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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 ?
12) weaves a zig-zagging Greek hexameter into its Latin textual fabric, one that cuts through the various poetic conventions at work; convert the Latin letters into their figurative Greek counterparts ('A' as alpha, delta or lambda; 'C' as sigma; 'H' as eta; 'P' as rho; 'X' as chi, etc.
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).
Schnur, "The Factotum: Some Variations of the Latin Hexameter," The Classical World 53, no.
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.
the hexameter line is composed of regular metrical parts defined by
His hexameter, when he chooses to use it--a difficult meter in English--may be the most successful since the wonderful work of Arthur Hugh Clough.
In the same "Postscript", Eco explains that the Latin hexameter just quoted comes from the poem "De contemptu mundi" (I, 952), written by the twelfth-century Benedictine Bernard of Cluny (Eco 505 refers to him as Bernard of Morlay).
I only wanted to make an attempt to see how the Hungarian hexameter suits Ossian's poems.
Finally, he veers from the Shakespearean sonnet by extending the final line from pentameter to hexameter, the alexandrine line of six, not five, metrical feet.
1830], that the preliminary rule for the Russian sonnet was fixed: a sonnet is written only in iambs, usually in pentameter or hexameter, rarely in three- or four-foot iambic lines.
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.
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.