Presentation on theme: "In English poetry, metre is governed by where the stress falls, but Latin metre is based on patterns of heavy and light syllables i.e. containing long."— Presentation transcript:
In English poetry, metre is governed by where the stress falls, but Latin metre is based on patterns of heavy and light syllables i.e. containing long or short vowels. The ictus falls on the first syllable of a group. In spoken Latin the penultimate syllable of a word is usually stressed but sometimes it is the one before. It is not very clear how these two ways of reading Latin verse complemented or competed with each other!
Metre is not something you really need to worry about (you can achieve top marks in public exams without mentioning it!) but it can be useful to understand and be able to use technical terms like: the dactylic metre the spondaic feel of this line the coincidence of ictus and accent early caesura and other pauses the two elisions increase the speed The metre will influence the basic feel of a poem and will give you some indication of what its subject-matter is likely to be.
Most of the examples in this presentation are taken from the OCR 2010 GCSE Legacy specification for 2010 with the A2 Catullus selection interspersed. Other examples will be added from time to time so check for updates. Updates can be found here If this is your first experience of the scansion of poetic metre do not try to remember everything at once - just relax and try to enjoy it! N.B. There are Appendices at the end to help with the process of scansion. You can me for help using the Links/contact page of the Pyrrha website.
SCANSION of poetry - this means analysing the metre Hendecasyllables Hexameters Elegiac Couplets (Hexameter plus Pentameter) Asclepiads Sapphics, Alcaics... Limping Iambics, Galliambics Dimeters, Trimeters and Tetrameters
Latin poetry does not rhyme! Instead, it uses patterns of heavy and light syllables. Heavy syllables contain a long vowel and light ones contain a short vowel. When you see – marked over a vowel it means it is LONG eg the ablative singular of 1st Declension nouns _ a The symbol for a SHORT vowel is a x denotes a syllable which can be either heavy or light. If a word ends with a vowel (or -m) and the next word starts with a vowel (or h-), the two sounds are ELIDED - slurred together.
Hendecasyllables have eleven syllables in each line (in Greek hen = 1, deca = 10) and they follow this pattern : x x x (the first two can be any combination except ) quaeris, quot mihi basiationes tuae, Lesbia, sint satis superque. Catullus Poem 7 When you read Catullus personal poetry you do not realise at first that he is choosing his words carefully to fit this metrical pattern! The poems are not written in such a casual style as you might imagine.
Asclepiads are said to be named after the Greek poet Asclepius (but nothing is known about him!) and they follow this pattern : x twice x quis multa gracilis te puer in rosa perfusus liquidis urget odoribus grato, Pyrrha, sub antro? cui flavam religas comam, Horace Odes I: 5 Horace enjoyed adapting Greek metres to the requirements of Latin poetry.
Sapphics are named after the Greek poetess Sappho who lived on the island of Lesbos (Catullus named his girlfriend Lesbia after her) and they follow this pattern : three times x Furi et Aureli, comites Catulli, sive in extremos penetrabit Indos, litus ut longe resonante Eoa tunditur unda. Catullus 11 The short last line of each stanza forms a distinctive finale.
Iambic Trimeter Iambics are used extensively in Greek Tragedy - fairly quick-moving pairs of syllables with a light one followed by a heavy in each pair. Catullus 4 uses two sets of three iambs, possibly to represent the speed of the now-retired boat which is the subject of the poem. phaselus ille quem videtis hospites The final syllable of each line does not have to be heavy.
Limping Iambics The correct name for this metre is either Choliambics or Scazons. Imagine a line of 5 iambs, and then at the end instead of the iamb you are expecting there is either - a spondee or - a trochee You can see why they are called limping iambics! Very effective if the poet wants to emphasise something at the end of each line, and when the line is also end-stopped there is even more emphasis.
Catullus 8 x miser Catulle, desinas ineptire, et quod vides perisse perditum ducas. fulsere quondam candidi tibi soles, cum ventitabas quo puella ducebat, In this poem Catullus is urging himself to stop being silly and to realise that his girlfriend does not really love him. The limping stress at the end of each line is extremely effective and could be interpreted as emphasising his determination /desperation.
