250 B.C.) gave the Romans their first translation of Homer it was the Odyssey, not the Iliad he chose to render in the old Saturnian verse
: Virum mihi Camena, insece versutum, "Tell me, O Muse [actually an Italic water nymph] about that ingenious man." For all their culture's prowess in war, Livius must have felt that the martial Iliad was too complicated and mature a poem to impress the Roman audience of his time.
'Dabunt malum Metelli Naevio poetae': so runs the old Saturnian verse
. Bloomer does not actually quote this famous line, though he indirectly refers to it, while - in an excellent note - explaining that the issues are more complex (here let me say that the notes, over sixty pages in length, are of the first interest and highest quality).
15), he proceeds to examine sample verses of Umbrian, Old Latin, Non-Saturnian, and Saturnian verse
, finding a number of features in common with Old English verse (the variable length of the half-line, for example, and the range of one to three for unstressed syllables tolerated within a foot).