Works of Sri Aurobindo »Letters On Poetry And Art »RYTHM and English Metres

The Caesura Voltaire's dictum is quite baffling,3 unless he means by caesura any pause or break in the line; then of course a comma does create such a break or pause. But ordinarily caesura is a technical term meaning a rhythmical (not necessarily a metrical) division of a line in two parts equal or unequal, in the middle or near the middle, that is, just a little before or just a little after. I think in my account of my Alexandrines I myself used the word caesura in the sense of a pause anywhere which breaks the line in two equal or unequal parts, but usually such a break very near the beginning or end of a line would not be counted as an orthodox caesura. In French there are two metres which insist on a caesura ―the Alexandrine and the pentameter. The Alexandrine always takes the caesura in the middle of the line, that is after the sixth sonant syllable, the pentameter always after the fourth, there is no need for any comma there, e.g. Ce que dit l'aube || et la flamme a la flamme. --3 The "dictum" of Voltaire that the correspondent sent to Sri Aurobindo was the following: "la césure . . . rompt le vers . . . partout où elle coupe la phrase."

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