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hello cthulhu

Efficaciter procrastino

I'm trying to find an easy way to explain dactylic hexameters in my K'zoo paper. I'm talking about ways of translating medieval didactic poetry, and I want to address the (near) impossibility of converting Latin verse into English verse.
However, there were some attempts to "dignify" English with quantitative verse even though we don't really have a quantitative language. No less than Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote the following:

William, my teacher, my friend ! dear William and dear Dorothea !
Smooth out the folds of my letter, and place it on desk or on table ;
Place it on table or desk ; and your right hands loosely half-closing,
Gently sustain them in air, and extending the digit didactic,
Rest it a moment on each of the forks of the five-forkéd left hand,
Twice on the breadth of the thumb, and once on the tip of each finger ;
Read with a nod of the head in a humouring recitativo ;
And, as I live, you will see my hexameters hopping before you.
This is a galloping measure ; a hop, and a trot, and a gallop!


I am equal parts delighted and horrified. That last line will haunt me forever.

Comments

I am equal parts delighted and horrified.

Yeah. Though in the interests of full disclosure, I should note that I once had to write in classical metre myself (for a Latin class).

Hm. Is that why I find this poem fairly easy to scan? Or does it actually help you learn how?
carrot

October 2006

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