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 poetry (epic, boucolic etc.) and the iambic and trochaic poetry (dramatic 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 Stanzas), 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.

Example:

  -  -    - ^   ^  -//- ^   ^-// - ^ ^  -  ^ -
 nullum, Vare, sacra vite prius severis arborem

(Horatius, Od. I, 18, 1)

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