Indeed if stress is relative, then a spondee
is, to use Wimsatt and Beardsley's phrasing, "illusory," because "it is impossible to pronounce any two successive syllables in English without some rise or fall of stress--and some rise or fall of stress is all that is needed for a metrical ictus" (158).
Moreover, sound again unifies the passage with the consonance of g, r, and t sounds and the expressive spondees
in the phrases "out- / stretch'd arms" (11) and "but the / old top / is green" (14).
In the conclusion to part 1, after the spell has taken effect and silenced her, Christabel's appearance (presumably because of a collapse in her inward being) deteriorates in shifting lines whose spondees
contract the four beat lines into three:
And iambic meter is NOT a simple succession of LH verse feet but includes triads (LLL), dactyls (HLL), and spondees
(HH) as well.
Line 10 follows a trochaic substitution with a spondee
and a phyrric: "TIME, the STRONG CREDitor, will CALL his DEBT.
The five repetitions of "hate" with their rush of spondees
, followed by the two strict iambs of "I want to die" may be seen as a grimly ironic allusion to Lear's grief over the dead Cordelia ("Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,/And thou no breath at all?
Subjects identified the spondees
in a 12-alternative closed-set response task.
During the past century, the controversy about spondees
has tended to heat up periodically, mainly because some theorists have believed that their basis in the newly recognized discipline of linguistics licensed them to make "scientific" pronouncements about the rhythms of poetry as well as those of language in general.
The line's spondees
dovetail neatly with the memorable alliteration of "same shape" as well as "swan swims" and with the monosyllabic repetition of "neat path.
As if to underscore the rift of this loss, the smooth melody of regular dactyls is replaced with a jarring composite of spondees
, trochees, iambs, and dactyls, all of which break from the hymns and folk songs that Hardy drew upon.
lt;/pre> <p>Hejinian creates this voice primarily by using warring dictions and employing variations of anapestic rhythms, many of which are softened by the dactylic, and are set against a number of spondees
, reinforcing the clash of the tender and tough-minded, the nostalgic and the analytical.
Others object to some of Wallace's smaller points, like his insistence that spondees
exist (Susanne Woods believes that any two syllables aligned will tend to vary in stress), or his insistence that pyrrhic feet do not exist (both Annie Finch and Rachel Hadas observe that pyrrhics - feet of two unstressed syllables - do occur, whatever we want to call them).