To gain an insight into the effects created by this metre we should look at which poems Catullus uses it for … 8 showing his own folly 22 and 44, complaining about the bad poetry of Suffenus and Sestius 39, 59 and 60, invective against people he does not like So perhaps it is not the most overtly poetic of all metres!
Hexameter (in Greek hex = 6) This is the metre used for epic poetry - very heroic and noble and it has a lot of flexibility! It uses particular patterns of heavy and light syllables within each line You might like to think of the heavy syllables as crotchets in music and the light ones as quavers. A crotchet is twice as long as a quaver. _ =
A sequence of two heavy syllables is a SPONDEE - _ _ One heavy syllable followed by two lights is a DACTYL
In music you might have a tune which has 6 bars in 2/4 time. lllllll
l x | lllllll In poetry, the equivalent of this line is called a Hexameter (Hex is Greek for 6) Each division is called a FOOT; not a bar. The 5th foot in a Hexameter is always a DACTYL The 6th foot in a Hexameter is always - X The first 4 feet can be either - - or There is a natural break called a CAESURA in the middle of the 3rd or 4th foot.
Ovid Amores III 2: Ovid picks a Favourite at the Races Hexameter line of Elegiac couplet Look at how the dactylic metre adds to the speed of this line: 11 et modo lora dabo, modo verbere terga notabo Ovid Metamorphoses XI: Alcyone and Ceyx Hexameter Remember that Alcyone is weeping as she speaks: look at how the spondees and the double consonants slow the line down. 6 singultuque pias interrumpente querellas The stress of the words does not always coincide with the metrical ictus. Notice how this adds to the jerkiness of the first part of the line. < < < <
Elegiac couplets are made up of alternate Hexameters and Pentameters (in Greek pent = 5) This is the metre used for love poetry and light themes, and the sense is usually contained within the two line unit. The first poem in Ovids Amores explains that he was trying to write an important and serious epic poem, but the god Cupid sneaked up and stole the last foot from the second line, making it into a Pentameter! When Ovid complained, calling him a savage boy, Cupid retaliated by making him fall desperately in love so that he would write love poetry! arma gravi numero violentaque bella parabam Hexameter edere, materia conveniente modis. Pentameter par erat inferior versus: risisse Cupido Hexameter dicitur atque unum surripuisse pedem. Pentameter quis tibi, saeve puer, dedit hoc in carmina iuris? Hexameter
A Pentameter has 5 feet (so it is shorter than a Hexameter.) After the Caesura it is always If you add this up you will see it makes 2 1/2 feet, ( dah-diddy dah-diddy dah! ) Then the first two feet are either spondees or dactyls. so you can put the extra half-foot just before the Caesura : total - 3 feet.
Catullus Poem 85 Conflicting Emotions Elegiac Couplet Look at how the elisions add to the speed and colloquialism of this epigram odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris. nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.
The metrical ictus is on the first syllable of each foot, but in spoken Latin the stress is on the penultimate syllable (or the one before if the penultimate is short). odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris. nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior. < < < < < < < < < < This creates an interesting tension between the metrical ictus and the spoken stress accent.
Petronius fragment: Love will not let the poet sleep Elegiac couplets - both examples are Pentameters. Look at the breaks and the caesura in line 6 and the effect of the stress accent. The breaks in the first half of the line follow the spoken stress accent but ictus and accent coincide in the second half. (NB The i of iacere is consonontal: ie equivalent to j rather than i) 8 omne iter impedio, nullum iter expedio 6 solus, io, solus, dure, iacere potes? Look at the similarities between the two halves of line 8, and the speed created by dactyls & elisions < < < < < <
Virgil Aeneid Book XI: Nisus and Euryalus Hexameters These examples show how the use of spondaic or dactylic rhythms can enhance the effect of what the poet is trying to convey. 4 his amor unus erat pariterque in bella ruebant They are enthusiastic about their feelings for each other and they rush into battle together. 7 laxabant curas et corda oblita laborum Night is described as relaxing everyones worries. 11stant longis adnixi hastis et scuta tenentes Although they are eager to rush off they have to wait patiently for permission to go.
