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Re: Scanning? I think not.

Posted by R. Berg on January 03, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Scanning? I think not. posted by Bob 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.

: I ain't buyiin' it. I don't think there are 12 syllables in any of those lines. (Of course, I kept my shoes on, so counting to 12 is a challenge for me.)

Bob, let's lose that counting method anyway. It's confusing. I never know whether to include in the total the finger I'm counting the other fingers with.

Mr. or Ms. Fullstop, it didn't occur to me to stress ONE. I stressed WEAR, as in speech:
If TURnips were SWORDS, I'd WEAR one BY my SIDE
and got a line consisting of two and a fraction dactyls followed by three minus a fraction trochees. If that's an amphibrachic something, no wonder they went extinct and turned into petroleum deposits while our ancestors had the size and posture of rats.