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‘Of (the three) rhythms, the heroic (hexameter, epic) is (too) stately (or solemn), and deficient in conversational harmony’. By using the word ‘harmony’, I have left it open whether we are to understand by ἁρμονία ‘harmony’ in its ordinary musical sense—in which case the meaning will be ‘that particular kind of harmony which is adapted to ordinary conversation’, the language of common life, and inferior to that of the heroic rhythm—a somewhat non-natural interpretation; or in the primary, more general sense of the word, ‘an adaptation or fitting of parts into an organized whole’, which with λεκτικῆς will signify ‘deficient in conversational structure’, in an adaptation of parts fitted for conversation (Dionysius uses ἁρμονία as equivalent to λέξις, for style of composition); the iambic is the very language of the vulgar, and therefore of all measures the iambic is most frequently uttered in common speech (or conversation); but it wants (the acquisition of, γενέσθαι) solemnity and dignity and the power (or faculty) of striking. The trochaic is too farcical (has too much of the comic dance about it; reminds one of its indecency and buffoonery1: is totally devoid of all dignity and sobriety, too light and lively): this is shown by the trochaic tetrameters, for the tetrameter is a tripping (running, rolling) measure2. ὁ...ἡρῶος] The ‘heroic’ measure, also called ‘dactylic’, ‘hexameter’, ‘epic’, including the spondaic and anapaestic, is one of the three kinds of rhythm, its basis, βάσις—corresponding to the ‘feet’ in metre—expressing the ratio of equality 1 : 1. See further on the doctrine and ratios of rhythm, in the Appendix on that subject, Introd. p. 387, foll. where the statements of the following sections are illustrated. The epithet σεμνός has been already applied to it in III 3. 3; Dionysius, de Isocr. Iud. c. 11 (p. 557. 3, Reiske), designates it by the similar epithet μεγαλοπρεπές. Comp. Poet. XXII 9, τὸ ἡρωϊκὸν στασιμώτατον καὶ ὀγκωδέστατον τῶν μέτρων. σεμνὸς καὶ λεκτικὸς καὶ ἁρμονίας δέομενος is the vulgata lectio. But to say that the heroic or hexameter measure—Homer's verses for instance—are deficient in harmony is absurd in itself, and contradictory to the evidence of our own ears, and all ancient authority: at all events Dionysius was not of that opinion, who says, de Comp. Verb. c. 18 (p. 109, Reiske), the exact opposite; δακτυλικὸς πάνυ ἐστὶ σεμνὸς καὶ εἰς κάλλος ἁρμονίας ἀξιολογώτατος. Victorius, from Demetrius, περὶ ἑρμηνείας § 42, read ὁ μὲν ἡρῷος σεμνὸς καὶ οὐ λογικός, which leaves ἁρμονίας δεόμενος to explain itself as it best may. I have adopted with Tyrwhitt on Poet. IV 19, ἑξάμετρα ὀλιγάκις (λέγομεν) καὶ ἐκβαίνοντες τῆς λεκτικῆς ἁρμονίας, the reading suggested by that passage, which had been already proposed by Vincentius Madius, ad loc., and since approved by Spalding ad Quint. IX 4. 76, and finally adopted by Bekker and Spengel, each in his latest ed. ἴαμβος.. ἡ λέξις ἡ τῶν πολλῶν] This has been already noticed, III 1. 9, and twice in Poet. XXII. 19. The Latin rhetoricians make the same remark upon their own language. Cic. de Or. III 47. 182, Orat. LVI 189, magnam enim partem ex iambis nostra constat oratio, LVII 192. Quint. IX 4. 76, Illi (trimetri) minus sunt notabiles, quia hoc genus sermoni proximum est. ἐκστῆσαι] is used here in a much milder sense than its ordinary one, to strike, excite, mettre hors de soi, to displace or remove a man out of his ordinary state of feeling, to a higher one of excitement: whereas in this metaphorical application, it usually implies a much more violent emotion than mere admiration or amusement, as Demosth. c. Mid. 537 ult., ταῦτα κινεῖ, ταῦτα ἐξίστησιν ἀνθρώπους αὐτῶν, ‘drives men besides themselves, drives them mad’. Eur. Bacch. 