I’m on Lexicon Valley talking about the history of metrical terms and some of the differences between English and Latin/Ancient Greek.
If you paid any attention at all in high school English, you probably remember iambic pentameter, most likely from reading Shakespeare, and perhaps even other meters like trochaic tetrameter (the meter of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song, among other things). And if you had an English teacher who was especially instructive in etymology, you may have learned that iambic pentameter takes its name from several Greek roots that translate roughly as “five metrical feet.”
But wait. Greek and English meter don’t work in the same way, so how did we come to use Greek poetic terminology to describe English verse? (Read the rest.)
I glossed over the ways that Latin poetry actually differs somewhat from Ancient Greek poetry, but if you’re looking for more, this Wikipedia article is a good place to start.
Also, I couldn’t fit it in the article, but while writing it I discovered that apparently Hey Diddle Diddle used to be far longer and had quite a different meter. (Edit: apparently this version is actually newer and by JRR Tolkein. It’s still great though.) Here’s an excerpt, but it’s worth reading the full thing aloud:
Now quicker the fiddle went deedle-dum-diddle; the dog began to roar, The cow and the horses stood on their heads; The guests all bounded from their beds and danced upon the floor.
With a ping and a pang the fiddle-strings broke! the cow jumped over the Moon, And the little dog laughed to see such fun, And the Saturday dish went off at a run with the silver Sunday spoon.
OCTOBER was a beautiful month at Green Gables, when the birches in the hollow turned as golden as sunshine and the maples behind the orchard were royal crimson and the wild cherry trees along the lane put on the loveliest shades of dark red and bronzy green, while the fields sunned themselves in aftermaths.
Flat, clear vessels with broad areas of smooth glass were made in the 1500s to accommodate demand for enabled decoration.
This is over a foot tall, and was made to hold beer for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was also shared on festive occasions, and noted humanist Erasmus gives this advice to his readers in On Good Manners for Boys:
"Chew your food before you drink and do not raise the cup to your lips without first wiping them with a napkin or cloth, especially if someone offers you his cup when drinking from a common cup."