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Medieval metre mystery

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Medieval metre mystery

Postby Interaxus » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:22 am

I'm not a little baffled by this quatrain by medieval Italian jurist and rhymster Alciato (1492-1550; Book of Emblems #85). The first line seems to be an archetypical hexameter (and ideal to practise on as such) but what about the remaining three? I can't quite get the long/shorts to gel. Anyone else able to divine (and name?) the metre??

Heu miser in mediis sitiens stat Tantalus undis, ( Lss/Lss/Lss/L...L/Lss/LL)
Et poma esuriens proxima habere nequit.
Nomine mutato de te id dicetur avare,
Qui, quasi non habeas, non frueris quod habes.

The translation is:

Alas, wretched Tantalus, in the middle of the waves, stands there thirsty,
and, starving, cannot have the nearby fruit.
Change the name, and this will be said of you, o greedy man,
you, who, almost as if you had it not, do not enjoy what you have.

Cheers,
Int
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Re: Medieval metre mystery

Postby Kasper » Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:15 am

Vale Interaxe,

i think the meter is elegiac, but there are some oddities/irregularities that are either errors or are a result of this being medieval rather than classical latin.

i scan it as follows:

Heu miser in mediis sitiens stat Tantalus undis,
- u u | - u u | - u u | - // - | - u u | - - |
Et poma esuriens proxima habere nequit.
- - | - u u | - || - u u | - u u | - |
Nomine mutato de te id dicetur avare,
- u u | - - | - // - | - - | - u u | - u|
Qui, quasi non habeas, non frueris quod habes.
- u u | - u u | - || - u u | - u u | - |


I identify two problems here:
dicetur seems to be scanned --u, rather than u-u
frueris seems to be scanned uu-, rahter than u--

I'd be interested to see other comments on this.

Cheers,
K
“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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Re: Medieval metre mystery

Postby Alatius » Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:27 am

However vague the term may be, 16th century Italy hardly qualifies as "Middle ages"; Alciato was a Renaissance man. That's not to say, of course, that his metre may not contain odditites; however, this looks fine to me. Kasper's scansion is correct, these are elegiac couplets, but
dīcētur is future of dīcō dīcĕre, not the present subjunctive of dĭcō dĭcāre, and
fruĕris is present of fruor fruī. The form fruēris would be future.
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Re: Medieval metre mystery

Postby Interaxus » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:11 pm

Kasper and Alatius:

Thanks for your combined expertise. Elegiac couplets! Of course! Been reading too much (just joking!) Vergil lately and have begun to impose hexameters on the universe – procrustean syndrome...?

i scan it as follows:

Heu miser in mediis sitiens stat Tantalus undis,
- u u | - u u | - u u | - // - | - u u | - - |
Et poma esuriens proxima habere nequit.
- - | - u u | - || - u u | - u u | - |
Nomine mutato de te id dicetur avare,
- u u | - - | - // - | - - | - u u | - u|
Qui, quasi non habeas, non frueris quod habes.
- u u | - u u | - || - u u | - u u | - |


Just to make sure, is the following correct? Excuse accent marks, they’re just there to help me keep the ‘beat’ pattern in my mind (always was a poor dancer). They're not stress marks, I swear. :twisted:

Heú miser | ín medi| ís siti| éns || stat |Tántalus | úndis,
Ét pom(a)|_ésuri| éns || próxim(a) ha| bére ne| quít.
Nómine | múta| tó || de | t(e)_íd di| cétur a| váre,
Quí, quasi | nón habe| ás, || nón fruer| ís quod hab| és

Unforgivable of me to call renaissance Latin medieval! :oops: What was the Renaissance if not a rebirth?

Cheers,
Int
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Re: Medieval metre mystery

Postby Kasper » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:20 pm

Alatius wrote:dīcētur is future of dīcō dīcĕre, not the present subjunctive of dĭcō dĭcāre, and
fruĕris is present of fruor fruī. The form fruēris would be future.


:oops: :oops: :oops:
“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.”
Kasper
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 3:01 am
Location: Melbourne


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