OK, I know this question isn't about literary analysis or anything but I posted this on ELU and it was put on hold (as off-topic) and I was advised to post it here.
Is alliteration exclusively adjacent words beginning with the same letter, such as:
Whispering willows waved
Or can it be words close together but not adjacent as well, for example in S T Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner:
“The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst Into that silent sea.”
(I would not count articles such as 'the' and 'a' as separating words)
Is the 'f' sound in the words "fair" and "first" still classed as alliteration in conjunction with the alliteratory phrases "foam flew" and "furrow followed free"? Or are they too separate to be alliteration?
If words between the alliteratory words is permitted, then how many? I have tried to research this but have been unsuccessful in finding a rule that clarifies whether or not several (let's say more than two) non-allitoratory words between alliteratory words 'takes away' the alliteration.