alexandrine


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alexandrine

(ăl'ĭgzăn`drēn', –drīn'), 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. In French, rhyming couplets of two alexandrines of equal length, usually containing four accents, have been the classic poetic form since the time of Ronsard, e.g., in the dramas of Racine and Corneille. In English an iambic hexameterhexameter
[Gr.,=measure of six], in prosody, a line to be scanned in six feet (see versification). The most celebrated hexameter measure is dactylic, which was the meter for most Greek and Latin poetry.
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 line is often called an alexandrine. The most notable example is found in the Spenserian stanza, which contains eight iambic pentameterspentameter
[Gr.,=measure of five], in prosody, a line to be scanned in five feet (see versification). The third line of Thomas Nashe's "Spring" is in pentameter: "Cold doth / not sting, / the pret / ty birds / do sing.
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 and an alexandrine rhyming with the last pentameter. Pope's "Essay on Criticism" contains what is probably the most quoted alexandrine in English literature:
A needless alexandrine ends the song
That like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along.

Alexandrine

 

(1) In French versification, a 12–syllable line with fixed accents on the sixth and 12th syllables and a caesura after the sixth syllable. The rhyme pattern is a a b b (heroic alexandrine) or a b a b (elegiac alexandrine) with obligatory alternation of masculine and feminine rhymes. Alexandrine verse has been known since the 12th century; the name is derived from a 12th-century poem about Alexander of Macedonia. During the age of classicism it was the canonical meter of the epic, tragedy, and other exalted genres. During the age of romanticism it acquired greater freedom of sound and was applied to any content.

(2) In Russian poetry, iambic hexameter with a caesura after the third foot and with a rhyme pattern of a a b b and alternation of masculine and feminine rhymes. In the 18th century it was used in “high” genres; in the post-Pushkin era it is found primarily in antique stylizations. An example of the Russian alexandrine is K. F. Ryleev’s satire “To the Favorite.”

References in periodicals archive ?
The Alexandrine parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) has the ornithological name Greater Rose-ringed parakeet, and can live up to 30 years.
A sonnet written in alexandrine verse with heptasyllabic hemistiches, "El poeta leva el ancla" respects Dario's signature form, the form whose adoption in Spanish he is most remembered for today.
Christmas is our busiest time for rescuing birds and this is the second Alexandrine I've taken in this week.
Malgre les quelques reserves que nous avons emises, il faut saluer la traduction, rigoureuse et soignee, de Njgel Bryant qui propose encore, tant il est passe maitre en la matiere apres le Lancelot-Graal et le Perceforest, une veritable rampe d'acces a un roman qui risquait de rester inaccessible a un grand nombre de lecteurs pourtant interesses par la geste alexandrine.
The poem, notes Cornulier, starts out with a classical Alexandrine in 6 + 6 ("Qu'est-ce que pour nous mon coeur / que les nappes de sang") and quickly dissolves into lines of twelve syllables that cannot easily be divided into 6 + 6, 8 + 4, or 4 + 8 without the caesura landing on a conjunction ("et") or an unstable e, violating two of the most sacred rules of traditional metered verse.
Here she uncovers the diary of Alexandrine, companion to the Dauphin Louis-Charles, learns about her struggle to save him from death in revolutionary Paris and her fight to let him know he is not forgotten when he is imprisoned.
Most interesting, perhaps, is the double-translating of the play: Virginia Scott, a Moliere scholar, did a rough prose translation after which Constance Congdon, a playwright put it into verse, changing Moliere's Alexandrine couplets into iambic pentameter, as being more familiar to English-speakers.
How to render the melody of feeling in the stiff pattern of the French alexandrine verse?
Besides the description of her desert expeditions, Arita Baaijens has written a section on desert travelers which include two women: Alexandrine Tinne and Rosita Forbes.
The Echo last week revealed how Stephen Daley, of Gabalfa, Cardiff, was conned into paying pounds 170 for a bird described as an Alexandrine parrot as an early 50th birthday present for wife Sheila.
Who wouldn't like that leather couch, / long as an alexandrine.
Parrots have long been treasured as exotic pets: Alexander the Great owned a green parrot with a rose-pink collar and blue cheeks (later known as the Alexandrine parakeet), and Charlemagne and Charles IV of France both possessed parrots.