Friedrich Hölderlin wrote odes as a youth in Denkendorf and continued to do so throughout the time of his intense preoccupation with elegy and hymn. He had mastered the ode before he left Frankfurt, and two or three of these written in Homburg were among his best poems. After a few rather uncertain experiments early on, and with one notable exception in 1801, Hölderlin confined himself to two varieties: the alcaic ode and the asclepiad ode. The exception is the beautiful and difficult poem ‘Unter den Alpen gesungen’, which is sapphic (slightly modified). Long before he approached the form himself it had been thoroughly naturalised in German by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, and it was his prosodic scheme which Hölderlin adopted. In the four lines of an alcaic strophe three different patterns occurred, and the expressive use of that variation was something Hölderlin soon learned.
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