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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry The Frame Line Construction If the word is the cornerstone of poetry, the line is its foundation. The line is the fundamental element of verse, the difference between verse and prose. Its purpose is to increase the density of the thought or image and give focus to the words. The line is written in many styles, patterns, and meters, some of the more popular lines are: Adonic Line Alexandrine line (French) is an iambic hexameter (6 metric feet) line made up of hemistichs (half lines) separated by caesura. One source indicates to be a true Alexandrine line, the hemistichs must be equal and complete and the caesura must be absolute (period, question mark, semicolon, colon). This suits French but in English, it can make the line abrupt, overly formal. The caesura gives a dramatic, sometimes formal effect to the line. The pattern slows speech and gives the line a sense of importance. Although it is the first line of a Poulter's Measure, it is most often used as an end line of a stanza, as in the Spenserian Stanza. When written as a couplet Alexandrines are usually rhymed. Although the Alexandrine was popular in 16th century, English poetry, it is the standard line in old French Poetry and is referred to as French Heroic verse or meter. It is thought to have originated in a French verse written in 1180, Alexandrine romances extolling the heroics of Alexander the Great. Before that most French epics and romance were written in either octasyllabic or decasyllabic lines. That can thy light resume. When I have plucked the rose. --- William Shakespeare, Othello Vii Testament of Beauty by Robert Seymour Bridges (L1-L14) A poem written predominantly in Alexandrine lines. 'Twas at that hour of beauty when the setting sun squandereth his cloudy bed with rosy hues, to flood his lov'd works as in turn he biddeth them Good-night; and all the towers and temples and mansions of men face him in bright farewell, ere they creep from their pomp naked beneath the darkness;- while to mortal eyes 'tis given, ifso they close not of fatigue, nor strain at lamplit tasks-'tis given, as for a royal boon to beggarly outcasts in homeless vigil, to watch where uncurtain's behind the great windows of space Heav'n's jewel'd company circleth unapproachably- 'Twas at sunset that I, fleeing to hide my soul in refuge of beauty from a mortal distress, walk'd alone with the Muse in her garden of thought. The line has been referred to as a "loose" Alexandrine when the hemistichs are not quite equal or complete and are separated by a lessor pause such as a comma. This can also be referred to as a Fourteener. The rhythm is less abrupt and more pleasant to the ear. Today I grasp what may, not then or when but now. ----Judi Van Gorder Dipodic verse is verse written in lines with two heavy stresses and any number of unstressed and/or lightly stressed syllables. This is more apparent when the verse is read aloud. There can be variations of unstressed and lightly stressed syllables but in reading aloud, the dipodic line has two heavily stressed syllables. Conversation by Elizabeth Bishop The tumult in the heart keeps asking questions And then it stops and undertakes to answer in the same tone of voice. No one could tell the difference. Uninnocent, these conversations start, and then engage the senses, only half-meaning to. And then there is no choice, and then there is no sense; until a name and all its connotation are the same. Fourteener line is written in 2 parts separated by a caesura. It is patterned in iambic heptameter (7) and grew to popularity in 16th century English poetry. Most often the caesura occurs sometime after the 3rd foot. The line always appears as the last line of a Poulter's Measure. The Fourteener is sometimes referred to as Septenary verse. "The words he spoke were mine, who is this man who speaks my heart?" -Judi Van Gorder The Heroic line or Heroic Verse (Greek) is metrically different depending on whether it is English, French, Greek or Latin. It is named for its use in Epic poetry, in which the "deeds of brave men are narrated" Isidore of Seville, NPEOPP, pg 524. It is not enough to simply point at the meter as the defining feature of the heroic line, it generally is also linked by rhyme to another line. The long lines are often enjambed which suits the narrative rhythm of Epic verse. However, the heroic line is not just suited to the Epic, the line serves the narrative Blank Verse and the lyrical Sonnet equally well. The English Heroic Line has been called the staple of English poetry. It is written in iambic pentameter and is linked to another line by rhyme. It was the dominant poetic line of the 16th through 18th centuries. Without the rhyme, it can also be called blank verse. The heroic line has become synonymous with a line of iambic pentameter. "Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art,"- John KeatsBright Star L1 In heaven, waits the comfort that I seek. --- Judi Van Gorder The French Heroic Line is the Alexandrine line. The Greek and Latin Heroic verse is dactylic hexameter. Leonine Verse (Middle English) is a line written with 2 syllable rhyme midway and at the end of the line. It was originally employed to rhyme at a midway caesura and line end, found in Latin verse of the European Middle Ages. It appears to have been named for 12th-century