A Practical Grammar of the PŒli Language
Chapter 15

Prosody

626. Prosody is that part of Grammar which treats of the laws of versification.
A gŒthŒ in PŒli poetry, is a stanza.
A pŒda is the fourth part of a stanza, called also a quarter verse.
A va÷÷a is a syllable in a pŒda.
A short syllable is termed lahu.
A long syllable is called garu.
A foot is termed ga÷a.

627. The mark represents a short syallable, and the mark a long syllable. A foot containing two long syllables is termed gŒ, that is, ga+ga, the initial syllable ga of the word garu being used to represent a long syllable. A foot of two short syllables is termed la, that is la+la, the initial syllable of the word lahu being employed to represent a short syllable.

628. The following are the four varieties of a dis-syllabic foot.

Syllables PŒli English
la la or lΠPyrrhic
ga ga or gΠSpondee
la ga Lambus
ga la Trochee

 

629. The eight-syllable feet, known in PŒli as the a╩╩haga÷a are as follows:

Syllables Pali English
ma Molossus
na Tribach
bhΠDactyl
ya Bacchic
ja Amphibrach
sa Anapaest
ra Cretic
ta Antibacchic

Short and Long Syllables

630. The short vowels in PŒli are a, i, u, the long vowels are Œ, ┤, Ŕ, e, o. When a, i or u is followed by a double consonant, it is prosodically long. For instance, the first as well as the second a in cakka–ca, is long because followed by kk and –c respectively. Before niggahita (Á) a short vowel is also always prosodically long. Thus in saccaÁ, the a before Á is long. In poetry, a naturally short vowel is occasionally lengthened and a naturally long one shortened to meet the exigencies of the metre. In order to make a short vowel long, the consonant following it is sometimes doubled.

Varieties of Meters

631. There are three classes of metres, termed sama, addhasama, and visama. When the syllables in all the pŒdas are exactly alike the metre is called sama; when those in the first and third and those in the second and fourth pŒdas are alike it is addhasama; and when all the pŒdas or verses are different, the metre is termed visama.

1. The Sama Class

632. In gŒthas of this class, the syllables in each pŒda may range from six up to twenty-two. The names of the seventeen kinds of metres are as follows:

gŒyatti 6 syllables atisakkar┤ 15 syllables
u÷hi 7 syllables a╩╩hi 16 syllables
anu╩╩hubhaÁ 8 syllables atya╩╩hi 17 syllables
brahati 9 syllables dhuti 18 syllables
panti 10 syllables atidhuti 19 syllables
tu╩╩hubhaÁ 11 syllables kati 20 syllables
jagati 12 syllables pakati 21 syllables
atijagati 13 syllables akati 22 syllables
sakkar┤ 14 syllables    

633. These are again subdivided according to the kind of feet employed in each stanza; as the four pŒdas are similar, the scheme of only one pŒda is given for each kind of metre:

1. gŒyatti, having pŒdas of six syllables. There is one variety:
tanumajjhŒ, |

2. u÷hi having pŒdas of seven syllables. There is one variety:
kumŒralatitŒ, | |

3. anu╩╩hubhaÁ having pŒdas of eight syllables. There are five varieties.
(i) citrapadŒ, | |
(ii) vijjummala, | |
(iii) mŒ÷avaka
Á, | |
(iv) sŒma÷ika, | |
(v) pŒma÷ikŒ, | |

4. brahati having pŒdas of nine syllables. There are two varieties.
(i) halamukh┤, | |
(ii) bhujagasusu, | |

5. panti having pŒdas of ten syllables. There are seven varieties.
(i) suddhavirŒjitam, | | |
(ii) panavo, | | |
(iii) rummavati, | | |
(iv) matta, | | |
(v) campakamala, | | |
(vi) manorama, | | |
(v┤) ubbhasakam, | | |

6. tu╩╩hubhaÁ having pŒdas of eleven syllables. There are eleven varieties.
(i) upa╩╩hitŒ, | | |
(ii) indavajirŒ, | | |
(iii) upavajirŒ, | | |

Remark. When the quarter-verses of indavajirŒ and upavajirŒ are mixed together in a stanza in any order, the stanza is them called upajŒti.

(iv) sumukkh┤, | | |
(v) dodhaka
Á, | | |
(vi) sŒlin┤, | | |
(vii) vŒtummissŒ, | | |

Remark. There are pauses after the fourth and seventh syllables.

(viii) surasasir┤, | | |
(ix) rathoddhatŒ, | | |
(x) svŒgata, | | |
(xi) bhaddikŒ, | | |

7. jagati having pŒdas of twelve syllables. There are fourteen varieties.
(i) vasama╩╩ha, | | |
(ii) indava
ÁsŒ, | | |
(iii) to╩aka, | | |
(iv) dutavila
Ábita, | | |
(v) pu╩a, | | |
Remark. There are pauses after the fourth and twelfth syllables.
(vi) kusumavicittŒ, | | |
(vii) bhuja║gappayŒta, | | |
(viii) piyamvada, | | |
(ix) lalitŒ, | | |
(x) pamitakkarŒ, | | |
(xi) ujjalŒ, | | |
(xii) vessadev┤, | | |
Remark. There are pauses after the fifth and twelfth syllables.
(xiii) tŒmarasa
Á, | | |
(xiv) kamalŒ, | | |

8. atijagati having pŒdas of thirteen syllables. There are two varieties.
(i) pahŒsin┤, | | | |
Remark. There are pauses after the third and thirteenth syllables.
(ii) rucirŒ, | | | |
Remark. There are pauses after the fourth and thirteenth syllables.

