The Ancient Library

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" /


or both v> i v, u - v^, or, when doubled,

v;— v»w-v/v/^v>' Associated with the

choriambus, as its equivalents in time, we have the double iamb and the double trochee, either com­plete, or catalectic ; and in the latter case the time is made up either by a rest, or by reckoning the beginning and the ending of the verse to­gether. Thus, in the Sapphic line, we have the time of three of the elementary parts, or metres, the choriambus occupying the middle place, with a double trochee for an introduction (or base) and a double iamb for a termination, but this last metre wants one syllable, the time of which is made up by the pause at the end of the line

v - » r

Or the line might be divided so as to make the middle and principal part a choriambus with its catalexis (identical, in fact, with the short final verse), and the termination a single trochee

In the Alcaic, we have precisely the same time ; only the line, instead of beginning with an ac­cented syllable and ending with an unaccented one, begins with an unaccented syllable and ends with an accented one, the difference being effected by prefixing an unaccented syllable to the base and taking it away from the termination ; and then the base and termination taken together, allowance being made for the rest at the end of the line, fill up the time of two metres,

- 1

— v/

I " / X I - w - X

The difference is precisely analogous to that be­tween the trochaic and iambic metres.

The Sapphic strophe or stanza is composed of three Sapphic verses, of which the third is pro­longed by the addition of another metre, which must be a pure choriambus, to which is appended

a final unaccented syllable - w v/ — v This is

commonly treated as a separate line, and is called by the grammarians the Versus Adonius, but how essentially it is a prolongation of the third line is evident from the fact that a word often runs over from the one into the other, for example,

kcu irXdcriov aSu

and, in Horace,

Labitur ripa Jove non probante ux-

orius amnis.

This remark, however, applies only to the ge­nuine original structure, for in Horace sometimes the short verse is separated from its own stanza, either by an hiatus in the prosody or by a full stop in the sense, and is read as continuous with the next stanza, as (Carm. i. 2. 47) : —

Neve te nostris vitiis iniquum

Ocior aura Tollat.

(Comp. i. 12.7,31,22. 15.) But this is never found in Sappho, nor even in Catullus.


' 1 "

- I w - s> |-

The whole system of the Sapphic stanza then runs thus:—

— w — — i — " /

\J \J —



" /

where we have not indicated the division of the feet in the latter part of the third line, for the fol­lowing reason : the completion of the double iamb (which is not here catalectic, because the line does not really end here like the first two) and the com­mencement of the additional metre overlnp one another, or, in other words, the long syllable is common to both.

It still remains to notice the caesura, an element of metrical poetry quite as important as time and accent. By caesura we mean, not precisely what the grammarians define it, namely, the division of a foot between two words, because, among other objections to this definition, it requires the previous settlement of the question, what the feet of the verse really are ; but what we call caesura is a pause in a verse, dividing the verse into parts, just as the stronger pause at the end of the verse, divides a poem or strophe into verses. Nothing is more common in lyric poetry than for the principal cae­sura in a verse to fall at the end of a foot, as in

Maecenas atavis )| edite regibus,


Nullam 1 Vfire sacra || vite prms H sevens arborem.

Now, in the Sapphic line, there are no less than six modes of introducing the caesural pause : —

(1.) In the middle of the choriambus, as apt* U7ra£*€u£cu(ra' j| /caAot 8e <r asyov.

(2.) After its first syllable, as

ras au'Sws |] a'toura. TrrjAm,

(3.) After the ditrochaic base, as

(4.) After the third syllable of the base, as ttcu Afos, || SoAoTrAo/ce, Xiffffo^ai (re.

(5.) Before the diiambic termination, as eicAues, irdrpos Se So/joy (| AiTrowra.

(6.) Before the last syllable of the choriambus,


dAAoi TUi5' eA0', cdf irora

Now, it will be seen, by a glance at these exam­ples, that several of the verses have two, or even more, of these caesural pauses. In fact, in the last four of the six, this is almost demanded by the first principles of rhythm, on account of the in­equality which the division would otherwise give. We must, therefore, regard, not only the caesurae, but their combinations ; and it will then be seen that the Sapphic verse is divided by its caesural pauses sometimes into two members, and sometimes into three ; and since the verse contains six ac­cented syllables (counting as one of them the pause at the end, which, if filled up, as it was in the music.

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