Page images
PDF
EPUB

this regard, it would seem evident that these cases are parallel with such as the following : Aen. i, 48 :

bella gero. et quisquam numen Iunonis adorat. The term elision is a convenient one to apply to this phenomenon whether in Vergil, Dante, or Milton. No line of demarcation can be drawn in Milton between the cases cited above in which there is a marked sense-pause and such a vowel combination as th' Almighty. It would seem clear that Milton regarded the latter as elision from the fact that he omitted the vowel in writing (Bridges, Milton's Prosody, p. 50).

Let us compare Milton's earlier use of the extra syllable before a pause with his later method. I desire to emphasize the fact that it is not simply the absolute length of a syllable which makes it long or short to the ear, but its method of utterance and its relation to the following pause. The ear and the eye have their own laws, and these are not in all cases the laws of mathematics. Discussions of prosody do not always appear to have given sufficient weight to this principle. L. Müller (Hor. Sat. und Epist. p. xxvi) goes so far in the opposite direction as to justify the introduction of a caesura after a preposition in composition on the ground that it is tmesis for the ear only.

Milton's earlier method is illustrated by the following:

Comus 66 To quench the drouth of Phoebus; which as they taste.

The light pronunciation with low pitch which must here be given to the extra syllable, would tend to make it blend with the pause to such an extent that it would count rather as a part of the pause than of the verse proper. This use of the extra syllable involved a method of pronunciation which was more in harmony with the spirit of the drama than with that of epic poetry. In Paradise Lost the extra syllable is used in connection with a pause only when the syllable before the pause ends in a vowel, and the following syllable begins with a vowel and is unaccented; or we may say that the hypermetrical syllable is replaced by elision. The first syllable with its falling tone and diminishing sound blends

X, 86

with the pause, and the following unaccented syllable rises from the pause and completes the verse-syllable. If a consonant intervened, the effect of unity would be broken. With the verse-type in mind, the two syllables produce the effect of one verse-syllable, and the pause does not prevent this any more than a caesura destroys the unity of the foot. The reason for the unaccented syllable as the second part of the elision is readily felt. There would not be the effect of one verse-syllable if the elements forming it were in a different pitch, especially if the first ended in a low pitch and the second began with a high pitch.

It is more essential even in English with its strong stressaccent that the pitch of the two syllables in elision be the same than that the quantity or stress should be similar. This may be seen from such lines as the following:

Of high collateral glory ; Him thrones and powers. xii, 582 Deeds to thy knowledge answerable ; add faith. In the case of these lines the verse-syllable is more affected by a rise in the pitch of the second syllable than by increased stress, 1

When there is no sense-pause the second syllable may be accented :

ix, 1082 And rapture so oft beheld; those heavenly shapes. Here the two syllables form one continuous sound with the upward glide, or rising pitch, and thus form one verse-syllable.

I have assumed that the rule which is observed in regard to accent in pause-elision shows that the pause was to be observed in reading. The conviction that the sense-pause in elision should in some way be recognized has often been expressed. For example, Corssen (Aussprache 11%, 781) says that pause-elision is only for the poet and the reader, "auf

1 As a rule in English, as in many languages, pitch and stress increase together, but they do not necessarily correspond. Cf. Sievers, Phonetik5, § 658, 245; § 259, 246.

2 The reason for the unaccented syllable in pause-elision cannot be the same as in elision in which the first part is the ultima of an iambic word. In the latter case the unaccented syllable is used in the second part of the elision in order that the characteristic syllable of the iambic word may not be obscured.

der Bühne kann sie nicht gesprochen und gehört worden sein." This also appears to be the view of Kühner, though it is somewhat differently expressed. Professor Humphreys (Trans. Am. Phil. Assoc. X, p. 40) would pronounce both vowels in pause-elision in Greek, but would not observe the pause.

He holds the view that in other cases the elided vowels were suppressed.

The failure to recognize the sense-pause in elision has led to all manner of difficulties in regard to the caesura.1

It has given rise to the theory of a “latent caesura which in reality is no caesura, and has even resulted in the placing of the caesura after a preposition in composition (L. Müller, Hor. Sat. 11. Epist. p. xxvi).

From what has been said of accent in relation to the pauseelision in Milton, it will appear that I regard harmony in the pitch between the syllables as the essential element. The

1 Elision in the diaeresis of the pentameter is regarded as a defect (Plessis, Métrique, 112). Yet Catullus has fifteen cases (Class. Rev. XV, 362). The fact that this elision was discarded by later poets does not prove that it was a defect, any more than the fact that Vergil has a larger percentage of elisions than the later writers shows his inferiority in this respect.

2 Greek verse as a rule avoids a marked sentence-accent on the second syllable in pause-elision, and this accent is indisputably one of pitch. The same general principle applies to the Greek, as has been illustrated in the case of the Latin, though the Greek does not conform so strictly to the rule. We may illustrate the Greek usage by a reference to Soph. Antig. and Oei. Tyr. We have such cases of the accented short vowel in the second syllable of pause-elision as the vocative dvað and the imperatives dyete and Itw. We have noted that the Latin and the Italian display a greater freedom in the use of the vocative and the imperative than in other forms of nouns and verbs. The Greek does not seem to make so inarked a distinction between the short and the long syllable in relation to the accent as does the Latin.

