In literature, alliteration is the conspicuous repetition of identical initial consonant sounds in successive or associated syllables within a group of words those spelled differently. As a method of linking words for effect, alliteration is called head rhyme or initial rhyme. For example, "humble house," or "potential power play." A familiar example is "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers". "Alliteration" is from the Latin word littera, meaning "letter of the alphabet". Some literary experts accept as alliteration the repetition of vowel sounds, or repetition at the end of words. Alliteration narrowly refers to the repetition of a letter in any syllables that, according to the poem's meter, are stressed, as in James Thomson's verse "Come…dragging the lazy languid line along". Consonance is a broader literary device identified by the repetition of consonant sounds at any point in a word. Alliteration is a special case of consonance where the repeated consonant sound is in the stressed syllable.
Alliteration may refer to the use of different but similar consonants, such as alliterating z with s, as does the author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, or as Anglo-Saxon poets would alliterate hard/fricative g with soft g. There is one specialised form of alliteration called Symmetrical Alliteration; that alliteration containing parallelism, or chiasmus. In this case, the phrase must have a pair of outside end words both starting with the same sound, pairs of outside words starting with matching sounds as one moves progressively closer to the centre. For example, "rust brown blazers rule" or "fluoro colour co-ordination forever". Symmetrical alliteration is similar to palindromes in its use of symmetry; the Raven by Edgar Allan Poe has many examples of alliteration, including the following line: "And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain". Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner has the following lines of alliteration: "The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew/ The furrow followed free".
Robert Frost's poem Acquainted with the Night has the following line of alliteration: "I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet". The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W. B. Yeats has the following line of alliteration: "I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore". William Shakespeare's play As You Like It has the following lines of alliteration: "And churlish chiding of the winter’s wind/ Which, when it bites and blows upon my body". In Walter Abish's novel Alphabetical Africa the first chapter consists of words beginning with "A". Chapter two permits words beginning with "B", so on, until in chapter 26, Abish allows himself to use words beginning with any letter at all. In the next 25 chapters, he reverses the process. Kalevala: The Karelian-Finnish a national epoch book Kalevala written by Elias Lönnrot in the 1800s contains alliteration in the Eastern Finnish Karelian dialect, for example "Vaka vanha Väinämöinen", "Steady old Wainamoinen". In "Thank-You for the Thistle" by Dorie Thurston, poetically written with alliteration in a story form: "Great Aunt Nellie and Brent Bernard who watch with wild wonder at the wide window as the beautiful birds begin to bite into the bountiful birdseed".
In the nursery rhyme Three Grey Geese by Mother Goose, alliteration can be found in the following lines: "Three grey geese in a green field grazing. Grey were the geese and green was the grazing." The tongue-twister rhyme Betty Botter by Carolyn Wells is an example of alliterative composition: "Betty Botter bought a bit of butter, but she said, this butter's bitter. Another recited tongue-twister rhyme illustrating alliteration is Peter Piper: "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?". Alliteration is used in the alliterative verse of Old English, Old Norse, Old High German, Old Saxon, Old Irish, it was an important ingredient of the Sanskrit shlokas. Alliteration was used in Old English given names; this is evidenced by the unbroken series of 9th century kings of Wessex named Æthelwulf, Æthelbald, Æthelberht, Æthelred. These were followed in the 10th century by their direct descendants Æthelstan and Æthelred II, who ruled as kings of England.
The Anglo-Saxon saints Tancred and Tova provide a similar example, among siblings. In relation to English poetry, poets can call attention to certain words in a line of poetry by using alliteration, they can use alliteration to create a pleasant, rhythmic effect. In the following poetic lines, notice how alliteration is used to emphasize words and to create rhythm: "Give me the splendid silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling!' Walt Whitman, "Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun" “They all gazed and gazed upon this green stranger,/because everyone wondered what it could mean/ that a rider and his horse could be such a colour-/ green as grass, greener it seemed/ than green enamel glowing bright against gold". Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, translated by Bernard O'Donoghue "Some papers like writers, some like wrappers. Are you a writer or a wrapper?" Carl Sandburg, "Paper I" Alliteration can add to the mood of a poem. If a poet repeats soft, melodious sounds, a calm or dignified mood can result.
Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne was an English poet, playwright and critic. He wrote several novels and collections of poetry such as Poems and Ballads, contributed to the famous Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. Swinburne wrote about many taboo topics, such as lesbianism, sado-masochism, anti-theism, his poems have many common motifs, such as the ocean and death. Several historical people are featured in his poems, such as Sappho, Anactoria and Catullus. Swinburne was born at 7 Chester Street, Grosvenor Place, London, on 5 April 1837, he was the eldest of six children born to Captain Charles Henry Swinburne and Lady Jane Henrietta, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Ashburnham, a wealthy Northumbrian family. He grew up at East Dene in Bonchurch on the Isle of Wight; as a child, Swinburne was "nervous" and "frail," but "was fired with nervous energy and fearlessness to the point of being reckless."Swinburne attended Eton College, where he started writing poetry. At Eton, he won first prizes in Italian.
