The Distribution of Infinitives in –e and –en in some Middle English Alliterative Poems.
Jefferson and Putter draw on a corpus of alliterative poetry including the poems of MS Cotton Nero A.x, Alexander B, the Siege of Jerusalem, and William of Palerne to explore the metrical constraints of the alliterative long line, and how these affect the retention of inflectional –n and the sounding of final –e. Attentive to grammatical and metrical criteria influencing the syllabic value of infinitives in –e, they suggest that this is ‘the default form for alliterative poets’ (p. 239), rendering the use of –en deliberate on the part of the author, and therefore instructive about metrical norms in alliterative verse.
Medium Ævum, 74 (2005), 221–47.
Jefferson, Judith A., and Ad Putter