Virgil Aeneid Book XI Nisus and Euryalus Hexameters How does this line emphasise the drama of the betraying flash from the helmet? 54 prodidit immemorem radiisque adversa refulsit 60 hinc atque hinc, omnemque abitum custode coronant Notice how the caesura is blocked - mirroring the sense of the line as he is surrounded with no way out! This line has its caesura in the middle of the second foot instead of the third. Here Virgil emphasises that he is trapped in a circle of the enemy.
How do these four lines emphasise the threat posed by Volcens? 61 saevit atrox Volcens nec teli conspicit usquam 62 auctorem nec quo se ardens immittere possit. 63 tu tamen interea calido mihi sanguine poenas 64 persolves amborum inquit; simul ense recluso How does this line emphasise the desperation of Nisus? 68 me, me, adsum qui feci, in me convertite ferrum, Lots of long, threatening, scary spondees in the first two lines and then speed created by the dactyls in the second two lines as he utters his threats. Long despairing spondees with the only speed in the dactylic 5th foot: what he is begging them to do.
Virgil Aeneid Book XI Nisus and Euryalus Hexameters This line tells of the death of Euryalus. Commentators point out the coincidence of ictus and accent in the second half of the line, emphasising the finality of death. 86 confossus, placidaque ibi demum morte quievit. < < < So those people who think that Latin poetry should be read solely according to the ictus of the metre would lose the drama of this emphasis!
Can we find connections between Latin poetry and Spanish flamenco? On listening to some flamenco music I was struck by the way in which there is more than one rhythm going on at the same time and I would like to thank Jenny Nicholson who has arranged, performed and recorded this Sevillana for us. You will need to download this separately from (on the meet Pyrrha page) and then put it into a folder with the powerpoint so that it will play when you click the icon.www.pyrrha.me.uk It uses a 12-beat compas which has its accents thus: This tune starts on the 4th beat (some start on the 8th or 12th)
Catullus Poem 63 Attis - hymn to Cybele GALLIAMBICS A very complicated metre: you can look on the internet to see how scholars disagree with each other about how it is organised! This is the only Latin poem written in this metre, which was used for hymns to the Mother Goddess Cybele sung by her eunuch priests the Galli as they rushed around citatis … tripudiis (line 26) with fast ritual 3-beat dances The flamenco on the previous slide is played to a 12-beat compas : The tune starts on the 4th beat (some start on the 8th or 12th) but the dancers have a 3-beat dance and there is a lot of 2 against 3 rhythm going on. Perhaps this is a useful comparison to bear in mind when trying to work out the rhythmic pattern of poem 63 … ?
Catullus Poem 63 Attis - hymn to Cybele GALLIAMBICS Each line can be analysed as being composed of two anacreontics (named after the Greek poet Anacreon) Some heavy syllables can be resolved into two lights, some lights can be merged into one heavy, the final syllable of the line is lost (called catalexis) and the last one can be either heavy or light. 63 ego mulier, ego adulescens, ego ephebus, ego puer This is the longest line, where Attis is remembering all the different identities (s)he has had. 73 iam iam dolet quod egi iam iamque paenitet This is the shortest line, where Attis regrets what he has done. The dance was accompanied by frenzied drumming and cymbal clashes di-di-dum di-dum di-dum - dum, di-di-dum -di-di-di-di-di ! as well as the music of a low-sounding Phrygian pipe which Professor Wiseman thinks might have sounded like a baritone sax.
An exploration of some of Ovid Metamorphoses Book VIII (OCR AS) and Aeneid II (OCR GCSE)
Ovid Metamorphoses VIII lines 81 – Notice the patterns of slow and quick action here: contrasting between the peaceful night and Scyllas quick movements. talia dicenti curarum maxima nutrix nox intervenit tenebrisque audacia crevit. prima quies aderat, qua curis fessa diurnis pectora somnus habet; thalamos taciturna paternos intrat et (heu facinus!) fatali nata parentem
Line 85 - intrat et (heu facinus!) fatali nata parentem crine suum spoliat praedaque potita nefanda [fert secum spolium sceleris progressaque porta] per medios hostes (meriti fiducia tanta est) pervenit ad regem, quem sic adfata paventem est:
Line 90 – Does the metre enhance the effect here? What sort of person does Scylla present herself as? How does Ovid show her ruthlessness and Minoss reaction? 'suasit amor facinus; proles ego regia Nisi Scylla tibi trado patriaeque meosque Penates. praemia nulla peto nisi te; cape pignus amoris purpureum crinem nec me nunc tradere crinem, sed patrium tibi crede caput' scelerataque dextra munera porrexit. Minos porrecta refugit turbatusque novi respondit imagine facti:
Line 97 - How does Ovid emphasise Minoss reaction? 'di te submoveant, o nostri infamia saecli, orbe suo, tellusque tibi pontusque negetur. certe ego non patiar Iovis incunabula, Creten, qui meus est orbis, tantum contingere monstrum. dixit, et ut leges captis iustissimus auctor hostibus imposuit, classis retinacula solvi iussit et aeratas impelli remige puppes.
