Old and Middle English Prosody: Transformations of the Model.
Asserts that the patterning of unstressed syllables is the regulating principle of ME alliterative verse. Finds that the rhythmic patterns of the two halves of the line are mutually exclusive: the first half-line is generally heavier by virtue of having either two strong dips (runs of two or more weakly stressed syllables) or three metrical stresses; and the second half-line must contain only two metrical stresses, one strong and one weak dip in either order, and a single, final unstressed syllable. (The pattern of unstressed syllables is determined on the basis of the historical form of each word as it appeared in OE, OF, and ON, and not on the orthographic forms of the MSS.)
Gallacher and Damico, Hermeneutics and Medieval Culture 201 -11.