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CHORIAMBIC VERSE, or CHORIAMBICS

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Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 270 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHORIAMBIC VERSE, or CHORIAMBICS, the name given to Greek or Latin lyrical poetry in which the sound of the choriambus predominates. The choriambus is a verse-foot consisting of a trochee united with and preceding an iambus, -o -. The choriambi are never used alone, but are usually preceded by a spondee and followed by an iambus. The line so formed is called an asclepiad, traditionally because it was invented by the Aeolian poet Asclepiades of Samos. Choriambic verse was first used by the poets of the Greek islands, and Sappho, in particular, produced magnificent effects with it. The measure, as used by the early Greeks, is essentially lyrical and impassioned. Mingled with other metres, it was constantly serviceable in choral writing, to which it was believed to give a stormy and mysterious character. The Greater Asclepiad was a term used for a line in which the wild music was prolonged by the introduction of a supplementary choriambus. This was much employed by Sappho and by Alcaeus, as well as in Alexandrian times by Callimachus and Theocritus. Among the Latins, Horace, in imitation of Alcaeus, made constant use of choriambic verse. Metrical experts distinguish six varieties of it in his Odes. This is an example of his greater asclepiad (Od. i. 0:--. ne i quaesieris i scire nefas I quem mihi, quem I tibi Finem Di dederint Leuconoe; nec Babyloniios Tentarlis numeros. I Ut melius I quicquid erit, pati! Seu pluires hiemes, I seu tribuit Jupiter ulitimam, Quae nunc j oppositis debilitat I pumicibus mare Tyrrhelnum. In later times of Rome, both Seneca and Prudentius wrote choriambic verse with a fair amount of success. Swinburne even introduced it into English poetry: Love, what J ailed them to leave life that was made J lovely, we thought I with love? What sweet I vision of sleep I lured thee away I down from the light above? Such lines as these make a brave attempt to resuscitate the measured sound of the greater asclepiad. (E. G.) CHORICIUS, of Gaza, Greek sophist and rhetorician, flourished in the time of Anastasius I. (A.D. 491-518). He was the pupil of Procopiusof Gaza, who must be distinguished from Procopus of Caesarea, the historian. A number of his declamations and descriptive treatises have been preserved. The declamations, which are in many cases accompanied by explanatory commentaries, chiefly consist of panegyrics, funeral orations and the stock themes of the rhetorical schools. The 'EI OaMJ40L or wedding speeches, wishing prosperity to the bride and bride-groom, strike out a new line. Choricius was also the author of so-called ' EKCapfcets, descriptions of works of art after the manner of Philostratus. The moral maxims, which were a constant feature of his writings, were largely drawn upon by Macarius Chrysocephalas, metropolitan of Philadelphia (middle of the 14th century), in his Rodonia (rose-garden), a voluminous collection of ethical sayings. The style of Choricius is praised by Photius as pure and elegant, but he is censured for lack of naturalness. A special feature of his style is the persistent avoidance of hiatus, peculiar to what is called the school of Gaza. Editions by J. F. Boissonade (1846, supplemented by C. Graux in Revue de philologie, 1877) and R. Forster (1882–1894); see also C. Kirsten, Quaestiones Choricianae in Breslauer philologische . Abhandlungen, vii. (1894), and article by -W, Schmid in Pauly-Wissowa's Realencyclopadie, iii. 2 (1899). On the Gaza school see K. Seitz, Die Schule von Gaza (Heidelberg, 1892).
End of Article: CHORIAMBIC VERSE, or CHORIAMBICS
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