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Sapphics


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Lyric verses written in a Greek metre named after Sappho, the legendary woman poet of Lesbos (7th/6th century bce). Sapphic verse uses stanzas of four lines, the first three having eleven syllables, the last having five. In the first three lines, the sequence of five metrical feet is: trochee; trochee or spondee; dactyl; trochee; trochee or spondee. In the fourth line, a dactyl is followed by a trochee or a spondee. The metre was used frequently in Latin by Horace, but it is difficult to adapt to the stress‐patterns of English. Sidney, Swinburne, and Pound are among the poets who have attempted English Sapphics.

Subjects: Literature.


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