He attended Balliol College, Oxford with a brief hiatus when he was rusticated from the university in 1859 for having publicly supported the attempted assassination of Napoleon III by Felice Orsini. He returned in May 1860. Swinburne spent summer holidays at Capheaton Hall in Northumberland, the house of his grandfather, Sir John Swinburne, 6th Baronet, who had a famous library and was president of the Literary and Philosophical Society in Newcastle upon Tyne. Swinburne considered Northumberland to be his native county, an emotion reflected in poems like the intensely patriotic "Northumberland", "Grace Darling" and others, he enjoyed riding his pony across the moors, he was a daring horseman, "through honeyed leagues of the northland border", as he called the Scottish border in his Recollections. In the period 1857–60, Swinburne became a member of Lady Pauline Trevelyan's intellectual circle at Wallington Hall. After his grandfather's death in 1860, he stayed with William Bell Scott in Newcastle.
In 1861, Swinburne visited Menton on the French Riviera, staying at the Villa Laurenti to recover from the excessive use of alcohol. From Menton, Swinburne travelled to Italy. In December 1862, Swinburne accompanied Scott and his guests including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, on a trip to Tynemouth. Scott writes in his memoirs that, as they walked by the sea, Swinburne declaimed the as yet unpublished "Hymn to Proserpine" and "Laus Veneris" in his lilting intonation, while the waves "were running the whole length of the long level sands towards Cullercoats and sounding like far-off acclamations". At Oxford, Swinburne met several Pre-Raphaelites, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, he met William Morris. After leaving college, he lived in London and started an active writing career, where Rossetti was delighted with his "little Northumbrian friend" a reference to Swinburne's diminutive height—he was just five foot four. Swinburne was an alcoholic and algolagniac and excitable, he liked to be flogged. His health suffered, in 1879 at the age of 42, he was taken into care by his friend, lawyer Theodore Watts, who looked after him for the rest of his life at The Pines, 11 Putney Hill, Putney.
His friend, named Theodore Watts-Dunton by WG Sebald, took him to the Suffolk coast at the lost town of Dunwich on several occasions in the 1870s Thereafter, he lost his youthful rebelliousness and developed into a figure of social respectability. It was said of Watts that he killed the poet. Swinburne died at the Pines on 10 April 1909 at the age of 72 and was buried at St. Boniface Church, Bonchurch on the Isle of Wight. Swinburne is considered a poet of the decadent school, although he professed to more vice than he indulged in to advertise his deviance – he spread a rumour that he had had sex with eaten, a monkey. Common gossip of the time reported that he had a deep crush on the explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton, despite the fact that Swinburne himself hated travel. Many critics consider his mastery of vocabulary and metre impressive, although he has been criticised for his florid style and word choices that only fit the rhyme scheme rather than contributing to the meaning of the piece.
He is the virtual star of the third volume of George Saintsbury's famous History of English Prosody, A. E. Housman, a more measured and somewhat hostile critic, had great praise for his rhyming ability: possessed an altogether unexampled command of rhyme, the chief enrichment of modern verse; the English language is comparatively poor in rhymes, most English poets, when they have to rhyme more than two or three words together, betray their embarrassment. They betray it, for instance, when they write sonnets after the strict Petrarchian rule: the poetical inferiority of most English sonnets, if compared with what their own authors have achieved in other forms of verse, is though not the result of this difficulty. To Swinburne the sonnet was child’s play: the task of providing four rhymes was not hard enough, he wrote long poems in which each stanza required eight or ten rhymes, wrote them so that he never seemed to be saying anything for the rhyme’s sake. Swinburne's work was once popular among undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge, though today it has
Poems and Ballads
Poems and Ballads, First Series is the first collection of poems by Algernon Charles Swinburne, published in 1866. The book was popular, controversial. Swinburne wrote about many taboo topics, such as lesbianism, sado-masochism, anti-theism; the poems have many common elements, such as the Ocean and Death. Several historical persons are mentioned in the poems, such as Sappho, Anactoria and Catullus. Swinburne dedicated Ballads to fellow Pre-Raphaelite, Edward Burne-Jones. Burne-Jones' painting Laus Veneris, first exhibited in 1878, shared the story of Tannhäuser as its inspiration with Swinburne's poem of the same name; the Borghese Hermaphroditus at the Louvre inspired Swinburne's poem "Hermaphroditus", subscribed "Au Musée du Louvre, Mars 1863". The Isle of Wight, to the south of the British coast, was Swinburne's home throughout his childhood and life; the first documented use of the word "lesbianism" to refer to female homosexuality is in 1870, four years after Swinburne published this book, which includes the poem "Sapphics", where he refers to Sappho of Lesbos and her lover Anactoria as "Lesbians".
