A poetic metre, found almost exclusively in the form of the "Elegiac Couplet" (that is, intermittent lines of dactylic hexameter
and pentameter). The Elegiac Couplet was the most common metre for love poetry, occasional pieces and epigrams, in antiquity.
The pentameter has two equal parts of 2.5 feet each. The first two feet may be either dactyls (-^^) or spondees (--). The first two feet of the second half are always dactyls. The two half feet are long (although the final syllable may be a short one), and there is always a diaeresis between the two parts of the lines.
The scheme is therefore:
- ^ ^ | - ^ ^ | - // - ^ ^ | - ^ ^ | -
- - | - - | - // - ^ ^ | - ^ ^ | -
*- long or stressed syllable; ^ short or unstressed syllable; // diaeresis.
Example (in Latin):
- -|- ^ ^ - // - ^ ^|- ^ ^|-
Aenean ani|mo // noxque diesque refert
(Ovidius, Her. 7, 26)