In poetry, a hendecasyllable is a line of eleven syllables. The term "hendecasyllabic" is used to refer to two different poetic meters, the older of which is quantitative and used chiefly in classical (Ancient Greek and Latin) poetry and the newer of which is accentual and used in medieval and modern poetry. The term is often used when a line of iambic pentameter contains 11 syllables.
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The classical hendecasyllable is a quantitative meter used in Ancient Greece in Aeolic verse and in scolia, and later by the Roman poets Catullus and Martial. ⏑ ⏑ –). There are three different versions.Each line has eleven syllables; hence the name, which comes from the Greek word for eleven. The heart of the line is the choriamb (–
The pattern of the “Phalaecian” (Latin: hendecasyllabus phalaecius) is as follows (using “–” for a long syllable, “⏑” for a short and “⏓” for an “anceps” or variable syllable):
⏓ ⏓ – ⏑ ⏑ – ⏑ – ⏑ – ⏓ (where ⏓ ⏓ is one of – ⏑ or – – or ⏑ –)
Another form of hendecasyllabic verse is the “Alcaic” (Latin: hendecasyllabus alcaicus; used in the Alcaic stanza), which has the pattern:
⏓ – ⏑ – ⏓ – ⏑ ⏑ – ⏑ –
The third form of hendecasyllabic verse is the “Sapphic” (Latin: hendecasyllabus sapphicus; so named for its use in the Sapphic stanza), with the pattern:
– ⏓ – ⏓ – ⏑ ⏑ – ⏑ – –
Forty-three of Catullus's poems are hendecasyllabic; for an example, see Catullus 1.
The metre has been imitated in English, notably by Alfred Tennyson, Swinburne, and Robert Frost, cf. “For Once Then Something.” Contemporary American poets Annie Finch (“Lucid Waking”) and Patricia Smith (“The Reemergence of the Noose”) have published recent examples. Poets wanting to capture the hendecasyllabic rhythm in English have simply transposed the pattern into its accentual-syllabic equivalent: – ⏑ |– ⏑ |– ⏑ ⏑ |– ⏑ |– ⏑ |, or trochee/trochee/dactyl/trochee/trochee, so that the long/short pattern becomes a stress/unstress pattern. Tennyson, however, maintained the quantitative features of the metre:
The hendecasyllable (Italian : endecasillabo) is the principal metre in Italian poetry. Its defining feature is a constant stress on the tenth syllable, so that the number of syllables in the verse may vary, equaling eleven in the usual case where the final word is stressed on the penultimate syllable. The verse also has a stress preceding the caesura, on either the fourth or sixth syllable. The first case is called endecasillabo a minore, or lesser hendecasyllable, and has the first hemistich equivalent to a quinario ; the second is called endecasillabo a maiore, or greater hendecasyllable, and has a settenario as the first hemistich.
There is a strong tendency for hendecasyllabic lines to end with feminine rhymes (causing the total number of syllables to be eleven, hence the name), but ten-syllable lines ("Ciò che 'n grembo a Benaco star non può") and twelve-syllable lines ("Ergasto mio, perché solingo e tacito") are encountered as well. Lines of ten or twelve syllables are more common in rhymed verse; versi sciolti , which rely more heavily on a pleasant rhythm for effect, tend toward a stricter eleven-syllable format. As a novelty, lines longer than twelve syllables can be created by the use of certain verb forms and affixed enclitic pronouns ("Ottima è l'acqua; ma le piante abbeverinosene.").
Additional accents beyond the two mandatory ones provide rhythmic variation and allow the poet to express thematic effects. A line in which accents fall consistently on even-numbered syllables ("Al còr gentìl rempàira sèmpre amóre") is called iambic (giambico) and may be a greater or lesser hendecasyllable. This line is the simplest, commonest and most musical but may become repetitive, especially in longer works. Lesser hendecasyllables often have an accent on the seventh syllable ("fàtta di giòco in figùra d'amóre"). Such a line is called dactylic (dattilico) and its less pronounced rhythm is considered particularly appropriate for representing dialogue. Another kind of greater hendecasyllable has an accent on the third syllable ("Se Mercé fosse amìca a' miei disìri") and is known as anapestic (anapestico). This sort of line has a crescendo effect and gives the poem a sense of speed and fluidity.
