Alliteration: Word play

Behold Briseis, beauteous but bereaved
Eurybates and Talthybius Lead Briseis to Agamemnon, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770)

From Handy-Book of Literary Curiosities, by William Shepard Walsh and Literary Frivolities, Fancies, Follies, and Frolics by William Dobson:


The repetition of some letter or sound at the beginning of two or more words in close or immediate succession.

1. Utility is not always the chief object of literary labor, 

as illustrated in the following excerpt from "My Madeline" found in Songs of Singularity by the London Hermit,
My Madeline! my Madeline!
Mark my melodious midnight moans,
Much may my melting music mean.
— a serenade sung in M flat by Major Marmaduke Muttinhead to Mademoiselle Madeline Mendosa Marriot.

2. Difficulty and applause are sometimes great incentives.

Alaric A. Watts is credited with writing “The Siege Of Belgrade,” a famous example of alliterative poetry which begins with an alliterative line from Virgil (Ardentem aspicio atque arrectis auribus asto). The initial letters of the lines are those of the alphabet in proper sequence, beginning with A and ending with Z, forming a sort of acrostic. 

An anonymous author penned these lines following the example set by Watts in 
“The Seige of Belgrade”:
Achilles, angered, anxious, and aggrieved,
Beheld Briseis, beauteous but bereaved,
Conducted captive, cautiously conveyed,
Dreading departure, desolate, dismayed.
Escorting envoys earnestly entreat
From frightened fair forbearance, free from fret;
Giving glad gratulations gayly given,
How, heralding her happiness, high Heaven
Immutably involves in its intent
Joys jocund, juvenescent joys, Jove-sent,
King's knabbing knights, kidnapping klepted kid.
Love-lorn, lamenting, lady, lingering, lead,
Meeting Mycenae's monarch mournfully
Near nodding navies numerously nigh.
O opulent o'erruler, owned, obeyed,
Propitious prove,” Pelides' princess prayed.
Quench quarrellings, quit quaking quarry's quest,
Receive rich ransom, ravishment resist.”
Supremely selfish, stubborn sovereign sought
To tyrannize that timid trembler's thought,
Until Ulysses, undismayed, uncowed,
Vindictive vengeance vehemently vowed.
Whereat worn warrior, wild with wonderment,
'Xhibiting 'xtremity's 'xtent,
Yields yearningly ye yokemate youthful yet,
Zeus-fearing, Zeus-obeying, Zeus-beset.

Again Achilles, armed against attack,
Beheld Briseis blushingly brought back.
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