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The Owl and Pussy Cat is a well known poem by Edward Lear, the book I have writes as "They dinèd on mince, and slices of quince", instead of "dined".

May I ask, why is dined here spelled as dinèd, is this an old form or have some special usage / meaning?

III
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
   Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
   By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dinèd on mince, and slices of quince,
   Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
   They danced by the light of the moon,
             The moon,
             The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
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1 Answer 1

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The spelling dinèd shows that it is to be pronounced as two syllables. (DIE ned) This is required to fit the meter of the poem.

Unlike some other verbs (crooked, beloved, ...) the pronunciation dinèd is not used in ordinary speech--nowadays, as far as I know.


added
As the comments say, we can dispute the need for this. We can see that

DINE èd on MINCE

scans the same as

PIG are you WILL
SELL for one SHILL
TOOK it a WAY
MARR ied next DAY
SLICE es of QUINCE
EDGE of the SAND

But not the same as

HAND in HAND

which scans the same as

DIN'D on MINCE

Peter Shor provide an excellent link. Note that in the previous page, Lear does not similarly mark

sailed away

Is it far-fetched to think that should be read

SAY ild a WAY

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    It is completely unnecessary for the meter of this poem. And in fact, the three oldest hits in Google books (all from 1870) have dined without an accent. Whoever added the accent had a tin ear for poetry (or maybe it's an accidental typo). Jan 29, 2022 at 19:16
  • @PeterShor: I beg to differ. It may or may not be necessary from the purely technical point of view, but it would seem that the author wanted lines 3 and 5 to consist of two equal parts, but not line 7, in which the first part changes from two anapestic feet to two iambs. Pure aesthetics, I think.
    – Ricky
    Jan 29, 2022 at 20:51
  • Actually, it does seem as if the author, Edward Lear, added the accent to dinèd for some reason, as it appeared this way for the first time in his 1871 book of poetry, so my earlier comment may have been wrong. I still think the poem doesn't need it. Feb 1, 2022 at 14:08

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