850, πρῶτα δ᾽ ἔκστησον φρενῶν ἐνεὶς ἐλαφρὰν λύσσαν, equivalent to ἔξω δ᾽ ἐλαύνων τοῦ φρονεῖν, in line 853. τροχαῖος κορδακικώτερος] Cic. Orat. LVII 193, Trochaeum autem, qui est eodem spatio quo choreus, cordacem appellat (Aristoteles), quia contractio et brevitas dignitatem non habeat. Quint. IX 4. 88, herous, qui est idem dactylus, Aristoteli amplior, iambus humanior (too like the language of vulgar humanity) videatur: trochaeum ut nimis currentem (τροχερόν) damnet, eique cordacis nomen imponat. Harpocr. κορδακισμός: ὁ κόρδαξ κωμικῆς ὀρχήσεως εἶδός ἐστιν, καθάπερ φησὶν Ἀριστόξενος ἐν τῷ περὶ τῆς τραγικῆς ὀρχήσεως. Suidas κορδακίζει: αἰσχρὰ ὀρχεῖται (the rest as Harpocr.). The characteristics of the κόρδαξ, a kind of Comic dance, may be gathered from notices in Theophr. Char. 6, περὶ ἀπονοίας, ‘desperate recklessness’, where it is a mark of this character to dance the cordax sober and without a mask: in Aristophanes, who takes credit to himself, Nub. 540, for never introducing it into his comedies: in Athenaeus, XIV 28, ult. 630 E, who calls it παιγνιώδης, ‘sportive’. Dem. Olynth. II § 18 (of Philip's mode of life), εἰ δέ τις σώφρων ἢ δίκαιος ἄλλως, τὴν καθ᾽ ἡμέραν ἀκρασίαν τοῦ βίου καὶ μέθην καὶ κορδακισμοὺς οὐ δυνάμενος φέρειν κ.τ.λ. It seems therefore to have been accompanied by the grossest indecencies, so that no respectable person could allow himself even to look on the performance of it. See further in Müller, Hist. Gr. Lit. XXVII 7. This however is not the point of the reference here. But the κόρδαξ was accompanied by verses in the trochaic tetrameter, and these are identified; and all that is implied here by the term is the lightness, the want of gravity and dignity, and the dancing tripping measure, afterwards expressed by τροχερός; as we see also in the passages of Cic. and Quint. This character always belonged to the tetrameter; and hence we are told that the dithyrambs, from which Tragedy took its rise, were originally written in this measure, which was afterwards exchanged for the iambic, the metre nearest to the language of ordinary conversation, when the dialogue had been introduced, and Tragedy assumed a regular form. Τό τε μέτρον (of Tragedy) ἐκ τετραμέτρου ἰαμβεῖον ἐγένετο: τὸ μὲν γὰρ πρῶτον τετραμέτρῳ ἐχρῶντο διὰ τὸ σατυρικὴν καὶ ὀρχηστικωτέραν εἶναι τὴν ποίησιν, λέξεως δὲ γενομένης αὐτὴ ἡ φύσις τὸ οἰκεῖον μέτρον εὗρεν: μάλιστα γὰρ λεκτικὸν τῶν μέτρων τὸ ἰαμβεῖόν ἐστιν (Poet. IV 19). Comp. Rhet. III 1. 9. These rhythms being set aside, (they are in fact reducible to two, the proportions 1 : 1, and 2 : 1, iambus and trochee, ˘-and -˘ respectively) the third ‘the paean remains, the use of which began with Thrasymachus, though he and his followers couldn't tell what it was (did not know how to define it). The paean3 is the third (of the rhythms) and closely connected with the preceding: for it has the ratio of three to two (3/2 : 1, three short, and one long syllable equal to two short), whilst the others have that of one to one (dactyl, spondee, anapaest), and two to one (iambus and trochee), severally. And one and a half (3/2 : 1, the ratio of the paean) is connected with these (two) ratios [‘next to’ both ratios, i. e. the mean between the two extremes, 1 : 1 and 2 : 1], and that is the paean’. On this see Introd. Appendix on ῥυθμός, pp. 387, 8. The paeonic ratio includes also the bacchius and cretic. These three ratios are the βάσεις of the three measures.
1 This may possibly be included in the meaning of the word here: but if so, it is quite subordinate. In the references from other authors it is predominant.
2 τροχερὸς ῥυθμός. There are some bars in the overture to Auber's Bronze Horse, which, to those who are acquainted with it, will perfectly represent the measure of trochaic tetrameter, and illustrate the epithet here used, implying a light, tripping, metre.
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