Medieval Verse: The Pindaric Ode

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November 10, 2014 by phicks2012

ctree2From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ode

Ode (from Ancient Greek: ?d?) is a type of lyrical stanza. A classic ode is structured in three major parts: the strophe, the antistrophe, and the epode. Different forms such as the homostrophic ode and the irregular ode also exist. It is an elaborately structured poem praising or glorifying an event or individual, describing nature intellectually as well as emotionally.

Greek odes were originally poetic pieces accompanied by symphonic orchestras. As time passed on, they gradually became known as personal lyrical compositions whether sung (with or without musical instruments) or merely recited (always with accompaniment). The primary instruments used were the aulos and the lyre (the latter of which was the most revered instrument to the Ancient Greeks). The written ode, as it was practiced by the Romans, returned to the/ L E2 lyrical form of the Lesbian lyricists.
There are three typical forms of odes: the Pindaric, Horatian, and irregular. Pindaric odes follow the form and style of Pindar. Horatian odes follow conventions of Horace; the odes of Horace deliberately imitated the Greek lyricists such as Alcaeus and Anacreon. Odes by Catullus, as well as other poetry of Catullus, was particularly inspired by Sappho. Irregular odes are rhyming, but they do not employ the three-part form of the Pindaric ode nor the two- or four-line stanza of the Horatian ode.

A lyrical stanza in praise of, or dedicated to someone or something which captures the poet’s interest or serves as an inspiration for the ode.

 
The Americian Academy of Poets web site at http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/poetic-form-ode  is more helpful regarding the actual structure of this form, stating:

The Pindaric is named for the ancient Greek poet Pindar, who is credited with inventing the ode. Pindaric odes were performed with a chorus and dancers, and often composed to celebrate athletic victories. They contain a formal opening, or strophe, of complex metrical structure, followed by an antistrophe, which mirrors the opening, and an epode, the final closing section of a different length and composed with a different metrical structure. The William Wordsworth poem “Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” is a very good example of an English language Pindaric ode. It begins:

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;–
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

———————–

This form confused me, because I failed immediately to understand the meter. However, using this last as a general basis, my own short attempt at a Pindaric Ode follows:

“To Kingship”

A golden crown may sooth a furrowed brow;

A throne inspire trust and awe;
And reverent bow.
A jeweled scepter show no flaw,
Yet honor in a Sovereign longer stands
Than silvered shining blades and banners bright,
And kinsmen’s accolades
Are swiftly made,
While legacies of wisdom do not fade by night.

[07 September, 2014]

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phicks2012

phicks2012

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