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Leonine Verses

properly speaking, are either hexameter verses, or alternate hexameter and pentameter verses, rhyming at the middle and end of each respective line. These fancies were common in the 12th century, and were so called from Leoninus, a canon of the Church of St. Victor, in Paris, the inventor. In English verse, any metre which rhymes middle and end is called a Leonine verse. One of the most noted specimens celebrates the tale of a Jew, who fell into a pit on Saturday and refused to be helped out because it was his Sabbath. His comrade, being a Christian, refused to aid him the day following, because it was Sunday:

“Tende manus, Salomon, ego te de stercore tollam.

Sabbata nostra colo, de stercore surgere nolo, Sabbata nostra quidem Salomon celebrabis ibideri. '

Hexameters and pentameters.

“Help for you out of this mire; here, give me your hand, Hezekiah.”

“Ho! tis the Sabbath, a time labour's accounted a crime.”

“If on the morrow you've leisure, your aid I'll accept with much pleasure.”

“That will be my Sabbath, so, here I will leave you and go.”

E. C. B.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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