Accentual-syllabic hexameter in Estonian poetry at the end of the 19th century – the beginning of the 20th century
University of Tartu
Abstract. The aim of the
present paper is to analyse the structure of the Estonian accentual-syllabic
hexameter of the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th
century. The material includes Jaan Bergmann’s translation of the first song of
“The Odyssey”, Friedrich Kuhlbars’ stichic hexameters and elegiac distichs,
Villem Ridala’s elegiac distichs and some other attempts of dactylic hexameters
in the earlier Estonian poetry. The analysis aims to provide a thorough
description of the prosodical, metrical and rhythmical structure of hexameter.
It reveals that the prosody of hexameter is not necessarily in correspondence
with the prosody of natural language. Yet the prosodical shifts in the given
material are rather superficial, allowing for the variation of the number of
syllables. The Estonian accentual-syllabic hexameter is prevailingly dactylic
and thus the rhythmics is considerably different from that of ancient
hexameter, yielding to the natural rhythmic impulse of the Estonian language.
Such tendency characterizes the location of word-ends, as well the secondary
rhythmics of hexameter, i.e. the proportion of contracted feet.
Keywords: dactylic hexameter,
pentameter, elegiac distich, accentual-syllabic versification, prosodical
structure, deep structure, surface structure, secondary rhythm, contraction,