METRICS
RULES FOR SCANNING
DACTYLIC HEXAMETER & ELEGIAC COUPLET
A. SYLLABLES
1. Each vowel or dipthong represents a syllable.
2. If a vowel or dipthong is followed by
a. a single consonant or blend
b. another vowel or
c. a dipthong
then the syllable ends after the vowel/dipthong.
DIPTHONGS : ae, ai, au, eu, oe, oi

3. If a vowel or dipthong is followed by two consonants (excluding clusters)
then the consonants are divided between the syllables.
CLUSTERS: bl, br, ch, dr, fl, fr, gl, gr, ph, pl, pr, sp, st, tr,th, gu, hu, qu, su

B. LONG or SHORT?
1. Syllable is long
a: by nature - contains a long vowel or a dipthong
b: by position - contains a short vowel followed by two consonants or x. x = ks
2. Otherwise it is short
3. Exceptions - (wiggle room for poets) : Can be either long or short
a) final -i of ubi, ibi, mihi, tibi
b) vowel followed by cluster group

C. ELISION :
1. When a word ends with a vowel or the letter 'm' and when the following
word begins with a vowel or the letter 'h' then the final syllable of the
first word is dropped.
quae pu er i in te ne bris --- quae pu er in te ne bris

2. Except when the second word is est. Instead of dropping the final syllable
of the first word, the 'e' in est is dropped.
ti men dum est --- ti men dumst

METER: DACTYLIC HEXAMETER

The Dactyl ( -uu ) is a metrical pattern known as a "foot" which is comprised of one long syllable followed by two short syllables.

The Spondee (- -) is a metrical foot comprised of two long syllables.

Dactylic hexameter is line of poetry made up of six metrical feet (hex = six), mostly dactyls.

The pattern for a line of pure dactylic hexameter consists of five dactyls and a final foot that
consists of two syllables (- - or - u). Since the final syllable maybe long or short it is called
an anceps (either). Since two short syllables equal one long syllable any or all of the dactyls
in a line of dactylic hexameter maybecome spondees.
(-uu | -uu | -uu | -uu | -uu | -u)


METER: ELEGIAC COUPLET

The Elegiac Couplet is a two line-unit of poetry similar to dactylic hexameter.
In fact the first line of the couplet is dactylic hexameter, the second dactylic pentameter:
(-uu | -uu | -uu | -uu | -uu | -u)
(-uu | -uu | - || -uu | -uu | -)

THE MAIULLO METHOD

FOR DETERMINING THE NUMBER OF DACTYLS (-uu) or SPONDEES(- -)
IN A LINE OF DACTYLIC HEXAMETER

        1. Account for all elisions.
        2. Count the number of syllables in your line.
        3. Refer to the chart below:
SYLLABLES DACTYLS SPONDEES
17
5 1
16
4 2
15 3 3
14 2 4
13
1
5
12
0
6