Classical Hexameter & Classical Pentameter lines- Reference

Greek Verse, the beginnings.

Elegiac Couplet used by Homer is made up of Classical Hexameter line followed by a Classical Pentameter line. Although the Greeks sometimes used the couplet in epic poetry, the Romans commonly used the couplet in love poetry. It was said that Cupid stole a metric foot from the 2nd line and the couplet became known as the “meter of love”.

The Elegiac Couplet is a complete couplet, a contained thought within the two lines. The couplet can stand alone or can be written in a series of verse.

The two immortals stepped briskly as wild doves,

quivering, keen to defend the fighting men of Argos.

from Homer’s Iliad 189.896-‘7, 8th century BC

translation by Robert Fagels Princeton University 1997

with spondees LL-LL-LL-LL-Lss-LL

Lss-Lss-LL-ssL-ssL

with dactyls

Lss-Lss-Lss-Lss-Lss-LL

Lss-Lss-LL-ssL-ssL

Traveling through the mucked maze without knowledge of where to find true love,

placing our trust without checks, balances, life on the edge.

— Judi Van Gorder

  • Classical Hexameter line, sometimes known as the Classical Heroic line, is the first line of the Elegiac couplet. A 13 or 17 syllable line depending on whether it is written leading with spondees or dactyls. The measure is quantitative verse in 6 metric feet. The line can be written with either 4 spondees or dactyls, followed by a dactyl and a spondee in that order.
    with spondees . . . LL-LL-LL-LL-Lss-LL
    with dactyls . . . . Lss-Lss-Lss-Lss-Lss-LL
    Traveling through the mucked maze without knowledge of where to find true love,
  • Classical Pentameter line is the second line of the Elegiac couplet. A 14 syllable line in quantitative verse, 5 metric feet made up of 2 dactyls, followed by a spondee, and 2 anapests in that order.
    Lss-Lss-LL-ssL-ssL
    placing our trust without checks, balances, life on the edge.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1243#hexameter

My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

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