How would Shakespeare have pronounced damnèd for example?

How about the end of Nurse's Song by Blake:

The little ones leapèd, and shoutèd, and laugh'd
And all the hills echoèd

How would he have intended the èd endings to be pronounced?

Has the pronunciation evolved over time?

  • 1
    This seems to have a lot of overlap with Are -èd adjectives still usèd words? and What does the grave accent mark on words mean?. Is your question answered between the two of them?
    – Laurel
    May 2, 2022 at 16:54
  • 1
    From the rhymes they used, Shakespeare and John Donne pronounced them to rhyme with bed and dead: So then thou hast but lost the dregs of life, // The prey of worms, my body being dead; // The coward conquest of a wretch's knife, // Too base of thee to be rememberèd. But Blake and Keats used this ending to make their poetry scan 200 years later, long after the extra syllable had vanished from the common language. How would they have pronounced it? I don't know. May 2, 2022 at 23:02
  • 2
    The accent doesn't indicate a difference in the sound of the letter as it does in French, for instance. Rather it indicates a partial detachment of the final syllable from the rest of the word. This is usually done to preserve the rhythm or metre of the piece of writing. This detachment is the opposite of the contraction indicated by the apostrophe in words like "leap'd" where the word is shortened for the same reason. "Damnèd" is a special case where the accent indicates that the "n" is pronounced as well.
    – BoldBen
    May 2, 2022 at 23:10
  • 1
    It's probly what we'd call today a reduced vowel, but who knows how reducèd they were 4 centuries ago? Especially in English dialects, which were really stewing at this point in history. May 3, 2022 at 21:03
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth I don't have a reference, If I had I would probably have posted the comment as an answer. Obviously there is a difference in pronunciation when the syllable is detached but what I meant was that the accent does not indicate a specific pronunciation of the vowel as it very definitely does in French. I got the feeling that the OP really expected the accent to carry the indication of a defined change in sound which it does not
    – BoldBen
    May 4, 2022 at 8:33


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