NOTE: Several compound feet are mentioned by the grammarians, viz. Pyrrhic ( ); Amphibrach ( - ); Antibacch=ius (- - ); Proceleusmatic ( ); the Molossus (- - -); the 2d and 3d Paeon, having a long syllable in the 2d or 3d place, with three short ones; 1st, 2d, 3d, and 4th Epitritus, having a short syllable in the 1st, 2d, 3d, or 4th place, with three long ones.
e. Feet with these apparent quantities do not always occupy equal time, but may be contracted or prolonged to suit the series in which they occur. They are then called irrational, because the thesis and arsis do not have their normal ratio.[It seems probable that both thesis and arsis of an irrational foot were affected by the necessity of preserving the rhythmical time of the foot.] Such are: -
(in place of a Trochee) - > (in place of an Iambus) > -
Cyclic Dactyl (in place of a Trochee):
- or - = [QUERY]
Cyclic Anapaest (in place of an Iambus):
- or - = [QUERY]
The apparent dactyl > , as a substitute for an iambus, and the apparent anapaest >, as a substitute for a trochee, occur frequently in the dramatic writers.
NOTE: Narrative poetry was written for rhythmical recitation, or chant, with instrumental accompaniment; and Lyrical poetry for rhythmical melody, or singing. It must be borne in mind that in ancient music - which in this differs widely from modern - the rhythm of the melody was identical with the rhythm of the text. The lyric poetry was to be sung; the poet was musician and composer, as well as author. To this day a poet is said conventionally to ``sing.''
Thus a correct understanding of the rhythmical structure of the verse gives us the time, though not the tune, to which it was actually sung. The exact time, however, as indicated by the succession of long and short syllables, was varied according to certain laws of so-called ``Rhythmic,'' as will be explained below. In reading ancient verse it is necessary to bear in mind not only the variations in the relative length of syllables, but the occasional pause necessary to fill out the measure; and to remember that the rhythmical accent is the only one of importance, though the words should be distinguished carefully, and the sense preserved. Poetry should not be scanned, but read metrically.
In the former case the measure is said to be contracted; in the latter, to be resolved: -
a. A Spondee (- -) may take the place of a Dactyl (- ) or an Anapaest ( -); and a Tribrach ( ) may take the place of a Trochee (- ) or an Iambus ( -). The optional substitution of one long syllable for two short ones is represented by the sign .
b. When a long syllable having the Ictus (§ 611. a) is resolved, the ictus properly belongs to both the resulting short syllables; but for convenience the mark of accent is placed on the first: -