Alliteration Versus Natural Speech Rhythm in Determining the Meter of ME Alliterative Verse.
This essay examines the contesting claims of strict alliterative theory and natural speech rhythm in determining the scansion of ME alliterative poems. In this cumulative study, substantial excerpts from PPl A and B are examined in addition to the works of the Pearl-poet, The Wars of Alexander, The Destruction of Troy, The Alliterative Morte Arthure, Winner and Waster, The Parliament of the Three Ages, and a number of other minor alliterative poems. Moriya’s study, thus, considers a corpus of more than 25,000 lines of poetry and he considers both the Metrical Subordination Rule and the Compound Stress Rule with regard to ascertaining scansion in ME alliterative verse. Moriya concludes that English stress began to show signs of mobility in the fourteenth century and that English poets made use of the flexibility available to them by purposely using “different rules of prosody” (507).