Dactylic hexameter (also known as "heroic hexameter") is a form of meter or rhythmic scheme in poetry. It is traditionally associated with the quantitative meter of classical epic poetry in both Greek and Latin and was consequently considered to be ''the'' Grand Style of classical poetry. The premier examples of its use are Homer's ''Iliad'' and ''Odyssey'' and Virgil's ''Aeneid''.
== Structure ==
The meter consists of lines made from six (in Greek ἕξ, ''hex'') feet, hence "hexameter". In strict dactylic hexameter, each of these feet would be a dactyl (a long and two short syllables), but classical meter allows for the substitution of a spondee (two long syllables) in place of a dactyl in most positions. Specifically, the first four feet can either be dactyls or spondees more or less freely. The fifth foot is frequently a dactyl (around 95% of the time in Homer).
Because of the anceps (a short or long syllable), the sixth foot can be filled by either a trochee (a long then short syllable) or a spondee. However, because of the strong pause at the end of the line (which prevents elision and correption between lines in the dactylic hexameter), it is traditionally regarded as a spondee. Thus the dactylic line most normally looks as follows:
:— U | — U | — U | — U | — u u | — X
(Note that ''—'' is a long syllable, ''u'' a short syllable and ''U'' either one long or two shorts and X anceps syllable.)
As in all classical verse forms, the phenomenon of ''brevis in longo'' is observed, so the last syllable can actually be short or long.
Hexameters also have a primary caesura — a break in sense, much like the function of a comma in prose — at one of several normal positions: After the first syllable in the third foot (the "masculine" caesura); after the second syllable in the third foot if the third foot is a dactyl (the "feminine" caesura); after the first syllable of the fourth foot; or after the first syllable of the second foot (the latter two often occur together in a line, breaking it into three separate units). The first possible caesura that one encounters in a line is considered the main caesura. A masculine caesura can offset a hiatus, causing lengthening of an otherwise light syllable.
In addition, hexameters have two bridges, places where there very rarely is a break in a word-unit. The first, known as Meyer's Bridge, is in the second foot: if the second foot is a dactyl, the two short syllables generally will be part of the same word-unit. The second, known as Hermann's Bridge, is the same rule in the fourth foot: if the fourth foot is a dactyl, the two short syllables generally will be part of the same word-unit.
It must be stressed that Meyer's and Hermann's Bridge concern only Homeric verse and are not observed in Latin dactylic hexameter. Even in Homer, these bridges are not prescriptive. The first line of the ''Iliad'' violates Meyer's Bridge (Μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος) since there is a word break between ἄειδε and θεὰ.
Hexameters are frequently enjambed, which helps to create the long, flowing narrative of epic. They are generally considered the most grandiose and formal meter.
An English language example of the dactylic hexameter, in quantitative meter:
: Down in a | deep dark | dell sat an | old cow | munching a | bean stalk
As the absurd meaning of this example demonstrates, quantitative meter is extremely difficult to construct in English. Here is an example in normal stress meter (the first line of Longfellow's "Evangeline"):
: This is the | forest pri | meval. The | murmuring | pines and the | hemlocks
The "foot" is often compared to a musical measure and the long and short syllables to half notes (minims) and quarter notes (crotchets), respectively.
抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア（Wikipedia）』