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Gasparov 54 (T4, the Anacreontic line)

March 8, 2010

In section 54 of his Очерк истории русского стиха, 2nd ed. (Moscow, 2002), M. L. Gasparov explains how trochaic tetrameter evolved in the early nineteenth century.

Trochaic tetrameter, according to Gasparov, was used reasonably often by both eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Russian poets.  In the eighteenth century, it was associated with four kinds of songs: Anacreontic songs, “salon” songs, folk songs, and spiritual songs.  The boundaries between these genres blurred in the nineteenth century, but the meter maintained a thematic link to the past.

The “pure” Anacreontic song written in blank verse vanishes in the nineteenth century, but poems on Anacreontic themes of enjoying life continue to be written in trochaic tetrameter.

Below are links to Gasparov’s examples of early nineteenth-century poems on such themes; future posts will deal with the other three subcategories of trochaic tetrameter songs.


«Элизий» («О, пока бесценна младость…») (1810)

«Вакханка» (1815)


«Наслаждайтесь, все проходит…» (1835)

«Бокал» (1835)


«Бурцов, ёра, забияка,/ Собутыльник дорогой» (1804, with “hussar” overtones)


«Кудри девы-чародейки,/ Кудри — блеск и аромат…» (1836, with “salon” overtones)

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