Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-19-2008, 08:50 AM
Derleth Derleth is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
Posts: 20,786
"What immortal hand or eye,/Could frame thy fearful symmetry": Did this rhyme? How?

OK, we should all know the public domain poem The Tyger:
Quote:
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
In it, Blake used a rather marked rhyme that today, in my dialect, fails to work entirely. Specifically, 'eye' and 'symmetry' don't rhyme even a little bit. Did they rhyme for Blake? I know the form demands it, but unless a foot can kick your ass you aren't taking orders from it. If they did rhyme, did Blake pronounce it 'eee' or 'simm-ih-try'?

This flammable feline has been bothering me for too long now. Hell, it doesn't even rhyme in the Bri'ish dialects I know of.
__________________
"Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them."
If you don't stop to analyze the snot spray, you are missing that which is best in life. - Miller
I'm not sure why this is, but I actually find this idea grosser than cannibalism. - Excalibre, after reading one of my surefire million-seller business plans.

Last edited by Derleth; 05-19-2008 at 08:51 AM.
  #2  
Old 05-19-2008, 09:01 AM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 78,508
Dude, Blake was a near-contemporary of Byron. Check out the rhymes in "Don Juan" (pronounced "JOO-wan") sometime.
  #3  
Old 05-19-2008, 09:23 AM
Huerta88 Huerta88 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,448
I'm also convinced that back in the day poets gave themselves a fair amount of leeway to "rhyme" things that were not pronounced, even then, similarly, if the letters matched up. I call this the "lame rhyme." Check out E. Dickinson for many an example.
  #4  
Old 05-19-2008, 11:11 AM
Skara_Brae Skara_Brae is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Southern New England
Posts: 1,373
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huerta88
I'm also convinced that back in the day poets gave themselves a fair amount of leeway to "rhyme" things that were not pronounced, even then, similarly, if the letters matched up. I call this the "lame rhyme." Check out E. Dickinson for many an example.
Emily Dickinson used a known technique called "Slant rhyme." I guess you can think it is lame, but I think it is actually harder then a "real" rhyme.

From Wikipedia:
Quote:
Half rhyme, sometimes called slant, sprung or near rhyme is consonance on the final consonants of the words involved. Many half rhymes are also eye rhymes. It is widely used in Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and Icelandic verse. Some examples are ill and shell and also dropped and wept.
  #5  
Old 05-19-2008, 11:28 AM
Frylock Frylock is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 19,721
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skara_Brae
Emily Dickinson used a known technique called "Slant rhyme." I guess you can think it is lame, but I think it is actually harder then a "real" rhyme.

From Wikipedia:
Why would it be harder?

-FrL-
  #6  
Old 05-19-2008, 11:31 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 58,797
It rhymes if it's read by Eric Cartman.
  #7  
Old 05-19-2008, 11:37 AM
ArizonaTeach ArizonaTeach is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 2,181
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
Dude, Blake was a near-contemporary of Byron. Check out the rhymes in "Don Juan" (pronounced "JOO-wan") sometime.
Well, there was a reason for that. Blake, who knows. I think it's more of an eye rhyme than a slant rhyme, but it's hazy.
  #8  
Old 05-19-2008, 11:47 AM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
KB not found. Press any key
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Central Arkansas
Posts: 57,302
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic
It rhymes if it's read by Eric Cartman.
Darn you. Darn you to heck!
  #9  
Old 05-19-2008, 12:02 PM
The Hamster King The Hamster King is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 10,138
Tygger, tygger, bouncing high,
Like a tea tray in the sky.
What hand framed thee? Lies the fault
with Milne (A. A.) or Disney (Walt)?

For A. A.'s dead and Walt's on ice
So we can't ask them what device
Of dread design hath forged in thee
Thy wonderful uniquity!

What the rubber? What the springs?
What of Hobbes, off in the wings?
What of Calvin? What a mess!
What's on second? (But I digress.)

Tygger, tygger, bouncing high,
Like a tea tray in the sky.
What hand framed thee? Lies the fault
with Milne (A. A.) or Disney (Walt)?
  #10  
Old 05-19-2008, 12:06 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 45,334
You'll also notice that the symmetry line also only contains three accented feet, whereas all the other lines contain four. (Unless, you force an accent on the ultimate syllable of "symmetry." I suppose you could also make a case for the first foot being a spondee, depending on your reading, but, in any case, the fourth and final lines of the poem stick out rhythmically from the rest.)

I've never heard eye/symmetry as a perfect rhyme. My simple interpretation is that Blake was changing up the rhyme and rhythm in order to emphasize these lines. You could probably also make some sort of case for it also echoing the idea of symmetry (or perhaps imperfect human symmetry, depending on how you want to look at it.)

