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Additional resources for Annual of Medieval Studies at Central European University 12 (2006)

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In Shakespeare's Henry V, a character describes the danger of an attack on England by the Scots if the English send an expedition to France: For once the eagle England being in prey, To her unguarded nest the weasel Scot Comes sneaking, and so sucks her princely eggs. We hardly need to be told that it is an Englishman speaking. England attacking France is an eagle, the majestic king of birds. Scotland attacking England is a weasel, a small nocturnal animal (Mustela nioalisv which is a ferocious killer.

They co~er a wide variety of things, but there are 50 Poetry in Engl£sh three main types: the production of verbal patterns by means of repetition; whole modes of procedure, such as imprecation or consolation; and set pieces, such as the elaborate description of a person or place, or a comparison. The figures thus cover an enormous range of different things, from the choice of a single word to the mode within which a whole work operates. In the late Elizabethan period, poets made liberal use of figures of all kinds, but especially popular were the Rhetorical Schemes which produced verbal patterns by repetition.

Moreover, the mere fact of being rhyme-words gives greater prominence to these four words. Rhymes also increase our consciousness of the line-ending, and so reinforce the metrical pattern. A rhyme at the end of a sentence gives a sense of finality and completeness. In Shakespeare's plays, a scene in unrhymed verse often ends with a rhymed couplet, which acts as a scene-ending signal for the audience; even in some prose dramas, such as the comedies of Wycherley and Congreve in the Restoration period, it is common for a scene to be ended with a rhymed couplet.

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Annual of Medieval Studies at Central European University 12 (2006) by The Department of Medieval Studies at the Central European University


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