The most common meters are elegiac couplets, Sapphic and Alcaic
stanzas, and dactylic hexameters.
h is certainly not a Greek alcaic
, but it inveighs against stately-ism and state-ism alike, while it loosens our own notions of what "freer" verse might look like.
Perhaps the best chapter in this excellent book is the fourth, entitled "Milton and Tennyson: Diffusive Power." Beginning with "Milton," Tennyson's experimental poem in the Greek Alcaic
meter, Gray explores Tennyson's responses to Milton's quieter notes and argues that "both Tennyson and Milton" are "poets of understatement" (100).
That afternoon I read aloud for Erica some of Sappho's fragments in the original Greek, in the Sapphic and Alcaic
meters, and Catullus 51, Catullus's Latin adaptation of Sappho, frag.
(2) Third and more specifically, after six consecutive poems in the alcaic
metre, the following six poems form a natural cluster also based on the exploitation of metre.3 Fourth, Odes 3.7-12 responds directly to the Roman Odes, not only collectively but also individually, linking closely two rather disparate sections of Book (3).
D., entitled: "IN REDITUM VOLUNTARIORUM MILITUM CARMEN ALCAICUM" in Latin and "An Alcaic
Ode on the Return of the Volunteers" in English.
But his admiration of the man from Lesbos ("Lesbio civi," 5) implies an aspiration to emulate Alcaeus's poetry; for the spirit of Alcaic
lyrics, connoted by the word "barbitos" (4), infuses Horatian verse accompanied on the Roman lyre or "testudo" (14).
Hundreds of people, or so it seemed, wrote to attack the poem, violent and contemptuous letters, but not one mentioned the diction, the figures, the contours of tone, my version of the Alcaic
meter, or in fact anything related to the actual texture of the work--they were all angry about the "opinions" expressed, especially the praise for our soldiers in World War II and for the sorts of young men who became those soldiers.
Holderlin used Sapphics once, in' Unter den Alpen gesungen', in a modified form which emphasizes the Adonic element as against Klopstock and (especially) Sappho; and he began the ode 'Thinen', which in manuscript has the title 'Sapphos Schwanengesang', in the same modified form before writing out the classical metrical scheme and then abandoning Sapphics altogether for Alcaics
. Menninghaus suggests that the free verse of 'Halfte des Lebens', like 'Thranen' first published as one of the Nachtgesange, can be read as a medley of Sapphic and Alcaic
Reading it now, I am often aware of an image of his handwriting hovering in the back of my mind, as clear, nimble, and steady as his diction, which I remember from photocopied notes he would distribute in class--of an idea he might have had that morning on Mallarme, for instance, or an exposition of the varying meter of Alcaic
or Sapphic stanzas--and which I am always happy to encounter again in his letters.
John Hollander builds a sturdy stanza for the popular Soracte ode (1.9) and for others in the same metre, resembling the stanza that Tennyson invented, "representing in some measure the grandest of metres, the Horatian alcaic
," and used in "The Daisy" and "To the Rev.