12. Reading verse

Words keep their natural stress and must not be affected by the metrical ictus: poets used the conflict between and the coincidence of natural stress and metrical ictus for special effect and the coincidence in the 5th and 6th feet is characteristic of the hexameter.

Click to hear this example

 

  /  = metrical stress    ^ = natural stress

 

 /               /                   /           /                /             /

arma virumque canō Trōiae qui prīmus ab ōris

            ^       ^      ^         ^         ^

 

 /      /          /                /            /                 /

Italiam fātō profugus Lāvīnaque vēnit

                                               ^

 

lītora

The first line is homodyne, with four coincidences.

The second line is heterodyne, with only two coincidences natural to the hexameter.