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Verse composition

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Verse composition

Postby Turpissimus » Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:26 am

OK. Regarding WhiteO's six month old challenge to produce an elegiac couplet, I think I have produced 3/4 of something with which I am not totally disgusted. However, I have the half of the pentameter after the diaeresis to go, and I am crying out for dactyls (those of you who have tried to compose Latin verse will know my pain).

My questions are -
(a) is anyone aware of some nice Latin idioms relating to not caring. They needn't contain dactyls, as I may be able to pervert my pentameter enough to admit them, whatever their shape.
(b) more generally, how do those composing latin verse deal with the lack of dactyls?
(c) I can manage to finish it off, providing I elide a final -ne with a following vo- (both vowels short). Is this permissible? I am quite unsure of how the semi-vowel v behaves in elision. And I should add, it has to be a short syllable.
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Postby Deses » Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:57 am

I would recommend downloading a old French Gradus ad Parnassum from Gallica. It has a decent introduction to versification, but primarily it is a dictionary with a lot of emphasis on metrical uses of Latin words, including exceptions and irregularities. Just keep in mind that it is a) almost 200 years old and b) free.

http://gallica.bnf.fr/document?O=N073779
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Postby Kasper » Thu Feb 10, 2005 3:37 am

I've just started my first attempt at elegiac verse as well :D and I was wondering whether every vowel followed by another vowel is elided? Specifically an O followed by an A and would it remain short (provided it is not followed by a double consonant) or would they be long together :?: I'm not too sure on the length of 'o' in male or neuter ablatives anyway...

Is this right? e.g.

alveo* arundineo* atque
- u u - u u - -

* elided
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Postby Kasper » Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:43 am

I've just been reading up on the quantity of vowels and syllables and now I am completely confused. When determining the length of a syllable, which as far as I am aware is the important thing in writing verse, what is the consequence of the length of the vowel?
:cry:
e.g. D'Ooge says the vowel before nt and nd is short. Does this mean that
"amandus" is scanned u u u ? Because of the double consonant, I would expect the middle syllable "and" to be long, ie. u - u.
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Postby whiteoctave » Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:50 am

morning turps and k.
i am most pleased to see that you're spending your time on verse: most admirable.
now, as regards points of scansion:

-all consonantal 'i's (j for barbarians) and 'u's (v likewise) serve as fully fledged consonants and do not engender elision. Thus 'corpora iuris' could close a hexameter line, and 'bonum ius' would scan u--

- nt and nd always make the preceding vowel long in scansion. d'ooge must mean that in the natural quantity of the vowel when pronounced it is short, thus amandus is prounced to like Amanda, say, with short middle a. amandus, however, must scan u-u.

- in elegiac verse any vowel or final -Vm (where m is a vowel) is elided before a following vowel or h. hiatus, wherein a vowel does not suffer elision, as often in Virgil and very very often in Homer, should be wholly avoided.

- your scansion of the interesting combination alueo arundineo atque was correct (though final syl is short).

- harsh elision, i.e. of a long vowel before a short one, and especially of long o or u or diphthongs is to be avoided in skilful elegiacs, and elision in the second half of the pentameter is not very neat at all.

- as for dactyls, you are right. whereas the ratio of word patterns in greek is roughly 2:1 dactyl:spondee, in Latin those numbers are roughly reversed. it is not too easy, therefore, to find the fifth foot dactyl and the third and fourth feet dactyls of the pentameters. you can of course, in the extreme, only have these as dactyls:

--/--/-//-/--/-uu/-x
--/--/-/-uu/-uu/x

but that would be pretty sombre!
the thing to watch out for is accusatives in -m and -os for with an adjective it becomes rather difficult to get a satisfactory rhythm. once you get the hang of things, you will start to shift things gently towards the fem sing. or n. pl., which helps a lot.

i have a lecture now, but if you post what you have done so far, i'm sure suggestions will be made how to complete it.

