ḎŪ-BAḤRAYN, a term in Persian and Arabic prosody designating a poem that can be scanned according to two or more different meters (baḥr). Traditionally it has been considered a rhetorical embellishment (badīʿ; q.v.) and known as šeʿr-e molawwan or motatawwan (lit., “variegated poem”). In Persian poetry the two meters ramal (– ᴗ – – / - ᴗ – – / – ᴗ –) and sarīʿ (– ᴗ ᴗ – / – ᴗ ᴗ – / – ᴗ –) are considered the most compatible and have often been used in this genre. Majmaʿ al-baḥrayn by Kātebī Nīšāpūrī (d. 838 or 839/1435) and Seḥr-e ḥalāl by Ahlī Šīrāzī (d. 942/1535-36) were composed entirely in these two meters (e.g., Sāqī az ān šīša-ye Manṣūr-dam / Bar rag o bar rīša-ye man ṣūr dam; Ahlī, p. 626).
A verse may be scanned as a ḏū-baḥrayn if the final short vowels can be scanned as long vowels, if final long vowels followed by initial vowels can be changed to short vowels, and if initial hamzas can be eliminated.
Some verses may be scanned in more than two meters, for example, Lab-e to marham-e ʿāšeq, ḵaṭṭ-e to ḵāma-ye Mānī / Ḡam-e to mūnes-e ḵāṭer, qadd-e to sāya-ye ṭūbā. It can be scanned in three, the third being baḥr-e mojtaṯ :
ᴗ – – – / ᴗ – – – / ᴗ – – – / ᴗ – – –
ᴗ ᴗ – – / ᴗ ᴗ – – / ᴗ ᴗ – – / ᴗ ᴗ – –
ᴗ – ᴗ – / ᴗ ᴗ – – / ᴗ – ᴗ – / ᴗ ᴗ – –
Verses of this kind have been called jāmeʿ al-boḥūr (Wāʿeẓ Kāšefī, p. 122). Mīrzā Naʿīm Sedehī (b. 1272/1855-56) wrote a poem that can be scanned in seven different ways (To serr-e ḥaqq-ī o to kaštī-e Nūḥ / To ḥaqq-e serr-ī o to yaḥyī [sic; probably to be read moḥyī]-e jān), in baḥr-e ramal-e maḵbūn, baḥr-e ramal, hazaj, sarīʿ, motaqāreb, ḵafīf, and qarīb-e aḵrab. Rašīd-al-Dīn Vaṭvāṭ (p. 54) mentioned a book of poetry, Kanz al-ḡārāʾeb by the 11th-century poet Aḥmad Manšūrī, that reportedly contained a verse that could be scanned in more than thirty different ways.
See also ʿARŪŻ.
Ahlī Šīrāzī, Dīvān, ed. Ḥ Rabbānī, Tehran, 1344 Š./1965.
A. Najafī, “Eḵtīārāt-e šāʿerī,” Jong-e Eṣfahān 10, 1352 Š./1973, pp., 147-89.
Rašīd Vaṭvāṭ, Ḥadāʾeq al-seḥr fī daqāʾeq al-šeʿr, ed. ʿA. Eqbāl Āštīānī, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.
S. Šamīsā, Āšnāʾī bā ʿarūż wa qāfīa, Tehran, 1366 Š./1987.
Ḥosayn Wāʿeẓ Kāšefī, Badāyeʿ al-afkār fī ṣanāyeʿ al-ašʿār, ed. M. J. Kazzāzī, Tehran, 1369 Š./1990.
Originally Published: December 15, 1996
Last Updated: December 1, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. VII, Fasc. 6, pp. 565-566