I came across a poem from 1621 written in Sapphic stanza. It contains this line:
pervigil Christi, lucubrando sudans
To scan that, the third word must be lŭcŭbrandŏ. L&S tells me that the first U should always be long and the second one can be either long or short. The O of the gerund ablative ending should be long.
Classic vowel length is otherwise observed very well throughout the nine stanzas of the poem. This line is a striking exception.
I know that if the second U is short, then the second syllable is short (light), since the combination 'br' does not behave like most consonant clusters. But that is irrelevant.
I want to understand what is going on. Therefore I would like to see an answer to at least some of these questions:
- Would such shortened vowels be bad style in classical poetry? I would say yes, but I could use a second opinion.
- Is such shortening a general post-classical phenomenon? Or should I see this line just as poetic liberty to accommodate a word the author wanted to use?
- Is the final O in the gerund ablative still known to be long in the 17th century? As far as I know, everyday Latin speech at that time did not follow classical vowel lengths, but the rest of this poem demonstrates that people were able to emulate them when needed. In two other places in the poem where length matters, the second declension ablative or dative ending is long. I therefore wonder if the short O is something specific to gerunds.
- Why are the vowels short?