Personally, I think it's mostly a musical effect to underscore and engrain those lines. When everything else is surrounded in perfect, sing-songy, masculine rhymes, and a line juts out like that, you're going to remember it even more.
  #11  
Old 05-19-2008, 12:06 PM
dropzone's Avatar
dropzone dropzone is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Cloud Cuckoo Land
Posts: 28,818
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaTeach
Well, there was a reason for that.
That was on purpose? I always thought that it was part of that seeming obstinance of upper class Engish that all words, no matter the language, should be pronounced as God and the King/Queen intended and that Spanish, Italian, and French were lesser, Catholic tongues to be mangled at will.
  #12  
Old 05-19-2008, 12:07 PM
Frylock Frylock is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 19,721
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pochacco
Tygger, tygger, bouncing high,
Like a tea tray in the sky.
What hand framed thee? Lies the fault
with Milne (A. A.) or Disney (Walt)?

For A. A.'s dead and Walt's on ice
So we can't ask them what device
Of dread design hath forged in thee
Thy wonderful uniquity!

What the rubber? What the springs?
What of Hobbes, off in the wings?
What of Calvin? What a mess!
What's on second? (But I digress.)

Tygger, tygger, bouncing high,
Like a tea tray in the sky.
What hand framed thee? Lies the fault
with Milne (A. A.) or Disney (Walt)?
A google search seems to reveal you made that up.

Bravo!

-FrL-
  #13  
Old 05-19-2008, 12:09 PM
Frylock Frylock is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 19,721
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaTeach
Well, there was a reason for that.
That Wikipedia article makes the claim, but doesn't seem to offer evidence for the claim, that it was done on purpose as a joke. Do you know of any other cites?

-FrL-
  #14  
Old 05-19-2008, 12:11 PM
The Hamster King The Hamster King is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 10,138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock
A google search seems to reveal you made that up.

Bravo!
Thank you, thank you.
  #15  
Old 05-19-2008, 12:45 PM
pepperlandgirl pepperlandgirl is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Utah
Posts: 9,440
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock
That Wikipedia article makes the claim, but doesn't seem to offer evidence for the claim, that it was done on purpose as a joke. Do you know of any other cites?

-FrL-
I'm confused. Why do you think the claim isn't true? Byron's Don Juan is a parody of the Don Juan legend. Nearly everything in the poem is some sort of joke. Even the shipwreck scene with the cannibalism is played for laughs....

Blake was a big fan of slant rhyme. I wonder if that was related to his engravings. Poetry seemed to be a very visual experience for him. I'd lay odds that when composing a poem, he was far more concerned with how it would look in a print than with how it would sound.

Last edited by pepperlandgirl; 05-19-2008 at 12:48 PM.
  #16  
Old 05-19-2008, 12:56 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 45,334
Quote:
Originally Posted by pepperlandgirl
I'd lay odds that when composing a poem, he was far more concerned with how it would look in a print than with how it would sound.
I'd say he's at least equally concerned with both. There's no lack of technique in Blake's poetry, and he has a very sharp ear for the sound of words. As much of an innovator as he was in printmaking (inventing relief etching, the inverse of intaglio etching), it'd be a bit of a dismissal of his skills as a poet to say he was more interested with how the poems looked rather than sounded.
  #17  
Old 05-19-2008, 01:14 PM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Decatur, Illinois, USA
Posts: 14,041
Color me surprised that nobody has mentioned the concept of "poetic license" yet. Wiki article that's rather rambling but not uninformative.

Me, I first encountered the concept in Ninth Grade Honors English class. We were using Louis Untermeyer's collection of story poems as a textbook, and the first time we came to a rhyme that didn't...exactly...rhyme, and our little 14-year-old heads started to explode, the teacher simply explained, "It's called poetic license when it doesn't quite rhyme, but the word the poet wants to use is the perfect word, so he goes ahead and lets it not...exactly...rhyme. And that's Ohhhh-kay." And we all collectively filed the factoid away and moved on.

Quote:
I'm also convinced that back in the day poets gave themselves a fair amount of leeway to "rhyme" things that were not pronounced, even then, similarly, if the letters matched up. I call this the "lame rhyme."
No, it's called "poetic license".
  #18  
Old 05-19-2008, 01:23 PM
eleanorigby eleanorigby is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Present and Accounted For
Posts: 18,256
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pochacco
Tygger, tygger, bouncing high,
Like a tea tray in the sky.
What hand framed thee? Lies the fault
with Milne (A. A.) or Disney (Walt)?

