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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: February ::
Re: "Chastely"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0567  Monday, 25 February 2002

[1]     From:   John D. Cox <
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        Date:   Monday, 25 Feb 2002 13:29:39 -0500
        Subj:   Pronunciation

[2]     From:   Peter Groves <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Feb 2002 12:26:29 +1100 (EST)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.0549 "Chastely"

[3]     From:   David Wallace <
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        Date:   Monday, 25 Feb 2002 18:44:37 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0549 "Chastely"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John D. Cox <
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Date:           Monday, 25 Feb 2002 13:29:39 -0500
Subject:        Pronunciation

Regarding Larry Weiss's question about pronouncing "chastely," the best
authority is Fausto Cercignani, *Shakespeare's Works and Elizabethan
Pronunciation* (Oxford, 1981).  I don't have a copy, so I don't know
what he says about a trisyllabic pronunciation for "chastely."

John Cox
Hope College

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Groves <
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Date:           Tuesday, 26 Feb 2002 12:26:29 +1100 (EST)
Subject: 13.0549 "Chastely"
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.0549 "Chastely"

> In AW/EW,III.vii.31-36 (Riverside, following F1), Helena says to Diana's
> mother:
>
> You see it lawful then.  It is no more
> But that your daughter, ere she seems as won,
> Desires this ring; appoints him an encounter;
> In fine, delivers me to fill the time,
> Herself most chastely absent.  After,
> To marry her, I'll add three thousand crowns
> To what is passed already.
>
> The F2 editors, apparently to fix a perceived missing half foot in l.34,
> inserted "this" following "after".  Many modern editors adopt the
> emendation (e.g., Alexander, Kittridge, Dover Wilson).  (Riverside and
> the Oxford editors retain F1.) It seems to me that F1 needs no
> improvement.  The line does not halt if "chastely" is read
> trisyllabically -- chaste-i-ly.  Is there any other evidence that this
> was an accepted pronunciation?

Shakespeare elsewhere treats it disyllabically, as one would expect:
"Wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian" (AWEW 1.3.218).
Moreover, if you give it a trisyllabic pronunciation here the line
becomes unmetrical, both to my ear and to all the linguistic metrics
(Halle-Keyser, Kiparsky, Attridge, etc).

However, there is plenty of precedent for reading with a syllabic /l/
<metri causa>:

A rotten Case abides no handling        (2H4 4.1.161)
The parts and graces of the Wrastler    (AYL 2.2.13)
You, the great Toe of this Assembly?    (Cor. 1.1.159)

Peter Groves

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Wallace <
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Date:           Monday, 25 Feb 2002 18:44:37 -0800
Subject: 13.0549 "Chastely"
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0549 "Chastely"

Larry Weiss writes,

> In AW/EW,III.vii.31-36 (Riverside, following F1), Helena says to Diana's
> mother:
>
> You see it lawful then.  It is no more
> But that your daughter, ere she seems as won,
> Desires this ring; appoints him an encounter;
> In fine, delivers me to fill the time,
> Herself most chastely absent.  After,
> To marry her, I'll add three thousand crowns
> To what is passed already.
>
> The F2 editors, apparently to fix a perceived missing half foot in l.34,
> inserted "this" following "after".  Many modern editors adopt the
> emendation (e.g., Alexander, Kittridge, Dover Wilson).  (Riverside and
> the Oxford editors retain F1.) It seems to me that F1 needs no
> improvement.  The line does not halt if "chastely" is read
> trisyllabically -- chaste-i-ly.  Is there any other evidence that this
> was an accepted pronunciation?

I'm afraid the line reads rather MORE haltingly after the addition of
the extra syllable to "chastely". Scanning it chaste-i-ly would put the
stress in "absent" (AB-sent) in an unacceptable metrical position. With
the emendation you suggest, you have the stresses in chastely
(CHASTE-i-LY) in perfect position but absent would need to be pronounced
ab-SENT in order to scan. (Elsewhere it always scans AB-sent.) In the
scansion you suggest, "after" (AF-ter) would be acceptable since
Shakespeare often inverts the stress in two syllable words that follow a
syntactic break (such as a period, comma, conjunction etc.) But
positioning an inverted foot at the end of a line would be very unusual
and I cannot readily think of a single example.

In any event, even if chastely was, on occasion, pronounced with three
syllables (like "happily"), Shakespeare routinely scans words like
"happily" as two OR three syllables depending on the metrical and
syntactic situation. (Type "happily" into a search engine of the plays
and you'll see this is so.)

I think it more likely that the missing half-foot is either an oversight
(S's or the typesetter's) or deliberately offered to indicate a slight
pause - which seems acceptable given the dramatic context.

I base my remarks here on insights I gleaned as an undergraduate
studying with Kristin Hanson at the University of British Columbia.
Professor Hanson is presently, I believe, at Berkeley. (To my knowledge,
she is not a contributor on this list.) Her "From Dante to Pinsky: A
theoretical perspective on the history of the modern English iambic
pentameter" (in "Rivista di Linguistica, 9.1 1996) is most
illuminating.  I'm sure she has published more on the subject
subsequently. I would be happy to attempt to summarize my understanding
of her ideas on iambic pentameter if you (or anyone) is truly
interested.

Cheers! David Wallace

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