‘H’ the marginal letter. Vowel or Consonant?

Consider this:

As perfect, thee, thine image, as thou art;
Sublime, as sculpture’s ideation, see;
Though, only in my thought, ideals exist,
Mine hands believe perfection thus to be.

Do not I trust this truth mine hands impart?
When next they touch conviction wrought of fire.
This certitude of which mine eyes insist?
When they confirm withal mine hands acquire.

Wherefore our brothers, hath He given heart?
That, for the other, petuous, doth burn.
For she, from whom our brothers’ ribs consist,
Do all of us, so undespoilt, yearn.

For one, with art, we praise His strength thereof;
The other, doth enlist with us, His love.

Proper grammar in the archaic sense. In cases wherein ‘my’ or ‘a’ precede a word beginning with ‘h’ this is what is generally done. This differs in more modern times between British English and American, wherein ‘h’ is treated more like a consonant, eg. ‘an hotel’ rather than ‘a’ hotel. Possibly this is because most American dialects are harsher, or rather use more air. British English is more like Spanish in that it reserves breath more–particularly in the upper class dialects. Speak Spanish or upper class British or even upper class Bostonian with a candle flame in front of your mouth and in all three cases the flame will not dance. Where as with some dialects the flame will dance about. There are even some dialects before which the flame will not survive at all.

So consider the same offering thus:

As perfect, thee, thine image, as thou art;
Sublime, as sculpture’s ideation, see;
Though, only in my thought, ideals exist,
My hands believe perfection thus to be.

Do not I trust this truth my hands impart?
When next they touch conviction wrought of fire.
This certitude of which mine eyes insist?
When they confirm withal my hands acquire.

Wherefore our brothers, hath He given heart?
That, for the other, petuous, doth burn.
For she, from whom our brothers’ ribs consist,
Do all of us, so undespoilt, yearn.

For one, with art, we praise His strength thereof;
The other, doth enlist with us, His love.

The question is: Do I follow British convention. I am using British spell-check after all, giving a certain colour to my writing (as opposed to ‘color,’ heh!) I do this because I feel it would generally help me match the flavour of the mostly archaic style of writing I enjoy to write–and which my sweetheart enjoys to read.

The problem arises, at least for me, because I might like the sound of ‘my hand’ instead of ‘mine hand.’ It is a small distinction, sound is more important to poetry than to other forms of writing, so it is something to think about.

Yet I do observe other traditional conventions, such as capitalising pronouns dealing with the God of Abraham or of the Christians or even other mythologies, so perhaps I shouldn’t quibble over this one.  There are those cases where I do like the sound of ‘my’ better than ‘mine.’  with other vowels, I always use ‘mine’ and ‘an,’ because the sound is almost always more fluid sounding if I do.  But when dealing with ‘h,’ it can be an either-or proposition.   Even in cases where I think ‘my’ is better than ‘mine,’ I can speak the phrase aloud a few times and feel I can get used to it either way.

What sparked this latest curiosity is that I noticed after my sweetheart posted a comment about the above, that I had not been consistent.  This indicates that, for the three occurrences, at least subconciously, I chose one or the other based on the sound I liked best.  Because in general, where there is no contest, as in the case of other vowels, I use ‘mine’ and ‘an’ pretty automatically these days.

Advertisements

4 responses to “‘H’ the marginal letter. Vowel or Consonant?

  1. Hmmm, this is a very good thing to think upon. I have some ideas about it but I will hold them awhile and wait to see what your commenters have to say. It will be interesting to see what other poets and writers think on the subject.

    Like

  2. Pingback: ‘H’ the marginal letter. Vowel or Consonant? | Language Learner & Lover

  3. Pingback: That crazy letter H!  – Bridging the Gap: ESL Resources for Teachers

Insults Make Me Happy:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s