Poetry Guide: Hendecasyllabic
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)
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 Hendecasyllable.