Two: Description of the Metres


2.6 Tuṭṭhubha (Triṣṭubh), & Jagatī

Tuṭṭhubha in the Canon occurs in basically three forms. In the early period Tuṭṭhubha verses are used in the main independently. Only occasionally do we find Jagatī lines in the early verses, and then only as an expedient, as it were. The last two sections of Suttanipāta are considered to contain some of the earliest texts in the canon. And in the first of these books, Aṭṭhakavagga (Sn IV), there are only 4 Jagatī lines among nearly 400 lines of Tuṭṭhubha (there is also one Jagatī verse, no 836). In Pārāyanavagga (Sn V), the Jagatī lines amount to approx 7% of the lines in the Tuṭṭhubha verses.01 Later in the middle period we find that these two metres are frequently intermixed in composition, and at that point we might better describe the metre as being Tuṭṭhubha-Jagatī. Later still these metres are replaced by their Classical counterparts Upajāti and Vaṁsaṭṭhā (described in 2.8 below).

As the variations that occur in the one also occur in the other, we can take the two metres together for description.

Tuṭṭhubha normally has 11 syllables to the line, and is defined thus:


Jagatī is similar, but has an extra light syllable in penultimate position, giving a line of 12 syllables, thus: