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Загадка (Подражание Пушкину)

January 19, 2010
Кто у нас умер женатым, по смерти вдовы не оставив?
Эту загадку — прошу я — мне, хитрый Эдип, разреши…

April 14, 1862

The answer is I. I. Panaev, a frequent target of Shcherbina’s.

Dactylic hexameter.  The first line would work as a classical гексаметр, and the whole thing almost sounds like an elegiac couplet, but in fact it’s regular dactyls all the way through, and the middle of the second line (“я—мне”) would have nowhere to go in the “pentameter” half of such a couplet.

It strikes me as unusual to see the full epigrammatic force of the riddle in the first line, rather than a zing at the end.  On the other hand, the two lines together make a nineteenth-century affair seem timeless.

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