Tag Archives: backronyms

acrostic, abece, poyse

Three terms for the price of one in this blog post.  An abece (or an abc) is a poem where each line or each stanza (or even each word in a stanza, in one particularly jazzy Latin example) begins with each letter of the alphabet in turn.  Chaucer’s translation of Deguileville’s prayer to the Virgin Mary is usually called his ABC because each stanza of the poem begins with each letter in turn.  Another Middle English poem, often called ‘The ABC of Devotion’, models itself on a child’s alphabet, beginning with a cross and ending with puns on the ‘tittle’ and ‘point’, the punctuation marks that sometimes followed the alphabet in a primer text.

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