Lyric Meters

Pure Iambics
Limping Iambics
Sapphic Stanzas
Alcaic Stanzas
Hexameters vs Lyric Meters


Note: This page and its companion, “How It’s Done: First Steps” present some of the poetic and instructional wizardry that David Money brought to the inaugural Inter Versiculos workshop in Michigan in 2011.


“The most helpful way to remember how a
meter goes is just to memorize a line or two.”DKM

Pure Iambics

“Purity is not really normal, is it?” DKM

Catullus 4:
Phaselus ille quem videtis hospites

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Limping Iambics (Scazontes)

“You’ve got to be thinking about the limp constantly.” DKM

Catullus 8:
Miser Catulle desinas ineptire


Writing Nydia
in Limping Iambics (Scazontes)

Heu bis sodales alma perdidit caeca
flammis et inde negligentiae causa

Alas twice, dear blind girl, you have lost your companions:
first to flames, and then to neglect.

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“Here a dactyl can be a problem because there’s only one place for it.”DKM

Catullus 2:
Passer deliciae meae puellae

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“Three longs are the hint to the whole Asclepiadic family of meters.”DKM

Horace I.1
Maecenas atavis edite regibus

Horace III.30
Exegi monumentum aere perennius


Writing “Tiffany Balustrade”
in First Asclepiadics

Num celare potes namque epimedium
lautum divitibus tintinat auribus

You cannot hide.
An elegant balustrade
jangles wealthy ears.

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Sapphic Stanzas

“That little Adonic, the short 4th line, lends itself to witty remarks.”DKM

Horace II.10
Rectius vives, Licini, neque altum
semper urgendo neque dum procellas
cautus horrescis nimium premendo

litus iniquum

Alcaic Stanzas

“The movement from slowness to extreme slowness to rapidity is extremely subtle, and gives the poet quite a lot of possibilities.” DKM

Horace II.14
Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume
labuntur anni nec pietas moram
rugis et instanti senectae
adferet indomitaeque morti

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Hexameters vs. Lyric Meters

“There’s a reason, I think, why hexameters were used for very long poems . . . .” DKM

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