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



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.)

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]

    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