It is considered improper for the lesser hendecasyllable to use a word accented on its antepenultimate syllable (parola sdrucciola) for its mid-line stress. A line like "Più non sfavìllano quegli òcchi néri", which delays the caesura until after the sixth syllable, is not considered a valid hendecasylable.
Most classical Italian poems are composed in hendecasyllables, including the major works of Dante, Francesco Petrarca, Ludovico Ariosto, and Torquato Tasso. The rhyme systems used include terza rima, ottava, sonnet and canzone, and some verse forms use a mixture of hendecasyllables and shorter lines. From the early 16th century onward, hendecasyllables are often used without a strict system, with few or no rhymes, both in poetry and in drama. This is known as verso sciolto. An early example is Le Api ("the bees") by Giovanni di Bernardo Rucellai, written around 1517 and published in 1525, which begins:
Like other early Italian-language tragedies, the Sophonisba of Gian Giorgio Trissino (1515) is in blank hendecasyllables. Later examples can be found in the Canti of Giacomo Leopardi, where hendecasyllables are alternated with settenari.
The hendecasyllabic metre (Polish: jedenastozgłoskowiec) was very popular in Polish poetry, especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, owing to strong Italian literary influence. It was used by Jan Kochanowski,Piotr Kochanowski (who translated Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso), Sebastian Grabowiecki, Wespazjan Kochowski and Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski. The greatest Polish Romantic poet, Adam Mickiewicz, set his poem Grażyna in this measure. The Polish hendecasyllable is widely used when translating English blank verse.
The eleven-syllable line is normally defined by primary stresses on the fourth and tenth syllables and a caesura after the fifth syllable. Only rarely it is fully iambic.
A popular form of Polish literature that employs the hendacasyllable is the Sapphic stanza: 11/11/11/5.
The Polish hendecasyllable is often combined with an 8-syllable line: 11a/8b/11a/8b. Such a stanza was used by Mickiewicz in his ballads, as in the following example.
The hendecasyllable (Portuguese: hendecassílabo) is a common meter in Portuguese poetry. The best-known Portuguese poem composed in hendecasyllables is Luís de Camões' Lusiads , which begins as follows:
In Portuguese, the hendecasyllable meter is often called "decasyllable" (decassílabo), even when the work in question uses overwhelmingly feminine rhymes (as is the case with the Lusiads). This is due to Portuguese prosody considering verses to end at the last stressed syllable, thus the aforementioned verses are effectively decasyllabic according to Portuguese scansion.
The hendecasyllable (endecasílabo) is less pervasive in Spanish poetry than in Italian or Portuguese, but it is commonly used with Italianate verse forms like sonnets and ottava rima. An example of the latter is Alonso de Ercilla's epic La Araucana , which opens as follows:
Spanish dramatists often use hendecasyllables in tandem with shorter lines like heptasyllables, as can be seen in Rosaura's opening speech from Calderón's La vida es sueño :
The term "hendecasyllable" is sometimes used to describe a line of iambic pentameter with a feminine ending, as in the first line of John Keats's Endymion: "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever."
Hexameter is a metrical line of verses consisting of six feet. It was the standard epic metre in classical Greek and Latin literature, such as in the Iliad, Odyssey and Aeneid. Its use in other genres of composition include Horace's satires, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and the Hymns of Orpheus. According to Greek mythology, hexameter was invented by Phemonoe, daughter of Apollo and the first Pythia of Delphi.
In poetry, metre or meter is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse. Many traditional verse forms prescribe a specific verse metre, or a certain set of metres alternating in a particular order. The study and the actual use of metres and forms of versification are both known as prosody.
Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning.
The foot is the basic repeating rhythmic unit that forms part of a line of verse in most Indo-European traditions of poetry, including English accentual-syllabic verse and the quantitative meter of classical ancient Greek and Latin poetry. The unit is composed of syllables, and is usually two, three, or four syllables in length. The most common feet in English are the iamb, trochee, dactyl, and anapest. The foot might be compared to a bar, or a beat divided into pulse groups, in musical notation.
