Dolnik

Dol’nik

 

(also, pauznik). A Russian poetic meter. The doVnik occupies an intermediary position between the syllabotonic and the purely tonic systems of versification.

Like syllabotonic meters, the dol’nik has a perceptible internal rhythm created by the alternation of strong syllables (ictuses) and weak syllables (between ictuses); the strong syllables, as a rule, correspond to stressed syllables and the weak syllables to unstressed syllables. But the length of the intervals between ictuses in the dol’nik, in contrast to syllabotonic meters, is not constant but changing and varies from one to two syllables; various combinations of one-syllable and two-syllable intervals create the rhythmic variations of the dol’nik. In reading aloud, the difference in length of the one-syllable and two-syllable intervals can be compensated for either by a lengthening of the syllables or by the introduction of a pause between words, or one may not compensate for it at all. Similar meters also exist in English, German, and other prosodies.

In Russian poetry the first experiments with the dol’nik occur in 19th-century romantic poetry (M. Lu. Lermontov, A. A. Grigor’ev, and A. A. Fet); the dol’nik comes into wide use at the beginning of the 20th century (after A. A. Blok and A. A. Akhmatova). An example of a four-ictus dol’nik is

Dévushka péla v tserkóvnom khóre
O vsékh ustálykh v chuzhom kraiú,
O vsékh korabliákh, ushedshikh v móre,
O vsékh, zabývshikh rádost’ svoiú.

A. A. Blok

REFERENCE

Gasparov, M. “Russkii trekhudarnyi dol’nik 20 v.” In the collection Teoriia stikha, Leningrad, 1968.

M. L. GASPAROV

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