Alliteration Poems: Alliteration is a part of the language arts curriculum that reoccurs through the grades. Alliteration is the literary technique using the frequent recurrence of the same initial consonant sound.

Alliteration Poems Assignment

The following 4 famous alliteration poems: Siege of Belgrade, Beowulf, On Thriftiness, Pied Beauty, and lines from some of Shakespeare’s famous plays showing examples of alliteration, are appropriate for high school language arts students. Assignment: find the examples of alliteration in each of the 4 alliterations poems as you read them. Share your activity with your teacher and class.

4 Alliteration Poems

Alliteration Poems #1

The Siege of Belgrade

Listen to The Siege of Belgrade (by Alaric Alexander Watts – 1797 to 1864), an example of an alliteration poem written in the English language. Notice that the author uses every letter of the alphabet – one for each line.

An Austrian array, awfully arrayed,
Boldly by battery, besieged Belgrade.
Cossack commanders, cannonading come,
Dealing destruction’s devastating doom;
Every endeavor, engineers essay
For fame, for fortune, forming furious fray.
Gaunt gunners grapple, giving gashes good
Heaves high his head heroic hardihood.
Ibraham, Islam, Ismael, imps in ill,
Jostle John Jarovlitz, Jem, Joe, Jack, Jill:
Kick kindling Kutusoff, king’s kinsman kill;
Labor low levels loftiest longest lines;
Men march ‘mid moles, ‘mid mounds, ‘mid murderous mines.
Now nightfall’s nigh, now needful nature nods.
Opposed, opposing, overcoming odds.
Poor peasants, partly purchased, partly pressed,
Quite quaking, “Quarter! Quarter! ” quickly quest.
Reason returns, recalls redundant rage,
Saves sinking soldiers, softens signiors sage.
Truce, Turkey, truce! truce, treacherous Tartar train!
Unwise, unjust, unmerciful Ukraine!
Vanish, vile vengeance! vanish, victory vain!
Wisdom wails war – wails warring words. What were Xerxes, Xantippe, Ximenes, Xavier?
Yet yassy’s youth, ye yield your youthful yest.
Zealously, zanies, zealously zeal’s zest.

Alliteration Poems #2

On Thriftiness

Another famous alliteration poem was written in 1557 by Thomas Tusser: On Thriftiness

The thrifty that teacheth the thriving to thrive
Teach timely to traverse, the thing that thou ‘trive.,
Transferring thy toiling, to timeliness taught,
This teacheth thee temp’rance, to temper thy thought,
Take Trusty (to trust to) that thinkest to thee,
That trustily thriftiness trowleth to thee,
That temper thy travell, to tarry the tide;
This teacheth thy thriftiness, twenty times tryed,
Take thankfull thy talent, thank thankfully those
That thriftily teach thee thy time to transpose.
Troth twice to thee teached, teach twenty times ten,
This trade thou that takest, take thrift to thee then.

Alliteration Poems #3

Beowulf

Beowulf, written in Old English, contains many lines of alliteration. Here is Episode I which provides many examples of alliteration:

Episode I

Now Beowulf bode in the burg of the Scyldings,
leader beloved, and long he ruled
in fame with all folk, since his father had gone
away from the world, till awoke an heir,
haughty Healfdene, who held through life,
sage and sturdy, the Scyldings glad.
Then, one after one, there woke to him,
to the chieftain of clansmen, children four:
Heorogar, then Hrothgar, then Halga brave;
and I heard that — was — ‘s queen,
the Heathoscylfing’s helpmate dear.
To Hrothgar was given such glory of war,
such honor of combat, that all his kin
obeyed him gladly till great grew his band
of youthful comrades. It came in his mind
to bid his henchmen a hall uprear,
ia master mead-house, mightier far
than ever was seen by the sons of earth,
and within it, then, to old and young
he would all allot that the Lord had sent him,
save only the land and the lives of his men.
Wide, I heard, was the work commanded,
for many a tribe this mid-earth round,
to fashion the folkstead. It fell, as he ordered,

(can you find the other examples of alliteration?)

in rapid achievement that ready it stood there,
of halls the noblest: Heorot he named it
whose message had might in many a land.
Not reckless of promise, the rings he dealt,
treasure at banquet: there towered the hall,
high, gabled wide, the hot surge waiting
of furious flame. Nor far was that day
when father and son-in-law stood in feud
for warfare and hatred that woke again.
With envy and anger an evil spirit
endured the dole in his dark abode,
that he heard each day the din of revel
high in the hall: there harps rang out,
clear song of the singer. He sang who knew
tales of the early time of man,
how the Almighty made the earth,
fairest fields enfolded by water,
set, triumphant, sun and moon
for a light to lighten the land-dwellers,
and braided bright the breast of earth
with limbs and leaves, made life for all
of mortal beings that breathe and move.
So lived the clansmen in cheer and revel
a winsome life, till one began
to fashion evils, that field of hell.
Grendel this monster grim was called,
march-riever mighty, in moorland living,
in fen and fastness; fief of the giants
the hapless wight a while had kept
since the Creator his exile doomed.
On kin of Cain was the killing avenged
by sovran God for slaughtered Abel.
Ill fared his feud, and far was he driven,
for the slaughter’s sake, from sight of men.
Of Cain awoke all that woful breed,
Etins and elves and evil-spirits,
as well as the giants that warred with God
weary while: but their wage was paid them!

Alliteration Poems #4

Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins’s (1844 – 1889) Pied Beauty also includes the literary device of alliteration:

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and piecedfold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Shakespeare – alliteration examples

Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”

whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade he bravely broached his bloody boiling breast

Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 30”

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 12”

Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard

Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”

Good night! Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow
That I shall say good night til it be morrow

The day to cheer and night’s dank dew to dry

Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart

What early tongue so sweet saluteth me?

Robert Frost’s “The Death of the Hired Man”

Mary sat musing on the lap-flame at the table
Waiting for Warren. When she heard his step…

Edwin Markham’s  “Lincoln, the Man of the People”

She left the Heaven of Heroes and came down
To make a man to meet the mortal need
A man to match the mountains and the sea
The friendly welcome of the wayside well