Humanities › Literature Elegiac Couplets Explained Share Flipboard Email Print Statue of Ovid in Italy. Angelo D'Amico / Getty Images Literature Poetry Poetic Forms Favorite Poems & Poets Best Sellers Classic Literature Plays & Drama Quotations Shakespeare Short Stories Children's Books By N.S. Gill Ancient History and Latin Expert M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota B.A., Latin, University of Minnesota N.S. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. our editorial process N.S. Gill Updated April 12, 2019 An elegiac couplet is a pair of sequential lines in poetry in which the first line is written in dactylic hexameter and the second line in dactylic pentameter. The Roman poet Ennius introduced the elegiac couplet to Latin poetry for themes less lofty than that of epic, for which dactylic hexameter was suited. The typical meter of an elegiac couplet can be represented as: ¯ ˘ ˘ | ¯ ˘ ˘ | ¯ ˘ ˘ | ¯ ˘ ˘ | ¯ ˘ ˘ | ¯ x¯ ˘ ˘ | ¯ ˘ ˘ | ¯ | ¯ ˘ ˘ | ¯ ˘ ˘ | ¯ The first two lines of Ovid's Amores I, which is written in elegiac couplets, can be scanned (a note on scansion in Latin poetry) as follows, where bolding marks the long syllables, the non-bold are short or anceps, dashes separate syllables, spaces separate words, and the ends of feet are marked by vertical lines: Ar-ma gra- | vī nu-me- | rō vi-o- | len-ta-que | bel-la pa- | rā-bamē-de-re, | mā-te-ri- | ā | con-ve-ni- | en-te mo- | dīs.