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The author did not sign and date the manuscript, and no records were kept of when the poem was written.Given the lack of information pointing to the origins of the poem, scholars must deduce the text's history by the artifact that exists. Colin Chase summarises the reasons for this quest in the prologue of the collection , debated for almost a century, is a small question with large consequences. Either there is no datastream for the digital object "uk-ac-man-scw:1m2123" with datastream ID of "null " OR there are no datastreams that match the specified date/time value of "null " .Old English literature is largely preserved in manuscripts of the late tenth, eleventh and twelfth centuries, and Beowulf is no exception, surviving in a late 10th- or early 11th-c. Based on external evidence such as historical references or authorship, some poetry, like Cædmon's Hymn, can be dated as early as the 7th-c., whilst other poems, like The Death of Edgar, can be dated as late as the mid-eleventh century. In English, both modern and ancient, stressed syllables are usually distinguished from unstressed syllables in being longer and/or having more amplitude (i.e. Verses in Old English are bound together by alliteration, much as rhyme forms the linking structure for rhyming poetry. '"Þurs" and "Þyrs": Giants and the Date of Beowulf'. New Haven (Connecticut): Yale University Press, 1942 [2nd ed., 1966]. Alliteration is the repetition of the initial sounds of words (thus it is sometimes called 'head rhyme' or 'initial rhyme'), serving not only to link verses, but also to emphasise important words within the verse. What is most striking about the manuscript is the digression from the 20-line grid of the rest of the codex starting from folio 163 until the end of the poem.Kiernan speculates that the second scribe had completed his last two gatherings of pages before the first scribe, thus requiring him to fit more per folio than he had started with.

Usually nouns and adverbs are the alliterating words, and the on-verse has one or two alliterating words, but the off-verse only one. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981 (2nd ed., 1997).

Metre can be roughly described as the rhythm used in recitation.

More exactly, metre comprises the patterns of stressed (or emphasised) and unstressed syllables, which are inherent in spoken language, but take on a more regulated form in poetry. The Rhythm of Beowulf: an interpretation of the normal and hypermetric verse-forms in Old English poetry.

Boyle also notes the alteration of fitt numbers could either be a mistake on the first scribe's part, or that a fitt had been deliberately omitted while copying.

With fitt XXIIII missing on the manuscript, a later scribe had chosen to correct this by altering fitts XXIIII through XXVIIII.

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