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The Wars of Alexander. EETS ss 10.

The Wars of Alexander. EETS ss 10.

An edition of the Wars based on Oxford Bodley MS. Ashmole 44 (the copy text), under comparison with Dublin Trinity College MS. 213. “Metrical Criteria for Establishing the Text” (Introduction, xvii-xxiv) concludes that the archetype of the extant MSS. (which share few common errors) was not far removed from the holograph; that the author, like the authors of the Siege of Jerusalem and P3A, always wrote verses of the form aa/ax (excepting lines of vocalic alliteration); and that the Wars poet appears to have had more rigorous standards of alliteration than other poets in the tradition. His a-verses rarely have more than six syllables in a dip, and usually three to four. None to four unstressed syllables may appear before the first stressed syllable, none to seven after it, none to four after the final stressed syllable. The b-verse shows the following rhythmic pattern: (x)/xx(x)(x)(x)/(x) and x(x)(x)(x)/(x)/(x); it seems not to allow xx/xx/(x)(x), which has often been considered standard in b-verses. Like the authors of The Crouned King, Patience, and Cleanness, the Wars poet tended to write sentences of four lines, often combined into “strophes” of twenty-four lines.


Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.


Duggan, Hoyt N., and Thorlac Turville-Petre, eds.