I always thought Monty Python had resolved the question of how to pronounce
"ne."  That's surely the source of the "knights who say 'ne'" episode in
"Mondy Python and the Holy Grail."

David Lee Miller
Department of English                 543 Boonesboro Ave
University of Kentucky               Lexington, KY 40508
Lexington, KY 40506-0027     (859) 252-3680
(859) 257-6965
FAX  323-1072

  -----Original Message-----
  From: Sidney-Spenser Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Dorothy Stephens
  Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2004 1:43 PM
  To: [log in to unmask]
  Subject: Re: good myths and bad or indifferent writing (on Spenser)

          And yet, Andrew, we don't feel the impediment of pronunciation
when reciting Shakespeare, even though the finest RSC actors don't use the
accent or even pronunciations with which Shakespeare himself probably spoke.
When I read Donne to my classes, I sometimes trip on the word "love" when it
rhymes with "move," but otherwise I don't find myself worrying about the
fact that my American English is remote from his, so long as I make it feel
natural on my tongue.  Similarly, I don't know for sure how Spenser
pronounced "ne," but because its position in the phrase usually seems to
call for a very short syllable, I pronounce it to rhyme with the first
syllable of "begin" and proceed on my merry way.  I make my students read
Spenser aloud, and I always have a few in the class who say they've been
doing it in their spare time at home, enjoying the music.  I can't believe
we can read the Epithalamion or the FQ stanzas about Morpheus's cave
silently, without at least feeling them on our pulses (to risk that
allusion).  This doesn't mean, of course, that he doesn't also work with
effects that the voice can't reproduce in one reading--such as the two
possible pronunciations of "Busyrane"--but this is to say that he counts on
our wanting to reproduce the poem in our ears and upon our sometimes being
frustrated of doing so in any simple way.  He works in a
multilayered-counterpoint aurally, as he does allegorically.