Poetry Kaleidoscope: Guide to Poetry
The Hendecasyllabic verse is a
quantitative metre used by
Catullus. The pattern is as follows (L = long syllable, s = short
syllable, | = foot division):
- L L | L s s | L s | L s | L s
- (spondee | dactyl | trochee | trochee | trochee)
also often a trochee (L
s) and sometimes an iamb (s L).
The last foot can also be a
spondee, in which case it is a "Phalaecean"
Another form of hendecasyllabic verse is the "Sapphic",
which has the pattern:
- L s | L s | L s s | L s | L L
In this form, the second foot can also be a spondee.
Examples of Latin
hendecasyllabics are Catullus 7 and 10. The metre has been imitated in English;
the most important examples are by Tennyson and Swinburne. In
English, the long/short pattern becomes a stress/unstress pattern, although
Tennyson maintained the quantitative features of the metre:
- O you chorus of indolent reviewers,
- Irresponsible, indolent reviewers,
- Look, I come to the test, a tiny poem
- All composed in a metre of Catullus...
This form should not be confused with
Poetry Guide Home | Up | Foot | Dactyl | Decasyllable | Elegy | Hendecasyllabic | Vedic meter | Poulter's Measure
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