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The shorn and parcelled Oxus strains along
A foiled circuitous wanderer
till at last
The longed-for dash of waves is heard, and wide
And tranquil, from whose floors the new bathed stars
HINTS. 1. Meanwhile the river in its majestic course (agmen) floats along,
2. Through the fields, leaving behind both uproar of men and the mists,
3. Beneath the cold stars of heaven and thence moves (pass.)
4. Joyful in its journey (accus.) through the Chorasmian wastes with its melancholy peace,
5. The solitary (noctivagus) moon guiding his course; then (deinceps)
6. He turns all-gleaming towards the North, Orgunje (Orgingis) being left behind,
7. Swelling in the mighty mass (of water): soon the sands his course (agmen)
8. Impede, and restrain his waters and cut his currents; 9. Then for a long way the broken Oxus (Oxus, i) rolls along
10. Among the sandy Syrtes, where many an island (line 11) with rushes
11. All-matted, restrains and divides his course.
12. Nor does he remember how, with a leap (part.) he had burst forth from the high
13. Cliffs of Pamere (Pămĕrūs, i) where his first cradle (pl.) stands,
14. And he wanders with blind currents, uncertain of his course (eundi) –
15. At length the longed-for sound of waters comes;
16. His home is open wide and glitters: the tranquil (line 17) surface is smooth (prosternor)
17. "Tranquil" goes in this line. And the shining stars rise up out of the midst (line 18) of the waters,
18. "Out of the midst " goes in this line. And the wellknown sea shines in their light.
3. Elegiac Verse
Elegiac verse consists of a hexameter line followed by a pentameter. It is the measure adopted by the poets for mournful themes from which it derives its name. Ovid, Propertius, and Tibullus were the principal Roman poets who used this metre.
The student, who has been trained in the preceding exercises in hexameters, will use to advantage his knowledge and experience in the first half of the elegiac couplet. The second half of the distich will cause him some difficulty at first; this, however, will be lessened by a careful observation of the rules for the pentameter line.
I. GENERAL RULES
The sense of every distich should be complete in itself. There are, however, a few exceptions. The first part of the distich also ought, as far as possible, to be complete in itself.
When the sense runs on, the pentameter will best begin with a dactyl and the end of the dactyl is a good place to finish the clause. For impressiveness, however, the sense may close with a spondee.
A pause at the end of a third long syllable has no parallel in Ovid.
Often the sense runs on to the ending of the pentameter.
Avoid monotony by skilful arrangement of words; let the pentameters vary in construction.
Familiarity with Ovid is the best means to secure facility and success. The ear must be trained.
PECULIARITIES OF OVID
The shortening of final o is very rare and only in modo, cito, etc.
A short final vowel before sc, sq, and st is very rare. Elision of final vowels and m is rare, and only with short vowels and in words of two or more syllables.
The use of words of five syllables in the latter half of the pentameter, such as evoluisse and attuleratque, is rare but is allowed.
His short and separate sentences are full of animation:
Marte satos scires timor abfuit
He repeats frequently the same emphatic word. He uses with effect the participle and the apostrophe.
II. RULES FOR THE HEXAMETER LINE OF THE
It is preferable to begin with a dactyl, though the sense and emphasis sometimes require a spondee.
There must be one principal caesura. This should generally be the first syllable of the third foot.
Hexameter endings are more varied than the pentameter. Gerunds, gerundives, and participles are allowed, though rare.
Things to be avoided in the hexameter:
1. Too many elisions in the same verse (except for emphasis).
2. Too many dactyls (except in a light tripping strain). 3. Too many monosyllables and polysyllables.
4. Avoid elision at the end of a verse.
5. Avoid a monosyllable at the end of the verse except: (a) in onomatopoeia; (b) with est and elision; (c) with
6. Avoid a quadrisyllable (except in the case of a proper noun) at the end of a line.
7. Avoid too many syllables of the same sound, especially in the case of words ending in the same sound.
8. Avoid too many conjunctions.
The following are the more general models:
1. _uul_w |_|| _|_~ |_uul_u. Februa | Roman|i || dixere pilamina | Patres.
Fallimur? an veris || prae|nuncia | venit hi|rundo?
3. _ uul_uu | _ uu | _ ||~~ |_ uu
Mars Latio venerandus erat || quia | praesidet | armis.
III. RULES FOR THE PENTAMETER LINE OF THE
It is preferable to begin with a dactyl followed by a spondee rather than with a spondee followed by a dactyl. The latter is common enough to allow it.
If the first foot should be a spondee, it is preferable that the first word be one of three long syllables, though this rule is not absolute.
The caesura must come after two and a half feet.
If the caesura follows a monosyllable, then the preceding word should be a monosyllable or one whose final syllable is elided by the monosyllable.
A trisyllabic word should never end a line, unless it be a proper noun. A dissyllable is the preferred ending, though other varieties are found.
It is better to end with a consonant or a long vowel rather than with a short vowel, though the latter variety is found. Final e short is more common than short a.
Avoid too many elisions. Elisions should not take place, as a rule, in the second half of the pentameter, and never in the last dactyl.
A line constructed of two exactly similar halves is considered inelegant.
The last word should be a substantive, a pronoun (is, ea, id, excepted), or a verb. An adverb should never be used. An adjective or a participle may be used as the final word, only in the case of great emphasis. The use of the possessive pronoun is common, especially mihi, tibi, sibi in place of the possessive adjective pronoun.
Generally the adjective precedes the noun. Adjectives and nouns written in pairs are expressed thus:
Victaque mutati frangitur ora maris.
The following forms are the more common models:
Corporibus tardis || haec mihi | crede ne|fas.