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The metres employed by Catullus are as follows1: -

76. DACTYLIC HEXAMETER (cc. 62, 64) and ELEGIACS (cc. 65-116). The occurrence of spondaic verses is very frequent, and doubtless is due to Alexandrian influence. In all, there are 42 such verses, of which 34 end in a quadrisyllable. In only ten instances is this a proper name. In c. 64 there is a succession of three spondaic verses (vv. 78-80) - The tendency to employ a succession of spondees in the same verse is striking. Thus c. 116.3 is made up entirely of spondees, and 71 verses have spondees in the first four places. - The penthemimeral caesura is by far the favorite, though the hephthemimeral occurs occasionally; and the feminine caesura in the third foot is not unknown, though it is entirely excluded from the fourth. - The hexameters end preferably in a dissyllable or trisyllable, but in the ending of the pentameters greater freedom is allowed. - Hypermeters are found in c. 64.298 and c. 115.5. - On hiatus, see § 86 d.

77. PURE IAMBIC TRIMETER (c. 4) Perhaps c. 29 is in the same metre; but cf. note on Mamurram in v.3.

78. IAMBIC TRIMETER (c. 52, and perhaps c. 29), with the optional substitution of a spondee for the first iambus of any dipody. The scheme, then, is,

x-u- x-u- x-u-

79. CHOLIAMBIC or SCAZON (cc. 8, 22, 31, 37, 39, 44, 59, 60).

The scheme is as follows: -

x-u- x-u- u---

Thrice also the thesis is resolved (in cc. 22.19; 37.5; 59.3, - unless in c. 37.5 we read “confutuere” as a quadrisyllable).

80. IAMBIC TETRAMETER CATALECTIC, otherwise called Iambic Septenarius (c. 25). The scheme is, -

x-u- x-u- x-u- x--

81. PHALAECEAN, often called Hendecasyllabic (cc. 1-3, 5-7, 9, 10, 12-16, 21, 23, 24, 26-28, 32, 33, 35, 36, 38, 4O-43, 45-50, 53-58). The scheme is, -

oo -uu- u- u--

It may be remarked that while the verse most frequently opens with the irrational trochee (as always in Martial), there are nearly seventy exceptions to this rule, and they are about evenly divided between the regular trochaic opening and that with the iambus.2 The peculiar experiment with this metre tried in cc. 55 and 58b is noted in the introduction to c. 55.

82. GLYCONIC and PHERECRATIC series are combined by Catullus as follows3:-

a.A second Glyconic catalectic followed by a second Pherecratic acatalectic forms the verse called PRIAPEAN, used in c. 17. The scheme is, -

oo -uu- u- | oo -uu- -

The first series in this verse ends with a complete word, and does not allow hiatus after it: elision occurs there four times (vv. 4, 11, 24, 26).

b.The stanza of c. 34 is composed of four verses, of which the first three are second Glyconics catalectic, and the fourth a second Pherecratic acatalectic. The stanza of c. 61 is similar, but with four, instead of three, Glyconics. The scheme of the Glyconics thus arranged is, -

oo -uu- u-

and that of the Pherecratics, -

oo -uu- -

Synapheia is observed throughout, as in the Priapean stanza. Once an irrational spondee takes the place of the cyclic dactyl (c. 61. 254.

83. GREATER ASCLEPIADIC verses compose c. 30. The scheme of each is as follows: -

oo -uu- -uu- -uu- u-

Contrary to the practice of Horace, caesura is not always observed between the successive series in each verse.

84. The SAPPHIC stanza (cc. 11, 51) as used by Catullus has the following scheme: -

“ -u-x -uu- u--
-u-x -uu- u--
-u-x -uu- u--

In allowing a trochee thrice in place of the irrational spondee (cc. 11. 6; 11. 15; 51.13), and in indifference to the caesura, Catullus resembles Sappho more closely than does Horace.5

85. In c. 63 the GALLIAMBIC verse is used. It is said to have originated as a lesser Ionic tetrameter catalectic, having, therefore, the following scheme: -

uu-- uu-- uu-- uu-

But as used by Catullus anaclasis always occurs (except in vv. 54 and 60?), and the resultant trochees are often, the last almost always, resolved. The scheme may therefore be written as follows (the regularly occurring caesura being indicated by a comma) -

uu-u-u-- , uu-uWu-

This scheme is not, to be sure, true to the theory of the Ionic series, but the result of anaclasis (i.e. the substitution of dichorees for Ionics) seems to have been that the metre was treated as trochaic, and the anacrusis, therefore, became of necessity irrational. On no other theory is rhythmical recitation of the Galliambics of Catullus possible.6 The individual schemes of several verses of c. 63 are here given as specimens of the application of the general scheme:

Line 1: uu-u-u-- uu-uwu-

Line 5: W-u-u-- uu-uwu-

Line 14: uu-u-u-- uu-u-u-

1 Notes giving more modern metrical terminology supplied by AEM, August 2001.

2 Merrill's terminology is obsolete. He is referring to the possible forms of the Aeolic base, which in Catullus as in the Greek poets may be --, -u, or u-; it cannot be two short syllables. Later poets, including for example Martial, use only two long syllables for Aeolic base.

3 We no longer refer to "first Glyconic," "second Glyconic," and so on. In modern terms, Merrill's "second Glyconic" is just a glyconic; the "first Glyconic" is a choriambic dimeter, though Catullus does not use them.

4 This is obsolete language; in more modern terms "once the two short syllables of the choriambic nucleus are resolved."

5 By "trochee in place of irrational spondee," Merrill means that Catullus, like Sappho, allows variation in the Aeolic base, at the position marked anceps in the schema. Later poets, like Horace, make that syllable always long.

6 This paragraph is thoroughly out of date. In fact, "anaclastic ionics," also called anacreontics, are quite common, and have nothing to do with trochees. While galliambics are unusual, they are not at all difficult.

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