poem acrostic linking and pointing
acrostic acrostics hyperDiv id target

Encoding acrostics, and in particular capturing the encrypted word or words from the acrostic in a searchable form, using the WWP acrostic element

Acrostics are a specialized form of poetry or prose in which the first letter of each line, when read downward, forms a word: often the name of the author or of a dedicatee, but sometimes an encrypted word or message. The word or name thus formed has an important presence in the text, but it is not discoverable by normal means and cannot be searched for in the usual way.

In order to be able to treat these words as part of the content of the text, the WWP has created two new elements: acrostic and acrostics.

The acrostics element goes inside the hyperDiv, and is a container for one or more acrostic elements. Each acrostic element carries a target attribute, which points to the id of the smallest element containing the entire acrostic: typically an lg enclosing a poem. The word formed by the acrostic is encoded as the content of the acrostic element, with phrase-level tagging as necessary if the word is a proper name, foreign word, etc. No renditional information needs to be encoded within acrostic, since that information is already encoded in the actual acrostic in the text. All words in the acrostic element should be transcribed in modern mixed case (only proper nouns capitalized), regardless of the capitalization of the original. Original typography should be encoded if appropriate within the acrostic element, since in some cases letter ambiguity may make it inappropriate to encode it in the main text. (For instance, an acrostic in Rachel Speght’s Mouzell for Melastomus, in which the acrostic spells Joseph Swetnam but the initial word of the poem is If.)


Example 1.

	<acrostic target="poem01"><persname>Jane Taylor</persname></acrostic>
<div type="poem"><lg type="poem.acrostic" id="poem.01">
	<l>Joine me, Muses, in a glad refrain,</l>
	<l>And hail a virtuous woman ycleped Jane.</l>
	<l>Now she is growen to full womanhede,</l>
	<l>Ever her actes shall be juste and goode.</l>
	<l>Take her as model, ye models of female grace,</l>
	<l>Albeit her virtue lies not solely in her face</l>
	<l>Yet shes not proud, nay, humbler than a nonne</l>
	<l>Like to do duty unto every one.</l>
	<l>Only to serve her Lord, is her desire,</l>
	<l>Receiving Heaven’s grace, her soule’s afire.</l>