For A. A.'s dead and Walt's on ice
So we can't ask them what device
Of dread design hath forged in thee
Thy wonderful uniquity!

What the rubber? What the springs?
What of Hobbes, off in the wings?
What of Calvin? What a mess!
What's on second? (But I digress.)

Tygger, tygger, bouncing high,
Like a tea tray in the sky.
What hand framed thee? Lies the fault
with Milne (A. A.) or Disney (Walt)?

That was wonderful. Thank you.
  #19  
Old 05-19-2008, 01:26 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 45,334
Sure, you can lop everything under "poetic license," but I think that's a rather oversimplistic explanation meant for 9th graders.

I guess I take issue to this: "It's called poetic license when it doesn't quite rhyme, but the word the poet wants to use is the perfect word, so he goes ahead and lets it not...exactly...rhyme."

Poets very often are quite conscious of not making a word rhyme exactly. It's not necessarily that the word is perfect so rhyme be damned. It's quite often not wanting to use a masculine rhyme because the effect is unwanted. (To my ears, perfect rhyme in AABB form these days can sound a bit sing-songy and "light." For most subjects, I prefer more gentle "rhymes." See Seamus Heaney for somebody who uses traditional forms and more contemporary ideas of rhyme in his work.)

I think Blake is being very deliberate in his choice of metrical variance and non-rhyme, and it's for emphatic effect.

Last edited by pulykamell; 05-19-2008 at 01:29 PM.
  #20  
Old 05-19-2008, 01:29 PM
ArizonaTeach ArizonaTeach is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 2,181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock
That Wikipedia article makes the claim, but doesn't seem to offer evidence for the claim, that it was done on purpose as a joke. Do you know of any other cites?

-FrL-
Well, I've gotta say, I've never heard it not being an intentional joke. The whole thing's a parody...
  #21  
Old 05-19-2008, 01:29 PM
Frylock Frylock is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 19,721
Quote:
Originally Posted by pepperlandgirl
I'm confused. Why do you think the claim isn't true?
I don't. I know nothing whatsoever about the poem. I just saw the claim in Wikipedia that the pronunciation is a joke, and I saw no citation, so I was asking for more. Which you provided, so, thanks!

-FRL-

Last edited by Frylock; 05-19-2008 at 01:30 PM.
  #22  
Old 05-19-2008, 04:35 PM
Roderick Femm's Avatar
Roderick Femm Roderick Femm is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: On the cusp, also in SF
Posts: 6,574
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell
Sure, you can lop everything under "poetic license," but I think that's a rather oversimplistic explanation meant for 9th graders.

I guess I take issue to this: "It's called poetic license when it doesn't quite rhyme, but the word the poet wants to use is the perfect word, so he goes ahead and lets it not...exactly...rhyme."

Poets very often are quite conscious of not making a word rhyme exactly. It's not necessarily that the word is perfect so rhyme be damned. It's quite often not wanting to use a masculine rhyme because the effect is unwanted. (To my ears, perfect rhyme in AABB form these days can sound a bit sing-songy and "light." For most subjects, I prefer more gentle "rhymes." See Seamus Heaney for somebody who uses traditional forms and more contemporary ideas of rhyme in his work.)

I think Blake is being very deliberate in his choice of metrical variance and non-rhyme, and it's for emphatic effect.
I second this one, from my dim memories of a college poetry class. Those two lines stand out from the rest of the poem precisely because the rhyme is a little off, especially since all the other rhymes are rather pat. I don't remember if we discussed why it was theoretically important to Blake to emphasize those lines, but being the poet he was, I doubt it was anything other than intentional.


Roddy
  #23  
Old 05-19-2008, 05:03 PM
Terminus Est's Avatar
Terminus Est Terminus Est is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: The tropics
Posts: 7,215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock
I don't. I know nothing whatsoever about the poem. I just saw the claim in Wikipedia that the pronunciation is a joke, and I saw no citation, so I was asking for more. Which you provided, so, thanks!

-FRL-
The English don't seem to know how to pronounce "junta" or "Quixote" (jewn-ta and quick-shot, respectively), so how can I be expected to believe that they know how to pronounce "Don Juan"?
  #24  
Old 05-19-2008, 05:32 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Pit of the Peach State
Posts: 17,909
Pfft. Blake's got nuthin' on Bobby Burns. The first stanza of To a Mouse:

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle.


