previous next

The "pause-accent"  

The accent after a pause is frequently on the first syllable. The pause is generally at the end of the line, and hence it is on the first foot of the following line that this, which may be called the "pause-accent," is mostly found. The first syllable of initial lines also can, of course, be thus accented. It will be seen that in the middle of the line these pause-accents generally follow emphasized monosyllables. (See 480-6.) “Cómfort, | my liége! | why loóks | your gráce | so pále?” Rich. II. iii. 2. 75.

Examples of the "pause-accent" not at the beginning.

(1) “Feéd and | regárd | him nót. | Aré you | a mán?” Macbeth, iii. 4. 58. Sometimes the pause is slight, little more than the time necessary for recovery after an emphatic monosyllable.

(2) “Be ín | their flów | ing cúps | fréshly | remémber'd.” Hen. V. iv. 3. 55. So arrange “And thése | fiátter | ing stréams, | and máke | our fáces.” Macbeth, iii. 2. 33. "These" may be emphasized. (See 484.)

(3) “Whó would | beliéve | me. O'! | péril | ous móuths.” M. for M. ii. 4. 172.

(4) “Afféc | tion, poóh! | You spéak | --líke a | green gírl.” Hamlet, i. 3. 101. “Wé shall | be cáll'd | -- púrgers, | not múr | derérs.” J. C. ii. 1. 180.

(5) “The lífe | of cóm | fort. Bút | for thée, | féllow.Cymb. iv. 3. 9. The old pronunciation "fellów" is probably not Shakespearian.

In (3) (4) and (5) "O," "speak," "call'd," and "thee" may, perhaps, be regarded as dissyllables (see 482-4), and the following foot a quasi-trisyllabic one. There is little practical difference between the two methods of scansion.

(6) “Sénseless | línen! | Háppier | thereín | than I.” Cymb. i. 3. 7.

Here either there is a pause between the epithet and noun, or else "senseless" may possibly be pronounced as a trisyllable, "Sénse (486) | less línen." The line is difficult. “Therefóre, | mérchant, | I'll lím | it thée | this dáy,” C. of E. i. 1. 151. seems to begin with two trochees, like Milton's famous line: “U'ni | vérsal | reproách | far wórse | to béar.” P. L. vi. 34. But "therefore" may have its accent, as marked, on the last syllable.

The old pronunciation "merchánt" is not probable. Or "there" may be one foot (see 480): "Thére | fore mérchant | ."

(7) “Ant. Obéy | it ón | all cáuse. |
Cleop. Párdon, | párdon.” A. and C. iii. 11. 68. is, perhaps, an instance of two consecutive trochees. (There seems no ground for supposing that "pardon" is to be pronounced as in French.) But if the diphthong "cause" be pronounced as a dissyllable (see 484), the difficulty will be avoided.

We find, however, a double trochee (unless "my" has dropped out) in “Sec. Cit. Cæ'sar | has hád | great wróng. |
Third Cit. Hás he, | másters?” J. C. iii. 2. 115.

Even here, however, "wrong" may be a quasi-dissyllable (486).

(8) Between noun and participle a pause seems natural. Often the pause represents "in" or "a-" (178). “Thy knée | bússing | the stónes.” Coriol. iii. 2. 75. “The smíle | mócking | the sígh.” Cymb. iv. 2. 54. “My wínd | cóoling | my bróth.” M. of V. i. 1. 22.

In these lines the foot following the emphasized monosyllable may (as an alternative to the "pause-accent") be regarded as quasi-trisyllabic.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: