Poetry Kaleidoscope: Guide to Poetry


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An asclepiad is a line of poetry following a particular metrical pattern. The form is attributed to Asclepiades of Samos and is one of the Aeolic metres.

As with other Aeolic metrical lines, the asclepiad is built around a choriamb, to which two (lesser asclepiad) or three (greater asclepiad) other choriambs are added. Around this core of choriambs, iambic, spondaic, trochaic feet may be added to introduce and conclude the line. A common example of a lesser asclepiad is a spondee followed by two choriambs and an iamb ( | '' | '~~' | '~~' | '~~' | '~ | ).

Asclepiads were used by Horace, Catullus, and Seneca in Latin. Examples in English verse include parts of Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia and W. H. Auden's "In Due Season".

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