The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

Gaudia nostra: a hexameter-ending in elegy*

Nigel Holmesa1

a1 Thesaurus Linguae Latinae

In an earlier article in Classical Quarterly, S. J. Harrison explored the varying frequency of hexameter-endings of the type discordia taetra, where a noun that ends in short a is followed by its epithet with the same termination. It appears from this that while most pre-Augustan poets allow a fairly high frequency of such verse-endings (e.g. Lucretius 1:130, Catullus 1:204), some Augustan poets and their imitators show a distinct tendency to avoid them (e.g. Vergil, Georgics 1:547), while some almost exclude them altogether (e.g. Ovid, Metamorphoses 1:4999, Statius, Thebaid 1:1948). The hexameters of elegiac poetry might be subject to the same restriction; the following are figures for elegy from Catullus to Martial.


* Clearly this article could not have been written without the earlier work on the subject by Dr S. J. Harrison. My thanks to him and to my colleague Dr G. C. Hansen for answering many questions, to the referee and editors of Classical Quarterly for drawing my attention to a number of problems and errors in the article.