Aeneid II: Lines ; ; ; , Notice the difference between the peaceful night, the excitement of what Hector has done and the solemn sadness: Spondaic or Dactylic lines. incipit et dono divum gratissima serpit. 269 in somnis, ecce, ante oculos maestissimus Hector 270 visus adesse mihi largosque effundere fletus raptatus bigis ut quondam, aterque cruento pulvere perque pedes traiectus lora tumentes
Aeneid II: Lines ; ; ; , Notice the difference between the excitement of what Hector has done and sadness. ei mihi, qualis erat, quantum mutatus ab illo Hectore qui redit exuvias indutus Achilli vel Danaum Phrygios iaculatus puppibus ignes! squalentem barbam et concretos sanguine crines vulneraque illa gerens, quae circum plurima muros accepit patrios. ultro flens ipse videbar compellare virum et maestas expromere voces: 280
Aeneid II: Lines 298- Notice the effect of dactyls on the speed, and also elisions. diverso interea miscentur moenia luctu 298 excutior somno et summi fastigia tecti 302 ascensu supero atque arrectis auribus asto 303 in segetem veluti cum flamma furentibus Austris 304 Ucalegon; Sigea igni freta lata relucent 312
Aeneid II: Lines 298- Notice the effect of dactyls on the speed, and also elisions. arma armens capio; nec sat rationis in armis, 314 sed glomerare manum bello et concurrere in arcem 315
Aeneid II: Lines 624 – Look at the long, sad syllables and elisions as Aeneas is emphasising the sadness of the fall of Troy, and the contrast with the quick successive (dactylic) axe-blows in 627 tum vero omne mihi visum considere in ignes 624 Ilium et ex imo verti Neptunia Troia: ac veluti summis antiquam in montibus ornum cum ferro accisam crebrisqued bipennibus instant eruere agricolae certatim, illa usque minatur et tremefacta comam concusso vertice nutat, 629
Aeneid II: Lines The tree eventually gives way. vulneribus donec paulatim evicta supremum 630 congemuit traxitque iugis avulsa ruinam.
Aeneid II: Lines 639 – 40 See Anchises emotion in the broken syntax, alliteration, dactylic rhythm (apart from the contrast with suo stant – and then the totally broken line 640. Does this stress Anchises emotion or is it a line which Virgil was intending to revise and finish? Either way, it shows its importance, since it should not be like this! sanguis, ait, solidaeque suo stant robore vires, vos agitate fugam. 640 Notice the long syllables which emphasise Anchises reluctance in 650 talia perstabat memorans fixusque manebat.
Aeneid II: Lines Look at the long, sad syllables, enjambements and elisions as Aeneas is reluctantly going to war (especially 672) and Creusa is desperately trying to stop him. hinc ferro accingor rursus clipeoque sinistram 671 insertabam aptans meque extra tecta ferebam, ecce autem complexa pedes in limine coniunx haerebat, parvumque patri tendebat Iulum: 674
Aeneid II: Line How does the metre emphasise Creusas anger that Aeneas intends to go out to his death, but also wants him to take her and their son with him? si periturus abis, et nos rape in omnia tecum 675
Aeneid II: Line How does the metre emphasise Creusas anger that Aeneas intends to go out to his death, but also wants him to take her and their son with him? si periturus abis, et nos rape in omnia tecum 675 Lines How does the metre contrast their panic with the true sacred and solemn nature of the omen? nos pavidi trepidare metu crinemque flagrantem 685 excutere et sanctos restinguere fontibus ignes.
