Aiwendil wrote:I don't know that I'd consider "bedraggled" to alliterate, seeing as it's stressed on the second syllable.
The fact that it's differently stressed and also is dissimilar in syllable counts doesn't stop it alliterising. It lacks a decent equivalent consonance, but it is perfectly valid alliteration.
Anyway, it all depends on what the author requires. B-words (especially with following 't's and the ring of the 'r' and zhooshy nature of 'bushy') has a particular mental shape to it. "Tired-eyed and tatty-tailed", for example, uses its T-words to elicit a different, somewhat shattered, nature to the "Bl
eary" fuzziness (and the assonance in "Tired eyes" probably does duty, of its own).
"Mouldy-eyed and muddy-tailed" brings another flavour to the game ('moist' elicits ambiguities, in regard to eyes, avoid except for sadness). "Dreamy" matched with the suggested "droopy" has its own merits. Sleepy eyes and straggly tail..? Hmmm...
Not that we need
whatever form of consonance, as mentioned, but inverting the template phrase and expecting a recognition to be elicited with minimal explanation does somewhat require that the core patter is preserved.
(All this, IMO. The individual who had the misfortune to teach me English Literature at school might never have believed me capable of such poetic analysis. I'm a prose person, and form and function was always lost to my analysis, for the sake of a good story with nominally normal words so writ.)