The repetition of the same consonant sound at the beginning of consecutive or closely spaced words is known as alliteration.
It is commonly used as a poetic device in almost all languages and is also found in many everyday phrases, such as 'pretty as a picture'. In the early Scandinavian, German, Anglo-Saxon and English poetry, alliteration was used in place of rhyme. As a structural device it gave the lines a regularity of accent and emphasis. It appears in poetry from all over the world and from all ages, including ancient Greek and Latin. It was very popular in the seventeenth century among English writers of poetry and prose and was used extensively by the poets Edgar Allan Poe and Algernon Charles Swinburne in the nineteenth century.
Today most poets use alliteration as a decoration to impart a musical quality or emphasis to their verse. It is often employed in conjunction with such other devices as onomatopoeia. In addition it may be found mixed with phrases in which consonants in the middle or at the end of an unaccented syllable are repeated, or when similar but not identical sounds are repeated.