Sunday, 12 June 2016

Alliterative Prose

Some of Poul Anderson's characters speak in alliterative verse, e.g.:

"To woe in warfare you have wandered afar,
"Seeking to seize by the sword a prey."
-Poul Anderson, War Of The Gods (Tor Books, New York, 1999), p. 120.

I have quoted the first two of sixteen lines.

"Sailing the sea or seeking the land,
"Henceforth you have the hate of the elves,
"And wend where you will, the worst shall befall you
"Always on earth and also on shipboard,
"Where foul winds follow your frozen sail." (p. 137)

I have quoted the first five of eighteen lines.

Sometimes Anderson's prose reproduces this alliterative pattern and possibly also echoes its rhythm, e.g.:

"Summer came again, the sixth of Hadding's strife with the house of Svipdag." (p. 116)

"Dwelling in the wood, they won their way back toward strength and hope." (p. 128)

"Every fluttering leaf or flattened lingbush stood stark in sight." (p. 139)

Some of the prose reads as if it might be blank verse although not on the scale of A Midsummer Tempest.

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