~D
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Postby Turpissimus » Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:22 pm

Conficiendi sunt mox versiculi mihi. Quaeram
utrum sint graciles, an tibi sint lepidi.

I don't like that mox. I expect I shall be able to find an appropriate adverb of two short syllables when I have a few minutes on my hands. But overall two dactyls in four feet isn't bad in hexameter.
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Postby whiteoctave » Thu Feb 10, 2005 4:44 pm

you're almost there, and the sense is nice. elegiac hexameters cannot end in two disyllables however, although the strong sense break after the 5th foot is quite strikingly used. bene or male are two good pyrrhic adverbs. the pentameter must end in a disyllable, and that cannot be an adjective or adverb. tibi can, however, so you could have a choriambic shaped adjective (-uu-) with ne tacked on, and then tibi, with sint naturally understood.

~D
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Postby Deses » Thu Feb 10, 2005 4:47 pm

How about this:

Et testudinem Achilles cursu transeat illo,
Calcem sed metuit vulneret asperius.

I am not happy with the tenses, but they seem to fit the bill.
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Postby whiteoctave » Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:22 pm

once again, the sense is nice but, sexcenties dixi, if Ovid be the elegiac model, the pentameter must end in a disyllable. You can follow the metrically ruder examples of Catullus and Propertius, in whose cases it is permissible. It is better to have the spondee, should there be one, in the second rather than the first foot of the pent., so sed metuit calcem would be the best order, and avoid unnecessary hyperbaton of sed.

~D
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Postby Deses » Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:21 pm

Thanks. So, it scans OK otherwise?

Et testudinem Achilles cursu transeat illo,
Sed metuit calcem vulneret ira ferae.
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Postby whiteoctave » Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:31 pm

yes.

~D
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Postby Turpissimus » Thu Feb 10, 2005 9:54 pm

Versiculi mihi sunt bene maneque conficiendi.
Quaeram sint graciles, plausibilesne tibi.
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Postby whiteoctave » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:29 pm

two further rules for your versificatory pleasure:

-a monosyllable only very rarely precedes the third foot caesura of the hexameter in elegy and should thus be avoided.
-the hexameter must end in either a diss- or trisyllabic word (verb or noun as well).

as a point of style, -que on short -e was avoided for reasons of jarring sound in elegy.

~D
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Postby poeta nequitiae meae » Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:36 am

it's good to see that there are others willing to work at the verse comp. here's a couplet of mine for your reading pleasure.

iam citius credo mea tempora trita fuisse,
et prius infausto perdita saepe mihi.
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Postby Kasper » Fri Feb 11, 2005 3:03 am

Albe,

I'm working on a somewhat longer one, but before I take this any further, would you do me the honor of inspecting my progress so far :oops: :oops: :

Vesperis adscendo super alveo* arundineo* atque
- u u | - - | - // u u | - u u | - u u | - u |
venti susurrando causa tacendi soni
- u u| - - | -//| - u u | - u u | - |
voci* ululae, maestus iuvenis calamos prope iactus
- u u| - - | - // u u| - u u | - u u| - u |
astra* ad siderea spectabat. Inquit: “Inops
- - | - u u|-//| - u u | - u u | - |

* is elided
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Postby whiteoctave » Fri Feb 11, 2005 8:08 am

your diction is certainly pleasingly poetic, and the pastoral setting reminiscent of the georgics, in spite of the altered metre.
a few points on prosody:

-atque or any other particles should not end the hexameter line, although -que (because it is enclitic and not proclitic) is permitted. Incidentally, atque is only used in elegy when it's latter syllable is elided.

-final 'i' is always long, so uenti and tacendi have a long syllable close, and the elision of uoci before u- becomes rather harsh.

-your hyperbaton of prope is ok.

-astra ad siderea scans ---uuu, but siderea ad astra would scan.