Maybe they rhyme in a Scottish accent...
  #25  
Old 05-19-2008, 05:51 PM
rowrrbazzle's Avatar
rowrrbazzle rowrrbazzle is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Chicago
Posts: 8,644
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell
I've never heard eye/symmetry as a perfect rhyme. My simple interpretation is that Blake was changing up the rhyme and rhythm in order to emphasize these lines. You could probably also make some sort of case for it also echoing the idea of symmetry (or perhaps imperfect human symmetry, depending on how you want to look at it.)

Personally, I think it's mostly a musical effect to underscore and engrain those lines. When everything else is surrounded in perfect, sing-songy, masculine rhymes, and a line juts out like that, you're going to remember it even more.
Interesting theory. But verse 3, lines 2 and 3 also have the "symmetry" rhythm, as well as verse 5, lines 2 and 4. There doesn't seem to any particular reason to emphasize those lines. I'll speculate he thought those lines were best as they are and the sprung rhythm and rhyme weren't important. And he was right, of course.
  #26  
Old 05-19-2008, 06:00 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 45,334
Quote:
Originally Posted by rowrrbazzle
Interesting theory. But verse 3, lines 2 and 3 also have the "symmetry" rhythm
How so? I hear it as this:

Could TWIST the SINews (OF) thy HEART? (four stresses)
And WHEN thy HEART beGAN to BEAT, (four stresses)

Quote:
as well as verse 5, lines 2 and 4.

And WAter'd HEAven (WITH) their TEARS (four stresses)
[...]
Did HE who MADE the LAMB make THEE? (four stresses)



While:

WHAT imMORtal HAND or EYE, (four stresses)
(Could) FRAME thy FEARful SYMmetry? (three stresses)

[...]

(Dare) FRAME thy FEARful SYMmetry

although I can also hear a reading of:

DARE FRAME thy FEARful SYMmetry

Either way, it sticks out very obviously because of the lack of rhyme and the verse not ending on an accented syllable. No other lines in the poem share those characteristics.

Last edited by pulykamell; 05-19-2008 at 06:04 PM.
  #27  
Old 05-19-2008, 06:06 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 45,334
I should add, you could add a secondary stress to "symmetry" on the last syllable. It's not quite the way I hear it, but you can make a convincing argument to me. If that's the way we want to read it, then you still have the lack of rhyme emphasizing the couplet.
  #28  
Old 05-19-2008, 06:11 PM
eleanorigby eleanorigby is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Present and Accounted For
Posts: 18,256
Tigers aren't really symmetrical, so perhaps the rhyme is intentional to underscore that.
  #29  
Old 05-19-2008, 06:19 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 45,334
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell
I should add, you could add a secondary stress to "symmetry" on the last syllable. It's not quite the way I hear it, but you can make a convincing argument to me. If that's the way we want to read it, then you still have the lack of rhyme emphasizing the couplet.
The more I read this over and over, the more I feel there is a light stress on the final syllable of "symmetry." Not as strong as the stress on the first syllable of the word, or of any of the other line-ending words, but it may be scanned as a stressed syllable. I've always liked reading the final lines of the first and final stanzas starting with a spondee (stressing the "could" and "dare," especially the "dare") for emphasis.

Last edited by pulykamell; 05-19-2008 at 06:21 PM.
  #30  
Old 05-19-2008, 06:28 PM
Frylock Frylock is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 19,721
Quote:
Originally Posted by eleanorigby
Tigers aren't really symmetrical, so perhaps the rhyme is intentional to underscore that.
Wondering about this, I looked it up in the OED, and found that one of the definitions of symmetry is as follows:

Quote:
1. Mutual relation of the parts of something in respect of magnitude and position; relative measurement and arrangement of parts; proportion.
With qualifying adj. such as just, right, true, coinciding with sense 2.

1563 SHUTE Archit. Aiijb, Concerning ye proportion and simetry to vse the accustomed terme of the arte of the fornamed columbes. Ibid. Bjb, They not knowing any measure of pillours considered howe to make a iust Symetrie,..after that they deuised to make a temple to the goddesse Diana, wherein they dyd deuise an other Symetrie, for that temple. 1570 DEE Math. Pref. aiv, The exhibiting to our eye,..the plat of a Citie,..or Pallace, in true Symmetry. Ibid. ciijb, Now, may you, of any Gunne,..make an other, with the same Symmetrie..as great, and as little, as you will. 1624 WOTTON Archit. in Reliq. (1672) 23 Man..is..as it were the Prototype of all exact Symmetrie. 1650 BULWER Anthropomet. 241 True and native beauty consists in the just composure and symetrie of the parts of the body. 1730 A. GORDON Maffei's Amphith. 313 He marks out a Stair..which agrees not with the Symmetry of the Building.
I think Blake was probably using this meaning of the term.

