[OS X TeX] poetry packages

Michael Sharpe msharpe at ucsd.edu
Wed Aug 21 02:58:25 EDT 2013

On Aug 20, 2013, at 11:21 PM, Scot Mcphee <scot.mcphee at gmail.com> wrote:

> I am looking for fairly easy to use poetry package. Anyone know of any? Especially one that that can print line numbers of the poem. I've tried verse and poetrytex but both are inadequate. The verse environment is too simple and poetry has a lot of options for a whole lot of stuff I don't need and nothing around those I do.
> I'm currently reliant on 'verbatim', which dies on long lines (I have to manually split them), and of course, uses a horrible typewriter font.
> The line numbers have to start at arbitrary points (I'm quoting arbitrary sections from long epic poems) and only number every 5th line (i.e. where modulo 5 is equal to 0, not every fifth line from the starting line). Here for example is a block of verse quoted with hand formatting in verbatim (Vergil, Aeneid, Book 4 lines 129 - 142):
> \begin{verbatim}
>    Oceanum interea surgens Aurora reliquit.
> 130 it portis iubare exorto delecta iuventus,
>    retia rara, plagae, lato venabula ferro, 
>    Massylique ruunt equites et odora canum vis. 
>    reginam thalamo cunctantem ad limina primi 
>    Poenorum exspectant, ostroque insignis et auro
> 135 stat sonipes ac frena ferox spumantia mandit. 
>    tandem progreditur magna stipante caterva 
>    Sidoniam picto chlamydem circumdata limbo; 
>    cui pharetra ex auro, crines nodantur in aurum, 
>    aurea purpuream subnectit fibula vestem.
> 140 nec non et Phrygii comites et laetus Iulus 
>    incedunt. ipse ante alios pulcherrimus omnis 
>    infert se socium Aeneas atque agmina iungit.
> \end{verbatim}
> Any suggestions or ideas? I've also got the additional problem of the English translations, which are inevitably of a longer line length (if you know Latin, and you know Latin poetry, you'll know it's incredibly compressed, textually **).
> Oh, it also should hopefully support Unicode.
> thanks
> scot
> ** e.g. here's a rough translation of the above, you can see the line lengths are much longer
> In the meantime the surging Dawn has left the Ocean.
> The rays having come forth, the delightful youths go from the gates
> with wide-meshed nets, hunting snares, and broad iron hunting spears;
> and Massylian knights dash about with a keen-scented pack of hounds.
> The Queen, delaying in her chambers, at the threshold the leading
> Punic men await her, and her steed stands distinguished
> in purple and gold; the fierce beast champs on the frothing bit.
> At length she comes forth, with the great throng pressing in,
> having thrown around herself a Sidonian cloak with an embroidered hem.
> Her quiver made of gold, her hair braided with gold,
> a golden brooch fastening under purple vestments.
> And also both Phrygian companions and happy Julus
> strut out. Aeneas himself, the most handsome before all others,
> presents himself as their partner, and joins the troop.

This is at best a partial answer. If you use \obeylines rather than a verbatim environment, you can use all the usual TeX formatting commands and nice fonts. See for example baudelaire.tex.zip from


This doesn't do line numbering---that's another issue, but one that may not be hard to arrange using the plain tex \everycr hook.


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