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de passeride psittaculaque

Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 3:50 am
by Aurelia
This is a poem I started. It scans in dactylic hexameter and its about my two birds. I'm still working on it but here it is so far. Please tell me what you think. I don't do english-latin that often so my sentences are simple. Once I get more practice and more into this poem it should get more complex.

olim erat passer nomine Charlius Jackson.
hic passer cenat insectes seminesque multes.
amica est sibi qui tenet Caela maria nomen.
quamquam amicae sunt, pugnant inter se...stulti!
Mars validus per claustram communis, autem amici.
Charlius Caelam pugnat quod sentit rex est. Caela
a passeri rex volat et clamat, terrorem habet.
Charlius consilium tenet infinitum, an sentit.
Caela plumae caeruleum geret Charlius fuscum.

I sing it in the style of Homer's Demodokos song

Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 12:51 pm
by whiteoctave
well done on undertaking an attempt, Aurelia. scansion may be proving a problem: you seem to have grasped the basic rhythm but the effect of subsequent words of a given word's scansion needs to be heeded. remember that all final vowels and m suffer elision before a word beginning with any of the vowels or h (i leave prosodic hiatus aside).
your lines scan thus:
sigla: - (long); u (short); <> missing syllable; + + superfluous syllable; / foot division; // caesura (si adest).

-u <u> / - - / - // - / <-> uu / -u- / -u (nomine scans as a dactyl; Charlius is made to scan as a cretic, i.e. -u- under influence of the following Ja-, or rather Ia-).

- - / - - / u (long needed) // - / - - / -u-+u+ / -u (seminesque scans as a ditrochee, i.e. -u-u; there are too many syllables.)

u- / - // uu / - u- / - u <u> / -uu / -u (amica has a short initial vowel; Caela is just a trochee -u; the line stands as acaesural: 2nd strong is not for practical purposes a sufficient break and your third foot has no sense pause, qui being necessarily proclitic)

-u <u> / - - / - // - / - - / - - / - - (very spondaic! it does at least scan, and you can have your controversial 5th foot spondee as a sign of the... stultifying sense of the passage).

-uu / - - / - - / - - / u - u / - - (curious. same caesura problem as before; the final syllable of communis is not lengthened by a-, and autem elides (in a very controversial position too)).

i think you get the sense of the nature of the problems; i don't have time to do the remaining four. as things stand you are getting there, but the minutiae of rhythm need to be learnt and adhered to.


Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 1:38 pm
by Aurelia
gratias Whiteoctave

isn't the ending -em optional with elision? I've also been wondering about metri causa. How often was it used by the ancient poets?

Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 2:19 pm
by whiteoctave
metri causa, like exempli gratia, doesn't really mean anything on its own, merely 'for the sake of the metre'. it was when a variant form, which one would not have typically expected in prose, is used in favour of a more likely form in order to make the crafting of the verse easier/possible for the poet. there are thousands, if not myriad, different examples of such features, depending on how wide a scale one wants to make the definition.

-em must be elided for your purposes here (as I say, there are some fascinating counterexamples of prosodic hiatus, but this is hardly a topic to raise now).

apologies for the bizarre underlining pervading the above post.


Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 11:48 pm
by Aurelia
How can I fix this so it works? I meant metri causa as in making a vowel long even though it wasn't naturally or didn't have two consonants after it.

I didn't want to go for elegiac couplets, just regular hexameter: -uu/-uu/-uu/-uu/-uu/-x and --/--/--/--/--/-x no double breaks anywhere. I'm going off of what I've learned so far, which compared to you is not much. :)

I learned it last year in latin II so it's been a while. It just popped into my head one day during my lit. class, I was bored so I thought, hey! what the heck, I'll try my hand at Latin poetry! :lol:

It will get better I promise! I'm going into Classics when I go to college. :D

Posted: Sun May 15, 2005 11:35 am
by whiteoctave
Classical Latin hexameters are not Homer - vowel lengths cannot be lengthened or shortened at the whim of composer by correption and other such tricks. (i ignore lengthening at the caesura, which as with so many things here currently stands as a fallow topic).
i am well aware that you weren't trying to compose elegiac couplets: // did not mark the end of the hemiepes in a pentameter but rather the main caesura of your hexameters, if it could be found.
as to fixing the lines, a fair bit needs to be done. it is your task to do this, but just to demonstrate with the first line: rearrange to passer erat quondam Carolus cognomine Iaxon (cognomen can be used more generally of 'name' instead of specifically the Roman cognomen/surname; alternatively you could coin a Grk diminutive to capture the -ie part of Charlie, for which Caroliscus nomine would work).