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Quickness and life are expressed in the following by a preponderance of dactyls.
Quadrupedante putrem sonitu quatit ungula campum. Aeneid, VIII, 595.
Et properantis aquae per amoenos ambitus agros. Horace, Ars Poetica, 1. 17.
A smooth, gentle effect is produced by the careful mingling of dactyls and spondees, together with a predominance of liquids.
Incipe, parve puer, risu cognoscere matrem. Virgil, Eclogue, IV, 60.
When the metre does not allow a variation in feet, the different effects must be produced by a careful choice of words, harmonious elisions, correct caesural pauses and run-over lines. A careful study of the lyrics of Horace will be the best guide.
Prosody is that part of grammar which teaches the quantity of vowels and syllables.
Vowels are long or short either by nature or position. By position we mean the place of a vowel in respect to consonants following it in the same syllable, the following syllable, or even in the word following it in a verse.
Vowels may also be common in quantity; that is, a vowel followed by a certain combination of consonants may be considered either long or short as the exigencies of the metre demand.
The following rules embrace to a certain extent the principles governing prosody in Latin, and will be of
great service in enabling one to acquire a working knowledge of the correct value of most syllables, and thus prevent the loss of time necessary where the quantities of ordinary words are unknown. It is impossible, however, to construct a set of rules that will embrace all cases, so these must be supplemented by the use of a Gradus or dictionary.
The rules are divided into general and special ones.
I. GENERAL RULES
1. All contracted syllables and diphthongs are long: cōgo (coago), paulo.
Exception. The preposition prae in composition is short before a vowel: praĕeo.
2. Every vowel (and consequently the syllable) is long when followed by two consonants or a double consonant (x and z). This rule holds even when the second consonant begins the word following: pārs, rēx.
Tantae molis erat Romanam condere gentem.
Exception. A vowel followed by a mute and liquid, both of which must be in the same syllable, is long or short ad libitum: tenebrae.
3. A vowel followed by another vowel in the same word is short: plus.
Exceptions. 1. E is long in the genitive and dative singular of the fifth declension when preceded by i: diēi.
2. I in fio is long in those tenses where it is not followed by er: fiebam, fieri.
3. I is common in genitives ending in ius: alterĬus.
4. Greek nouns follow the quantity of the Greek: āer.
4. Derived nouns follow the quantity of the words from which they are derived: ănĭmādvērto.
The exceptions to this rule are numerous and they can be learned only by experience.
II. SPECIAL RULES
5. The prepositions a, e, de, di, se, and tra are long in composition: amitto, deduco, traduco, etc.
Exception. Di in dărimo and disertus is short.
6. Re in composition is short: reduco.
Note. Re in refert seems to be an exception to this rule, but as it stands for res and not re, it does not come under this rule.
7. Pro is generally long in Latin and short in Greek words: proficio, prōlogus.
Exception. Propello and a few others are common.
8. Ab and ad remain short in composition unless followed by a consonant: ǎbeo, ādsum.
9. The increment of nouns in the second declension is short: puĕri.
Exception. Iber and Celtiber have the increment long.
10. The increment in a of the third declension is long pietas-atis, animal-ālis.
Exceptions. A is short in neuter nouns ending in a: poema-ǎtis.
A is short in nouns ending in as whose increment ends in adis or atis: lampas-ădis.
A is short in proper nouns ending in al or ar: Caesarǎris, Hannibal-ǎlis.
A is short in the genitives of par, compar, anas, bacchar, hepar, juhar, bar, nectar, and trabs.
11. The increment in e of the third declension is short: seges-ĕtis.
Exceptions. E is long in nouns ending in en which have the genitive ending in enis: siren-ēnis.
E is long in words derived from the Greek where it stands for era crater-ēris.
E is long in Hebrew proper names: Daniel-ēlis.
The increment e is long in the following words: haeres, lex, locuples, magnes, merces, quies, rex, ver vervex.
12. The increment in i̟ and of the third declension is short: homo-inis, martyr-yris.
Exceptions. Nouns ending in ix: felix-īcis. The following observe the regular rule: calix, filix, fornix, nix, pix, salix and (vix) vicis.
The increment i is long in Dis-ītis, glis-īris; and in the plural of vis, vīres, vīrium.
Nouns derived from the Greek and ending in in have a long increment: delphin-īņis.
The following also have a long increment: quiris-Itis, Samnis-ītis.
13. The increment in o of the third declension is long sermo-ōnis.
Exceptions. O is short in neuter nouns ending in or, ur, and us: marmor-ŏris, ebur-ŏris, pectus-ŏris.
Proper nouns derived from the Greek have o short in the increment: Hector-Ŏris.
O is short in the following: arbor, bos, compos, impos, inops, lepus, memor, praecox, tripus.
14. The increment in u of the third declension is short consul-ŭlis.
Exceptions. The increment u is long in the case of those nouns whose genitives end in udis, uris, and utis: palus
ūdis, jus-ūris, salus-ūtis. But pecus-udis, intercus-ŭtis, and Ligur-uris have a short increment.
The increment is long in the following: lux-ücis, Pollux-ūcis, and (frux) frūgis.
15. A, e, and o are always long in the increment of the plural of all declensions, and i and u are always short: flammārum, diērum, bonōrum, hostibus,
16. In the increment of verbs a is long: amāmus. Exception. Do and its compounds have a short a: dăre, circumdăre.
17. In the increment of verbs e is long: amēmus, monēmus, regēbant.
Exceptions. E before r is short in the first part of the increment of the present and imperfect tenses of the third conjugation. In the second part of the increment it is long : regěrem, regĕre, regĕrēris.
E before ram, rim, and ro is short: amavĕram, monuĕrim, dedĕro.
E is short in the second person passive ending in beris and bere: amabĕris, amabĕre.
E is short in vělim and its inflections.
E is sometimes shortened in the perfects dederunt, stetĕrunt, and tulĕrunt.
18. In the increment of verbs amavimus.
is short vidĭmus,
Exceptions. I is long in the first part of the increment of verbs of the fourth conjugation: venīmus, audīrent.
I is long in the present subjunctive of the verbs volo, nolo, malo, sum and its compounds: simus, velimus, possimus.