A caesura, also written cæsura and cesura, is a metrical pause or break in a verse where one phrase ends and another phrase begins. It may be expressed by a comma (,), a tick (✓), or two lines, either slashed (//) or upright (||). In time value, this break may vary between the slightest perception of silence all the way up to a full pause. The length of a caesura where notated is at the discretion of the conductor.
The Sapphic stanza, named after Sappho, is an Aeolic verse form spanning four lines. Although originally three, in the poetry of Sappho and Alcaeus, as there is no line before the final Adonean. Originally the stanza was unrhymed, but during the Middle Ages it adapted a rhyme scheme of ABAB.
Iambic pentameter is a type of metric line used in traditional English poetry and verse drama. The term describes the rhythm, or meter, established by the words in that line; rhythm is measured in small groups of syllables called "feet". "Iambic" refers to the type of foot used, here the iamb, which in English indicates an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. "Pentameter" indicates a line of five "feet".
Italian poetry is a category of Italian literature. Italian poetry has its origins in the thirteenth century and has heavily influenced the poetic traditions of many European languages, including that of English.
Decasyllable is a poetic meter of ten syllables used in poetic traditions of syllabic verse. In languages with a stress accent, it is the equivalent of pentameter with iambs or trochees.
Accentual-syllabic verse is an extension of accentual verse which fixes both the number of stresses and syllables within a line or stanza. Accentual-syllabic verse is highly regular and therefore easily scannable. Usually, either one metrical foot, or a specific pattern of metrical feet, is used throughout the entire poem; thus one can speak about a poem being in, for example, iambic pentameter. Poets naturally vary the rhythm of their lines, using devices such as inversion, elision, masculine and feminine endings, the caesura, using secondary stress, the addition of extra-metrical syllables, or the omission of syllables, the substitution of one foot for another.
This glossary of literary terms is a list of definitions of terms and concepts used in the discussion, classification, analysis, and criticism of all types of literature, such as poetry, novels, and picture books, as well as of grammar, syntax, and language techniques. For a more complete glossary of terms relating to poetry in particular, see Glossary of poetry terms.
This is a glossary of poetry.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and introduction to poetry:
The octosyllable or octosyllabic verse is a line of verse with eight syllables. It is equivalent to tetrameter verse in trochees in languages with a stress accent. Its first occurrence is in a 10th-century Old French saint's legend, the Vie de Saint Leger; another early use is in the early 12th-century Anglo-Norman Voyage de saint Brendan. It is often used in French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese poetry. While commonly used in couplets, typical stanzas using octosyllables are: décima, some quatrains, redondilla.
A line is a unit of language into which a poem or play is divided. The use of a line operates on principles which are distinct from and not necessarily coincident with grammatical structures, such as the sentence or single clauses in sentences. Although the word for a single poetic line is verse, that term now tends to be used to signify poetic form more generally. A line break is the termination of the line of a poem and the beginning of a new line.
Aeolic verse is a classification of Ancient Greek lyric poetry referring to the distinct verse forms characteristic of the two great poets of Archaic Lesbos, Sappho and Alcaeus, who composed in their native Aeolic dialect. These verse forms were taken up and developed by later Greek and Roman poets and some modern European poets.
Latin prosody is the study of Latin poetry and its laws of meter. The following article provides an overview of those laws as practised by Latin poets in the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire, with verses by Catullus, Horace, Virgil and Ovid as models. Except for the early Saturnian poetry, which may have been accentual, Latin poets borrowed all their verse forms from the Greeks, despite significant differences between the two languages.
The Sapphic stanza is the only stanzaic form adapted from Greek and Latin poetry to be used widely in Polish literature. It was introduced during the Renaissance, and since has been used frequently by many prominent poets. The importance of the Sapphic stanza for Polish literature lies not only in its frequent use, but also in the fact that it formed the basis of many new strophes, built up of hendecasyllables and pentasyllables.
Poetic devices are a form of literary device used in poetry. A poem is created out of poetic devices composite of: structural, grammatical, rhythmic, metrical, verbal, and visual elements. They are essential tools that a poet uses to create rhythm, enhance a poem's meaning, or intensify a mood or feeling.