Evangeline before Virgil

Here you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get help with a difficult passage of Latin, and more.
Post Reply
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:17 pm

Evangeline before Virgil

Post by naturalphilosopher » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:07 am

I have a way to go with LLPSI before I'll be ready for Virgil. Since the hexameter of Virgil (or Homer, for that matter) takes some getting used to for a native english speaker, I've begun using Longfellow's Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie, the most widely read english epic in dactylic hexameter, as a training aid. Has anyone else used Evangeline to train his or her ear to poetic hexameter?

User avatar
Textkit Enthusiast
Posts: 463
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:28 am

Re: Evangeline before Virgil

Post by swtwentyman » Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:59 pm

I suppose it might be better than nothing but Latin and English poetry are distinct in that English meter is qualitative (with patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables) and that of Latin is quantitative (with patterns of long and short): that is, instead of BUM-bum-bum-BUM-bum-bum-BUM-bum-bum etc it's buum-bum-bum-buum-bum-bum etc. There is a certain similarity in the sound but I'm not sure how well it would prepare you for Latin verse. Also, there are many other elements in Latin poetry that are absent (partly because of the inherent character of the languages) in English.

Enjoy Evangeline for its literary value; Latin and English poetry, though, are nothing alike so I don't think it would "prepare" you that well.

Post Reply