Abecedarian Ambition, Alliteratively Applied…
In 1820, the journalist Alaric Watts published “The Siege of Belgrade” in the Literary Gazette of London; an an exercise in illustrating alliteration, it succeeds as a pretty fine example of abercedarian ambition as well…
AN Austrian army, awfully arrayed,
Boldly by battery besieged Belgrade.
Cossack commanders cannonading come,
Dealing destruction’s devastating doom.
Every endeavor engineers essay,
For fame, for fortune fighting – furious fray!
Generals ‘gainst generals grapple – gracious God!
How honors Heaven heroic hardihood!
Infuriate, indiscrminate in ill,
Kindred kill kinsmen, kinsmen kindred kill.
Labor low levels longest, lofiest lines;
Men march ‘mid mounds, ‘mid moles, ‘ mid murderous mines;
Now noxious, noisey numbers nothing, naught
Of outward obstacles, opposing ought;
Poor patriots, partly purchased, partly pressed,
Quite quaking, quickly “Quarter! Quarter!” quest.
Reason returns, religious right redounds,
Suwarrow stops such sanguinary sounds.
Truce to thee, Turkey! Triumph to thy train,
Unwise, unjust, unmerciful Ukraine!
Vanish vain victory! vanish, victory vain!
Why wish we warfare? Wherefore welcome were
Xerxes, Ximenes, Xanthus, Xavier?
Yield, yield, ye youths! ye yeomen, yield your yell!
Zeus’, Zarpater’s, Zoroaster’s zeal,
Attracting all, arms against acts appeal!
As we rethink rhetoric, we might send artful birthday wishes to Giorgio Vasari; he was born on this date in 1511. An accomplished architect (e.g., the Vasari Corridor in Florence, which connects the Uffizi with the Palazzo Pitti) and painter (e.g., the self-portrait below), Vasari may be more rightly remembered for his extraordinary Le Vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori (Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects), dedicated to Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, and published in 1550… which made him the Herodotus of Art History.