Dāṭhāvaṁsa

Appendix on the Metres

The metres employed in Dāṭhāvaṁsa are defined according to Classical standards, and are so regular that it is even possible to correct the text using only the metre as a guide (as has been done here on occasion). A short analysis and description follows:

There are 9 metres that occur in this work, which are as follows:

syllables:

metre name:

verse numbers:

total:

12

Vaṁsaṭṭhaṁ

1 to 60

60

8

Siloka

63 to 184

121

11

Upajāti

187 to 282

96

15

Mālinī

284 to 338

55

14

Vasantatilakā

340 to 407 & 409 to 415

75

21

Saddharā

61, 62, 408

3

17

Mandakkantā

185, 186

2

17

Sikhariṇī

283

1

19

Saddūlavikkīḷita

339

1

In these verses all conjunct consonants make position (i.e. make the previous syllable heavy), e.g. hutvā and abravi in this pādayuga:

−−⏑−¦⏑−−−¦¦⏑−⏑⏑¦⏑−⏑−   pathyā
kotūhalākulo hutvā idaṁ vacanam-abravi. [142] [2-80]

There is sometimes sandhi across the pādayuga, there is then no pause between the lines, and the last syllable is therefore regarded as light providing the syllable itself is light, e.g.

−−⏑−¦⏑⏑⏑−⏑⏑¦−⏑−⏑     Vasantatilakā
Saddhādhanena sakhilena ca Dhammakitti-

−−⏑−¦⏑⏑⏑−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−
nāmena rājagarunācariyena eso

−−⏑−¦⏑⏑⏑−⏑⏑¦−⏑−⏑
sotuppasādajanano Jinadantadhātu-

−−⏑−¦⏑⏑⏑−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−
vaṁso kato nikhiladassipabhāvadīpo. [414] [6-6]

 

Siloka

There are 242 Siloka lines mainly showing the Pathyā form of the metre (217 lines, 90%), which is quite normal for the Classical period. The variations that occur are as follows:

mavipulā = 14 lines (6%)
navipulā = 4 lines (2%)
ravipulā = 4 lines (2%)
savipulā = 2 lines (1%)
bhavipulā = 1 line

 

Upajāti

There are 96 Upajāti verses, all of which consist of Indavajirā and Upendavajirā lines in one combination or another. All of these combinations have been given special names in the prosodies, which have been recorded here. The frequency of the variations is as follows (in the schemes given here I = Indavijrā lines, U = Upindravajirā lines. When there are 4 Indravajrā lines in a verse, the whole verse is known by that name (similarly with Upindravajirā, of course):

Indravajirā IIII 13
Sālā IIUI 6
Bālā IIIU 6
Kitti UIII 9
Vāṇī IUII 6
Mālā UUII 4
Māyā IUUI 4
Haṁsī UIUI 6
Allā UIIU 3
Bhadrā IUIU 11
Rāmā IIUU 7
Chāyā UUUI 0
Iddhi UIUU 4
Buddhi IUUU 5
Pemā UUIU 7
Upindravajirā UUUU 4

 

All the other metres have fixed quantities, except in the last syllable, which is normally anceps, i.e. counted as heavy no matter what its actual weight.

 

Vaṁsaṭṭhaṁ

There are 60 Vaṁsaṭṭhaṁ verses, all of which conform to the Clasical profile: ⏑−⏑−¦−⏑⏑¦−⏑−⏑−. The lines written in this metre never run across the pādayuga.

 

Vasantatilakā

There are a total of 75 verses written in this metre, in the last chapter and the verses identifying the writer that follow it. The profile for the metre is −−⏑−¦⏑⏑⏑−⏑⏑¦−⏑−−, which is only deviated from when a compound crosses the seam of the pādayuga, as at 340ab; 343cd; 351ab; 360ab; 371ab; 380ab, cd; 400ab; 409cd; 412cd; 413cd; 414ab, cd. Interestingly enough all of these lines have a short syllable in the last position of the first line, except for 371ab, which I am inclined to think should read kāri-.

 

Mālinī

55 verses are written in this difficult metre. The ideal scheme for the metre is ⏑⏑⏑⏑⏑⏑−−,−⏑−−⏑−− with a caesura after the 8th syllable. Of the 220 lines 192 actually achieve this (87%), but 28 fail in this regard.

 

The remaining metres are used to close the chapters:

 

Saddharā

This metre has 21 syllables to the line. Two verses close Chapter 1; and one verse closes Chapter 5. The scheme is −−−−⏑−−,⏑⏑⏑⏑⏑⏑−,−⏑−−⏑−−, which all but one of the lines achieves.

 

Mandakkantā

This metre closes the 2nd chapter. The profile for the metre is −−−−,⏑⏑⏑⏑⏑−,−⏑−−⏑−− which occurs in all the lines.

 

Sikhariṇī

One verse in this metre closes Chapter 3. The profile is ⏑−−−−−,⏑⏑⏑⏑⏑−−⏑⏑⏑−.

 

Saddūlavikkīḷita

One verse is found at the close of Chapter 4. The scheme is as follows: −−−⏑⏑−⏑−⏑⏑⏑−,−−⏑−−⏑−.

 

Ānandajoti Bhikkhu
January 2011