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English Odes Excerpt from English OdesIt is from the triumphal poems of Pindar that we receive the impression that an ode must belong to an enthusiastic and elevated order of writing. The origin of Greek versification is a subject attended with great difficulty and not a little uncertainty, but the consensus of the best scholarship is in favour of a very rapid development from the earliest form of strophe, the regular distich, to the complete poem. Archilochus, it would seem, set lyrical poetry in movement by giving elegiac variety to the distich, and by expanding it into an epode. Alcman went further still, and was the first to gather together his diffuse numbers into an elaborate carmen, or ode. The form of lyric verse so invented took two directions. In the hands of Sappho and Alcaeus it became moulded into certain simple, but highly-wrought, melodic systems, and grew simpler still as it passed to Anacreon and the lesser AEolian poets.