alliteration

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alliteration

(əlĭt'ərā`shən), the repetition of the same starting sound in several words of a sentence. Probably the most powerful rhythmic and thematic uses of alliteration are contained in Beowulf, written in Anglo-Saxon and one of the earliest English poems extant. For example:
Ða com of more under mist-hleopum
Grendel gongan; Godes yrre baer …
(Then came from the moor, under the misty hills,
Grendel stalking; the God's anger bare).
Beowulf, Book XI
The poet was drawing here on an even older Germanic tradition, just as he was setting a high standard for other poets in Anglo-Saxon, who produced such alliterative works as Widsith, Deor's Lament, The Wanderer, The Seafarer, and The Ruin. Although the tradition lay dormant for centuries, an alliterative revival occurred in England in the mid-1400s, as evidenced by such masterworks as Piers Plowman and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (see Langland, WilliamLangland, William,
c.1332–c.1400, putative author of Piers Plowman. He was born probably at Ledbury near the Welsh marshes and may have gone to school at Great Malvern Priory. Although he took minor orders he never became a priest.
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; Pearl, ThePearl, The,
one of four Middle English alliterative poems, all contained in a manuscript of c.1400, composed in the West Midland dialect, almost certainly by the same anonymous author, who flourished c.1370–1390.
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). Shakespeare parodies alliteration in Peter Quince's Prologue in A Midsummer Night's Dream:
Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
He bravely breach'd his boiling bloody breast.
Modern poets have continually renewed the possibilities of alliteration, e.g., Gerard Manley Hopkins's "Pied Beauty":
Glory be to God for dappled things …
Landscapes plotted and pieced—fold, fallow and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

alliteration

the use of the same consonant (consonantal alliteration) or of a vowel, not necessarily the same vowel (vocalic alliteration), at the beginning of each word or each stressed syllable in a line of verse, as in around the rock the ragged rascal ran
References in periodicals archive ?
Although the first syllable of "overseas" is in a position of iambic metrical stress, in Anglo-Saxon verse, prefixes such as "over-" ("ofer-" in Old English) are always unstressed; hence the alliterative stress falling on the "s" sound in "overseas" Similarly, the iambically stressed "still" does not alliterate because, in alliterative verse, prepositions tend not to be stressed; and though "swarmed" is iambically unstressed, in alliterative verse, where unstressed syllables are largely discretionary, verbs, especially significant ones, are more likely to be stressed.
Here Grendel is given words to speak in which the first stressed syllable of what we would call the a-verse if we were describing Old English poetry alliterates with the first stressed syllable of the following b-verse, and there is more to his use of repeated sounds than this, as we can also hear if we read his words aloud with forceful aspiration.
There are appendices: A, 'Double Alliteration Rates'; B, 'Beowulf Verses Scanned Differently from Bliss', some of them the result of Bliss's frequent refusal to acknowledge that verbs at the beginning of a half-line alliterate non-accidentally in the first half-line, others look like errors in Bliss (to line 142b, mentioned in a footnote, might have been added line 788b, the misprint for line 1824b is that its pattern should be exchanged for that of 1832b, an error overlooked by Hutcheson (but corrected by Bliss under 2C2 at p.
Blackwell and alliterate again - is getting upstaged by an upstart.
There are one or two alliterating letters in the first half line preceding the medial caesura; these also alliterate with the first stressed syllable in the second half line.
What inner voice told Weiss to alliterate the last five words in that series, but not the first two?
Two or more words are said to alliterate if they have the same initial sound.
The excerpt reveals a stylistic peculiarity that this reader found a tad distracting: Golemba's tendency to alliterate and to indulge occasionally in sentences destined for The New Yorker's Rich, Beautiful Prose Dept.
The second stressed word of that line usually does not alliterate, as the following example from Beowulf illustrates:
There are a lot of studies now that show a lot of Americans are what is called alliterate -- they can read but they don't.
One will start with fairly easy ones: nursery rhyme stuff such as Hickory Dickory Dock (cynghanedd sain - rhyme the first two words and alliterate the last two words).
The two parts of the half-line are united by alliteration the same sound, consonant or vowel (all stressed vowels alliterate, so stressed e alliterates with stressed a and o and i, and vice versa) is repeated in a stressed position on each side of the breath pause.