Stylistic phonetics based on the examples of the works by P.B. Shelley
this work is devoted to the subjects of stylistic phonetics, implemented by
Percy Bysshe Shelley in his works, first the definitions of phonetics and
stylistics, as well as stylistic phonetics on the whole should be given.
linguistic science studies language from three different points of view: lexicology,
grammar and phonetics.
Lexicology deals with
the vocabulary of language, with the origin and development of words, with
their meaning and word building.
Grammar defines the
rules governing the modification of words and the combination of words into
to the main subject of this work, it is important to give more detailed
information about phonetics itself and what it studies.
is the science that studies the sound matter of the language, its semantic
functions and the lines of development. It is the pronunciation of human sounds
in the process of the communication, «human noises» by which the thought is actualized,
the nature of these noises, the combination and the functions in their relation
to the meaning (intonation and stress). Phonetics also deals with speech sounds.
In Greek phonetikos is a means pertaining to voice and sound.
phoneticians investigate sounds as the phonemes (smallest units of
language) and their allophones, the syllabic structure, the distribution of
stress and intonation. They are interested in the sounds that are produced by
the human speech-organs insofar as these sounds have a role in a language. This
limited range of sounds is referred as the phonic medium and
individual sounds within that range are referred as speech sounds. 
phonetics can be also defined as the study of the phonic medium – the way
humans make, transmit, and receive speech sounds. Phonetics occupies itself
with the study of the ways in which the sounds are organized into a system of
units and the variation of the units in all types and styles of spoken language.
Phonetics is a basic branch of linguistics. Neither linguistic theory nor
linguistic practice can do without phonetics. No kind of linguistic study can
be made without constant consideration of the material on the expression level.
this work is devoted to the subjects of stylistic phonetics and it has been
said about phonetics in general, attention should be paid to stylistics in
general and then the subjects of stylistic phonetics should be defined.
is not equal to linguistics science, such as lexicology, morphology, syntax
and phonetics, because they are level disciplines as they treat only one
linguistic level, and stylistics investigates the questions on all the levels
and different aspects of the texts in general. The French linguist E.
Benveniste used the word ‘level’ to characterize the hierarchical structure of
Stylistics can be
defined as a branch of modern linguistics devoted to the detailed analysis of
literary style, or of the linguistic choices made by speakers and writers in
non-literary contexts. 
to the Russian linguist I.R. Galperin, stylistics is a branch of
general linguistics, which deals with the investigation of two independent
Stylistics studies the special media of language which are called stylistic
devices and expressive means.
Stylistics studies the types of texts which are distinguished by
the pragmatic aspect of the communication and are called functional
styles of language. 
must be subdivided into separate, independent branches – stylistic
morphology, stylistic lexicology, stylistic syntax, stylistic phonetics.
Whatever level we take, stylistics describes not what is in common use, but
what is specific use, in this or that respect, what differentiates one
sublanguage from others.
(non-stylistic) morphology treats morphemes and grammatical meanings
expressed by them in language in general, without regard to their stylistic
value. Stylistic morphology is interested in grammatical forms and
grammatical meanings that are peculiar to particular sublanguages, explicity or
implicity comparing them with the neutral ones common to all the sublanguages.
deals with stylistic classification (differentiation) of the
vocabulary that form a part of stylistics. In stylistic lexicology each
unit is studied separately, instead of as a whole text (group of words, word
classification).General syntax treats word combinations and sentences,
analyzing their structures and stating what is permissible and what is
inadmissible in constructing correct utterances in the given language. Stylistic
syntax shows what particular constructions are met with in various types of
speech, what syntactical structures are style forming (specific) in the
sublanguages in question.
it was already mentioned, general (non-stylistic) phonetics investigates
the whole articulatory – audial system of language. Stylistic phonetics
describes variants of pronunciation occuring in different types of speech; special
attention is also paid to prosodic features of prose and poetry. Unfortunately,
there is no adequate definition of stylistic phonetics, although many
well-known linguists, who devoted their works to the study of stylistics, among
them I.R. Galperin, V.M. Zhirmunsky, L. Bloomfield, Yu. Skrebnev, I.