Aeneid II: Lines Notice how Aeneas desperation and panic at losing Creusa is emphasised by dactyls and elisions, and his sadness by spondees (maestus, nequiquam). implevi clamore vias, maestusque Creusam 769 nequiquam ingeminans iterumque iterumque vocavi
Aeneid II: Lines Notice how Aeneas desperation and panic at losing Creusa is emphasised by dactyls and elisions, and his sadness by spondees (maestus, nequiquam). implevi clamore vias, maestusque Creusam 769 nequiquam ingeminans iterumque iterumque vocavi 770 Line Aeneas is in total shock to see Creusa as a larger-than-life sized apparition: you can see his panic in the dactyls and elision. obstipui, steteruntque comae et vox faucibus haesit 774
Aeneid II: Lines 780 A dactylic rhythm is used first to emphasise all the hard work and travelling still in store for Aeneas as he searches for his destined new country, but in the second line it represents the gentle waves of the river Tiber through the beautiful countryside. longa tibi exsilia et vastum maris aequor arandum 780 et terram Hesperiam venies, ubi Lydius arva inter opima virum leni fluit agmine Thybris.
Aeneid II: Line 787 – another incomplete line! This time it emphasises Creusas status as a Trojan lady and the daughter-in-law of the goddess Venus. Dardanis et divae Veneris nurus;
Aeneid II: Line 787 – another incomplete line! This time it emphasises Creusas status as a Trojan lady and the daughter-in-law of the goddess Venus. Dardanis et divae Veneris nurus; Line 789 – You can easily work out what Creusas most important message to Aeneas is about by looking for the long, heavy syllables (spondaic rhythm) among the dactyls. iamque vale et nati serva communis amorem.
Aeneid II: Lines 790 – 791 Very dactylic lines: the only spondee has an elision in it to add to the speed, really emphasising Aeneas desperation and panic as the ghost of Creusa disappears into the breezes while he is trying to embrace her. haec ubi dicta dedit, lacrimantem et multa volentem dicere deseruit, tenuesque recessit in auras.
Aeneid II: Aeneas resignation can be seen in the heavy syllables at the beginning of 792 & 793: he tries but it is in vain. The ghost disappears and the rhythm becomes light like the fleeting winds or like a dream. ter conatus ibi collo dare bracchia circum; 792 ter frustra comprensa manus effugit imago, par levibus ventis volucrique simillima somno.
Aeneid II: Aeneas resignation can be seen in the heavy syllables at the beginning of 792 & 793: he tries but it is in vain. The ghost disappears and the rhythm becomes light like the fleeting winds or like a dream. ter conatus ibi collo dare bracchia circum; 792 ter frustra comprensa manus effugit imago, par levibus ventis volucrique simillima somno. The heavy spondees in the final line of our selection seems to emphasise Aeneas dragging his feet and spending the whole night looking for Creusa before going back to his companions. sic demum socios consumpta nocte reviso. 795
APPENDIX How do I know which vowels are long and which are short? LONG ablative singular of 1st declension nouns: a diphthongs eg: ae, au, oe any vowel when it is followed by 2 consonants even if in the next word exceptions: pl, br, cr, tr final i, o, u; es, os, as - (usually) of nouns NB x = double consonant qu = consonant h doesnt count at all i sometimes = consonant (eg the first one in Iulius and iam) SHORT When there are 2 vowels with separate sounds, the first one is short. eg: the u in puella, the i in resonantia
How do I scan a Hexameter line? (6 feet: either Spondee or Dactyl ) 1. Look for Elisions and mark them. A word ending in a vowel or -m loses its final syllable if the next word begins with a vowel - the two sounds are slurred together. 2. The 6th foot is either - - or so mark it - x 3. The 5th foot is always 4.The first part of the line must now be divided into 4 feet. Count the syllables (8 - 12) and work backwards, identifying known long and short vowels (Appendix 1) and then fill in the gaps (much easier to do backwards!) 5.Mark the Caesura in the middle of the 3rd or 4th foot. e.g. x -and a Pentameter? (5 feet: either or ) -remember that the second half of the line is always mark a single heavy syllable just before the caesura. -then there are two feet to work out in the first half of the line. - e.g.