About Hexameter

                             POETRY WRITTEN IN HEXAMETER


 Hexameter was first written in the heroic epics of Homer (‘The Iliad’ etc.) in the times of ancient Greece. It was later taken up by J. W. Goethe, Charles Kingsley, H. W. Longfellow and others.

  Primary students in the 5th Class (at the time when the lungs have grown to adult capacity) are ready to speak hexameter, and from that time on into old age it can have a harmonising effect on the soul. The ‘in-breath’ becomes enhanced, which brings the outside world into the consciousness.

 Therapeutically, hexameter has been proven to be a help to stutterers. People who need to come out of introversion, experience the sense world and perceive in pictures are also benefited.

 In hexameter the breathing and the pulse-beat are brought into balanced proportion. In it lives a musicality that bears witness to the extraordinary cosmic lawfulness out of which the human being is built.

 In Art and Artistic Cognition , pages 178-179, Rudolf Steiner says:

‘We breathe in 18 times a minute on the average. That is 25920 times in 24 hours or one day. If the average life expectancy is 70-71 years, although many people live to be older– a day in the world for human beings – it makes 25920 days. The world breathes us in and out and we are born and die.

 Look at the Platonic year of the sun. The sun enters into a certain Zodiac sign. ancient days the sun started off in Taurus, then in Aries, now in the Fishes. The spring equinox appears to go ( I must say ‘appears’, but that isn’t the point) around the whole heavens  , shifts around and comes back again in precisely 25920 years. …You see, we are a part of the world rhythm…’


 Not without reason does one speak of ‘the feet’ in a line of verse.  The hexameters included here are marked, so that the lines can be ‘walked’ and ‘spoken on the breath’ according to the two variations in the classical rhythm. e.g. :


1) When he had opened the closet,/ out came Faithful John and his children.

(_.._.._.  /  ._.._.._. ) /          or :

2)Then her own husband rejoiced / that she’d made the same sacrifice he had./

   ( _.._.._  /  .._.._.._.)/

                        Composed from the Grimm’s ‘Faithful John’


  One can step with each of the ‘long syllables’ (as underlined) breathing at each caesura as well as at the beginning of each line. A step can be taken between each line. In such a way, one can step in harmony with cosmic breathing. This is an intrinsically healing experience that strengthens the human being, especially benefiting specific speech disturbances, characters, and dispositions of soul.


                                                              Katherine Rudolph