-FrL-
  #31  
Old 05-19-2008, 06:30 PM
Frylock Frylock is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 19,721
I need to stop reading this thing, because these two lines

Quote:
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
are coming across more and more comically to me with each reading.

-FrL-
  #32  
Old 05-19-2008, 06:33 PM
Contrapuntal Contrapuntal is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Under the lion's paw
Posts: 13,267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock
I think Blake was probably using this meaning of the term.
I believe you are correct.
  #33  
Old 05-19-2008, 06:36 PM
eleanorigby eleanorigby is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Present and Accounted For
Posts: 18,256
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock
Wondering about this, I looked it up in the OED, and found that one of the definitions of symmetry is as follows:



I think Blake was probably using this meaning of the term.

-FrL-
Fine. Ruin my perfectly good theory. See if I care. <stomps off>



I still say it could go either way--That Blake was a wily one.

Last edited by eleanorigby; 05-19-2008 at 06:36 PM.
  #34  
Old 05-19-2008, 06:42 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 22,404
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terminus Est
The English don't seem to know how to pronounce "junta" or "Quixote" (jewn-ta and quick-shot, respectively), so how can I be expected to believe that they know how to pronounce "Don Juan"?
That's true, but I was also slightly agast to hear the local news guy talk about the JUNE-tah this morning Between that and I-rock, I'm left wondering if the media folks learn anything about pronouncing the name of countries or people they'll speak about...

Anyway, I always assumed Blake actually pronounced symmetry like it looks. Eye and Try rhyme. I've heard people say it that way as well, though I'm not sure what for.
  #35  
Old 05-19-2008, 11:38 PM
PastAllReason PastAllReason is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Western Canada
Posts: 1,593
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pochacco
Tygger, tygger, bouncing high,
Like a tea tray in the sky.
What hand framed thee? Lies the fault
with Milne (A. A.) or Disney (Walt)?

For A. A.'s dead and Walt's on ice
So we can't ask them what device
Of dread design hath forged in thee
Thy wonderful uniquity!

What the rubber? What the springs?
What of Hobbes, off in the wings?
What of Calvin? What a mess!
What's on second? (But I digress.)

Tygger, tygger, bouncing high,
Like a tea tray in the sky.
What hand framed thee? Lies the fault
with Milne (A. A.) or Disney (Walt)?
Very impressive! I applaud thee.
  #36  
Old 05-20-2008, 04:48 PM
rowrrbazzle's Avatar
rowrrbazzle rowrrbazzle is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Chicago
Posts: 8,644
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell
I should add, you could add a secondary stress to "symmetry" on the last syllable. It's not quite the way I hear it, but you can make a convincing argument to me.
I do hear it that way, but I agree either way can be argued.

For me, the first thing in that line that distinguishes it is the first thing in that line -- the unaccented, extra first syllable/word. That's what the other lines I mentioned share.

Quote:
If that's the way we want to read it, then you still have the lack of rhyme emphasizing the couplet.
I agree.
  #37  
Old 05-20-2008, 05:43 PM
The Stafford Cripps The Stafford Cripps is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Aawye
Posts: 1,177
Quote:
Originally Posted by spoke-
Pfft. Blake's got nuthin' on Bobby Burns. The first stanza of To a Mouse:

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle.


Maybe they rhyme in a Scottish accent...
I'm no Burns scholar but this doesn't seem so strange - 'beastie' and 'breastie' are definitely intended to rhyme. Is 'hasty' not meant to rhyme with 'chase thee'? The latter 2 would be pronounced the way they are today in standard English. 'Beastie' would probably be pronounced with an 'ee' sound, in which case 'breastie' would be as well.

On the other hand, I think the pronounciation of words with 'ea' has been fluid in the past; we still pronounce 'bear', 'pear' and 'steak' differently from 'bean', 'pea(cock)' or 'dear'. I've been told that in Ireland some words from the latter group are pronounced to rhyme with the first group (witness 'Juno and the Paycock'), and in the past this applied to English in general. This is a very badly written way of saying that I think there's a chance that Burns intended 'beastie' and 'breastie' to rhyme with our pronounciation of 'hasty'.

Regarding Blake, the OP asks
Quote:
If they did rhyme, did Blake pronounce it 'eee' or 'simm-ih-try'?
Is there not an in between option where 'eye' might have been pronounced a bit like a Cockney 'hay' If you imagine how a Brummie (someone from Birmingham, West Midlands) would pronounce 'symmetry' it's possible Blake wrote down what was a perfectly natural sounding rhyme in his day.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:52 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017