An acrostic is a poem or other form of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out a word or a message.
As a form of constrained writing, an acrostic can be used as a mnemonic device to aid memory retrieval.
A famous acrostic was made in Greek for the acclamation JESUS CHRIST, GOD’S SON, SAVIOUR. The initials in Greek spell ICHTHYS, Greek for fish – hence the frequent use of the fish as a symbol for Jesus Christ from the early days of Christianity to the present time.
There is a classic example of acrostic poem in English written by Edgar Allan Poe is entitled simply “An Acrostic”:
Elizabeth it is in vain you say
“Love not” — thou sayest it in so sweet a way:
In vain those words from thee or L.E.L.
Zantippe’s talents had enforced so well:
Ah! if that language from thy heart arise,
Breath it less gently forth — and veil thine eyes.
Endymion, recollect, when Luna tried
To cure his love — was cured of all beside —
His follie — pride — and passion — for he died.
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