In the case of the long syllable in the second part of pause-elision, we find in frequent use such words as have as a rule only a secondary sentence-accent, such as : oớr', elt', bot', eŮ, ola, etc.

The most exceptional examples of pause-elision are the following: the voca. tive vaš found in Antig. 563; Oed. Tyr. 286, 304, 852. The imperative to ou Oed. Tyr. 346, 1022.

Antig. 305 ευ τούτ' επίστασ', όρκιος δέ σοι λέγω.

755 ει μή πατήρ ησθ', είπον αν σ' ουκ ευ φρονείν. Oed. Tyr. 222 νύν δ', ύστερος γάρ αστός εις αστους τελώ.

249 επεύχομαι δ', οίκοισιν ει ξυνέστιος.
527 ηυδάτο μεν τάδ', οίδα δ' ου γνώμη τίνι.

interpretation of the rule of accent in pause-elision in Latin, which seems to me to grow out of the nature of the case, emphasizes that element of the accent which our best ancient authorities consider its essential characteristic. Even though we do not concede that they were correct, yet their statements seem clearly to imply that they interpreted accentus to be pitch-accent like the Greek. (Cf. Trans. Am. Phil. Assoc. XXXV, 65 ff.; Vendryes, 35; Sievers, Phonetik5, § 570, 216.)

The second syllable in pause-elision in Latin seems to allow an increase in stress rather than a rise in pitch. The second syllable is often such a word as the pronoun hic, and it is used in some cases even when emphasis falls on it, as in Verg. Ecl. i, 13. We do not, however, find that the pronoun could be replaced by a noun. The natural inference is that this pronoun, which is usually a sentence-enclitic, has the low tone of an enclitic, and that emphasis does not add so much to the pitch as to the stress.1

It seems to me that some evidence in relation to the pitch may be derived from elisions which occur at the end of a question. Though we may not be able to prove in any given case that the Romans used the rising inflection, yet in certain cases the probability would be in favor of the rising inflection, in others of the falling. The question arises whether there is the tendency to have an accented syllable in the second part of the elision, when, owing to the question,

In the two lines from the Antigone the exceptional character of the elisions is in harmony with the agitation of the speaker; in the three last lines the weakness of the first syllable of the elision is to be taken into account. Cf. footnote on -que, p. 93.

The Homeric poems show greater freedom usage in regard to pause-elision than does later Greek verse. In Homer even accented nouns are not infrequently found, as: II. i, 104; ii, 775, 807, 842; Od. i, 429; iv, 261.

1 The tendency to admit the imperative in pause-elision in preference to other forms of the verb is naturally explained by the relatively low pitch which characterizes the imperative. Horace has the following examples of this use of the imperative: esto, accipe, and aufer (p. 86); in the Oed. Tyr. Yo Ou is thus twice employed (p. 106); one of the most exceptional cases in Dante is the imperative alza (p. 102); Milton also presents at least one striking example (p. 105).

2 No trace of the influence of pitch can be discovered in phonetics (Vendryes, op. cit. 39).

[ocr errors]

the first syllable would naturally have the rising inflection. Let us consider that case of elision in Persius which would seem to be the most exceptional of all when considered simply in relation to the general rule of pause-elision :

iii, 7 unus ait comitum. “ verumne? itane? ocius adsit.

The rising inflection would seem to be natural in verumne and itane. Such an interpretation would explain the accented long vowel of ocius in pause-elision. Itane probably has at least as prominent an accent on the first syllable as on the second. Here, as often, Persius imitates the form and spirit of comedy, and the normal accent of itane when elided, as it is in this case, would be on the first syllable in Plautus (Amer. Journ. Phil. XIV, 313). For tántane see Probus K. IV, 145. Catullus 77, 1, 2 Rufe, mihi frustra ac nequiquam credite amice

(frustra? immo magno cum pretio atque malo). As in this case there is no means of indicating the question except by the tone of the voice, the rising inflection may be assumed. The accent of immo, which would otherwise be exceptional in pause-elision, is explained by the high pitch of the preceding syllable. The following cases of pause-elision seem somewhat similar: Hor. Sat. i, 3, 20; i, 4, 126, 137. Such pause-elisions as these, even when the pitch of the two parts corresponds, is more marked and more abrupt than the normal form. In elisions with the low tone in both syllables, the effect of the pause is produced by the fall and rise of the voice, even though the actual pause be but slight. When the syllables in elision have the high pitch, the contrast between the sound and the pause is very marked. Accordingly in the more formal kinds of poetry we do not find elision used with a question which seems to require the rising pitch. The similarity in pitch may also be an element in such cases as Aen. ix, 427 me me (adsum . . ., and Persius i, u euge! omnes. The accent on the ultima of euge is as strong as on the first syllable (Donat. K. IV, 371).

The accent of Latin stands in marked contrast to that of English, in which the stress is strong and is the main element,

« PreviousContinue »