Print

Print


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