The Great War

from The Poems of Robert W. Sterling, an electronic edition

The fragment Maran is valuable, not for its theme or language (which are both in parts immature, uncertain, and childish), but for its rhythm, which reveals a new music, and properly handled might afford a contribution to literature and the melody of the world.

The poem is an attempt to recover for the English tongue a lost heritage—that bequeathed by the old Saxon epicists (see Bridges' Christmas Carol, 1913)--

Stress and alliteration.

Lyrical; stanzas superficially resembling Norman convention. Should be intoned, with emphasis on each stressed word, with special care to mark the structure-rhymes of the even lines. Only one accentuated syllable in each line is unalliterative.

Thewínd waswíling over the lánd wíldly

Sóng-síghing, and the móon

Lánguishing, a lóve-lórn máiden

Pále-péering from a shróud.

1. x —1 x —2 x x x x —34 x

2. —12 x x x —3

3. —1 x x x —234 x

4. —12 x x x —3

The number of unaccentuated syllables (x) does not matter. Accentuated syllables (—) must be four and three alternately. Second and fourth lines coincide in structure.