One of the issues being raised in this thread is focused nicely by JP
Earls when he writes, "Not that it would actually be *read* that way,
but that is the implied meter ticking behind it, by my reckoning." I
think there is _usually_ such a "virtual" ticking behind most verse.
(Some sort of dactyllic meter is behind the cadences of Pound's _Cantos_
-- and can be strongly felt if one reads (slowly) through the entire
Chinese and Adams cantos at a sitting.) But I'm fairly sure that Eliot
throws in enough extra unaccented syllables that one should be wary in
crunching the lines into enough feet to account for all syllables. But
perhaps, also, one can't identify the scansion (invisible or actually
read) in such a short passage. What about the following lines. A
commentary must, I think, take note of the abrupt shift from almost all
monosyllables in the first few lines to the crowded polysyllables
beginning with "The association . . ."
In that open field
If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close,
On a Summer midnight, you can hear the music
Of the weak pipe and the little drum
And see them dancing around the bonfire
The association of man and woman
In daunsinge and commodious sacrament.
A dignified and commodious sacrament.
Two and two, necessarye coniunction,
Holding eche other by the hand or the arm
Whiche betokeneth concorde. Round and round the fire
Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles,
Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter
Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes,
Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth
Mirth of those long since under the earth
Nourishing the corn. Keeping time,
Keeping the rhythm of their dancing
As in their living in the living seasons
The time of the seasons and the constellations
The time of milking and the time of harvest
The time of the coupling of man and woman
And that of beasts. Feet rising and falling.
Eating and drinking. Dung and death.