Further reading

Heffernan, Thomas J. Sacred Biography: Saints and Their Biographers in the Middle Ages. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

HALF-LINE Literally a half-line of poetry, in Anglo-Saxon poetry the half-line is the normal metrical unit, with two half-lines that alliterate forming a complete alliterative line. These half-lines are separated by a caesura (pause), often represented by a blank space. Each half-line has at least four syllables, but the pattern of stress and alliteration vary, depending on the length of the syllable, phonetic stress, and the number of syllables. Each half-line also has two stressed syllables, and those syllables alliterate. In the most common pattern found in old English, two alliterating words in the first half-line link with one in the second.

The poems of the 14th-century alliterative revival, such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, follow this same basic pattern: Each alliterative line contains two half-lines, wherein at least one stressed syllable in the first half alliterates with one or two syllables in the other half-line.

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