The dating of beowulf chase
One of the more interesting, and empirically-sound, clues to the date of composition of Beowulf lies in a consideration of certain aspects of the metre of the poem. Specifically, the conformity of the metre of Beowulf to 'Kaluza's Law' (governing the resolution of syllables into a single position) would be unexpected if the poem had been composed after 825 AD. 'Artful Avoidance of the Useful Phrase in Beowulf, The Battle of Maldon, and Fates of the Apostles'. [reprinted in Interpretations of Beowulf: a critical anthology. A Reassessment, which offers a number of very detailed studies presenting overwhelming indices for the date proposed by Fulk based on his linguistic studies.The Dating of Beowulf: Beowulf and Language History by R.
But the main body of Old English literature, including Beowulf, cannot be so easily dated, except roughly to sometime during a period of two or three hundred years or more.
One of the most common verse-forms in Beowulf is exemplified by wéox under wolcnum (8a) [ / x x / x ], in other words Type A with an 'extra' unstressed syllable in the first foot.
In general one may observe that in all of the types we find four positions - in fact in the basic types, these four positions map perfectly onto four syllables.
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.
In Old English (and Old Germanic in general), a vowels alliterates with any other vowel (more correctly, any onsetless syllable alliterates with any other onsetless syllable) -- otherwise strict identity is maintained.