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The Husband's Message
The Husband's Message
by Anonymous

Sound Check

Read this poem aloud. What do you hear?

Since it's structured around alliteration, or matching first sounds of words, most Anglo-Saxon poetry, including "The Husband's Message" sounds a lot like a tongue-twister. "She sells seashells down by the seashore"? Yeah, kind of like that, but way cooler – and in Old English.

The alliteration is meant to accentuate important words, like nouns and the subject of the sentence. This rising and falling accentuation – which, unlike regular metered poetry, is slightly unpredictable – gives Anglo-Saxon poetry the feel of a drive on a really hilly road, where you're constantly going up and down through the peaks and troughs of the variable-stressed alliterative line.

Want to learn more about alliteration in "The Husband's Message"? Check out "Form and Meter."

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