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Anaphora

In rhetoric, anaphora (Greek ἀναφορά ‘carrying back’) is a device that consists of repeating one or a sequence of words at the beginning of neighboring clauses, thereby lending the repeated item(s) emphasis, as in the following Russian poem:

ОТЧЕГО

Отчего, когда блещет сияние дня,
Я тоскую, как будто на сердце змея?

Отчего, когда плещет в саду ручеек,
Я все слышу, как будто в тех звуках упрек?

Отчего, когда хочешь обнять ты меня,
Я жестокой рукой отстраняю тебя?

Отчего? . . .

Here is an approximate translation:

WHY

Why, when the day’s radiance beams,
Do I feel miserable, as if there were a snake on my heart?

Why, when a little brook splashes in the garden,
Do I keep hearing a seeming reproach in those sounds?

Why, when you want to embrace me,
Do I push you aside with a cruel hand?

Why? . . .

The repetition of the word otchego ‘why’ intensifies its meaning and betokens the absence of an answer, thereby heightening the pathos of the entire poem’s (emotional) purport.

MICHAEL SHAPIRO

[Authorial gloss: C. S.’s anapests were brought to mind when I looked out the twelfth-floor window of my apartment and saw the resplendency of the day.]

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