incremental repetition

incremental repetition

noun Prosody.
repetition, with variation, of a refrain or other part of a poem, especially a ballad.

Origin:
1915–20

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incremental repetition

a device used in poetry of the oral tradition, especially English and Scottish ballads, in which a line is repeated in a changed context or with minor changes in the repeated part. The device is illustrated in the following stanzas from the ballad "Lord Randal": "O where ha' you been, Lord Randal, my son? And where ha' you been, my handsome young man?""I ha' been at the greenwood; mother, mak my bed soon,For I'm wearied wi' huntin', and fain wad lie down.""And wha met ye there, Lord Randal, my son? And wha met you there, my handsome young man?"O I met wi' my true-love; mother, mak my bed soon,For I'm wearied wi' huntin', and fain wad lie down."

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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