9. sakkar┤ having pŒdas of fourteen syllables. There are three varieties.
(i) aparŒjitŒ, | | | |
Remark. There are pauses after the seventh and fourteenth syllables.
(ii) pahara÷akalikŒ, | | | |
Remark. There are pauses after the seventh and fourteenth syllables.
(iii) vasantatilakŒ, | | | |

10. atisakkar┤ fifteen syllables. There are four varieties.
(i) sasikala, | | | |
(ii) ma÷igunŒnikaro, | | | |
Remark. There are pauses after the eighth and fifteenth syllables.
(iii) malin┤, | | | |
Remark. There is a pause after the eighth syllable.
(iv) pabhaddaka
Á, | | | |

11. a╩╩hi having pŒdas of sixteen syllables. There is one variety.
(i) vŒnin┤, | | | | |

12. atya╩╩hi having pŒdas of seventeen syllables. There are three varieties.
(i) sikharin┤,
| | | | |
Remark. There are pauses after the sixth and seventeenth syllables.
(ii) harin┤,
| | | | |
(iii) mandakkantŒ,
| | | | |
Remark. There are pauses after the fourth, tenth and seventeenth syllables.

13. dhuti having pŒdas of eighteen syllables. There is one variety.
(i) kusumitalatŒvellitŒ,
| | | | |

14. atidhuti having pŒdas of nineteen syllables. There are two varieties.
(i) meghavipphujjitŒ,
| | | | | |
Remark. There are pauses after the sixth and thirteenth, and nineteenth syllables.
(ii) saddŔlavikk┤it┤,
| | | | | |
Remark. There are pauses after the twelfth and nineteenth syllables.

15. kati having pŒdas of twenty syllables. There is one variety.
(i) vutta,
| | | | | |

16. pakati having pŒdas of twenty-one syllables. There is one variety.
(i) saddharŒ,
| | | | | |

17. akati having pŒdas of twenty-two syllables. There is one variety.
(i) bhaddaka,
| | | | | | |

2. The Addhasama Class

634. In the addhasama class of metres, the first and the third, and the second and fourth pŒdas are similar. The following table shows eleven kinds of metres that come under this head:

Name of Metre Odd quarter-verses Even quarter-verses
  1st.-3rd. 2nd.-4th.
upacitta - - - - - - - - -
ratamajjhΠ- - - - - - - - -
vegavati - - - - - - - - -
bhaddavirŒjaÁ - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ketumati - - - - - - - - - -
akhyŒnikŒ - - - - - - - - - - - - -
viparitapubba - - - - - - - - - - - - -
hari÷apaluta - - - - - - - -
aparavutta - - - - - - -
pubbittaggΠ- - - - - - - - -
yavŒdikŒmat┤ - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Remark. The aparavutta corresponds to the vetŒliya explained, referred to lower down.

641. In the first of these, the ariyŒ, the first two pŒdas of half a gŒthŒ contain seven and a half feet; in the even, that is, in the second, fourth, and sixth feet, any of the following, namely, ba, ja, sa, gŒ, or four short syllables may be employed, but ja must not be used in the odd feet, that is, in the first, third, and fifth. The sixth foot may be la or four short syllables. The second-half stanza must fulfil the same conditions. It is necessary to observe that in the jŒti metre a foot consists of four syllabic instants, the time taken up in pronouncing a short syllable being taken as an instant of time; thus a long syllable being taken equal to two short ones, each foot used in the ariyŒ is equal to four syllabic instants. The following is an illustration of an ariyŒ stanza:

  1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th foot
First half stanza - -, , - -, - , - -, - , - , -
Second half stanza -, , - - , - - , - - , , - - , -

642. The vetŒliya is so formed that it usually consists of fourteen syllabic instants in the odd quarters and sixteen in the even, while the mattŒsamaka consists of sixteen syllabic instants in each quarter. The metres of the jŒti class furnish many varieties, but it is not within the scope of this work to treat of them in detail. As, however, the vetŒliya is of rather frequent occurrence, we give below the scheme of it. Each pŒda is divided into three seats; the first seat in the first and third pŒdas must have six syllabic instants; the first seat of the second and fourth pŒdas must contain eight syllabic instants; the second seat must be a cretic foot and the third a lambic foot:

Number 1st seat 2nd seat 3rd seat
of syllabic instants.   Cretic Lambus
1st pŒda 6 six syllabic instants - - -
2nd pŒda 8 eight syllabic instants - - -
3rd pŒda 6 six syllabic instants - - -
4th pŒda 8 eight syllabic instants - - -

Remarks.
(a) The above is a perfect ve╩Œliya. In the third seat, the following feet may be found instead of the lambus:
pyrrhic
- - spondee
- - bacchic
- amphibrac
(b) the sign of the long syllable (-) must be counted as 2 since it is equal to two short syllables.

Finis.

Œ‰Â┤•┬Á÷║–Ę╩ŔExamples