Arnold always paid special attention to it, underlining its meaning for the
style-forming phonetic features. The works of the mentioned above linguists
will be also used for the analysis in this work.
here the subjects of stylistic phonetics are going to be investigated, it should
be necessary to mention phonetic expressive means and stylistic
expressive means include:
Intonation which is a complex unity of non-segmental
features of speech, such as melody or pitch of the voice, stress, pausation and
different temporal characteristic.
Sentence stress which is a greater prominence of words.
Pitch of the voice which represents the
fundamental frequency of a speech sound and is closely connected with the
whispering, pauses, singing and other ways of human voice using are referred.
To the phonetic stylistic devices, the more detailed
descriptions of which will give be given in the main part of this work, we
Onomatopoeia, or sound imitation, is the use of
words or word combinations that imitate some natural sound.
Alliteration, is the use of the similar initial sounds
in close succession, aiming at imparting a melodic effect to the utterance.
Rhythm, is a flow, movement,
procedure, etc., characterized by basically regular recurrence of elements or
Rhyme, is the repetition of
identical or similar terminal sound combinations of words.
The poem, that was chosen for the analysis, and for investigation
of the given above phonetic expressive means and stylistic devices on its
example is «To the Men of England» by Persy Bisshe Shelley. For closer
investigation of the points of stylistic phonetics there also will be given
examples of works of some other authors.
1. Theoretical part
1.1 Galperin and other linguists’ points of view on stylistic
The subject of stylistics can be outlined
as the study of the nature, functions and structure of stylistic devices, on
the one hand, and, on the other, the study of each style of language as
classified above, i. e. its aim, its structure, its characteristic features and
the effect it produces, as well as its interrelation with other styles of
language. So, it’s necessary to make an attempt to single out such, problems as
are typically stylistic and cannot be treated in any other branch of linguistic
The stylistic approach to the utterance is
not confined to its structure and sense, there is another thing to be taken
into account which, in a certain type of communication, viz. belles-lettres,
plays an important role. This is the way a word, a phrase or a sentence sounds.
The sound of most words taken separately will have little or no aesthetic
value. It is in combination with other words that a word may acquire a desired
phonetic effect, the way a separate word sounds may produce a certain euphonic
impression, but this is a matter of individual perception and feeling and
therefore subjective. For instance, a certain English writer expresses the
opinion that angina [æn'dgainə], pneumonia [nju'mouniə],
and uvula ['ju:vjulə] would make beautiful girl's names instead of
what he calls «lumps of names like Joan, Joyce and Maud». In the poem «Cargoes»
by John Masefield he considers words like ivory, sandal-wood, cedar-wood,
emeralds and amethysts as used in the first two stanzas to be beautiful,
whereas those in the 3rd stanza «strike harshly on the ear!»
«With a cargo of Tyne
Fire-wood, iron-ware and
cheap tin trays.»
As one poet has it, this is»… a
combination of words which is difficult to pronounce, in which the words rub
against one another, interfere with one another, push one another.»
Verier, a French scientist, who is a
specialist on English versification, suggests that we should try to pronounce
the vowels [a:, i:, u:] in a strongly articulated manner and with closed eyes.
If we do so, he says, we are sure to come to the conclusion that each of these
sounds expresses a definite feeling or state of mind. Thus he maintains that
the sound [u:] generally expresses sorrow or seriousness; [i:] produces the
feeling of joy and so on.
L. Bloomfield, a well-known American
«…in human speech,
different sounds have different meaning. To study the coordination of certain
sounds with certain meanings is to study language.» 
An interesting statement in this regard is
made by a Hungarian linguist, Ivan Fonagy:
«The great semantic
entropy (a term from theory of communication denoting the measure of the
unknown.) of poetic language stands in contrast to the predictability of its sounds.
Of course, not even in the case of poetry can we determine the sound of a word
on the basis of its meaning. Nevertheless in the larger units of line and
stanza, a certain relationship can be found between sounds and content.» 
The Russian poet B. Pasternak says that he
«…always thought that the
music of words is not an acoustic phenomenon and does not consist of the
euphony of vowels and consonants taken separately. It results from the
correlation of the meaning of the utterance with its sound.» 
