The Old English poem “The Seafarer” contains all the delightful features of Old English poetry. Let's examine some of them.
Old English poems generally feature long lines of four stresses that are split into half-lines or verses of two stresses each. In between the half-lines is a pause called a caesura. The very first line of “The Seafarer” illustrates this practice: Mæg ic be me sylfum / soðgied wrecan (“I can about myself a truth-lay utter”). Notice the two half-lines (often labeled a-verse and b-verse). Notice also the caesura in between, which is identified here by a slash (/). Many texts uses extra spaces instead. Interestingly, Old English manuscripts do not show such formatting. Old English poems in their manuscript contexts do not look like poetry at all, for the lines run together like prose. Parchment was expensive, and scribes could not waste it. The original audience recognized poetry from the text's metrical structures and alliteration.
In fact, alliteration is...
(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1073 words.)