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Thread: Question on English Metrics : -ed Pronunciation

  1. #1
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    Question on English Metrics : -ed Pronunciation

    Hello,

    I am attempting to understand when to pronounce the -ed endings of past tense verbs in pre-20th century English poetry. I read all my texts out loud and I am confused as to how to pronounce certain passages.

    Authors will often write their past tense verb endings with either -ed or 'd or 't, signifying the word ought or not to be pronounced with an extra syllable.

    Tennyson : Match't with an aged wife I meet and dole (...)

    In this iambic pentameter verse, the stresses (in bold) would be as follow : Match't with an aged wife I meet and dole (...)

    When an author does make this distinction, does this signify all -ed endings must be pronounced as an additional syllable ? or only certain ones ? and on what basis do we make the distinction?

    If I understand correctly, we ought to pronounce the -ed ending as an additional syllable (against conventional usage) if the preceding and following syllables are both stressed (in order to maintain the iambic meter)?

    Thus in the following verse by George Gordon Byron (from Childe Harold's Pilgrimage):

    Richly caparisoned, a ready row
    Of Armed horse, and many a warlike store (...)

    (stressed syllables are in bold)

    the -ed of the word "armed" ought to be pronounced in order to create an additional syllable.

    However in this other verse from Byron (from Childe Harold's Pilgrimage):

    We once have loved, though love is at an end (...)

    we would not pronounce the -ed of the word loved as an additional syllable, since it is not necessary, unless the author wants an anapest ( ... -ed though love) instead of an iamb ? but then why ? how do I infer how classical poetry ought to be read/recited ?

    Please help me understand if my reasoning is correct. Thank you !
    Last edited by Citrouille; 05-13-2016 at 08:57 AM.

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    You need to research literary expert.

  3. #3
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I have not come across many authors or poets who ended past participles with 't or 'd.

    The word 'aged' is unusual. You can pronounce it in two syllables, but is normally pronounced in one. 'Armed' and 'loved' are pronounced in one syllables, although 'be-lov-ed' if often pronounced as three. I think the occasion you most often hear 'be-lov-ed' is at wedding services. "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God..."
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    English spelling is notoriously inconsistent.

    Now I think of it the current usage is not to say the ag-ed, but the elderly. I'd use one syllable if I was talking about wine (ag'd) but two if I was (ironically) using the now archaic two syllable form for talking about people. Thinking of Wemmick in Great Expectations I'd think of his father as the Aged P, with two syllables.

    Off my head Dryden's translation of the Aeniad (and you don't get more classic than that) begins with a number of shortened past participles:

    Arms and the man I sing who forc'd by fate
    And haughty Juno's unrelenting hate,
    Expell'd and exil'd left the Trojan shore...

    You just have to go by the scansion.
    Last edited by Jackson Richardson; 06-19-2016 at 08:16 AM.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    I’ve just read Book 1 of Paradise Lost – a notoriously literary rather than demotic work.

    As far as I noticed the –ed endings are all elided or silent with the following exceptions:

    Three very literary and now archaic words – wishéd, fixéd and thronéd.

    When –ed comes after a stem ending in d or t, such as confounded, resounded or alienated. That would still be the case in modern conversational English.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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