Syllabic Verse Literature

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Syllabic Verse Literature


verse literature dating from the end of the 16th century to the 18th, written in popular and literary Ukrainian, as well as in Polish and Latin, and arising during a rebirth of Ukrainian social, political, and cultural life.

The vast body of syllabic verse literature is usually divided into several categories. Panegyric verses glorified tsars, het-mans, princes, metropolitans, and other notables. Didactic and moralizing verses expressed primarily the concepts of Christian morality and at times reflected popular views. Closely related to didactic verses were the religious verses glorifying Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints. Especially popular were the lyric verses, whose dominant themes were social inequality, unhappy love, and parting. The struggle for social and national liberation was reflected in historical verses written in praise of Bogdan Khmel’nitskii and other leaders of the Ukrainian people. Humorous verses described the hard life of itinerant clerks and school learning and parodied the church service. Fewer satirical verses, which ridiculed the clergy and the nobility, have been pre-served. Although most of the verses were anonymous, the names of some of their authors were known, including G. D. Smotritskii, K. Trankvilion-Stavrovetskii, L. Baranovich, Klimentii Zinov’ev, and I. Nekrashevich.

The poetic techniques employed in syllabic verse literature were quite varied. There were tonic verses, reflecting the influence of the Ukrainian duma (folk song), syllabic verses, usually consisting of 13 syllables, and patterned verses in such shapes as a cross, an ax, or a rhombus. Gradually, this type of versification gave way to the syllabo-tonic system.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.