Dionysius of Halicarnassus

οἷά ἐστι ταυτί

Ἴακχε θρίαμβε, σὺ τῶνδε χοραγέ. ὁ δὲ προλαμβάνων τὰς δύο βραχείας ἀνάπαιστος μὲν καλεῖται, σεμνότητα δ᾿ ἔχει πολλήν· καὶ ἔνθα δεῖ μέγεθός τι περιτιθέναι τοῖς πράγμασιν ἢ πάθος, ἐπιτήδειός ἐστι παραλαμβάνεσθαι· τούτου τὸ σχῆμα τοιόνδε

βαρύ μοι κεφαλᾶς ἐπίκρανον ἔχειν. ὁ δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς μακρᾶς ἀρχόμενος, λήγων δὲ εἰς τὰς βραχείας δάκτυλος μὲν καλεῖται, πάνυ δ᾿ ἐστὶ σεμνὸς καὶ εἰς τὸ κάλλος τῆς ἑρμηνείας ἀξιολογώτατος, καὶ τό γε ἡρωικὸν μέτρον ἀπὸ τούτου κοσμεῖται ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πολύ· παράδειγμα δὲ αὐτοῦ τόδε

Ἰλιόθεν με φέρων ἄνεμος Κικόνεσσι πέλασσεν. οἱ μέντοι ῥυθμικοὶ τούτου τοῦ ποδὸς τὴν μακρὰν βραχυτέραν εἶναί φασι τῆς τελείας, οὐκ ἔχοντες δ᾿ εἰπεῖν ὅσῳ, καλοῦσιν αὐτὴν ἄλογον. ἕτερός ἐστιν ἀντίστροφον ἔχων τούτῳ ῥυθμόν, ὃς ἀπὸ τῶν βραχειῶν ἀρξάμενος ἐπὶ τὴν ἄλογον τελευτᾷ· τοῦτον χωρίσαντες ἀπὸ τῶν ἀναπαίστων κυκλικὸν καλοῦσι παράδειγμα αὐτοῦ φέροντες τοιόνδε

κέχυται πόλις ὑψίπυλος κατὰ γᾶν.

περὶ ὧν ἂν ἕτερος εἴη λόγος· πλὴν ἀμφότεροί γε τῶν πάνυ καλῶν οἱ ῥυθμοί. ἓν ἔτι λείπεται τρισυλλάβων ῥυθμῶν γένος, ὃ συνέστηκεν ἐκ δύο μακρῶν καὶ βραχείας, τρία δὲ ποιεῖ σχήματα· μέσης μὲν γὰρ γινομένης τῆς βραχείας, ἄκρων δὲ


On Literary Composition

is effeminate and ignoble, as in this example1:

Triumphant Iacchus that leadest this chorus.

The foot which begins with two shorts is called an anapaest, and it is a very solemn foot; and where it is necessary to invest a subject with grandeur or pathos, this is an appropriate foot to introduce. Its form may be illustrated by2:

It is heavy upon me, the coif for my hair.

The foot which begins with the long and ends with the shorts is called a dactyl. It is very stately and remarkably effective at producing beauty of expression. The heroic line derives its formal beauty for the most part from this. Here is an example3:

Swiftly from Ilium bore me the wind to the land of Ciconia.

The writers on rhythms, however, say that the long syllable in this foot is shorter than the perfect long, but not being able to say by how much, they call it “irrational”. There is another foot having a rhythm which is the converse of this, starting with the short syllables and ending with the irrational. This they differentiate from the anapaest and call “cyclic”, adducing the following line as an example4:

On the earth is the high-gated city laid low.

This question would require a separate discussion: but both rhythms are of a very beautiful kind.5 There still remains one class of trisyllabic rhythms, which is composed of two longs and a short and takes three forms. When the short is in the middle and

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.dionysius_halicarnassus-literary_composition.1985