monk Leonius. "They took some honey and plenty of money." -- Edward Lear, Owl and the Pussycat Monostich(Greek) is a single line of verse, a poem in a single line. It has no structural limitation other than the line itself. Mountain moon hidden behind valley clouds reveals earthbound heaven. --- jvg And see Lucy Lu's aka Lake, One Line Haiku... or Monostich poems... Mote or Motto (Italian) is one sentence, most often written in a single line, especially when the sentence is short. It expresses a complete statement or thought, most often to be expanded upon in the body of the poem. The single line may be a quote, spoken or written by another. When another's words are used in this fashion, credit must be given to the writer. Monday by Judi Van Gorder "Seize the day!" --- Horace 20 BC Break the silence of chatter by listening. The words you speak should be your finest poem. Touch the ones you love as if yesterday was a dream and tomorrow is just a word. The moment is not then or when; it is now. Sapphic Line Septenary, (Middle English), is a line name for an iambic heptameter line, (7 iambic metric feet contained therein). It is also called a Fourteener when a caesura is employed after the 3rd metric foot. Originally in Old English, it referred to any line of 7 metric feet regardless of metric pattern but evolved to the more specific iambic pattern. The two constants from Old English to today's septenary line is masculine or strong stressed end words and the measure of 7. It is the forerunner of metered poetry breaking the 7 meter line into 2 lines, the first of 4 metric feet followed by a line of 3 metric feet. I seek to share a truth in simple space with black on white. ~~jvg Serpentine verse (French), is verse that begins and ends with the same word. Named for the image of a snake with its tail in its mouth. It is symbolic of eternity, without beginning or end. "Row us out to Desenzano, to your Sirmione row"-Alfred Lord Tennyson, Frater Ave Atque Vale L1 Stich (Greek row or line), is a single line of verse written adjacent to other lines. When it stands alone it is a monostich.
Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry Greek Verse Latin Verse The Ode The Horatian Ode is the Latin descendant of the Aeolic ode, both of which were written to project a tranquil, contemplative tone meant for meditation. Both retain the purpose and formality of all odes, however, the Latin descendant attributed to Horace in 20 BC, is better preserved. The Horatian Ode is simply a stanzaic form in which all stanzas are structured in the same pattern at the discretion of the poet. (rhyme, meter, number of lines etc.), more technically it is "nonce stanzaic" or a "homostrophic" ode (ode made up of same structured stanzas created specifically for that poem). Below are the first 2 stanzas of a Horatian Ode On Cromwell's Return from Ireland by Andrew Marvel (1621-1678). It is written in quatrains made up of rhyming couplets, L1, L2 iambic tetrameter, L3, L4 iambic trimeter and indented. The poet could just as well have written the ode in cinquains in iambic pentameter with alternating rhyme and as long as all of the stanzas were the same, it too could be identified as a Horatian Ode. The forward youth that would appear Must now forsake his Muses dear, -------Nor in the shadows sing -------His numbers languishing: 'Tis time to leave the books in dust And oil th' unusèd armor's rust, -------Removing from the wall -------The corselet of the hall. Or another example of a Horatian Ode is Ode on Solitude by Alexander Pope written in quatrains with alternating rhyme, L1, L2, L3 tetrameter, L4 dimeter. Happy the man, whose wish and care A few paternal acres bound, Content to breathe his native air, In his own ground. Whose heards with milk, whose fields with bread, Whose flocks supply him with attire, Whose trees in summer yield him shade, In winter fire. Blest! who can unconcern'dly find Hours, days, and years slide soft away, In health of body, peace of mind, Quiet by day, Sound sleep by night; study and ease Together mix'd; sweet recreation. And innocence, which most does please, With meditation. Thus let me live, unseen, unknown; Thus unlamented let me dye; Steal from the world, and not a stone Tell where I lye. Here is the stanza written by Horace with his famous phrase, "carpe diem", seize the day! A translation can be found in An Introduction of Poetry, XJ Kennedy and Dana Gioia, 2002, page 335. This has nothing to do with the Horatian Ode but I just thought it would be an interesting footnote. Odes I (11 ) Tu ne quaesteris---scire nefas quem milu, quem tibi finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios temptaris numeros. Ut melius, quicquid erit, pati! seu plures hiemes, seu tribuit Iuppipter ultiman, quae nunc oppositis debilitate pumicibus mare Tyrrhenum, Sapia, vina liques, et spatio brevi spem longam teseces. Dum loquimur, fugerit invida aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero. - - - Horace 20 BC The Ode Odes named for poet or culture of their origin: The Aeolic Ode The Choral Ode or Pindaric Ode or Dorian Ode The Anacreontic Ode The Horatian Ode The Irregular or Cowleyan Ode The Keatsian or English Ode The Ronsardian Ode Thematic Odes: Elegy, Obsequy, Threnody Ode Elemental Ode Genethliacum Ode Encomium or Coronation Ode Epithalamion or Epithalamium and Protholathiumis Palinode Ode Panegyric or Paean Triumphal Ode Occasional Verse