Alliteration

DR. BETHEL OF ETON.

Didactic, dry, declamatory, dull,
Big, burly Bethel bellows like a bull.

Eton College.

CARDINAL WOLSEY.

Begot by butchers, but by bishops bred,
How high his Honour holds his haughty head.

Hucbald composed an alliterative poem on Charles the Bald, every word of which begins with c.

Henry Harder composed a poem of 100 lines, in Latin hexameters, on cats, every word of which begins with c. The title is Canum cum Catis certamen carmine compositum currents calamo C Catulli Caninii. The first line is -

“Cattorum canimus certamina clara canumqua.”

Hamonicus wrote the Certamen catholicum cum Calvinistis, every word of which begins with c.

It is a curious coincidence that the names of these three men all begin with H.

In the Materia more Magistralis every word begins with m.

Placentius, the Dominican, who died 1548, wrote a poem of 258 Latin hexameters, called Pugna Porcorum, every word of which begins with p. It begins thus:

“Plaudite, Porcelli, porcorum pigra propago.”

Which may be translated -

“Praise, Paul, prize pig's prolific progeny.”

Tusser, who died 1580, has a rhyming poem of twelve lines, every word of which begins with t.

The Rev. B. Poulter, prebendary of Winchester, composed in 1828 the famous alliterative alphabetic poem in rhymes. Each word of each line begins with the letter of the alphabet which it represents. It begins thus: -

An Austrian army awfully arrayed,
Boldly by battery besieged Belgrade;
Cussack commanders, cannonading come,
Dealing destruction's devastating doom; ...

Some ascribe this alliterative poem to Alaric A. Watts (1820). (See H. Southgate, Many Thoughts on Many Things.)

Another attempt of the same kind begins thus:

About an age ago, as all agree,
Beauteous Belinda, brewing best Bohea
Carelessly chattered, controverting clean,
Dublin's derisive, disputatious dean ...
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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