One: Scansion and Related Matters


1.15 Resolution

The resolution of a heavy (or presumed heavy), syllable into two light syllables is a common feature of verse composition. The first syllable of any line is particularly susceptible to this treatment, but resolution is found mid-line also.

It appears however that resolution is only allowed in regard to the first two syllables of a word (including words that appear as the second half of a compound, or after a prefix). The only exception to this seems to exist in regard to the negative particle "na", which sometimes forms the first half of a resolved syllable, perhaps because of the close syntactical relationship it has to the word it modifies.

This "rule of resolution", as we may call it, can help in identifying the underlying structure in lines of verse that are hypermetric (i.e. lines in which there are syllables additional to the normal metre), and we can thereby correctly identify the variation in a Siloka prior line, or the gaṇa structure in the bar metres (this will be illustrated later in the book, see 2.4 & 2.15). It may be noted here that the author of Buddhavaṁsa seems to have been a master of the art of resolution, as that text abounds in this particular feature.

1st example from Buddhavaṁsa Sumedhakathā vs 46 (A Siloka verse - normally 8 syllables long - showing resolution of the 4th syllable in line c, resolution of the 6th in line e, and resolution of the 1st in line f):   

ab Aniṭṭhite mamokāse, Dīpaṅkaro Mahāmuni,

cd Catūhi satasahassehi jaḷabhiññehi tādihi,

ef Khīṇāsavehi vimalehi paṭipajji añjasaṁ jino.

Further example from the Vatthugāthā to Pārāyanavagga (Sn 995, a Tuṭṭhubha line), where it will be seen that resolution sometimes can occur twice within the same line:   

katamamhi vā janapade lokanātho ?