-either way, the short open -a is being lengthened by the sp- of the following word. this is fine in the rules of scansion, but for some reason the elegists always avoided an open short final syllable before sc- sp- sq- and st-. this objection is, however, a rather recondite one and does not perhaps merit changing things.

-spectabat scans --u

-elegy normally progresses with a strong sense pause at the end of the pentameter, and accordingly is not well fitted for continuous description and longer sentences. ovid, the great master of the metre, shows the problems this engendered in his fasti, wherein he attempts longer accounts with rather poor effect. there is little doubt that his uncharacteristic shift to hexameters in the metamorphoses was to free up his syntax for more verbose epic discourse. incidentally, there is not much tweaking you would have to do in order to alter your six lines to hexameters. the advantage would be that your punctuation would not have to be altered, imitation of virgilian pastoral could be claimed and the license of the metre is somewhat freer than elegy, so your elisions would be more permissible.

well done thus far, in short.

~D
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Postby Kasper » Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:09 pm

Thanks for your reply Whiteoctave,

I see there are a lot of minor things that can probably only be learned through practice (a verse composition book would be brilliant!!!)

anyway, about the long -i in venti or tacendi, am I to understand that regardless whether they are following by a double or single consonant, or even a vowel, they will scan long?

as for astra ad siderea, I realise it scans ---uuu, which is what I intended: the first foot is a spondee, the second a dactyl, and the final a is lengthened by spectabat, thus fitting the metre. Have I missed something because this seems good to me?

I was not aware that a sentence is supposed to end at the end of each pentameter. In that light I think I'll abandon this one and start something new. Would you mind if I posted it here for you to have a look at it again?

Thanks again!!
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Postby poeta nequitiae meae » Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:42 pm

hey kasper. i think your question re scansion of siderea was answered by whiteoctave:

either way, the short open -a is being lengthened by the sp- of the following word. this is fine in the rules of scansion, but for some reason the elegists always avoided an open short final syllable before sc- sp- sq- and st-. this objection is, however, a rather recondite one and does not perhaps merit changing things.

personally im not sure about the elision of ad- it seems rather harsh to me, yet sure enough Ovid does have

saepe uenire ad me dubitantem hortata Corinnam

and

molliaque ad dominam uerba ferenda dedi
[/quote]
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Postby Kasper » Tue Feb 15, 2005 12:15 am

Mea culpa. Apologicas tibi ago, Albe! et gratias tibi, poeta!


What are your doubts about the elision of ad, poeta? would you have the same doubts if the a preceding it would be short?
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Postby Turpissimus » Tue Feb 15, 2005 12:45 am

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Postby poeta nequitiae meae » Tue Feb 15, 2005 12:51 am

i think im right in saying that the final a in astra is short anyway, so it's not that, though i believe a long -a being elided would make it worse, as perhaps hinted at by whiteoctave:

-final 'i' is always long, so uenti and tacendi have a long syllable close, and the elision of uoci before u- becomes rather harsh.

and more explicitly...

harsh elision, i.e. of a long vowel before a short one, and especially of long o or u or diphthongs is to be avoided in skilful elegiacs, and elision in the second half of the pentameter is not very neat at all.

elision of monosyllables in general isn't, i believe, wonderful. i took a quick look for a counterexample to address those specific doubts, and that's why i posted

molliaque ad dominam uerba ferenda dedi

but molliaque has me worried, as I think the -que might be the only thing making the elision of ad more acceptable. im going to hazard a guess and say that if you take out cases involving the elision with -que then the cases of elision of ad (and other monosyllables) would be greatly decreased.

