A Field Guide to Alliterative Verse
The Meter of Beowulf: A Framework
- Each line contains two half-lines. Each half line must be a prosodic phrase containing one or more strong stresses (as defined in an earlier section of this manual.)
- Only strong stresses can bear (metrically relevant) alliteration.
- The first strong stress in the first half-line must alliterate with the first strong stress in the second half-line.
- Let us use the word pivot for one of the strong stresses that satisfy the metrical requirements for alliteration. The pivots must be more prominent rhythmically than any non-pivot syllables in the line.
- The final foot of the line cannot contain an alliterating strong stress.