Latin Quantitative Meter

A Monograph by the Provost of the Confraternity

Latin Meter

An Elementary Introduction to Latin Quantitative Meter for Users of the Breviarium Romanum

We include on this page only the first paragraph of the Introduction to Latin Quantitative Meter, followed by a link to a PDF file containing the remainder of the monograph.  When you click on the link, be sure to give the file time to download.

Many users of the Breviary who read it in the original Latin often are unaware of the full poetic beauty of the hymns because they have never studied Latin prosody, the theory of the rhythmic structure of verse.  English verse is accentual, characterized by patters of accented (stressed) and unaccented (unstressed) syllables.  Most of the hymns of the Breviary, however, follow the conventions of classical Latin verse, where the rhythm depends not so much on the accent or stress of the syllable but on the quantity or vowel length (long or short) of a syllable.