VERSIFICATION. The derivation of this word from Latin versificatio, versification, from versificare, to versify, from versus, line, verse.
facere, to make, shows that it means the act or practice, and therefore the art, of com posing poetic verse. By extension, it also means the science of analyzing the principles on which that art depends, especially rhythm, metre, rhyme, assonance, and alliteration. Verse is the name given to an assemblage of words placed in measured and cadenced for mation so as to produce a metrical effect. In poetry, rhythm signifies that measured movement of language which is produced by the regularly repeated occurrence of ntetrical units called feet. Metre is the measurement of verse by means of feet. Rhyme is either the correspondence of sounds in the terminat ing words or syllables of different verses (end-rhyme) or the correspondence of sounds at the middle and the end of the same verse (internal rhyme). Perfect rhyme re quires not only that the vowel sounds be the same, but also that the consonants preceding the vowel sounds be different and that the consonants (if any) following the vowel sounds be the same. If the rhyme is only in the last syllable, as day, way, forgave, behave, relent, misspent, it is called a male rhyme; if in the last two syllables, as bitter, glitter, tending, mending, it is called a female, or double, rhyme. Sometimes the last three syllables rhyme, as callosity, reciprocity, sundering, thundering, in English; tavola, favola, in Italian, and then the rhyme is called triple (Italian verso sdrucciolo). Rhymes extending to more than three syllables are almost con fined to the short odes (gazelles) in Arabian and Persian, in which the same rhyme, carried through the whole poem, extends sometimes to four and more syllables. The origin of rhyme is lost in antiquity. It is found, at least sporadically, in the early poetry of most countries, including even that of Greece and Rome. Assonance is a sort of substitute for rhyme, consisting in using the same, or similar, vowel sounds, with the following consonants different, as man, hat, penitent, reticence. It is especially common in Spanish poetry. Al literation, sometimes called head-rhyme, means that all or some of the accented syllables in a verse begin either with a vowel or with the same consonants, as: alliteration's artful aid 2. He thurgh the thikkeste of the throng gan threat 3. Hire robe was ful riche' of red scarlet engreyned In all languages lcnown to us, poetry ap pe.ars to have been the first form assumed by literary composition. The earliest poets fash ioned for themselves the metrical plan in which their worlcs were presented. Using these poems as examples, later critics and grammari ans fortutdated the rules and principles of verse-making for the guidance of future poets. From time to time as poetry multiplied and taste grew more fastidious, new varieties of verse were invented, and, if found to be of merit, were adopted and took their recognized place in the republic of letters. It is the function of the present article to give a short explanation of the poetical forms occurring in some of the principal literatures of the world. Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin poetry is regulated by the principle of quantity, plus syllabic count. Ile ancient Greeks regarded the art of verse as a branch of music. According to Suidas, Lastis of Hermione, Pindar's master in music, vrrote an (Art of Poetry,' but nothing of this work has come down to us. In the 3d cen tury 8.c., Aristoxenus of Tarentum, a disciple of Aristotle, wrote (Elements of Rhythm' (Pvtorral arcaxlia). Of this work only brief fragments have been preserved, but they are of great importance as showing the vievr of the Greeks regarding the interrelation of verse and music. It is, however, from He phastion, a scholiast of the 2d century A.D., au tbor of a work on Greek metres, entitled (yxstpI45sov wipe pirpov,) that most of our information regarding classical prosody is derived. The publication, in 1868, of the works of J. H. Schtnidt, based on a dose study of the surviving remains of Greek and Latin poetry, and disregarding to a large extent the views expressed by the ancient metricians, re sulted for a tinte in setting up a different theory as to cla.ssical versification. In more re cent years the tendency has been rather to revert to the teachings of the ancients. According to Schnridt, the unit of measure for the foot is the mora, or short syllable (v), which has the musical value of an eighth note; a long syllable (—) is roughly equivalent to two mora A long syllable may be protracted in certain measures to the length of three (L.-) or four (1-4 morte. Conversely, a sylla ble may be so shortened, or hastened in sound, as to take up less than its normal time. These variations are best observed in logacedic verse (q.v.). Every foot has one part accented, the other part unaccented. Thesis was the name given by the Greelcs to that part on which the ictus stress or metrical accent) falls; arsis was the name given by them to the unaccented part. In later times, the use of these two terms was exactly reversed; but most modern metricians now employ them in their Original sense. The pincipal feet are Iambus ( —), Trochee (— Tribrach v), all of three moue or A time; Anapest (.../ 1/40—), Dactyl (— v), Spondee (--), Proceleus matic v), all of four mora or • or time; Cretic (— —), First Peon (— 1/4.1 V), Fourth Neon (...ov —), chius ( Antibacchius all of five more or ;.# time; and Choriambus (— %.4 N.) •••:-) Ionic a maiore v), Ionic a =tore v--), all of six moue or # or 34. time. Besides these, there are also Pyrrhic (v v), Irrational Trochee (—> ), Irrational Spondee (> —, occasionally — >) Irrational Dactyl (> A.'s-0, Cyclic Dace ( •-so s,r), Irrational Anatrest (%.1 Cy ic Anapsest ( %et"- ), Molossus (---), Am phibrachys (so — v), Dispondzus (----), Ditroclueus (v— Antispastus (k.e--v), Second Paton v ts), Third Paton ( — ), Epitri tus Primus Epitritus Secunclus (— v— Epitritus Tertnis (-- —), Epitritus uartus (--- v), and Dochmius ( v The combinations of these various feet pro duce verse. According to the nature of the