The theory of sound symbolism is
based on the assumption that separate sounds due to their articulatory and
acoustic properties may awake certain ideas, perceptions, feelings, images,
vague though they might be. Recent investigations have shown that «it is
rash to deny the existence of universal, or widespread, types of sound
symbolism.» In poetry we cannot help feeling that the arrangement of sounds
carries a definite aesthetic function. Poetry is not entirely divorced from
music. Such notions as harmony, euphony, rhythm and other sound phenomena
undoubtedly are not indifferent to the general effect produced by a verbal
chain. Poetry, unlike prose, is meant to be read out loud and any oral
performance of a message inevitably involves definite musical (in the broad
sense of the word) interpretation.
Stylistics also studies
the expressive means of language, but from a special angle. It takes into
account the modifications of meanings which various expressive means undergo
when they are used in different functional styles. Expressive means have a kind
of radiating effect. They noticeably colour the whole utterance, no matter
whether they are logical or emotional. 
1.2 Phonetic expressive
The most powerful expressive means of any language are
phonetic. Ways of the voice using are much more effective than any other means
in intensifying an utterance emotionally or logically and the human voice can
indicate most subtle nuances of meaning. In the language course of phonetics
the patterns of emphatic intonation have been worked out, but many devices have
so far been little investigated.
So, phonetic expressive means are the following:
Intonation, which is a language universal. Phoneticians
give different definitions of intonation, but the most accepted one is by S.F. Leontyeva.
According to Leontyeva’s point of view, intonation is considered to be a
complex unity of pitch (melody), stress, tempo, temper and tamber and the
way they are realized in speech. 
Intonation is very important. It serves to form sentences and
determines their communicative types. It divides sentences into intonation
groups, it expresses the speaker’s thoughts and conveys the attitudinal
meaning. One and the same sentence may express different meaning, when
pronounced with different intonation:
e.g. When it’s a general question – Isn’t it
An exclamation – Isn’t it ridiculous!
Intonation determines the communicative type of sentences.
The communicative types are differentiated in speech according to the aim of
the utterance from the point of view of communication. There 4 main types of
Statements – I like music.
Questions – Can you do it?
Imperative sentences or commands – Just do it!
Exclamations – Right you are
The pitch component of intonation or a melody
is the changers in the pitch of the voice in connected speech.
Sentence stress or accent is the
greater prominence of one or more words among others words in the same
Word stress is realized
since all the syllables in a word are pronounced with the same degree of force:
usually one syllable is made more prominent than the others by means of
stronger current of air, by a stronger expiration; such a syllable is called
the stressed syllable. Word’s stress in English is free; the position of stress
is not fixed:
e.g. ‘many – be’llow – photo’graphic.
Tempo of speech – the rate of utterance which is
connected with rhythm – the regular alternation of stressed and unstressed
syllables. It is so typical of an English phrase that the incorrect rhythm
betrays the non-English origin of the speaker. Each sense-group of the sentence
is pronounced at approximately the same period of time, unstressed syllables
are pronounced more rapidly: the greater the number of unstressed syllables,
the quicker they are pronounced. In its turn, rhythm is connected with sentence
stress. Under the influence of rhythm words which are normally pronounced with
two equally strong stress may lose one of them, or may have their word stress
Picca’dilly -, Piccadilly ‘Circus – ‘close to, Picca’dilly, prin’cess – a, princess
Temper is the relative speed
with which sentences and intonation groups are pronounced in connecting speech.
Speech tamber is a special colouring
of voice which shows the speaker’s emotions:
e.g. pleasure – displeasure
Paradoxal though it may seem, many of these means, the effect
of which rests on a peculiar use of the voice, are banned from the linguistic
domain. But there has appeared a new science – «paralinguistics» – of
which all these devices are the inventory.
1.3 Phonetic stylistic
Now let us see what phonetic stylistic
devices secure this musical function.
Onomatopoeia is a combination
of speech sounds which aims at imitating sounds produced in nature (wind, sea,
thunder, etc.) by things (machines or tools, etc.) by people (singing,
laughter) and animals. Therefore the relation between onomatopoeia and the
phenomenon it is supposed to represent is one of metonymy There are two
varieties of onomatopoeia: direct and indirect.
Direct onomatopoeia is contained
in words that imitate natural sounds, as ding-dong, burr, bang, cuckoo.
These words have different degrees of imitative quality. Some of them
immediately bring to mind whatever it is that produces the sound. Others require
the exercise of a certain amount of imagination to decipher it. Onomatopoetic
words can be used in a transferred meaning, as for instance, ding – dong,
which represents the sound of bells rung continuously, may mean
1) noisy, 2) strenuously contested.
