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Tinker

Classical Hendecameter

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Tinker

Explore the Craft of Writing
Greek Poetry

The Classical Hendecameter is one of the 4 classic meters of Aeolic verse from the 8th-6th centuries BC Greek Dark Ages. It was used generously many centuries later by the Engish poet Alfred Lord Tennyson. It is an 11 syllable line written with a trochee followed by a dactyl and 3 trochees in that order. The first and last trochees can be spondees.

In Greek, quantitative verse
Ls-Lss-Ls-Ls-Ls       L= long sound or syllable s= short sound or syllable
or
LL-Lss-Ls-Ls-LL

In English accentual syllabic verse applies
Su-Suu-Su-Su-Su     S= stressed syllable u= unstressed syllable
or
SS-Suu-Su-Su-SS

Milton Part II Hendecasyllabics -- Alfred Lord Tennyson 1891                

O you chorus of indolent reviewers,
Irresponsible, indolent reviewers,
Look, I come to the test, a tiny poem
All composed in a meter of Catullus,
All in quantity, careful of my motion,
Like the skater on ice that hardly bears him,
Lest I fall unawares before the people,
Waking laughter in indolent reviewers.
Should I flounder awhile without a tumble
Thro' this metrification of Catullus,
They should speak to me not without a welcome,
All that chorus of indolent reviewers.
Hard, hard, hard it is, only not to tumble,
So fantastical is the dainty meter.
Wherefore slight me not wholly, nor believe me
Too presumptuous, indolent reviewers.
O blatant Magazines, regard me rather -
Since I blush to be laud myself a moment -
As some rare little rose, a piece of inmost
Horticultural art, or half-coquette-like
Maiden, not to be greeted unbendingly.                

For Once, Then Something by Robert Frost

Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths—and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.

 

 

 


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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