Literary Shelf

Poetry: Not Everyone's Cup of Tea - 5

Continued from Previous Page

Epics - 2

As has been seen in the previous chapter, epic poetry is a form of narrative poetry that tells the story of a hero’s journey. It is typically a long poem that tells a story of a hero's adventures, battles, and challenges. Epic poems are often used to convey cultural values and beliefs, as well as to entertain and inspire audiences.

Epic poetry traditionally utilizes specific poetic meters to create a rhythmic and musical quality in the verse.  Some of the poetic meters commonly used in epic poetry are:

Dactylic Hexameter: This meter consists of six feet per line, where each foot contains a long syllable followed by two short syllables e.g., "This is the | forest pri- | me-val, the | murmuring | pine and the | hem-locks", from "Evangeline" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Homeric Hexameter: Also known as the "dactylic hexameter," it is the meter used in ancient Greek epic poetry, including Homer's works. It follows the same pattern as dactylic hexameter. For example,

("Aspetos d' epi khthoni thespesioio petrisin.") from Homer's "Iliad".

Iambic Pentameter: This meter consists of five iambs per line, with each iambic foot having a short syllable followed by a long syllable, e.g., "Shall I com | pare thee | to a sum | mer's day?" from Shakespeare's Sonnet 18.

Blank Verse: It is unrhymed iambic pentameter, commonly used in epic poetry and dramatic works, providing a sense of rhythm and grandeur, for example, "Of man's first disobedience and the fruit, Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste", from Milton's "Paradise Lost.

Alexandrine: This meter consists of twelve syllables per line, typically divided into two six-syllable half-lines, often used in French and English epic poetry, for example, "On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,Which Jews might kiss and infidels adore." from Pope's "The Rape of the Lock".

These meters contribute to the unique cadence and musicality of epic poetry, enhancing the oral and rhythmic nature of the storytelling.

Talking about another epic poem "The Aeneid", it was created by the classical Roman author Virgil. It narrates the tale of Aeneas, a Trojan hero who sets out on a voyage to accomplish his destiny and find a new abode, and was written between 29 and 19 BCE.

The poem starts with Aeneas escaping the burning city of Troy with his father Anchises, his son Ascanius, and a troop of devoted followers in the wake of the Trojan War. As he crosses the Mediterranean Sea with the help of the gods, Aeneas encounters several difficulties and adventures.

Aeneas interacts with both mortal and heavenly personalities while travelling to numerous locations and encountering mythical animals. He must endure the wrath of Juno, the goddesses' ruler, who opposes his goal to found a new Trojan state. Aeneas receives assistance from various gods along the route, notably his mother Venus, who aids him in overcoming the difficulties he encounters.

Aeneas develops personally throughout the epic, demonstrates leadership abilities, and exhibits piety and devotion to the gods. In the epic, while Aeneas carries out his divine task to create a new civilization, themes of destiny, heroism, and the creation of Rome are explored.

One of the best pieces of Latin literature, "The Aeneid" has had a significant impact on Western literature and society. It exemplifies Virgil's mastery of poetry and his capacity to juggle mythology, history, and the ideals of Roman society into a gripping drama. As it relates the founding of Rome to divine intervention and justifies Augustus' authority as a continuation of the valiant lineage of Aeneas, the poem also reflects the political ambitions and propaganda of Augustus, the Roman emperor during Virgil's time.

Here are a couple of verses from "The Aeneid" by Virgil:

"Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris
Italiam, fato profugus, Laviniaque venit"
("I sing of arms and the man,
who first from the shores of Troy
came destined an exile to Italy and the Lavinian shores

"Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt."
(Aeneid, Book 1, Line 462
("There are tears for things
and mortal things touch the mind.").
Aeneid, Book 1, Line 462.

These verses highlight the opening lines of "The Aeneid," where the poet introduces the central character, Aeneas, and the overarching themes of the epic. The first verse sets the stage for the epic journey of Aeneas, while the second verse reflects upon the profound emotions and human experiences depicted throughout the poem.

Continued to Next Page 


More by :  Dr. Satish Bendigiri

Top | Literary Shelf

Views: 298      Comments: 0

Name *

Email ID

Comment *
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.