Indirect onomatopoeia demands some
mention of what makes the sound, as rustling of curtains in the following line:
And the silken, sad,
uncertain rustling of each purple curtain.
Indirect onomatopoeia is a combination of
sounds the aim of which is to make the sound of the utterance an echo of its
sense. It is sometimes called «echo writing».
An example is: «And the silken, sad,
uncertain rustling of each purple curtain» (E.A. Poe), where the
repetition of the sound [s] actually produces the sound of the rustling of the
Alliteration is a phonetic
stylistic device which aims at imparting a melodic effect to the utterance. The
essence of this device lies in the repetition of similar sounds, in particular
consonant sounds, in close succession, particularly at the beginning of
successive words: «The possessive instinct never stands still (J.
Galsworthy) or, «Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there
wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to
dream before» (E.A. Poe).
Alliteration, like most stylistic devices,
does not bear any lexical or other meaning unless we agree that a sound meaning
exists as such. But even so we may not be able to specify clearly the character
of this meaning, and the term will merely suggest that a certain amount of
information is contained in the repetition of sounds, as is the case with the
repetition of lexical units.
But even so we may not be
able to specify clearly the character of this meaning, and the term will merely
suggest that a certain amount of information is contained in the repetition of
sounds, as is the case with the repetition of lexical units.
However, certain sounds,
if repeated, may produce an effect that can be specified.
For example, the sound
[m] is frequently used by Tennyson in the poem «The Lotus Eaters» to give a
«How sweet it were,…
To lend our hearts and
To the music of mild
To muse and brood
and live again in memory.»
Therefore alliteration is
generally regarded as a musical accompaniment of the author's idea, supporting
it with some vague emotional atmosphere which each reader interprets for
Rhyme is the
repetition of identical or similar terminal sound combination of words. Rhyming
words are generally placed at a regular distance from each other. In verse they
are usually placed at the end of the corresponding lines.
Identity and similarity of sound
combinations may be relative. For instance, we distinguish between full
rhymes and incomplete rhymes.
The full rhyme presupposes
identity of the vowel sound and the following consonant sounds in a stressed
syllable, including the initial consonant of the second syllable (in
polysyllabic words), we have exact or identical rhymes.
Incomplete rhymes present a
greater variety. They can be divided into two main groups: vowel rhymes
and consonant rhymes.
In vowel-rhymes the vowels
of the syllables in corresponding words are identical, but the consonants may
be different as in flesh – fresh – press. Consonant rhymes,
on the contrary, show concordance in consonants and disparity in vowels, as in worth
– forth, tale – tool – treble – trouble; flung – long.
Modifications in rhyming sometimes go so
far as to make one word rhyme with a combination of words; or two or even three
words rhyme with a corresponding two or three words, as in «upon her honour –
won her», «bottom – forgot them – shot him». Such rhymes are called compound
or broken. The peculiarity of rhymes of this type is that the combination
of words is made to sound like one word – a device which inevitably gives a
colloquial and sometimes a humorous touch to the utterance. Compound rhyme may
be set against what is called eye – rhyme, where the letters and not the
sounds are identical, as in love – prove, flood – brood, have – grave.
It follows that compound rhyme is perceived in reading aloud, eye – rhyme can
only be perceived in the written verse.
Many eye-rhymes are the
result of historical changes in the vowel sounds in certain positions. The
continuity of English verse manifests itself also in retention of some pairs of
what were once rhyming words. But on the analogy of these pairs, new eye-rhymes
have been coined and the model now functions alongside ear-rhymes.
According to the way the
rhymes are arranged within the stanza, certain models have crystallized, for
1. couplets – when
the last words of two successive lines are rhymed. This is commonly marked aa,
2. triple rhymes–aaa
3. cross rhymes–abab
4. framing or ring
Rhythm exists in all
spheres of human activity and assumes multifarious forms. It is a mighty weapon
in stirring up emotions whatever its nature or origin, whether it is musical,
mechanical or symmetrical as in architecture. The most general definition of
rhythm may be expressed as follows: «rhythm is a flow, movement, procedure,
etc. characterized by basically regular recurrence of elements or features, as
beat, or accent, in alternation with opposite or different elements of features»
Rhythm can be perceived only provided that
there is some kind of experience in catching the opposite elements or features
in their correlation, and, what is of paramount importance, experience in
catching regularity of alternating patterns. Rhythm is a periodicity, which
requires specification as to the type of periodicity. Inverse rhythm is regular
succession of weak and strong stress. A rhythm in language necessarily demands
oppositions that alternate: long, short; stressed, unstressed; high, low and
other contrasting segments of speech.
