One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A four-line verse stanza in the meter invented by the Greek poet Alcaeus, and later used in a slightly altered form by the Roman poet Horace.
- ‘There aren't many intact alcaic stanzas, but it is an important one [(Horace used in in his Odes [e.g.,])] and you should be familiar with it.’
- ‘He turned it down, but the first six odes of Book III, very serious - minded and written in alcaic metre, are closely aligned with Augustus’ policies.’
- ‘It was monodic, and was composed in a variety of lyric metres in two or four-line stanzas, including the alcaic stanza, named after him.’
- ‘Auden's elegy for Sigmund Freud follows the alcaic syllable-count (though not its rhythm).’
- ‘The paper will also attend to some critical implications of the meter's movement, and will end by pointing to successors of Auden - poets like John Hollander and Marilyn Hacker - who followed his example and took up the alcaic meter in their own verses.’
- ‘In translating the odes, for example, I kept to their syllabic count and tried to engender rhythms akin to but not identical with those engendered by alcaics in German.’
- ‘Later, he was taught to turn English verse into alcaics and sapphics in Horatian style, as well as imitating Virgil, Ovid and the Greek tragedians.’
- ‘He employed the classical elegiacs and alcaics with ease, and was equally at home with trochaic and iambic lines.’
- ‘The first six odes of Book 3 are sometimes referred to as the Roman Odes, written in stately alcaics in elevated style on patriotic themes.’
- ‘According to the Speccie he knows the difference ‘between a tribrach and a molossus, a sapphic and an alcaic’.’
Mid 17th century: via late Latin from Greek alkaikos, from Alkaios (see Alcaeus).
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