There are some words that poets use in more than one way. For example the word deorsum, usually 3 syllables (dĕ-or-sum), but sometimes the poets allowed themselves some freedom, and had it as 2 syllables word (deor-sum?). The same poet might use both forms, here are examples noted in L&S from De Rerum natura:

quin vacu/um per i/nane de/orsum /cuncta fe/rantur. (2.202); 3 syllables

pondera/, quant(um) in/ s(e) est, deor/sum de/ducere/ pugnent. (2.205); 2 syllables

But what about another possible variation, such as in the stem (maybe just in the perfect stem) of the verb solvo. soluit is usually of 2 syllables (sol-vit), u being consonant. But there are instance where u is treated as vowel, so we end up with 3 syllables (so-lu-it).Like in Catullus:

quod zonam soluit diu ligatam. (Catul.Carm.2b.13) [not sure how to scan this, but L&S has soluit here as 3 syl.]

Can we expect, like deorsum, that the same poet will use at one time sol-vit and at another time so-lu-it? (Of course this question is not restricted to solvo (I'm simply short of examples), it is rather about those cases of u being handled as consonant or vowel.). Or rather this kind of variation is more time-based, and hence it could not be used in both forms by a given author?

In other words, in De Rerum Nataura we find apparently ambiguous first foot:

dissoluat natura neque ad nihilum interemat res (1.216) [dis-sol/vat or dis-so-lu/at].

Do we know in that verse whether the first foot is dactyl or spondee?



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