Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
702
SESSION—SETH

at Teanum; the pavement of the road between the latter place and Suessa is in places well preserved, especially near Teano, and so is that of a road ascending from Suessa northward towards the crater mentioned.

See A. Avena, Monumenti dell' Italia Meridionale (Naples, 1902), i. 181 sqq. (T. As.)


SESSION (through Fr. from Lat. sessia, sedere, to sit), the act of sitting or the state of being seated, more generally the sitting together or assembly of a body, judicial, legislative, &c., for the transaction of its business, and also the time during which the body sits until its adjournment or dispersion. A session of parliament is reckoned from its assembling till prorogation; usually there is one session in each year. In particular the term is applied to the sittings of various judicial courts, especially criminal, such as the sessions of the Central Criminal Court in London. The sittings of the justices of the peace or magistrates in the United Kingdom are “ sessions of the peace ” for the transaction of the judicial business committed to them by statute or by their commission. These are either “ petty sessions, ” courts, of summary jurisdiction held by two or more justices of the peace or by a stipendiary or metropolitan police magistrate under statute for the trial of such cases as are not of sufficient import-ance to be tried before quarter-sessions, or for a preliminary inquiry into indictable offences (see Justice of the Peace and Summary Jurisdiction). The “special sessions” of the justices are held for licensing purposes, styled “Brewster sessions,” or for carrying out the provisions of the Highway Acts, &c. The only sessions which are “general sessions " of the peace are now “quarter-sessions” (q.v.). The supreme court of Scotland is termed the “Court of Session” (see Scotland), and the name is given in the Presbyterian church to the lowest ecclesiastical court, composed of the elders of the church presided over by the minister. In the Established Church of Scotland this is usually styled the “Kirk-session.”


SESTETT, the name given to the second division of a sonnet, which must consist of an octave, of eight lines, succeeded by a sestett, of six lines. In the usual course the rhymes are arranged abc | abc, but this is not necessary. Early Italian Sonnets, and in particular those of Dante, often close with the rhyme-arrangement abc | cba; but in languages. where the sonority of syllables is not so great as it is in Italian, it is dangerous to leave a period of five lines between one rhyme and another. In the quatorzain, there is properly speaking no sestett, but a quatrain followed by a couplet, as in the case of Shakespeare's so-called “ Sonnets.” Another form of sestett has only two rhymes, ab | ab | ab; as is the case in Gray's famous sonnet “On the Death of Richard West.” The sestett should mark the turn of emotion in the sonnet; as a rule it may be said, that the octave having been more or less objective, in the sestett reflection should make its appearance, with a tendency to the subjective manner. For example, in Matthew Arnold's in-genious “ The Better Part, ” the rough inquirer, who has had his own way in the octave, is replied to as soon as the sestett commences:-

“ So answer est thou? But why not rather say:
' Hath Man no second life ? Pitch this one high.
More strictly, then, the inward judge obey !
Was Christ a man like us? Ah I let us try
If we, then, too, can be such men as he I ' ”

Wordsworth and Milton are both remarkable for the dignity with which they conduct the downward wave of the sestett in their sonnet. The French sonneteers of the 16th century, with Ronsard at their head, preferred the softer sound of the arrangement aab | ccb |. The German poets have usually wavered between the English and the Italian forms.


