I have just finished putting every verse in the Sagathavagga of SN through • Chandojñānam • Identify from Text • and have collected every verse occurring in the tuṭṭhubha metre.

It has been thought by some that as the preponderance of the verses in the Rg Veda (archaic Vedic)are in this form (11 syllable lines) and the preponderance of verses in the Mahbabarata (Claasical Sanskrit) are in the Sloka form (8 syllable lines) that the 11 syllable line is often a marker or an earlier phase of poetry, closer to the Vedic than the Classical.

This argument is of a statistical or quantitive nature, and need not be decisive in any particular case, but it is nevertheless a provocative enough idea to me that I have waded in and with the help of modern technology, identified these verses and begun to look at them as a group.

The first thing that is worth observing and that I thought I would note here is that at least in broad terms the alleged pattern fits with the arrangement of the vaggas in the sagathavagga, in that;

SN1 has 81 suttas and close to 50 verses in 11 syllable form, the most of any samyutta.

SN2 has 30 suttas and about 16 so the ratio has dropped significantly.

SN3 has 25 and 10 still dropping.

SN4 has 25 and 16 bucks the trend a bit.

SN5 has 10 and 2 dropping again.

And then in the second half,

SN6 has 15 and 20 centered on the decision to teach and rejection of “blessed” alms

SN7 has 22 and 25 fewer relative to the number of suttas

SN8 has 12 and 12 fewer again

SN9 has 14 and 8 still fewer

SN10 has 12 and 6 fewer still

SN11 has 25 and 5 the fewest since SN5

So if we divide the Sagathavagga into two halves, the first centered around practice and morality, thematically, and the second centered around the decision to teach and the rejection of alms that have had Vedic chants performed over them we see a decline of the frequency of tuṭṭhubha verses in each of the two halves.

This might fit with a picture of the devatasamyutta and the brahmasamyutta being the earliest samyuttas and the subsequent ones being appended to them one by one, explaining the decline.