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In the first five feet the poet used dactyls or spondees at his pleasure, but dactyls seem to have been preferred in certain places, e. g. in the third foot, and in the fourth foot before the bucolic diaeresis § 19). The fifth foot, in particular, is generally a dactyl; yet here too a spondee is not uncommon; such lines are called spondaic lines, and are said to occur, in Homer, in the proportion of one to eighteen. They are much less frequent in Vergil.

Lines containing no dactyls are very rare.

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