judging from whiteoctave's previous posts im sure he'll have something worthwhile to say on the matter.
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Postby whiteoctave » Tue Feb 15, 2005 9:36 am

morning men,

i'm glad that involved discussion of Latin prosody has continued through the night. i suppose something that should be made clear is that the term 'elision' refers to the word whose syllable is neglected in scansion, not the following word whose vowel engenders it. for instance in the combination 'astra ad', astra is being elided and there is no elision of a monosyllable. true elision of a monosyllable, such as 'te amice', say, is v rare in Augustan elegy, although Catullus - that rough and ready versifier of 40 years prior - is quite happy to do so. elision of a monosyllable in good elegy, then, does occur, but over half of the examples are of me/te/se. of other elided monosyllables there are 'cum' (conjunction), iam, dem, qua ('where'), qui, quae, si, sim, sum, tam and tum. In 22, 020 lines of Ovid's elegiacs, he only elides monosyllables 35 times, and the very great majority of these are infront of a long following syllable.
'elision' is only applied to the latter of two juxtaposed words when it is a form of sum beginning with 'e', and the removal of the 'e' is deemed less harsh than the removal of the final preceding vowel/V+m: thus longum est exhibits prodelision (hence its being written longumst in older texts). this prodelision can happily occur at the close of a hex or pent line, and is often helpful to get rid of the extra syllable that es or est is bringing.

final -i always scans long.

the reason i swapped the order of astra ad siderea was to have the dactly in the first foot, instead of the spondee, which is the more common order. either combination still involves the awkward (strictly illegal) lengthening of -a by sp-.

~D
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Postby poeta nequitiae meae » Tue Feb 15, 2005 6:55 pm

ah yes. don't know why i wrote such a rubbish post. my own stupidity probably. whiteoctave is obviously right. ignore my post.

thank you whiteoctave.
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Postby Kasper » Wed Feb 16, 2005 2:22 am

Bene - thanks to Turpe for the links, having downloaded Will's treatise I have commenced climbing this wall of insanity and made another attempt to break on through to the other side. I have attempted to avoid any elision and I believe this to be in correspondence with all the rules, with the one exception that incertus sum de 'Hava', which I believe may cause the preceding '-it' to scan short. Aliquae via :oops: :

Nonne beatorum seges exsurgit, Hava, tecum
- u u| - - | -// u u | - - | - u u | - - |
in tua conspectu necne cupido mea?
- u u | - - | -//| - u u | - u u | - |
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Postby annis » Wed Feb 16, 2005 4:59 am

Kasper wrote:Bene - thanks to Turpe for the links, having downloaded Will's treatise


That is actually Herr Professor Doktor Whiteoctave's treatise. I simply host it on Aoidoi for him. My Latin is not up to much beyond orotund recitations of HOrum HArum HORUM.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Postby whiteoctave » Thu Feb 17, 2005 10:11 pm

kasper, well done on your versifying. it is for the most part rather nice. i would be gratified if you could offer as poetic a translation of it as you can, as my own renderings continue to come out in a distinctly prosaic manner.
in terms of prosody, h has no consonantal force here (and in the great majority of places elsewhere, so exsurgit has a short last syllable. the hexameter cannot end with two dissyllables, unless the fourth foot is a dactyl and the fifth opens with a monosyllable (thus producing bucolic diaeresis), although this is rather rare also. Ovid has no instance of a word break after the first syllable of the fifth foot, except in nine instances where a quatrasyllabic Greek word is being brought in to close the line (these are special Graecising counterexamples). Prop and Tib break this monosyllable rule around ten times between them, but still the rhythm is to be avoided - if you read the line it causes a rather jarring shift. tecum at the close of the elegiac hexameter is fine - Ovid does it seven times.
as a final point (which should not worry you) Ovid typically avoids ending the pentameter with a short open vowel.

otherwise, v well done - one of the best written i have seen around here as a first effort.

~D
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Postby Kasper » Thu Feb 17, 2005 11:15 pm

Whiteoctave,
thank you for your comments, I’ll see what adjustments I can make. As for the prosaic rendering, my ‘poetic’ translation is something like:

“Does the field of the happy* not rise with you, Eve,
nor my desire at your sight?”
*i.e. paradise

It is the start of a somewhat longer one about Adam’s (physical) desire that, as he believes, outweighs the more intangible, or moral, beauty of the paradise which he has lost.
Would you mind if I posted the next few lines when I have finished them for your analysis?

