmical whole is called a strophe (otpoon, stropha). The verses are either like or different. To several, commonly three, like verses, an epodus is added as a conclusion, which sometimes, as in the Sapphic strophe, blends with the preceding verse into one. The number of verses which must belong to a strophe, is not fixed; but they must all, by their character and relation, manifest themselves as parts of a whole. An aggregate of different verses does not therefore make a strophe. A strophe can be repeated once or several times. When there are two strophes only, we may assume that the second corresponds to the first, and the second strophe is then called antistrophe (avriotqooń, antistropha). The greater variety of rhythms makes the strophe the form of lyric thoughts. But even here are manifold gradations from the expression of a single lyric feeling, the most suitable form of which are the so called Aeolian strophes, generally consisting of four verses, to the sublime odes to gods, heroes and princes, in which the more artful and various structure of the Doric strophes harmonizes with the subject.

As an epodus is joined as a conclusion, or a proodus as an introduction, to single verses, so in connection with two corresponding strophes, another, differing from them, can follow as a conclusion, the epode (y no dós sc. otpoon), or precede as an introduction, proode (ý nepomos), or intervene as a middle song, mesode (ń uerodos). It is evident that this third strophe must always stand to the other two in a certain relation which manifests itself even in the measure, and that, in general, three such strophes must form an ideal whole.

We call this kind of composition, because certain dancing movements are connected with it, the choral. It is peculiar to the higher lyric poetry, because the greater comprehensiveness and freedom of this form appears most appropriate for a lyric state of mind, which is not the effect of a momentary external impression, but the result of an inspiration deeply felt and proceeding from the heart. The Dorian lyric poets and the dramatists have in various ways and very artfully made several strophes to correspond with each other in the manner described above, partly in the antistrophic, partly in the choral form, which was connected with certain dancing movements. Moreover a number of different verses may succeed one another in such a manner that the same succession does not return. In the very great variety which is here permitted, the poet might easily incur the danger of losing sight of that unity which, notwithstanding the variety, should comprehend the whole. This freest rhythmical composition was most adapted for the unrestrained intoxicated enthusiast whom a god like Bacchus inflamed. It is, therefore, the form of dithyrambs, paeans, and other wild songs. With this dithyFarnbic composition (συστήματα απολελυμένα) the highest grade of rhythmical form is attained, but at the same time the foundation is laid for deterioration. The perception of unity was lost; artificial and ever varying forms became favorites, which soon degenerated into trilling, for the amusement not only of the ear, but of the eye also; it is only necessary to call to mind the axes, altars, candlesticks and other figures of Alexandrian poets.

CHAPTER X.

Of the Substitution of one Rhythm for another. One rhythm cannot be substituted for another, because each has its peculiar character, and thereby produces an impression not to be produced by another rhythm. It is, therefore, a peculiar phenomenon when, nevertheless, rhythms are interchanged with rhythms. But such an interchange is to be considered simply as a license which certain poets have allowed themselves.

The substitution takes place in those classes of rhythms only which are composed of equal and double kinds, i. e. the choriarnb, ionic a majore, and a minore. For these, rhythms have been substituted which are equal to them, as to the number of times, but eurhythmic, as to their composition.

Thus for the choriamb the iambic dipody has been put, whence it may be inferred that the trochaic dipody must stand for the two ionics :

[ocr errors]

In the same manner the substitution of the trochaic dipody for the ionic a minore, and of the iambic dipody for the choriamb follows, if the trochaic dipody is substituted for the ionic a majore :

and in like manner the substitution of the iambic dipody for the choriamb, and of the trochaic for the ionic a majore, if the trochaic dipody is substituted for the ionic a minore :

[ocr errors]

It is not essential that in these substitutions the feet are sometimes preserved pure, sometimes not. This depends upon the more or less elegant treatment of the rhythm; hence even two separate trochees have been used in the ionic a majore, and even the hiatus allowed between the two.

The occasion of the above substitutions is to be found in the arrhythmy of the feet, which it was desired thereby to soften. For example, the weak coincidence of the theses, together with the forcible concussion of the arsis in our Suur-wu- produced an unpleasant effect, and an effort was made, by the substitution of the iambic dipody for the one or the other foot, to render the verse more eurhythmic. The want of a suitable conclusion causes this substitution to occur most frequently in the last foot. In the dimeter ionicus a minore

the last foot

a

frequently assumes the form of a trochaic dipody and then, in order to avoid the coming together of three arses, the second long of the first ionic has likewise been changed

into a short: vua

This alteration has been called refraction of the rhythm (dvoxhaois), and such a verse refracted (ανακλώμενος).

Greater variety was introduced, by the substitution, into the rhythms, and on account of the difference of the forms, oxņuoto, which they could assume, they were called polyschematist, ρυθμοί πολυσχημάτιστοι.

The real choriamb is distinguished, by the substitution of the iambic dipody, from the dimeter dactylicus catalecticus

« PreviousContinue »