# [NTG-context] how to number poetry?

Mojca Miklavec mojca.miklavec.lists at gmail.com
Mon Jul 18 14:18:20 CEST 2005

Paul Tremblay wrote:
> What is the best way to number lines of poetry?
>
> 1  This is the first line
>    This is the second line
>    ...
>
> 5  this is the fifth
>    ...
>
> 10 this is the tenth.

This is a solution, written in plain TeX. I hope it is commented well
enough so that you can change it if necessary. You have to surrond the
code with \start...\stop..., but I hope you can do it, otherwise ask
again on the list.

You can change the current line number any time by simply typing
\lineno=999. You probably have to set \lineno to 0 every time you
start typesetting a poem and restore \everypar={} after you are done
with the current poem (in the definition of \startnumberedpoem ...
\stopnumberedpoem of course, not manually).

The code attaches some stuff before every paragraph and there's a
macro that checks if the current paragraph number is divisible by
five. It is a macro with square complexity, so if you want to typeset
Iliad or Odyssey :), please let me know so that I'll change it to be
more efficient :)

The code has a small drawback: you have to write \\ for blank lines.
After I wrote the maco I noticed some comments about redefining the
\par command in Appendix D of the TeXBOOK, typesetting verbatim. If I
manage to fix that too, I'll post it here.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

% new counter for counting lines
% it is set to 0 at the beginning,
% but you can redefine it any time by saying \lineno=7 or similar
\newcount\lineno
% if 0, nothing happens, if 1, no line number will be printed
% and the line number won't advance for one
\newcount\isemptyline

%  templineno = lineno + 5
%  do {
%     templineno = templineno - 5
%  } while (templineno > 5);
%
%  if (templineno == 0) {
%     print lineno
%  }

% only prints \the\lineno if it is divisible by 5
\def\printonlyfives{%
% define a new counter 'templineno'
\newcount\templineno
% set the temporary counter to the line counter
\templineno=\lineno
% subtract 5 from the temporary counter as long as the counter is positive
% if the line number is divisible by 5, the temporary counter is 0
% and the line number will be printed out
\ifnum\templineno=0{\the\lineno}\fi}

% add this before every paragraph:
% - if this is not an empty line
%    - add one to the line number
%    - print the line number (if divisible by five)
% - hfill (for right alignment)

% (if '\\' is already defined for something else,
% you can use some other command name here)
% this will switch off line numbering, make a new line
% and switch line numbering on again
\def\\{\isemptyline=1\crlf\isemptyline=0}

\obeylines
\dorecurse{30}{the text goes here\par}

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Mojca