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What do these have in common?


Tennyson, Alfred Lord

Edgar Allan Poe

Well, in terms of literature they all have one thing in common, … alliteration.  Tennyson is known for many famous writings and in some there are a strong uses of alliteration. Other authors, such as Poe, have used this fine tuning of words to bring greater meaning to the story and have found their hauntingly powerful statements running through our brains at times, like a broken record. Yet another reason for the use of this technique lay in the fact that these stories were written with the knowledge of them being read aloud. For Beowulf was largely passed through generations by spoken word only and the more recent authors, ( Tennyson, Poe ) knew that it was the fashion, in their time, to have readings as a form of entertainment for guests after dinner parties. Here are a few examples of famous alliteration in literature.

” and I
Thy shepherd pipe, and sweet is every sound,
Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet;
Myriads of rivulets hurrying thro’ the lawn,
The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.” ~ Come Down, O Maid, Tennyson

Wide, I heard, was the work commanded,
     for many a tribe this mid-earth round,
     to fashion the folkstead. It fell, as he ordered,
     in rapid achievement that ready it stood there,
     of halls the noblest: Heorot he named it
     whose message had might in many a land.
     Not reckless of promise, the rings he dealt,
     treasure at banquet: there towered the hall,
     high, gabled wide, the hot surge waiting
     of furious flame. Nor far was that day
     when father and son-in-law stood in feud
     for warfare and hatred that woke again.” ~ Beowulf

“But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore –
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe

Read them aloud to yourself after you have read them in silence and see if you can find the difference in the strength of their meanings.

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