Earlier this week my secondhand bookstore offered Heatley and Turner's Selections from Ovid for $4 which I have since acquired. I've only read the first 10 poems so far, but I think this will be very helpful to get a better feel for elegy.
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Postby whiteoctave » Thu Feb 17, 2005 11:23 pm

reading Ovid is certainly an incomparable manual for elegiac verse comp.
thanks for your rendering, which was in line with what I suspected but it confirmed my worry about tua. conspectu is masc.abl., so it should be tuo (u-). i look forward to the rest.

~D
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Postby Kasper » Thu Mar 24, 2005 1:56 am

whiteoctave wrote:i look forward to the rest.

~D


Well, you said it, albeit quite some time ago, so here it is: :oops: :oops:

Nonne beatorum prope te segetes oriuntur
In tuo conspectu necne cupido mea?
Nam quid opus nostris fuit otio vel requiete
Ardebat usque meum corpus Hava pro tuo
Ut teneram carnem leo nunc desideret agni
Esuriebam te iam vetitusque diu
Teque movendo tuo serpenteo persequar usquam
Iam cito seductus quolibet ire tibi
Piscis ut ursa lupus quoque cervum damaque cervo
Invenio nec aquas frigidulas placidas
Aestuat in venis meis igneus acerque sanguis
Flagrebam par te perpetuo me' Hava
Num etiam dabitur mihi subsidium morienti?
Da Domine praecor servo tuo requiem
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Postby poeta nequitiae meae » Thu Mar 24, 2005 3:02 pm

Hey, haven't much time to look at that, but just a note: if you're taking Ovid as your model, only disyllabic words are allowed to end a pentameter line. So a quick look at your even-numbered lines shows placidas and requiem breaking that rule.

Also you might want to check the scansion of some words. Pro scans long, I think, and jumped out at me in your second pent. because I don't think you can have a monosyllable there. I'm guessing

- u u - u u -
corpus Hava pro tuo

is what you wanted, but pro will screw that up.

Also, take a look at things whiteoctave has written. E.g. the hexameter must end in either a diss- or trisyllabic word (verb or noun as well). So I don't think Num etiam dabitur mihi subsidium morienti? is allowed.

Gotta go, hope that useful.
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Postby poeta nequitiae meae » Fri Mar 25, 2005 3:27 pm

Also, just looking again, and watch points of scansion.

- - - - - ||- u u - u u -
Flagrebam par te perpetuo me' Hava

I'm guessing that's what you wanted, but me scans long and the h in haua won't prevent elision of me. Unless you're claiming correption of me, which would not be very cool methinks.
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Postby Kasper » Tue Mar 29, 2005 11:52 pm

Poeta vere multas gratias tibi ago!

Defensio mea:

1. Are you sure "pro" scans long? My dictionary (Cassell's Latin-English; English-Latin School Dictionary) indicates it depends on the subsequent letters.

2. Morienti - well sh*t.

3. the "flagrebam etc." line, mea culpa, I sort of elided the "mea" already, which I realise I should not have, the full line thus reads "flagrebam par te perpetuo mea Hava". "me-" scans short I believe.

4. "Requiem" was on purpose, although perhaps it is not allowed; "placidas" is just sloppy work (it was the last line I did and want to get it over and done with)
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Postby poeta nequitiae meae » Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:09 am

1. Are you sure "pro" scans long? My dictionary (Cassell's Latin-English; English-Latin School Dictionary) indicates it depends on the subsequent letters.


I'm slightly obsessive-compulsive, so never really allow myself to be sure of anything. But:

ad dominam pro te uerba tremente tuli (Ov. Am.1.6.20)
pro segete spicas pro grege ferre dapem (Tib.1.5.28)
hoc pro continuo te Galle monemus amore (Prop.1.20.1)

I think if pro- is a prefix on a verb it has a chance of scanning short, but I don't think it scans short on its own.

