- Civis Illustris
There was a lot of accentual poetry in the Middle Ages. That genre probably makes up most of medieval poetry. But there were also always people who wrote quantitative poetry.
That's my question: I want to see some examples, not because I'm arguing against it, but because I'm curious.There was a lot of accentual poetry in the Middle Ages. That genre probably makes up most of medieval poetry. But there were also always people who wrote quantitative poetry.
And this is exactly where my question comes from. I've looked at some, though not many, manuscripts and printings of lectionaries/readers, grammars and e.g. Isidore's De Vocabulis (book X of the Etymologiae), and I haven't seen anything with vowel length marks until the 18th century comes around...... (Yes, Anbrutal gave a nice link to a 17th-century Gradus above.) (You can find these things in websites of national libraries and those of some universities, and archive.org.)Interesting! Did medieval grammars maintain some kind of compendium of vowel length? I'm wondering because the old non-reconstructed pronunciations of Latin ignored vowel length, at least in English and French-speaking areas.
Bede, who died in the 8th century, even wrote a book that teaches various metres, De Arte Metrica (clickable link on the left), which curiously uses examples from Christian authors...That's my question: I want to see some examples, not because I'm arguing against it, but because I'm curious.
Looks like I found something:I'd love to be informed of the (known) existence of any medieval, and even Renaissance-era, "compendium of vowel length"...
—Mikhail L. Gasparov (auth.), G. S. Smith (transl.), Marina Tarlinskaja (transl.), A History of European Versification (1996), page 89.The first Latin ‘metrical dictionary’ (by Milo of Saint-Amand) appeared in the ninth century, and this pedagogical tradition then continued for another thousand years: even in the nineteenth century (in England up to the middle of the twentieth) such metrical primers (with the standard title Gradus ad Parnassum) were mass-produced for a wide audience. To test how well pupils had learnt the metrical rules, they were required to compose their own, original Latin poetry with long and short syllables correctly in the proper positions. And the pupils composed it! Not only in the Middle Ages, but even in the first half of this century, the composition of Latin poetry was part of the obligatory curriculum of many European lycées and colleges. That is why we must not think that the obliteration of the opposition between long and short syllables meant the immediate death of quantitative metrics.
I also just realized this metre is the glyconic. And that maybe I should describe it as — — | — u u — | u x, if only to make the choriamb clear.In the 10th century, the German historian Liutprand of Cremona would insert this poem in his work Antopodosis (metre: — — | — u u | — u x):
This helped me to start looking because I didn't trust that quotation, and it seems I was right. I've found no mentions of any such dictionary by a Milo of St.-Amand, but something similar existed by the hand of one Decuil (p. 309). Importantly it only treated the prīmae syllabae, which is any first vowel in theory, but in practice normally the root vowel. This seems to be the first work to describe these as opposed to the endings, which have been treated by most ancient grammarians. Anyway, albeit the preview annoyingly lacks many pages (I couldn't find the whole article on the internet, meaning it probably isn't available), from p. 309 onwards one can still get a good picture of how prosody was codified and taught medievally and in the Renaissance. I had totally forgoten that those prosody-teaching verses were even a thing - I only saw them a couple of times.Looks like I found something:
[...]: every reference book which marks long and short syllables with lines above or below the syllables, as it is done today, would have become completely worthless within a very short time because of mistakes which occurred unavoidably when books were copied.