A caesura is a distinct pause or break in the flow of a line of verse, usually towards the middle. The device was optional in Greek and Latin verse, but a structural essential in Old English verse (and in the poetry of almost all Old Germanic languages), which was built upon alliterative relationships between the two distinct halves of each line. An eighteenth-century example (in the first and fourth line): ‘Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; / The proper study of Mankind is Man. / Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state, / A being darkly wise, and rudely great’ (Alexander Pope, ‘An Essay on Man’). The word comes from the Latin for ‘cutting’.