Atrium: Iambic Meters

Iambic Meters

The Senarius, or iambic trimeter, contains six feet (or 3 measures of two iambic feet). Pure Iambic meter was rarely used, and a variety of meters can be substituted in the first, third and fourth feet in the place of iambs.

The following is a translation (English into Latin) from Edward Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam:

Digitus Movens The Moving Finger
Digitus movens inscribit; et scribens, abit:
Pietas nec omnia tua nec facetiae
Versiculus ut tollatur istum recipient,
Nec omniae lacrimae tuae verbum eluent.
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Here's an iambic trimeter inspired by Catullus (VIII).

Valete Musae Farewell, Muses
Valete Musae, iam poetae desinunt.
Nec, fonte dessicante, vates imbibunt.
Quas invocabunt, iamdudum non invocant.
Latina Musa, postea quis audiet?
Quis scribere audet? Cui liber donabitur?
Quem cras juvabis? Cuius ars probabitur?
Quis instruetur? Aut quis inspirabitur?
Dum tu, poeta, posteram famam petis,
Inusitata lingua mox famem feret.
Farewell, Muses. Now the poets have abandoned you,
Nor do your seers imbibe from your dried up fountain.
Who called you once, no longer call you now.
Oh Latin Muse, who will listen to you any more?
Who will dare to write you? To whom will your books be given?
Whom will you please tomorrow? Who will try their skills?
Who will be instructed? Or who will be inspired?
While you, poet, seek future glory,
Your strange language today brings hunger.


Some famous Romans and me

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