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Re: Scanning

Posted by . on January 03, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Scanning posted by R. Berg on December 27, 2002

: : : : : : : : : The full Scottish proverb:
: : : : : : : : : "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride
: : : : : : : : : If turnips were swords, i'd wear one by my side
: : : : : : : : : If ifs and ands were pots and pans,
: : : : : : : : : there'd be no need for tinkers' hands"

: : : : : : : Is it just me? I can't make this scan:
: : : : : : : If turnips were swords, i'd wear one by my side
: : : : : : : Either there's another way to read it, or word it ... or the Scots can't scan.

: : It does scan. There are twelve beats per line. The word "swords" lasts for just one beat not two.

: The part that gives me trouble is "wear one by my side": its length and pattern of accents. It doesn't divide into DA-da-da like the rest. And the first line has only ten syllables. Are you counting more than one beat for some syllables? "If wi-shes were ho-or-ses, beg-gars would ri-ide"?

Sorry, I wasn't too clear. The verse is some sort of amphibrachic tetrameter, I think, which is short-long-short four times per line. The uppercase syllables below are stressed:

"If WISHes were HORSes, BEGgars would RIDE.
If TURnips were SWORDS, I'd wear ONE by my SIDE.
If IFS and ANDS were POTS and PANS,
There'd BE no NEED for TINkers' HANDS."

When you say the second line, do not pause at all. Ignore the comma. It scans. Really.