Although use of the term lesbian in this way was present as early as 1732, "sapphic" or "tribade" were more used until the late 19th century, when Swinburne was among the first to popularize the term lesbian. Poems and Ballads, Second Series Poems and Ballads, Third Series Algernon Charles Swinburne Poems and Ballads at Internet Archive Works by Algernon Swinburne at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Algernon Charles Swinburne at Internet Archive Works by Algernon Charles Swinburne at LibriVox
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark shortened to Hamlet, is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1599 and 1602. Set in Denmark, the play depicts Prince Hamlet and his revenge against his uncle, who has murdered Hamlet's father in order to seize his throne and marry Hamlet's mother. Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play and is considered among the most powerful and influential works of world literature, with a story capable of "seemingly endless retelling and adaptation by others", it was one of Shakespeare's most popular works during his lifetime and still ranks among his most performed, topping the performance list of the Royal Shakespeare Company and its predecessors in Stratford-upon-Avon since 1879. It has inspired many other writers—from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Charles Dickens to James Joyce and Iris Murdoch—and has been described as "the world's most filmed story after Cinderella"; the story of Shakespeare's Hamlet was derived from the legend of Amleth, preserved by 13th-century chronicler Saxo Grammaticus in his Gesta Danorum, as subsequently retold by the 16th-century scholar François de Belleforest.
Shakespeare may have drawn on an earlier Elizabethan play known today as the Ur-Hamlet, though some scholars believe Shakespeare wrote the Ur-Hamlet revising it to create the version of Hamlet we now have. He certainly wrote his version of the title role for his fellow actor, Richard Burbage, the leading tragedian of Shakespeare's time. In the 400 years since its inception, the role has been performed by numerous acclaimed actors in each successive century. Three different early versions of the play are extant: the First Quarto; each version includes entire scenes missing from the others. The play's structure and depth of characterisation have inspired much critical scrutiny. One such example is the centuries-old debate about Hamlet's hesitation to kill his uncle, which some see as a plot device to prolong the action but which others argue is a dramatisation of the complex philosophical and ethical issues that surround cold-blooded murder, calculated revenge, thwarted desire. More psychoanalytic critics have examined Hamlet's unconscious desires, while feminist critics have re-evaluated and attempted to rehabilitate the maligned characters of Ophelia and Gertrude.
The protagonist of Hamlet is Prince Hamlet of Denmark, son of the deceased King Hamlet, nephew of King Claudius, his father's brother and successor. Claudius hastily married King Hamlet's widow, Hamlet's mother, took the throne for himself. Denmark has a long-standing feud with neighbouring Norway, in which King Hamlet slew King Fortinbras of Norway in a battle some years ago. Although Denmark defeated Norway and the Norwegian throne fell to King Fortinbras's infirm brother, Denmark fears that an invasion led by the dead Norwegian king's son, Prince Fortinbras, is imminent. On a cold night on the ramparts of Elsinore, the Danish royal castle, the sentries Bernardo and Marcellus discuss a ghost resembling the late King Hamlet which they have seen, bring Prince Hamlet's friend Horatio as a witness. After the ghost appears again, the three vow to tell Prince Hamlet; as the court gathers the next day, while King Claudius and Queen Gertrude discuss affairs of state with their elderly adviser Polonius, Hamlet looks on glumly.
During the court, Claudius grants permission for Polonius's son Laertes to return to school in France and sends envoys to inform the King of Norway about Fortinbras. Claudius scolds Hamlet for continuing to grieve over his father and forbids him to return to his schooling in Wittenberg. After the court exits, Hamlet despairs of his mother's hasty remarriage. Learning of the ghost from Horatio, Hamlet resolves to see it himself; as Polonius's son Laertes prepares to depart for a visit to France, Polonius gives him contradictory advice that culminates in the ironic maxim "to thine own self be true." Polonius's daughter, admits her interest in Hamlet, but Laertes warns her against seeking the prince's attention, Polonius orders her to reject his advances. That night on the rampart, the ghost appears to Hamlet, telling the prince that he was murdered by Claudius and demanding that Hamlet avenge him. Hamlet agrees, the ghost vanishes; the prince confides to Horatio and the sentries that from now on he plans to "put an antic disposition on", or act as though he has gone mad, forces them to swear to keep his plans for revenge secret.
However, he remains uncertain of the ghost's reliability. Soon thereafter, Ophelia rushes to her father, telling him that Hamlet arrived at her door the prior night half-undressed and behaving erratically. Polonius resolves to inform Claudius and Gertrude; as he enters to do so, the king and queen finish welcoming Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two student acquaintances of Hamlet, to Elsinore. The royal couple has requested that the students investigate the cause of Hamlet's mood and behaviour. Additional news requires that Polonius wait to be heard: messengers from Norway inform Claudius that the King of Norway has rebuked Prince Fortinbras for attempting to re-fight his father's battles; the forces that Fortinbras had conscripted to march against Denmark will instead be sent against Poland, though they will pass through Danish territory to get there. Polonius tells Claudius and Gertrude his theory regarding Hamlet's behaviour and speaks to Hamlet in a hall of the castle to try to uncover more information.
Hamlet feigns madness but subtly insults Polonius all the while. When Rosencrantz and Guildenstern arrive, Hamlet greets his "friends" warm