from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A Latin verse used only in comedy and consisting of seven feet, especially a catalectic iambic or trochaic tetrameter.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In Latin pros., a verse consisting of seven feet.
One of the oldest lines of modern English verse is the so-called septenary (septenarius), having had a nearly continuous tradition from the twelfth-century Poema Morale down (in its divided form) to the present.
Tyndarus is in mortal terror lest the trick which he has played on his master, Hegio, may be discovered, and he be consigned to work in chains in the quarries, the verse is the trochaic septenarius.
The English and Scottish popular ballads are in various simple stanza forms, the commonest of all being the old _septenarius_ or "fourteener," arranged in a four-lined stanza of alternate eights and sixes, thus: