Formulas, Sequences, and the Composition of Beowulf, lines 2200-3182
During the last twenty years Anglo-Saxon scholars have sought to discover in the Anglo-Saxon verse corpus something comparable to the FORMULAS in Homer as described by Parry [see Note 1]. In Homer formulas are recognised as expressions which are characteristically of no less than four words or five syllables, repeated in the corpus, and often used uniquely when the same needs of meaning, grammar and metre arise. In the Anglo-Saxon verse corpus repetitions as close as Homer's are rarer in occurrence and shorter in scope. The current view is that formulas as found in Homer are not matched by anything fully comparable in the Anglo-Saxon verse corpus.