"Mad world! Mad kings! Mad composition!" Recognize the emphasis laid in the previous sentence? The term 'anaphora' originated from the Greek word meaning 'carrying back'. It can be defined as a repetition or a rhetorical device where the same word or phrase is repeated at regular intervals, which could be in the beginning or the middle of a line, a sentence or a clause. What results from this figure of speech is an undeniable stress on a certain word/phrase. A sort of parallelism is created when successive lines begin with the same word/phrase; this is similar to a litany (form of Christian prayer). The oldest use of these figures of speech and poetic technique can be seen in Biblical Psalms, the world's oldest religious and devotional poetry. Slowly, the Elizabethan and the Romantic writers began using the anaphora. William Shakespeare, Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Charles Dickens etc were all masters of this language. A literary tool, the anaphora, can be used in both prose and verse. They are commonly used to depict certain vivid and unusual themes of relevance. The powerful use of an anaphora adds variation, exaggeration, rhythm, emotion, beauty and colour to most works of literature.
Examples of Anaphora
Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth
Five years have passed;
Five summers, with the length of
Five long winters! and again I hear these waters...
Tears, Idle Tears by Lord Alfred Tennyson
Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
"And do you now put on your best attire?
And do you now cull out a holiday?
And do you now strew flowers in his way
That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood? Be gone!"
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.
A List of Praises by Anne Porter
Give praise with the rasp and sizzle of crickets, katydids and cicadas,
Give praise with hum of bees,
Give praise with the little peepers who live near water.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
The Tyger by William Blake
What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
Second Inaugural Address by Abraham Lincoln
With malice toward none;
with charity for all;
with firmness in the right...
The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson
I fled Him down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways.
London by William Blake
In every cry of every man,
In every infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear.
October (Section I) by Louise Gluck
Is it winter again, is it cold again,
didn't Frank just slip on the ice,
didn't he heal, weren't the spring seeds planted
didn't the night end,
didn't the melting ice
flood the narrow gutters.
Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking by Walt Whitman
Out of the cradle endlessly rocking
Out of the mocking-bird's throat, the musical shuttle,
Out of the Ninth-month midnight,
Over the sterile sands, and the fields beyond, where the child, leaving his bed, wander'd alone bare-headed, barefoot.
From the memories of the bird that chanted to me,
From the memories, sad brother-from the fitful risings and fallings I heard,
From under that yellow half-moon, late-risen, and swollen as if with tears,
From those beginning notes of sickness and love, there in the transparent mist,
From the thousand responses of my heart, never to cease,
From the myriad thence-arous'd words,
From the word stronger and more delicious than any,
From such, as now they start, the scene revisiting.
The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd
In time the savage bull sustains the yoke,
In time all haggard hawks will stoop to lure,
In time small wedges cleave the hardest oak,
In time the flint is pierced with softest shower.
Marino Faliero by Byron
Strike as I struck the foe! Strike as I would
Have struck those tyrants! Strike deep as my curse!
Strike!-and but once!
Winston Churchill during the Second World War
We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender.
The Wasteland (The Fire Sermon) by T. S. Eliot
Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,
Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long.
Richard II by William Shakespeare
This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself.
Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever...
This is a list of examples of anaphora that are popular in the field of literature and politics. Some of the best-known works contain the use of this rhetorical yet floral way figure of speech. Hope this article has helped, ye