What poetic devices are used in the poem "A Legend of the Northland" by Phoebe Cary?
“A Legend of the Northland” by Phoebe Cary uses numerous poetic devices, which include rhyme, simile, alliteration, consonance, and assonance.
Rhyme is the repetition of the last stressed syllable at the end of the line. This poem is organized into quatrains, or stanzas of four lines. The second and fourth lines of each quatrain rhyme, for an abcb rhyme scheme.
A simile is a comparison of unlike things for effect using like or as. The poem has several similes. One is “the children look like bear's cubs,” which appears in the second stanza. In the penultimate stanza, the woman’s clothes are compared to coal:
Her clothes were burned
Black as a coal in the flame.
The poet makes extensive use of alliteration, which is the repetition of initial consonant sounds. This is often combined with consonance, the repetition of consonant sounds anywhere else in the word, and assonance, the repetition of vowel sounds anywhere in the word.
The first two lines of stanza 2 combine alliteration and consonance in the s sounds:
Where they harness the swift reindeer
To the sledges, when it snows.
Also in stanza 2, alliteration and assonance are combined in “funny, furry.”
Among the other instances of alliteration are the use of the initial l and t sounds in stanza 3:
You may learn a lesson
If I tell the tale to you.
The poet often uses repetition, such as “rolled and rolled” in stanza 9. She occasionally uses one type of repetition, anaphora, which means repeating a phrase at the beginning of a line. In this stanza, and a few other places, “and” plus a past-tense verb begins the lines:
And rolled and rolled it flat;
And baked it thin.