Difference between revisions of "Caedmon"

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'''Caedmon''' is traditionally known as 'the Father of English Verse'. He is one of very few poets from the [[Old English|Early English]] period known by name. His story appears in [[Bede]]'s ''Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum'' ('Ecclesiastical History of the English People') (731), book 4, chapter 24, which tells of an illiterate herdsman at Whitby Abbey in the seventh century. Caedmon dreamt one night that he was told to sing of God's creation of the Earth, and when he woke he had a miraculous gift of song and composition. Bede quotes one fragment of a poem known as  'Caedmon's Hymn'. His text is Latin (he says translation of poems is impossible "without detriment to their beauty or dignity"); but there are translations in no fewer than 17 copies, mostly in the margins of copies of Bede. Two are given here, one the [[wikipedia]] version of the 'Earliest text' of ''Caedmon's Hymn'' (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=C%C3%A6dmon&oldid=437863240), which is taken from Richard Marsden, ''The Cambridge Old English Reader'' (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 80, collated with manuscript facsimile: this ius in the Northumbrian dialect spoken around Whitby. The other text is in the West Saxon dialect, and has been copied from [[Kastan, 2006]]. For reasons of space - and to show something of how Old English [[alliterative verse]] works - these are given in 18 half-lines, rather than the 9 lines that are all that survive of Caedmon's work. Those who read Latin may like to see Bede's text as well: it is in the fourth column, past a modern version. It only has 15 lines, so the text does not match the English line-for-line.
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'''Caedmon''' is traditionally known as 'the Father of English Verse'. He is one of very few poets from the [[Old English|Early English]] period known by name. His story appears in [[Bede]]'s ''Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum'' ('Ecclesiastical History of the English People') (731), book 4, chapter 24, which tells of an illiterate herdsman at Whitby Abbey in the seventh century. Caedmon dreamt one night that he was told to sing of God's creation of the Earth, and when he woke he had a miraculous gift of song and composition. Bede quotes one fragment of a poem known as  'Caedmon's Hymn'. His text is Latin (he says translation of poems is impossible "without detriment to their beauty or dignity"); but there are translations in no fewer than 17 copies, mostly in the margins of copies of Bede. Two are given here, one the [[wikipedia]] version of the 'Earliest text' of ''Caedmon's Hymn'' (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=C%C3%A6dmon&oldid=437863240), which is taken from Richard Marsden, ''The Cambridge Old English Reader'' (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 80, collated with manuscript facsimile: this is in the Northumbrian dialect spoken around Whitby. The other text is in the West Saxon dialect, and has been copied from [[Kastan, 2006]]. For reasons of space - and to show something of how Old English [[alliterative verse]] works - these are given in 18 half-lines, rather than the 9 lines that are all that survive of Caedmon's work. Those who read Latin may like to see Bede's text as well: it is in the fourth column, past a modern version. It only has 15 lines, so the text does not match the English line-for-line.
  
 
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Latest revision as of 09:01, 12 June 2019

Caedmon is traditionally known as 'the Father of English Verse'. He is one of very few poets from the Early English period known by name. His story appears in Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum ('Ecclesiastical History of the English People') (731), book 4, chapter 24, which tells of an illiterate herdsman at Whitby Abbey in the seventh century. Caedmon dreamt one night that he was told to sing of God's creation of the Earth, and when he woke he had a miraculous gift of song and composition. Bede quotes one fragment of a poem known as 'Caedmon's Hymn'. His text is Latin (he says translation of poems is impossible "without detriment to their beauty or dignity"); but there are translations in no fewer than 17 copies, mostly in the margins of copies of Bede. Two are given here, one the wikipedia version of the 'Earliest text' of Caedmon's Hymn (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=C%C3%A6dmon&oldid=437863240), which is taken from Richard Marsden, The Cambridge Old English Reader (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 80, collated with manuscript facsimile: this is in the Northumbrian dialect spoken around Whitby. The other text is in the West Saxon dialect, and has been copied from Kastan, 2006. For reasons of space - and to show something of how Old English alliterative verse works - these are given in 18 half-lines, rather than the 9 lines that are all that survive of Caedmon's work. Those who read Latin may like to see Bede's text as well: it is in the fourth column, past a modern version. It only has 15 lines, so the text does not match the English line-for-line.

Early English texts
Northumbrian
Early English texts
West Saxon
Modern version Bede's Latin text Notes
nu scylun hergan Nu sculon herigean Now we must praise Nunc laudare debemus
hefaenricaes uard heofonrices Weard heaven-kingdom's Guardian, auctorem regni caelestis,
metudæs maecti Meotodes meahte the Creator's might potentiam creatoris
end his modgidanc ond his modgeanc, and his mind's thought - et consilium illius
uerc uuldurfadur Weorc Wuldorfæder, the work of the Glory-Father facta Patris gloriae
swe he uundra gihwaes swa he wundra gehwæs, as He, at the start, quomodo ille, Bede says how He
eci dryctin Ece Drihten, (the eternal Lord) cum sit aeternus Deus Bede reads since he is eternal god..
or astelidæ or onstealde. set up wonders. omnium miraculorum auctor exstitit Bede, lit: He stood out as the author of all miracles
he ærist scop He ærest sceop First He shaped qui primo Bede: who first
aelda barnum eorðan bearnum for earth's children filiis hominum Bede: for the sons of men
heben til hrofe heofon to hrofe, Heaven for a roof caelum pro culmine tecti
haleg scepen. halig Scyppend; (the holy Shaper)
θa middungeard a middangeard then Middle-yard dehinc terram and then the earth
moncynnæs uard moncynnes Weard, (mankind's Guardian) custos humani generis
eci dryctin ece Drihten, (the eternal lord) omnipotens Bede: omnipotent
æfter tiadæ æfter teode, afterwards
firum foldu firum foldan, folded the solid land creavit. Bede: created
frea allmectig Frea ælmihtig. for free men (the Almighty).