There are two asclepiad lines, the lesser
and the greater
, and they are of the 4 most important lyric
one line metres
of Classic lyric
poetry (The others being the hendecasyllabic metre
, the Glyconic metre
and the Pherecratic metre
). While the dactylic
etc.) and the iambic
etc.) use feet arranged by certain orders and quantities, the lyric metres pertain to complete lines. A stanza doesn't need to be constituted of a single metric element (except for the Alcaic
and the Sapphic Stanza
s), but could interchange them and even occasionally add "feet-metre" lines and couplets (particularly the 'Elegiac Couplet
'). The normal lyric
stanza has four lines.
The lesser asclepiad, which is by far the commoner, has twelve syllables with the caesura after the 6th one.
The pattern is as follows:
- - - ^ ^ - : - ^ ^ - ^ -
* - long or stressed syllable; ^ short or unstressed syllable; : caesura; // diaeresis.
Example (in Latin):
- - - ^ ^ -: - ^ ^ - ^ -
Maecenas, atavis edite regibus
(Horatius, Od. I, 1, 1)
The greater asclepiad is created by adding a choriambus (-^^-) after the 6th syllable,
with a diaeresis both before and after it.
- - - ^ ^ -//- ^ ^-// - ^ ^ - ^ -
nullum, Vare, sacra vite prius severis arborem
(Horatius, Od. I, 18, 1)