Academician V.M. Zhirmunsky suggests that
the concept of rhythm should be distinguished from that of a metre.
Metre is any form of periodicity in verse, its kind being determined by the
character and number of syllables of which it consists. The metre is a strict
regularity, consistency and unchangeability. Rhythm is flexible and sometimes
an effort is required to perceive it. In classical verse it is perceived at the
background of the metre. In accented verse – by the number of stresses in a
line. In prose – by the alternation of similar syntactical patterns. Rhythm in
verse as a stylistic device is defined as a combination of the ideal metrical
scheme and the variations of it, variations which are governed by the standard.
 There are the following rhythmic patterns of verse:
Rhythm is not a mere addition to verse or
emotive prose, which also has its rhythm. Rhythm intensifies the emotions. It
contributes to the general sense. Much has been said and writhen about rhythm
in prose. Some investigators, in attempting to find rhythmical patterns of
prose, superimpose metrical measures on prose. But the parameters of the rhythm
in verse and in prose are entirely different. 
In poetry all these phonetic expressive
means and stylistic devices play the most significant role. Their realization
can be best seen on the example of the works by Percy Bysshe Shelley, whose
poems are often called «songs» in order to underline the melody of his speech. 
2. Practical Part
2.1 Percy Bisshe
Shelley’s life and literary work
To understand better Shelley’s manner of
writing, it’s necessary to say first some words about his life and literary
As a writer, Shelley has been criticised
for his obscure symbolism, intellectual arrogance and intense self-pity.
However, in his greatest works he transcends these limitations and conveys a
message of hope and aspiration through strikingly beautiful prose and poetry.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (4 August 1792 – 8
July 1822) was one of the major English Romantic poets and is critically
regarded among the finest lyric poets in the English language. He is most
famous for such classic anthology verse works as Ozymandias, Ode to
the West Wind, To a Skylark, and The Masque of Anarchy, which
are among the most popular and critically acclaimed poems in the English
language. His major works, however, are long visionary poems which included Prometheus
Unbound, Alastor, Adonaïs, The Revolt of Islam,
and the unfinished work The Triumph of Life. The Cenci (1819) and
Prometheus Unbound (1820) were dramatic plays in five and four acts
respectively. He wrote the Gothic novels Zastrozzi (1810) and St.
Irvyne (1811) and the short works The Assassins (1814) and The
Shelley was famous for his association
with John Keats and Lord Byron. The novelist Mary Shelley was his second wife.
Shelley never lived to see the extent of
his success and influence. Some of his works were published, but they were
often suppressed upon publication. Up until his death, with approximately 50
readers as his audience, it is said he made no more than 40 pounds from his writings. For example, in 1813, at age 21 Shelley «printed» his first major poem, «Queen
Mab». He set the press and ran 250 copies of this radical and revolutionary
tract. «Queen Mab» was infused with scientific language and naturalizing
moral prescriptions for an oppressed humanity in an industrializing world. He
intended the poem to be private and distributed it among his close friends and
His early works are characterized by
intense political passion. In them he proposed republicanism, free love,
atheism and vegetarianism. They contain many autobiographical references and
introduced the theme of struggle and renewal, which is present in much of his
later works. Musical patterns of his works, which are built on internal rhyme,
assonance and run-on lines, clearly show the poet’s mastery of his art. 
2.2 The analysis of the
content of the song «To the Men of England»
First of all one should introduce the poem
Men of England, wherefore plough
For the Lords who lay you low?
Wherefore weave with toil and care,
The rich robes your tyrants wear?
Wherefore feed, and clothe and save,
From the cradle to the grave,
Those ungrateful drones who
Drain your sweat – nay, drink your blood!
Have ye leisure, comfort, calm,
Shelter, food, love's gentle balm?
Or what is ye buy so dear
With your pain and with your fear?
The seed ye sow, another reaps;
The wealth ye find, another keeps;
The robes ye weave, another wears;
The arms ye forge, another bears.