2. Morienti - well sh*t.


Heh, well, you never know. I'm not sure how often, if ever, tetrasyllabic line endings occur, but if they do, I doubt they're in Ovid, and they're probably Greek names.

3. the "flagrebam etc." line, mea culpa, I sort of elided the "mea" already, which I realise I should not have, the full line thus reads "flagrebam par te perpetuo mea Hava". "me-" scans short I believe.


Ah, I see now that you'd marked in the elision- it just looked to me like a typo. Yeah, leave elided vowels in when you write.

4. "Requiem" was on purpose, although perhaps it is not allowed; "placidas" is just sloppy work (it was the last line I did and want to get it over and done with)


Heh, I know how you feel.

Anyways, it's 5am now, so I'm going to bed. Whenever Whiteoctave returns from his travels I'm sure he'll be able to give you a proper criticism. You should know btw that I haven't actually read your poem, I just commented at whatever jumped out at me.
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Postby whiteoctave » Thu Mar 31, 2005 9:36 am

morning kasper and poeta,

hope all is well (the latter will hear more from me presently). yes, i reached home at the last midnight after an 11-day spree in Greece, seeing a whole host of sites of variable archaeological interest, most impressive being Ancient Corinth, Mycenae, Epidaurus (Theatre and Asclepion), Delphi and that place called the Acropolis. but enough of ruins.

well done on your elegiacs, K, especially for the poetic vigour and development of the sense. notwithstanding the prosodic problems i will detail briefly below, to put into Latin verse a series of your own thoughts is no small feat and does, i think, set you (along with other versifiers) as men apart from the boys. (you may be a girl? other than a few Germans and Newnhamites of old, and a Swede, I know of no published female versifiers.)

anyhow, these are the things i picked up line by line. i should say at the outset that by far your most prolific error is the (almost e'er wrong) scansion of final -o as short.

1. a hexameter with a word ending with four syllables is not a happy puppy. the problem is the resultant lack of coincidence of metrical ictus with word accent at the inception of the fifth foot, which is unavoidable if the final word be a dis- or trisyllable. Ovid has nine examples of a word of four syllables (of minor ionic [uu--], third paean [uu-u] or molossus shape [---]), all of which, save Aquiloni (Ov.her.11.13), are Greek words. the effect is clearly Graecising, since such a restriction was of course not in force in Greek dactylic hexameter.

2. as mentioned above, final -o is almost always naturally long in Latin. the phenomenon of iambic correption, which i mentioned somewhere above, did occur in early Latin with words such as cito and modo (which in Classical Latin scan as pyrrhics), and in Augustan elegy the phenomen extended to ego, mihi, tibi, parenthetic puto, rogo etc.; this licence should not however be used with tuo, which should scan as the iamb (u-) it is. similarly with cupido which should not scan as the amphibrach necessary in your line but as a bacchius (u--).

3. otio scans as an abominable cretic (-u-), a rhythm intractable in dactylic verse (and the harsh elision of it was also avoided), not as a dactyl. a four syllable word again cheekily ends the line.

4. ardebat scans as a palimbacchius (--u) not as a dactyl. the scansion of pro in Latin, whether the interjection or the preposition scans long, but cf. for the latter the quantity of cognate Grk. [face=SPIonic]pro/[/face] and Skt. prá-. pro- compounded in Latin is mostly long and as far as i can tell there does not seem a clear rule for when it scans short other than 'always consult the dictionary'.

5. leo is an iamb not a pyrrhic, unless of course your knowledge of Ovid includes line 762 of the first book of his ars amatoria:

nunc leo, nunc arbor, nunc erit hirtus aper.

incidentally, leo scanning as the iamb it naturally is does not occur in any of the Augustan elegists, only in the pseudo-Ovidian halieuticon (l.52):

impiger, ecce, leo uenantum sternere pergit.

your lines 5 and 6 were my favourite couplet.

