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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

IAMBIC VERSE/ Iambic Trimeter

618. The Iambic Trimeter is the ordinary verse of dramatic dialogue. It consists of three measures, each containing a double iambus (iambic dipody). The cæsura is usually in the third foot.

Note— The sign [gtbreve] [acutemacr] denotes possible substitution of an irrational spondee (>[acutemacr]) for an iambus (˘[acutemacr]).

a. The Iambic Trimeter is often used in lyric poetry (1) as an independent system, or (2) alternating with the Dimeter to form the Iambic Strophe, as follows:—

    (1) iam iam éffĭcā´||| dō´ mănū´s | scĭéntĭaé

    suppléx ĕt ō´||| rē´gnă pér | Prŏsérpĭnaé,

    pĕr ét Dĭā´|nae || nō´n mŏvén|dă nū´mĭnă´,

    pĕr átquĕ líb|rōs || cármĭnúm | văléntĭŭ´m

    dēfī´xă caé| || dē´vŏcā´|rĕ sī´dĕră´,

    Cănī´diă, pár| || vō´cĭbús | tandém săcrī´s,

    cĭtúmquĕ rét| || rétrŏ sól|vĕ túrbĭnĕ´m.— Hor. Epod. 17.

The last two lines may be thus translated, to show the movement in English:—

    Oh! stay, Canidia , stay thy rites of sorcery,

    Thy charm unbinding backward let thy swift wheel fly!

    (2) bĕā´tŭs íl||| quī´ prŏcúl | nĕgō´tĭī´s,

    ut prī´scă gē´ns | mortā´lĭŭ´m,

    pătérnă rū´| || bū´bŭs éx|ercét sŭī´s,

    sŏlū´tŭs óm|nī fē´nŏrĕ´;

    nĕque éxcĭtā´|tur || clássĭcō´ | mīlés trŭcī`,

    nĕque hórrĕt ī´|rātúm mărĕ´.— Hor. Epod. 2.

b. In the stricter form of Iambic Trimeter an irrational spondee (> [acutemacr]) or its equivalent (a cyclic anapæst ˘ ˘[acutemacr] or an apparent dactyl > [acutebreve] ˘ § 609. e ) may be regularly substituted for the first iambus of any dipody A tribrach (˘ [acutebreve] ˘) may stand for an iambusanywhere except in the last place. In the comic poets any of these forms or the proceleusmatic (˘˘ [acutebreve] ˘) may be substituted in any foot except the last:—1

    ō lū´cĭs ál|mĕ rē´ctŏr || ét | caelī´ dĕcŭ´s!

    quī altérnă cúr|rū spă´tĭă || flám|mĭfĕrō ámbĭēns,

    illū´strĕ laé|tīs || éxsĕrís | terrī´s căpŭ´t.

    — Sen. Herc. Fur. 592-94.

    quid quaérĭs? án|nōs || séxāgín|tā nā´tŭs ĕ´s.

    — Ter. Haut. 62.

    hŏmō´ sum: hūmā´| || nī´l ā mē ă´lĭ|ēnúm pŭtō´.

    vel mē´ mŏnē´|re hōc || vél percón|tārī´ pŭtā´.

    id. 77, 78.

c. The Choliambic (lame Iambic) substitutes a trochee for the last iambus:—

 

    aequē ést bĕā´|tŭs || ác pŏē´|mă cúm scrī´bĭt:

    tam gaúdĕt ín | , || támquĕ sē íp|sĕ mī´rā´tŭr.

    — Catul. 23.15, 16.

 

Note— The verse may also be regarded as trochaic with anacrusis: as,—

d. The Iambic Trimeter Catalectic is represented as follows:—

It is used in combination with other measures (see § 626. 11), and is shown in the following:—

    Vulcā´nŭs ā´r|dēns || ū´rĭt óf|fĭcī´nā´s.— Hor. Od. 1.4.

or in English:—

    On purple peaks a deeper shade descending.— Scott.

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Notes
1
The greater freedom of substitution in the comedy is due to the fact that the verse is regarded as made up of separate feet rather than of dipodies.