The sound in poetry plays a vital role which gives it musical rhythms and therefore poems are recited with genuine interest. Alliteration is such quality that gives beauty to the poetry. There are alliteration famous poems that really appeal to the lovers of literature.
What Makes it Alliteration?
Well, it is nothing but a recurrent repetition of a speech sound presented in a sequence of close by words. It's generally applied to consonants when the recurring sound starts a word or stressed syllable within a word. In the opening line of "Piers Plowman" by William Langland, every four stressed syllables are alliterative by nature:
"In a somer seson, when soft was the sonne..."
Examples of Alliteration in Later English Poetry:
In the later English poetry, the application of alliteration was meant for achieving stylistic effects and to reinforce and intensify the meaning. For instance; the repetition of the sound /s/, /th/, and /w/ consonants in the following Shakespeare's Sonnet 30:
"When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past"
There are special speech sounds, called assonance and consonance, repeated in alliteration. Assonance means the repetition of similar type of words (particularly in stresses syllables) in a sequence of close by words. For instance; the recurrent /i:/ is repeated in the opening lines of Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn":
"Thou still unravished bride of quietness,
Thou foster child of silence and slow time..."
Consonance means the repetition of a sequence of more than two consonants but a slight change in the prevailing vowel for instance; lean-alone, live-love etc. Moreover, it can be seen in W. H. Auden's following poem:
"O Where are you going?" said reader to rider...
"Out of this house" - said rider to reader,
"Yours never will" - said farer to fearer,
"They're looking for you" said hearer to horror..."
This device of alliteration in poetry provides rhythm and rhyme.