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nearly as possible to the bottom or soft part of the palm, so that they may not be confounded with the
first three.) “10. Join the tips of the thumb and forefinger of the right
hand so as to form a circle. “ 20. Place the bottom joint of the forefinger over the
back of the thumb, so that the thumb may-appear
of a bow with its string. “40. Place the side of the thumb tip against the bottom
joint of the forefinger so as to leave no aperture
between them. “ 50. Bend the thumb on the palm immediately below the
fore and middle fingers. “60. Bend the thumb and place the second joint of the
forefinger over it, showing all the thumb nail. “70. Straighten the thumb and place the first or second
joint of the forefinger across it, showing all the
thumb nail. "80. Straighten the thumb and place the tip of the fore
finger on the back of the top thumb joint. “90. Bend the thumb over the first joint of the forefinger.
"The signs for units on the right hand become thousands on the left hand; tens on the right band become hundreds on the left hand. The fingers of the two hands may thus, by placing them in different positions, be made to represent 9,999. For 10,000 the thumb must be straightened and placed by the side of the fore-finger exactly parallel with it.”
It will be seen that to express 93 the hand must be entirely closed, and a "close fist" cü www in Persian is synonymous with niggardliness, just as an “open hand” xulus mus is the symbol of liberality. To say then that Shah Mahmúd's hand is 93, is merely equivalent to calling him “close-fisted" or miserly.
This explanation will also apply to a passage of Harírí, Macámah 49, entitled 'of Sassán':
“El Harith the son of Hammám related and said: I have heard that Abu Zeid when he drew nigh unto the fist-or grasp—".
Mr Preston in his translation of the Macamat of Harírí, Cambridge, 1850, p. 428, note, comments upon the passage
being قبض probably means death , the verb القبضة »
ordinarily used in the sense, ‘he was snatched away' [by death]. Shareeshi says that it means the age of 93 years' (i.e. extreme old age), and that because the Arabs used to represent the number 93 by clenching the fist, the word became a metonym for the number of which that action was the sign. But it neither appears why the age of 93 years should be selected as peculiarly expressive of old age, nor why the number 93 should have been represented in the method stated by Shareeshi, so that his explanation cannot be regarded as satisfactory, particularly as Al Dgouhari and Al Firouzabadi are silent on the subject.”
The passage in Harírí is the converse of that in Firdausi, the word “fist” in the former being synonymous with 93 by the calculation of the 'Egd el Anámil.
E. H. PALMER.
RHYTHM VERSUS METRE.
WITHOUT troubling ourselves about rules of scansion we can generally read an English verse so as to give the effect to the ear which the writer meant it to have. The uniformity of our rhythm, almost always iambic or trochaic, the simplicity of our strophic arrangement, and our certainty about the pronunciation, all combine to make this a comparatively easy matter. To a certain extent the same is the case even with the schoolboy's reading of some forms of ancient poetry. Though from the difference of pronunciation, a difference which in England takes an extreme form, our delivery of Greek or Latin heroics, alcaics, sapphics and asclepiadics, is very unlike the ancient; still we do succeed in getting a certain regular effect, sufficiently uniform and sufficiently well-known to make a badly-constructed line at once jar on the ear and offend the eye. But the moment we leave these more familiar forms, the case is altered. Even the “Solvitur acris hiems,” and the “Miserarum est” of Horace, and still more the Atys of Catullus, to most boys and to many men convey little indication of law or form. But it is when we come to the Greek choral metres that all firm ground seems to slip from under us, and eye and ear are equally perplexed. Even scholars who have attained to some acquaintance with metrical tradition on these obscurer forms, who know the rules which allow a long syllable to be resolved in one place but not in another, and what feet may be substituted in the antistrophe for the corresponding feet in the strophe, even they have probably no living perception of a grateful rhythm, no mental hearing of a sweet succession, such as a priori we have a right to look for in the finest products of the most
highly organised race the world has ever seen. Assuming then that these compositions were constructed in accordance with rule, and were not mere lawless confusions; assuming farther that they were meant to satisfy the ear, and that the human ear, at least the civilised human ear, has always required the same sort of satisfaction, we have to account for the ordinary inability to obtain this satisfaction from the lyrics of Pindar and the choral passages of the Grecian drama. The main cause of this inability is believed by the writers whom it is the object of this article to introduce to the English reader, to be the all but universal ignorance of a rhythmical as distinguished from the vulgar metrical teaching.
What we are all taught as boys, and all that we are taught, is that verses are composed of various kinds of feet variously combined: the feet themselves being made up of syllables of a definite and generally invariable quantity. And to read the verse in such a way as to mark each separate foot is what we call scanning. The rules which determine the quantity of syllables, the nature of the various feet, and their combinations to form the different kinds of verse, are metrical rules. Now this metrical knowledge, this scansion of verse, answers very well up to a certain point. But we soon find that it is insufficient by itself for an understanding of the more complex forms of ancient poetry; and above all, that frequently our knowledge of the metrical structure of a verse is of no help towards obtaining from it what we can scarcely doubt it must have had, a movement satisfactory to the ear. For this satisfaction, this grateful movement, is the real end of all metrical arrangement. The master-science, that to which metric is subsidiary, and for which alone it exists, is the science of Rhythm. The facts and details of the mere metrician are to Rhythmic what shaped stones and carved timbers are to architecture, not dictating the character of the structure, but themselves liable to be altered in subordination to the builder's thought. And when we consider how strong and self-willed is the rhythmical faculty, how we can make a clock tick to almost any time, it would be strange indeed if man's own creation, language, refused obedience to this plastic energy. Well one way, and a most import
ant way, in which Rhythm asserts its dominion over metre is, that while recognizing and dealing with the metrical feet, it strips them of their independent character and individual ictus, and makes them parts of new and larger groups (to which the old Rhythmic still gives the name of feet), held together by one dominant ictus. Take for instance Tennyson's Locksley Hall. Assuming as we must that accent not quantity determines the relation of the syllables in English verse, the metre is trochaic tetrameter catalectic. Yet no one would think of reading it by single trochees, with an equal stress on the first syllable of each. There may be some arbitrariness, more or less diversity in our modes of grouping and accenting, but group them we do. Most readers probably break the line into two rhythmical feet, each of four trochees, allowing for the catalexis in the last half; though they might not be equally agreed about the syllables on which to place the ictus. The scanning of some of the classical metres by dipodiæ instead of single feet, which is generally recognized as essential to the beauty of the verse, is itself a rhythmical rather than a metrical process.
But rhythm does more than combine a succession of metrical feet into a larger rhythmical foot with a single ictus. It takes liberties with metrical quantity, and declares that under certain circumstances a spondee or a dactyl shall be delivered as a trochee, that the 2 : 2 relation shall for the time cease, and become, if not precisely 2:1, something sufficiently near to pass for it. Now something like this is constantly taking place in English verse. But our reading of English is so much matter of practice and so little of theory that we are hardly conscious of it, and when we do come to observe it, perhaps misunderstand or misrepresent it. Take for instance the word merrily, which I suppose we may call per se a dactyl. For although even in modern verse the inherent quantity of a syllable is not without its modifying effect, still it is undoubtedly true that modern accent does in the main represent ancient quantity. Now in such passages as “Merrily lived the Tartar king,” “So merrily the village bells did sound,” the word merrily has two distinct rhythmical values. In the first it stands for a trochee : i.e. it