6. first hemiepes of the pentameter should only end in a monosyllable if preceded by a pyrrhic word or a long monosyllable. also, you should try to end the pentameter with a noun or verb, or perhaps a pronoun or pronominal adjective. diu is of course adverbial but is does have some claim to fame as closing the pentameter - eight times in Ovid and four times in Propertius. ita stet.

7. it is curious, by the by, that you here scan mouendo (wrongly) as an amphibrach but tuo (rightly, unlike above) as an iamb. serpenteo should scan as a third epitrite (--u-) not as a major ionic (--uu).

8. the scansion of cito is right!

9. this line brought me the revelation that lupus has a short u, not long, of which i was unaware.

10. as poeta mentioned, ending a pentameter with a trisyllable is not a feature of the polished school of (admittedly Brittish) elegiac composition, with Ovid as the exemplar of refinement. only thrice in some 10,000 pentameters does O. have a trisyllabic close to the line - P.1.1.66, ibid.1.8.20, ibid.4.9.26. the epistulae ex Ponto were all from a very late period of O.'s life - up to 35 years after the amores, and the stress of exile was clearly effecting his skill; either that, or he was bloody bored with finding dissyllabic closes to his pents. (as a side note, the three examples are all of questionable textual standing). Tibullus has twenty (3%) and Propertius thirty (1.5%).
this said, some notably fine versifiers have bucked against the trend. Francis Pember, Warden of All Souls, Oxon., in his 1931 collection of his verses Musa Feriata (Oxford), writes thus:

"In regard to the Latin Elegiacs in the book, I should like to say just one thing: I have always been much attracted by the versification of the earlier Elegists; and any one who looks through these pages will see that I have chosen, in many of my versions, to follow the more flexible and elastic rhythms of those older writers,in preference to Ovid's more rigidly uniform treatment of the Elegiac couplet. This may be a heresy [too right! DJB]; but I must plead that there is an [face=SPIonic]oi0kei/a h(donh&[/face] in every heresy: at any rate for the heretic."

in the Classics journal Greece and Rome there were repeated pleas by various teachers to bring the focus from Ovid to earlier, i.e. more metrically lax, models so as to make composition easier. if you can't stand the heat in the kitchen, i say, look at some pots, right poeta?

anyhow, we digress. trisyllabic closes noy good.

11. meis scans as an iamb not a pyrrhic.

12. the middle syllable of acerque is long.

13.as poeta noted, true hiatus (i.e. not interjectional, not Graecising and not correpted) does not, as G. P. Goold proved in his legendary 1958 and '69 articles in the journal Phoenix, occur in the elegiacs of Catullus, Propertius, Tibullus and Ovid. luckily you have pointed out that me' was a depiction of the elision of mea, which does now scan fine. elision however at this point in the pentameter only occurs twice in Ovid*:

ad sata fontanas, nec pudet, addere aquas (P.1.8.46)
quadriiugos cernes saepe resistere equos (tr.4.2.54)
* her.10.86 - quis scit an et saeuas tigridas insula habet - is almost unanimously regarded as corrupt.

it also occurs but once in Tib. (2.4.58 ) and but once in Prop. (3.4.14).

well, those are the things that struck me. however, once you remove false scansions, to which all writers are occasionally prone, then your mistakes are not grave at all but amount to merely an overlooking of certain stylistic features of rhythm. so well done once more.

anyhow, i'm pretty busy over the current holiday so won't be visiting the board, except perhaps to post up the latest version of my book list as is my seasonal wont.
did you compose straight into Latin or write an English poem then render it into Lat? if the latter I would be interested to see your original. over the last few months some of my elegiac compositions have concerned a not wholly dissimilar subject and I can PM you any if you wish, when i find the time to type some up.
best,

~D
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