Sow seed – but let no tyrant reap;
Find wealth – let no impostor heap;
Weave robes – let not the idle wear;
Forge arms – in your defence to bear.
Trace your grave, and build your tomb,
And weave your winding sheet, till fair
England be your sepulcher.
The text poem in details and its
translation into Russian, made by S.Y. Marshak can be seen in Supplement №1.
The song «To the Men of England» was
written by Shelley in 1818, while he was staying in Italy. It is an expression
of his indignation at the cruelty of capitalist exploitation. Thus it is imbued
with bitter irony and wrath. The poem is built on a contrast between «Men of
England» – the labourers, who create real value, and the lords – «the
ungrateful drones» who exploit the toilers – «drink their blood». Thus, at
first look it is quite obvious that this song is meant to be an empowering
anthem for the workers of England. However, upon closer examination, it becomes
quite clear that Shelley’s message may be a little bit more complicated than it
The poem possesses many confusing
paradoxes, it is dominated by paradox. With all these features Shelley’s
intentions no longer seem to be clear. However, when all of them are put
together, it can be seen that the negative and cynical aspects of the poem
serve to make «To the Men of England» not just a cry of empowerment, but an
urgent, stirring call to action for the labourers of he country.
The first paradox arises in lines seven
«Those ungrateful drones
Drain you sweat-nay,
drink your blood!»
In these lines the author refers to the
lords of workers as «ungrateful drones». A drone is defined as a male bee that
neither works nor does any harm, because it is stingless. So, this part
undermines the power of the workers’ lords, insults them and makes a mockery at
them. However, the idea of lords being harmless and lazy is immediately
followed by a very disturbing statement «drink your blood», which
changes the tone of the message completely. Not only do the lords have power to
drain the sweat out of workers, but they drink their blood! The lords are
compared to vampires, immortal bloodsuckers who render their victims powerless
The same paradoxical idea appears throughout
the poem. The author treats the lords as tyrants in lines four and twenty-one,
indicating their powers as absolute. At the same time he calls them «stingless
drones» in lines eleven and idle in line twenty-three, rendering them powerless
So, what are the lords? How does the poet
want the reader to see them? Are they powerless, lazy drones or tyrannical,
immortal vampires, sucking the blood and life out of their victims?
Solving another mystery of the poem can
answer these questions. In the last two stanzas the poem takes a dramatic turn.
The poet shifts from commanding the workers to work for themselves and
overthrow their tyrants to hide in their cellars, holes and cells (line
twenty-five) and to build their graves. But the last stanza seems to insult the
workers and to surrender hope for them. It ends the poem in a dreary note,
telling the workers to «Trace your grave and build your tomb, And weave your
winding-sheet till fair, England be your sepulcher.» (lines thirty to
thirty-two). Now, it seems as if the author has been insulting the workers all
along. He tells them that they allow themselves to be bullied by lazy, harmless
men so that they may as well just build their own graves. His language shifts
from romantic and sensitive in the beginning of the poem, to harsh, dark
monosyllabic words, like «with plough and spade and hoe and loom, Trace your
grave and build your tomb» in the last stanza. Thus, the author delivers
the hammering effect. As a result, the last stanza creates a sense of urgency
and anger, making its message stand out from the rest of the poem.
So, has the poem been trying to empower
workers all along or has it been contemptuously criticizing them? The answer is
actually both. Though the last stanza serves to offset the rest of the poem, it
doesn’t overpower the initial message of the empowerment. Instead, it actually
emphasizes the message. Throughout the beginning of the poem, the author is
really pointing out the way things are. He recognizes the absurdity and
unfairness of things. Then, in the middle he tells the workers how it should
«Sow seed-but let not tyrant reap;
Find wealth, – let
no imposter heap;
Weave robes, – let
not the idle wear;
Forge arms, – in
your defence to bear.» (lines twenty-one to twenty-four).
And finally, the last stanzas come. The
last two stanzas again tell the workers of how things are:
«Ye see The steel ye
tempered glance on ye». (lines twenty-seven to twenty-eight).
Basically, he tells the workers that they
are digging their own graves by giving power to their initially harmless lords.
Here, commanding them to dig their graves is different from the commands he
gave them in lines twenty-one to twenty-four. By telling them to dig their graves,
he is simply telling them what is going to happen if they continue to live with
how things are.
