chapter  1
19 Pages


The Works and Dt!)s allow us to specify the metre favoured by didactic verse. This was normally that of narrative epic, the hexameter. This custom was occasionally varied. Ovid, for reasons which I will outline in Chapters 5 and 6, chose elegiac couplets. It may be argued, however, that the hexameter is the most flexible metre for argument in classical verse. The elegiac couplet, enforcing closure (logical and syntactical) at the end of its shorter second member, the pentameter, makes extended explanation difficult. This is certainly one of the features of Ovid's didactic verse.