SESTINA, one of the most elaborate forms-of verse employed by the medieval poets of Provence and Italy, and retained in occasional use by the modern poets of Western Europe. The scheme on which the sestina is built was the invention of the great troubadour, Arnaut Daniel (d. 1199), who wrote many sestinas in the lingua di sí. Dante, a little later, wrote sestinas in Italian, and of these the most famous is that beginning “Al poco giorno ed al gran cerchio d' ombra.” In the De vulgari Eloquio, Dante admits that he copied the structure of his sestinas from Arnaut Daniel; “et nos eum secuti sumus,” he says, after praising the work of the Provençal poet. The sestina, in its pure medieval form, is independent of rhyme; it consists of six stanzas of six lines each of blank verse. This recurrence of the number six gives its name to the poem. The final words of the first stanza appear in inverted order in all the others, the order as laid down by the Provençals being as follows:-abcdef, faebdc, cfdabe, ecbfad, deacfb, bdfeca. To these six stanzas followed a tornada, or envoi, of three lines, in which all the six key-words were repeated in the following order:— b-e, d-c, f-a. It has been supposed that there was some symbolic mystery involved in the rigid elaboration of this form, from which no slightest divergence was permitted, but if so this cryptic meaning has been lost. Petrarch cultivated a slightly modified sestina, but after the middle ages the form fell into disuse, until it was revived and adapted to the French language by the poets of the Pléiade, in particular by, Pontus de Thyard. In the 19th century, the sestina. or sextine was assiduously cultivated by the Comte de Gramont, who, between 1830 and 1848, wrote a large number of examples, included in his Chant du passé (1854). He followed the example of, Petrarch rather than of the Provencal troubadours, by introducing two rhymes instead of the rigorous blank verse. A sestina by Gramont, beginning:-

“ L'étang qui s'éclaircit au milieu des feuillages,
La mare avec ses joncs rubanant au soleil,
Ses flotillas de fleurs, ses insectes volages
Me charment. Longuement au creux de leurs rivages
J'érre, et les yeux remplis d'un mirage vermeil,
J'écoute l'eau qui rêve en son tiéde sommeil, "

has been recommended to all who wish to “ triumph over the innumerable and terrible difficulties ” of the sestina, as a perfect model of the form in its “ precise and classic purity.” The earliest sestina in English was published in 1877 by Mr Gosse; this was composed according to the archaic form of Arnaut Daniel. Since that time it has been frequently employed by English and American writers, particularly by Swinburne, who has composed some beautiful sestinas on the rhymed French pattern; of these, that beginning “ I saw my soul at restfupon a day ” is perhaps the finest, example of this poem existing in English. Mr Swinburne is, moreover, like Petrarch, the author of an astonishing tour de force, “ The Complaint of Lisa, ” which is a double sestina of twelve verses of twelve lines each. The sestina was cultivated in Germany in the 17th century, particularly by Opitz and by Weckherlin. In the 19th century an attempt was made, not without success, to compose German sestinas in dialogue, while the double sestina itself is not unknown in German literature.


SESTRI LEVANTE (anc. Segesta Tiguliorum), a seaport of Liguria, Italy, in the province of Genoa, from which it is 28½ m. distant by rail, 33 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1901) 3034 (town); 12,038 (commune). It is both a summer and a winter resort, with line views. Part of the town is situated on a promontory (230 ft.) between two bays. The ancient town was the port of exportation of the slate of the district, for we hear of a place called Tigulia or Tegulata on the coast-road; but we know practically nothing of the political condition of the district in Roman times.


SESTRI PONENTE, a town of Liguria, Italy, in the province of Genoa, 4 m. W. of that town on the coast. Pop. (1901) 17,225. It has important shipbuilding yards and iron-works, with factories, for macaroni, matches and tobacco, tanneries and saw-mills, and, in the vicinity, alasbaster quarries. A mile and a half west is Pegli, also a favourite seaside resort, with beautiful Walks and fine villas, among which the Villa Pallavicina, with rare trees and fantastic buildings, fountains and grottoes, is noticeable.


SETH (mi according to Dillmann, “setting” or “slip”; Septuagint, Philo and New Testament, ∑ῄθ, but I Chron. i. I ∑ῄς in A; Josephus, ∑ῄθος, Vulg. Seth), in Gen. iv. 25, 26 (J) and v. 3-8 (P), the son of Adam. At the age of 105 he begat Enos; he lived in all 912 years. Seth was born after the murder of Abel, and in iv. 25 a popular etymology is given of his name—Adam's wife called his name Seth, “For God,” saith she, “hath