What is actually happening is a
juxtaposition of two ideas: of how things are, how things should be, and how
things are again. In this way, the poet successfully delivers an image, a
message. He successfully shows the contrast between the two ideas by
sandwiching one inside the repetitions of the other. The middle idea, lines
twenty-one to twenty-four, which is that of empowerment, then becomes like a
bright, red flower sticking out amidst a dark, dreary landscape of reality.
Furthermore, the last stanzas delivering the final repetition of the initial
imagery are so dark and urgent with a hint of insult that it stirs the emotion
of the reader. A worker reading the poem would have been angered by the last
stanza and be stirred to follow true message of the poem in order to prevent
the ending from becoming a reality.
2.3 The analysis of the
song «To The Men of England» from the point of view of stylistic
The stylistic analysis of the Shelley’s
song «To the Men of England» will be better understood with the help of the
«Men of England,
For the lords who lay
is the imperfect rhyme in the first stanza. These first two lines are
meant to be an appeal, expressed through a syntactical stylistic device of rhetorical
«Wherefore weave with toil and care,
The rich robes your tyrants wear?»
is the incomplete compound rhyme, which can only be perceived in
reading aloud, since the pronunciation of «care» and «wear» are quite
similar: [keə] and [weə].
is also a case of alliteration – werefore, weave, with; rich robes.
Here it aims at imparting a melodical effect to the stanza, thus making it
«Wherefore feed, and clothe, and save
From the cradle to the grave…»
«Have ye leisure, comfort, calm,
Shelter, food, love’s gentle balm?»
«Weave robes, – let no idler wear;
Forge arms, – in your defence to bear.»
«Shrink to your cellars, holes, and cells;
In halls ye deck, another dwells.»
are the cases of the full or identical rhyme. The rhyming scheme is couplet
(aa bb). Throughout the whole poem there are only several cases of
different kinds of incomplete rhymes and the full rhymes are prevailing.
Using rhymes, the author reinforces the meaning he wishes to convey and gives
a tone and pace of the poem, making it sound agitating, worrying and
sometimes even looming.
«The seed ye sow, another reaps;
The wealth ye find, another keeps;…
«Sow seed – but let no tyrant reap;
Find wealth, – let no impostor heap;…»
ideas, expressed in these lines from fourth and sixth stanzas are expressed
through a syntactical stylistic device of parallel constructions,
forming a kind of antithesis. Although this stylistic device is
syntactical, it also produces a strong phonetic effect, making these lines
«With plough and spade, and hoe and loom,
Trace your grave, and build your tomb,
And weave your winding-sheet, till fair
England be your sepulchre.»
lines of the last stanza bear cases of compound rhyme, which can only
be perceived in oratory speech. The last words of each line are pronounced
quite similar: [lu:m] – [tu:m], [feə] – ['sep(ə) lkə]. This
stanza with its broken rhymes presents a kind of sinister warning.
«Why shake the chains ye wrought? Ye see
The steel ye tempered glance on ye.»
«The robes ye weave, another wears;
The arms ye forge,
must note that the use of archaic form of pronounce «ye» adds to a
solemn atmosphere created by the use of phonetic stylistic devices and some
syntactical stylistic devices and heightens the emotional appeal of the poem.
In the seventh stanza «ye» and «see» also produce a full rhyme.
Having analyzed the song «To the Men of
England», it can be said that he possesses a great mastery, expressing it
through the use of the phonetic stylistic devices and expressive means. Through
his strikingly beautiful prose and poetry he conveys a message of hope and
aspiration, though he has been criticized for his obscure symbolism and
In this song Shelley pays special
attention to rhymes, especially to full or perfect rhymes, and also to
alliteration. With the help of alliteration he makes his stanzas sound
imperative and also gives them a colouring of bitter irony. The rhyming scheme
of the poem is couplet, which is the most melodical one. 
All phonetic expressive means, used by
Shelley in the poem, were introduced with the help of syntactical stylistic
devices and graphical means.
There are imperfect compound rhymes in the
two first stanzas and in the last one. These compound or broken rhymes produce
an effect of sinister warning.
There is no cases of direct or indirect
onomatopoeia in the poem, but the choice of sounds, especially of consonants
[w], [r], [s] makes the poem sound loom and sinister and on the same time quite
melodically, so it is even called song.
