Anglo-Saxon Poetry

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Revision as of 18:17, 19 July 2004 by Conrad Leviston (talk | contribs) (Added a bit about meter.)
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The entire body of Anglo-Saxon poetry consists of little more than 30 000 lines. It is by nature alliterative rather than rhyming. It catches the Anglo-Saxon people either side of their conversion to Christianity, and so includes both devout Christian works and a darker Pagan worldview.


Every line of Anglo-Saxon poetry was split into two half-lines. Most of these contained at least four syllables, two of which were stressed. There was always alliteration between the one of the stressed syllables of the first half-line and the first stressed syllable of the second half line. The second stressed syllable of the second half line sometimes alliterated with the other stressed syllable of the first half-line.

Some lines contained four stressed syllables per half line. These are called hypermetric lines, and were used either for dramatic effect, or simply to add variety.

Specific examples

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