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Dear Gregory,

With the exception of line four, I agree that your scansion works, but I
think, as you note, it could be read differently in places.  For example, as
two words "can not" would have a stress on "not."  But as one word, I
would not read the stress there.  It tends to run together as two
unstresses.  I would also read it with what you note as a variant with the
stress on "who" in "who then."

But I do not think any native English speaker would ever promote "ble" to a
stress.  To do so would make the line sound absurd, would it not?

If we give up that, we have three lines of four stress and two of three
stress.  That might be a basic tetrameter if all the rest is, and I'd have to
check, but in the given lines it is "not a consistent meter" is it?  Since I do
not stress the "not," that gives trimeter with variation.  But I think it is
based on stresses and not any single meter.  But I think you are right that
in the whole section, most lines have four stresses.  They do not have any
regularity of iambic or trochaic or whatever though there are more iambs I
think, at least in the first stanza.  I would have to scan it all carefully to
see because it does not fall into a pattern except for the predominance of
four stress lines overall.
Nancy



Date sent:              Wed, 1 Jan 2003 13:14:28 -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]

Nancy, Gunnar,

I read the lines as tetrameter with variations. I offer my scansion
below. I do also notice the missing beat in the 3rd line that Gunnar
has pointed out. The asterisk over line four indicates a syllable that in
traditional scansion would probably be "promoted" to a stressed syllable,
though it's nearly impossible for me to hear. Promoting a syllable is
usually done (if  I'm remembering my class in metrics) if  1. the poem
scans regularly enough elsewhere to warrant that the foot in question
should "follow suit"  2.  the unstressed syllable in question creates a
verse foot that does not (according to traditional methods of scansion)
exist in English. In the line and feet in question, the second foot would
be three unstressed syllables--a "tribrach"-- followed by a "cretic" foot
(stressed, unstressed, stressed: /_ /). Neither of those feet is common to
English scansion. My opinion is the fourth line should scan:
                                 _     _  /   _ /  _      /      _   /
                                The intol |era| ble shirt| of flame
Rather than:
                                 _     _  /    _ _  _     /    _   /
                                 The intol |erable| shirt of flame

My scan of the whole:

_        /      _  /        _    /    _         /
Who then devised the torment? Love.
 /        _   _    /  _   /   _   /
Love is  the unfamiliar Name
_    /       _    /         _     /
Behind the hands that wove
_      _  /  _  *  _   /     _    /
The intolerable shirt of flame
_            /  _     /   _     _   /      _   /
Which human power cannot remove.

I already see a  foot or two that could be scanned as reversed:
 _       /
Who then

could be :
 /        _
Who then

but reversing feet is usually considered to be acceptable substitution
within the meter whereas a completely different foot--an anapest let's
say--is considered a departure from the meter. Again, the meter here has
been "loosened" to accept both occasional substitutions and departures.

Happy New Year to all!
--Greg--


Nancy Gish wrote:

> Dear Gunnar,
>
> It is not a consistent meter.  First you need to put "the" back in "Love
> is the unfamiliar name."  Then I think Carrol is right that it is based
> on three stresses with variable unstresses.  There is no regular
> syllable count or metric pattern but there is the three stress rhythm.
> Nancy
>
> Date sent:              Wed, 1 Jan 2003 05:42:53 +0100
> Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum."
> <[log in to unmask]> From:                   Gunnar Jauch
> <[log in to unmask]> Subject:                Meter in LG IV/208 To:
>                     [log in to unmask]
>
> Dear all,
>
> while New Year sweeps across our planet, let us all hope for a peaceful
> 2003. Let us pray that Mr. Bush shall follow up on his promise given
> tonight to solve all international problems by ways of diplomacy.
>
> I should like to open a new topical thread with the aforementioned
> verses that allude to Julian of Norwich's words, perhaps THE central
> part of the entire Quartets:
>
> Who then devised the torment? Love.
> Love is unfamiliar Name
> Behind the hands that wove
> The intolerable shirt of flame
> Which human power cannot remove.
>
> There is, it seems to me, a metric problem with the third line.
> All other lines have another rhythm (hexameter?), whereas, in the third,
> two beats are missing:
>
>  -  -  -  -
>
>  -  -  -  -
>
>  -  -  -
>
>  -  -  -  -
>
>  -  -  -  -
>
> Rereading and memorizing the poem, I keep stumbling over this anomaly
> over and over again. Think of altering it into  "gentle/caring/magic"
> hands, and the entire stanza would get a more fluent rhythm.
>
> The  stanza's symmetry the different line denotes, however, would be
> lost. And maybe this was the reason why TSE wrote it as such.
>
> Any suggestions?
>
> Gunnar