Throughout the poem the archaic form of
the pronoun «ye» was used. The use of this archaic form makes the atmosphere of
the poem more solemn and also produces a certain melodical effect, since the
sound [i] repeats quite often throughout it.
The results of the investigation of the
poem can be seen in Supplement №2.
So, the poem «To the Men of England» was
investigated from the point of view of the most widely used expressive means
and stylistic devices, with the help of the works of different linguists and
phoneticians, both Russian and foreign. After this investigation the following
summaries can be made:
Among all the stylistic devices and expressive means, the phonetic
ones are the most powerful, because they can produce any emotional effect that
an author wishes, they can add solemnity or severity to an utterance or make it
imperative, loom or worrying, or, on the contrary, gentle and pleasant.
Phonetic expressive means, such as intonation, stresses, pitch of
the voice or speech tempo and tamber are mainly introduced in oratory speech or
while reading aloud and they are considered to be changeable ones. That’s why
in writing one can come across only phonetic stylistic devices. Phonetic
expressive means are introduced in writing with the help of syntactical
stylistic devices of different repetitions, rhetorical questions, parallel
constructions and so on, and also with the help of graphical means of
exclamation and question marks, commas, dashes and points. That’s why sometimes
authors introduce their own, authors’ punctuation, aiming at emphasizing the
thoughts or points they want the reader to pay special attention to or to think
Speaking about Shelley’ works, their mastery through the use of
the phonetic stylistic devices can not be denied. Through his strikingly
beautiful prose and poetry he conveys a message of hope and aspiration, though
he has been criticized for his obscure symbolism and arrogance.
There are imperfect compound rhymes in the two first stanzas and
in the last one. These compound or broken rhymes produce an effect of sinister
There is no cases of direct or indirect onomatopoeia in the poem,
but the choice of sounds, especially of consonants [w], [r], [s] makes the poem
sound loom and sinister and on the same time quite melodically, so it is even
Throughout the poem the archaic form of the pronoun «ye» was used.
The use of this archaic form makes the atmosphere of the poem more solemn and
also produces a certain melodical effect, since the sound [i] repeats quite
often throughout it.
So, it is obvious that the sound of most
words taken separately will have little or no aesthetic value. It is in
combination with other words that a word may acquire a desired phonetic effect.
The way a separate word sounds may produce a certain euphonic effect, but this
is a matter of individual perception and feeling and therefore subjective. Thus
the theory of sense – independence of separate sounds is based on a subjective
interpretation of sound associations and has nothing to do with objective
scientific data. However, the sound of a word, or more exactly the way words
sound in combination, can not fail to contribute something to the general
effect of the message, particularly when the sound effect has been deliberately
worked out. This can easily be recognized when analyzing alliterative word
combinations or the rhymes in certain stanzas or from more elaborate analysis
of sound arrangement and from this work it is clear that the works by Percy
Bysshe Shelley can be a very good example of it.
Although the importance and significance
of the stylistic phonetics is obvious, still there is no clear definition of
it, may be because of the extensiveness of the studied subjects and their
ambiguousness. Professor Seymour Chatman introduces the term «phonostylistics»
and defines it as a subject the purpose of which is «the study of the ways in
which an author elects to constrain the phonology of the language beyond the
normal requirements of the phonetic system. " As can be inferred from
this quotation, phonetic expressive means and particularly phonetic stylistic
devices are not deviations from «the normal requirements of the phonetic system»
but a way of actualizing the typical in the given text. 
Because of the ambiguousness of the
subjects of stylistic phonetics, some authors prefer even not to enumerate
phonetic stylistic devices, considering them quite similar and interdependent,
for example I. Arnold. She states that on all levels, especially on the
phonetic one, all expressive means and stylistic devices are united by the cohesion.
She defined cohesion as «similar elements in ‘similar position that make text
coherent. This phenomenon may occur on different levels – phonetic, structural
or semantic.»  Her concept is very interesting and really unconventional,
but this work was made following the more generally accepted concepts of I.R. Galperin.
The use of his concepts of stylistics and the idea of stylistic phonetics
allowed making a thorough analysis of the Shelley’s song «To the Men of England»
and understanding on its examples the ways of imparting a piece of work a
strong emotional effect with the help of the sound features. It is necessary
for the points of stylistic phonetics to be investigated further.
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