fundamental foot, the verse is named iambic, dactylic, trochaic, etc. When the last foot of a line is incomplete, i.e., lacicing one or more syl lables, the line or verse is called catalectic; if the number of syllables is complete, the verse is said to be acatalectic. When a word ends within a foot, there is a break, to which the terrn casura is applied; when the end of a word and the end of a foot coincide, there is a dif ferent sort of break, which is known as diare sis. The iambic trimeter acatalectic line, hav ing the iambi arranged in dipodies, was used for the dialogue of the drama, tragic and comic, with much freedom of substitution of other feet for the iambi, especially in comedy. This line was called by Roman grammarians the sena rius. The iambic tetrameter catalectic, or septenarius, was of frequent occurrence in com edy, with again great freedom of substitution. Iambic metre was also used extensively by the, lyric poets. The trochaic tetmmeter catalectic line (seven feet and one syllable), having the trochees arranged in dipodies, was written by Solon, Archilochus, and Epicharmus, and is often found in old Attic comedy. Under the designation of trochaicus septenarius it was frequent in Latin comedy and in the writings of Seneca, Varro, and later Latin poets. The anaprstic line, allowing metrical equivalents in certain positions for the anapsest proper, is more common in Greek than in Latin. It is found in "Eschylus, Sophocles, and Aristophanes among the Greek ,s and among the Romans in Plautus, Seneca, Varro, Prudentius, and later writers. The hexameter dactylic line, with sub stitution of spondee and trochee in certain posi tions for the dactyl proper, was the measure used in the great epic poems like the (Iliad,' the (Odyssey,' and the (.2Eneid.) It is also the principal metre of didactic, bucolic, and satiric poetry. Joined to the dactylic pentatneter, it formed the elegiac distich so well known frosn the poems of Ovid and some of the epigrams of Martial. Cretic and Bacchiac lines were used to voice intense emotion. Verses formerly lcnown as Choriambic are now generally classed as Logacecfic; the true Choriambus is very rare. Ionic verse is used largely by Catullus. In me diaeval Latin, rhyme came into use and quantity gave place to accent Already in the lst cen tury A.D. there are poems containing rhymes, and even somewhat earlier than that, e.g., in the poems of Ovid, rhytnes occur; but the first fully rhymed Latin poem was written by Saint Augustine against the Donatists c. 393. Church hymns, like (Pange, lingua' and (0 salutaris hostia,) afford an excellent illustration of the change, both as to the employment of rhyme and the subordination of quantity to accent From the medimval Latin, metrical system was developed by slow and almost itnperotptible degrees the versification of the Romance lan guages (i.e. Italian, French, Provencal, Spanish, Portuguese, Wallachian, and Rhieto-Romnnic), with accent, syllabic count, and rhyme as its characteristic - elements. New species of rhythms, depentting on the varieties of mood, were introduced. At first assonance was used instead of rhyme, as, for example, in the Provencal (Boecis> (10th century) and the French (Chanson tie Roland) (11th century) ; after the 12th century the assonance was gradu ally displaced by full 'rhyme. The lines were joined together by similarity of assonance or rhyme in groups or strophes of varying length known as taints or tirades, corresponding ioughly to the modern stanza. Finally, elaborate stanzaic forms of great beauty were invented. In Italian in the 16th century, under the influ ence of classical Latin, there were developed rhymeless verses (versi seioiti). These are found in Ariosto's comedies and in such works as Trissino's (Sofonisba.) In Spain, versos sueitos; in France, vers biomes, and in England, blank verse were written on the Italian model. Lines of various length are used in Romance poetry— six-syllable, seven-syllable or settena rio, octosyllabic, nine-syllable, decasyllabic, hendecasyllabic, twelve-syllable or Alexandrine, and fourteen-syllable. The earliest of these to occur is the decasyllabic, which has been doubt fully traced to the (Vita Sancti Faroni0 in the 9th century, but is certainly found in the 'Bee cis) and the (Chanson de Roland' mentioned above, as well as in the (Vie de Saint Alexis' (11th century). To seeure uniformity of count, hiatus, elision, and contraction of words are 'permitted. The principal Italian verse is the hendecasyllabic„ and next to it in order of frequency of occurren,ce is the settenario. From Provence first and later from Italy the decasyl labic line found its way into Spam. Fourteen syllable, eleven-syllable, nine-syllable, seven sYl lable„. and five-syllable verses are common in Spanish poetry. The octosyllabic line did not find favor in Italy, Portugal, or Spain, but it had a great vogue at an early period in France and PrOVetICC. It is found in the French and Provencal mediaeval narrative poetry, as well as in the so-called courtly epos and the okler drama. It fell more or less uito disuse about the middle of the 16th century, and is now con fined to lyric poetry. The great French line is, however, the Alexandiiiae or twelve-syllable iambic measure. Taking the place of the verses of ten and eight syllables, it is found in the chan sons de geste and also in didactic poetry and the drama. It reached its climax in the 16th cen-. tury, and has never since quite lost its import ance. It is the metre of the tragedies of Cor neille and Racine, the comedies of Moliere and Regnard, the epic poem (La Henriade' by Vol taire, the romantic drama (Hernani' by Victor Hugo, and of numerous other plays and poems. Trochaic verse was much cultivated in Spain and Portugal, but not nearly to the same extent in Italy, France, or Provence.