Print

Print


I think I am puzzled by both ways listed here on the fourth line.  An
effective way to test scanning is to exaggerate the stress and see if it
sounds natural.  I do not think anyone says "ble" as the emphatic syllable
and then slides over "shirt," a key word.  It is not English rhythm or
pronunciation.  So, secondly, these sounds seem to me ways of finding a
meter on the assumption that one is there.  But there is a very long history
in English verse of scanning based on the number of stresses without the
counting of unstresses:  Anglo-Saxon verse, Auden, Hopkins.  I am trying
to understand why there is an assumption of a traditional metric pattern
with variation that the words will fit.

So if you exaggerate the stresses (as on the caps), does it sound natural
to say the following:

The inTOLeraBLE shirt of FLAME

or

The in TOLeraBLE SHIRT of FLAME.

I don't think any English speaker would ever say that because the suffix is
never the strong syllable, at least not this one.  (I'm trying to think of any.)
???
Nancy



Date sent:              Wed, 1 Jan 2003 14:34:01 -0500
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From:                   "D.Gregory Griffith" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                Re: Meter in LG IV/208
To:                     [log in to unmask]

Marcia,
    No problem on the sequence of the posts; it's good to know
someone agrees with my own attempts, or at least has a similar
view and method. It's also nice to see another take on that
tricky fourth line! Again, I don't hear it the way I scanned it,
but I don't quite elide a syllable in "intolerable" when I speak
it, though I know I've heard many people pronounce it as a four
syllable word. Your own scan of four seems closer than mine,
but I'm a bit uncomfortable with "shirt" receiving no stress.
What do you think of this as a possibility:
_     _  /        _ _       /     /            _   /
The intol     era       ble shirt      of flame
It does technically depart from the meter, or change its identity
as you put it in a previous post,  and it offers two less frequently
used feet in English--a pyrrhic followed by a spondee--and one
after the other seems very rare indeed, but no possibility seems
absolute to me at this point, so I'm experimenting.

Marcia Karp wrote:

> Dear Greg,
>     I seem to following in your feet.  I didn't mean to ignore your
> post--I didn't see it until I'd sent mine off.   Thanks for pointing out
> the problem with transmission of the accents.  Here's my attempt to keep
> the marks in line:
>
>     ~    /  ~  /  ~   /    ~     /
>     The intolerable shirt of flame    [GJ]
>     ~    ~  /  ~  ~   /    ~     /
>     The intolerable shirt of flame     [MSK]
>
> It is an interesting verse.
>
> Marcia