Old, Middle and Modern English Poetry

In: English and Literature

Submitted By androan
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1. Old English Poetry

Old English poetry was written during A.D. 650 to 1100. Often called Anglo-Saxon literature, the poetry was written in the old English language.
The first characteristic is structure of the poetry. In Old English poetry, each line is broken into two sections called verses or half lines. The first verse is called the on verse, and the second is called the off verse. A pause called a caesura is between the on and off verses.
The second is alliteration. Because, one of the most predominant characteristics of Old English poetry is the use of alliteration. Alliteration is the repeated use of the same consonant or vowel sound in different words. In Old English poetry, the alliteration was completed on stressed words beginning with the same consonants or on any vowel sound.
The third characteristic is Meter and Rhythm. In Old English poetry, five rhythm types were common. The rhythms were represented by "lift," which means stressed syllable, and "drop," which means unstressed syllables. The five patterns are (1) lift, drop, lift, drop; (2) drop, lift, drop, lift; (3) drop, lift, lift, drop; (4) lift, lift, half-lift, drop or lift, lift, drop, half-lift; and (5) lift, half-lift, drop, lift.
The last characteristic of poetry in old English is compound. It was useful to poets focusing on creating alliterations and keeping the rhythm and meter of the poem itself consistent. Three types of compounds occur in Old English poetry. In one type of compound, one of the words modifies the other word. Another type of compound, which is more common, is combining two words that mean almost the same thing to create a new word that meets the alliteration and meter of the poem. The third type is a kenning, a specific type of compound that uses a wide range of words to describe something simple. For example, a boat may be called a "wave floater," "sea house" or…...

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