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(hĕksăm`ətər) [Gr.,=measure of six], in prosody, a line to be scanned in six feet (see versificationversification,
principles of metrical practice in poetry. In different literatures poetic form is achieved in various ways; usually, however, a definite and predictable pattern is evident in the language.
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). The most celebrated hexameter measure is dactylic, which was the meter for most Greek and Latin poetry. In dactylic hexameter each foot may have a long syllable followed by two shorts, except the last, which has only two syllables, the first being long; any of the first four feet may have two long syllables. The origin of the dactylic hexameter is not known, but it appears first, and in its purest form, in Homer. Classical epic poets thereafter, including Vergil, used this meter, and it was extended to didactic and satirical literature, as in the works of Lucretius and Martial. In modern languages the only possible substitute for the quantitative differences that were essential to classical meters is in the stress accent; hence we have a noticeably singsong effect when English dactylic hexameter is read aloud. One of the few examples of its use in modern languages is in Longfellow's Evangeline: "Thís is the fórest priméval. The múrmuring pínes and the hémlocks." A famous dactylic hexameter in English prose is in Isa. 14.12: "Hów art thou fállen from héaven, O Lúcifer, són of the mórning!" The alexandrinealexandrine
, in prosody, a line of 12 syllables (or 13 if the last syllable is unstressed). Its name probably derives from the fact that some poems of the 12th and 13th cent. about Alexander the Great were written in this meter.
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 is the only important modern hexameter.



(1) In classical metric verse a six-foot dactylic meter with a final truncated foot. In every foot except for the fifth, two short syllables can be replaced by one long syllable, forming a spondee (― ―); the caesura is on the third foot (in Greek hexameter after the first or second syllable, in Latin, only after the first syllable) and, more rarely, after the first syllable of the second and fourth feet. The scheme of the hexameter is as follows (⋮ = Greek caesura, ǀ = Latin caesura):

Hexameter is the most general meter in classical poetry and is used in the epic (Homer, Hesiod, Virgil, Ovid), idyll (Theocritus), and satire (Horace, Juvenal).

(2) In syllabotonic verse, hexameter is rendered by combining tonic dactyls (ÚUU) with chorees (ÚU).

Gnev, boginia, vospoi Akhillesa, Peleeva syna

(N. I. Gnedych, translation of The Iliad).

In Russian poetry the hexameter was first used by V. K. Trediakovskii (Argenida, 1751) and became accepted with N. I. Gnedych’s translation of The Iliad (1829) and the poetry of V. A. Zhukovskii. In more recent poetry it is used primarily to affect classical genres (Reynard the Fox by Goethe and The Seasons by K. Donalitius) and subjects (A. Del’vig, N. Shcherbina, and A. Fet).



1. a verse line consisting of six metrical feet
2. (in Greek and Latin epic poetry) a verse line of six metrical feet, of which the first four are usually dactyls or spondees, the fifth almost always a dactyl, and the sixth a spondee or trochee
References in periodicals archive ?
To understand more concretely what "law" meant to Swinburne and how his own poetry enacts this understanding, we can consider his response to the hexameter experiments of the mid-nineteenth century.
In addition to some 4,000 lines of hexameter poetry, Aldhelm produced two treatises on metrics, (19) which, however, are patchy, gratuitously theoretical, and do not properly address issues of syllable quantity.
The penultimate section of the volume focuses on the so-called "School" of Nonnus, beginning with a study, by Claudio De Stefani, on the disappearance of "Nonnian" hexameter poetry (as well as secular literature in general) in the seventh century.
Progressing onto Frischer's second possible generic solution in our quest to resolve the epistolary with the hexameter in the Ars poetica, we have the didactic poem: (22) 'it is strange that the case for categorizing the Ars as a didactic poem has not, to my knowledge, been made in a serious way during this century: Lucretius' De rerum natura and Virgil's Georgies certainly show how popular and prestigious was the genre in the mid- to late first century' (Frischer 1991:90).
His lyric treatise, published in the first century bce, predicts everything from atomic physics to the existence of DNA and casts it all in melodious hexameters.
Classical Prosody denoting a distich the first line of which is a dactylic hexameter and the second a pentameter, or a verse differing from the hexameter by suppression of the arsis or metrically unaccented part of the third and the sixth foot.
5) He employs the rhythm of the ancients, and people concur that his German hexameter follows nearly verbatim the Greek hexameter.
I only wanted to make an attempt to see how the Hungarian hexameter suits Ossian's poems.
Lucretius provided the model for didactic poetry on scientific and philosophical themes The fourth chapter, Scientific Poetry in Enlightenment Rome', discusses a number of scientific didactic poems by a number of writers whose names are again likely to be quite unknown except to specialists in this area, the most important of whom is perhaps Benedict Stay, whose Philosophiae versibus traditae libri VI (Venice, 1744), discussing Cartesian natural philosophy in many thousands of hexameter lines, has long been known to students of the fortuna of Lucretius The final chapter, The Arts of Life', analyses a number of poems which teach one how to live well, and how to acquire the accomplishments necessary to do so
When the hexameter lines that Proba put together from Vergil are studied not just for their Christian purpose but also for the role envisioned for women, it is their traditional role as mothers and devoted family members that surfaces, not celibacy or the ascetic life.
This is true in poems ranging from his hexameter blank verse to rhymed trimeter couplets.
His poems can be classified into several distinct groups: elegiac poems; highly realistic descriptive poems, at times resembling prose descriptions; poems with love themes; patriotic poetry; social and satirical poems; and poems with classical motifs, in which Ilic tried to imitate the classical hexameter.