1. History: When Was The Louisiana Purchase?
Good God, you don’t know, do you. You’re within a few years, but you’re not quite sure.
2. Language: Please pronounce the following two phrases — “Trumpeter Swan” and “Schumpeter Fan.”
Now explain the differences in sound, in every one of the four syllables, of these two phrases?
3. Literature: Can a play written in iambic pentameter admit of a line of five trochees?
You know the answer: Never, never, never, never, never.
That’s all for now.
five trochees worked, I bet, because, in the original pronunciation, more accent was on the second syllable than we put. Probably not as strong as in Ada’s frenchification of the line.
But I am not Helge Kökeritz, nor was meant to be. I’ve always simple-mindedly thought the line works because the wrenching of the stress — no need to invoke Nabokov’s scuds or Bely’s diagrams for the ?????????????? ??? — expresses the wrenching of Lear’s heart and mind. And there’s enough iambic pentameter to allow for this one, called-for, perfectly trochaic line.
I’d forgotten Ada’s environmental wail: “n’est vert, n’est vert, n’est vert n’est vert, n’est vert.” It wasn’t even in my head, but it will be now whenever I read about climate change.