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Hendecasyllabic

A Classical Greek and Latin metrical line consisting of 11 syllables: typically a spondee or trochee, a choriamb, and two iambs, the second of which has an additional syllable at the end. The classical Latin poet Catullus favored the line. It is seldom used in English, although Algernon Charles Swinburne worked with the meter in “Hendecasyllabics”:

              In the month of the long decline of roses
              I, beholding the summer dead before me,
              Set my face to the sea and journeyed silent,
              Gazing eagerly where above the sea-mark
              Flame as fierce as the fervid eyes of lions
              Half divided the eyelids of the sunset . . .

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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