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Caedmon's Hymn

(Old English with two Modern English translations)

Nu scylun hergan hefaenricaes uard

Now we should praise the heaven-kingdom's guardian,

(Now we must praise heaven-kingdom's Guardian,)


metudæs maecti end his modgidanc

the measurer's might and his mind-conception,

(the Measurer's might and his mind-plans,)


uerc uuldurfadur sue he uundra gihuaes

work of the glorious father, as he each wonder,

(the work of the Glory-Father when he of wonders of every one,)


eci dryctin or astelidæ

eternal Lord, instilled at the origin.

(eternal Lord, the beginning established.)


he aerist scop aelda barnum

He first created for men's sons

(He first created for men's sons)


heben til hrofe haleg scepen

heaven as a roof, holy creator;

(heaven as a roof, holy Creator;)


tha middungeard moncynnæs uard

then, middle-earth, mankind's guardian,

(then, middle-earth, mankind's Guardian,)


eci dryctin æfter tiadæ

eternal Lord, afterward made

(eternal Lord, afterwards made ---)


firum foldu frea allmectig

the earth for men, father almighty.

(for men earth Master almighty.)


Cædmon was an Anglo-Saxon herdsman, poet and monk. "Caedmon's Hymn" is probably the earliest extant Old English poem. For further information about Caedmon, see the following links:

Bede's Story of Caedmon















The Mystery

I am the wind which breathes upon the sea,



I am the wave of the ocean,



I am the murmur of the billows,



I am the ox of the seven combats,



I am the vulture upon the rocks,



I am a beam of the sun,



I am the fairest of plants,



I am a wild boar in valour,



I am a salmon in the water,



I am a lake in the plain,



I am a word of science,



I am the point of the lance in battle,



I am the God who created in the head the fire,



Who is it who throws light

into the meeting on the mountain?



Who announces the ages of the moon?



Who teaches the place where couches the sun?



(If not I)


Amergin was a Milesian prince or druid who settled in Ireland hundreds of years before Christ…He is considered one of Ireland's earliest poets and his poem, "The Mystery" is attributed as the first Irish poem.

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King Alfred's "Boethius"

(Old English)

"Wella, wisan men, wel; ga_ ealle on _one weg _e eow læra_ _a foremæran bisna _ara godena gumena & _ara weor_geornena wera _e ær eow wæron. Eala, eargan & idelgeornan; hwy ge swa unnytte sien & swa aswundne? Hwy ge nyllen ascian æfter _æm wisum monnum & æfter _æm weor_geornum, hwylce hi wæron _a _e ær eow wæron? & hwy ge _onne nyllen, si__an ge hiora _eawas geascod hæbban, him onhirian, swa ge swi_ost mægen? for_æm hi wunnon æfter weor_scipe on _isse worulde, & tiolodon goodes hlisan mid goodum weorcum, & worhton goode bisne _æm _e æfter him wæron. For_æm hi wunia_ nu ofer _æm tunglum on ecre eadignesse for hiora godum weorcum."


[King Alfred's Boethius -- Sedgefield, pg.139:l.5-17 ]









King Alfred's "Boethius"

(Modern English translation)

"Ah, you wise men! you all walk in the paths which were shown to you by the famous patterns of those good men and those who were eager for honour--who came before you. Alas! you wretches and lovers of idleness; why are you so useless and so inactive? Why won't you ask about those wise men and about those who were eager for honour, to find out what sort of men they were, who came before you? And why, having found out their qualities, won't you emulate them, as much as you can? For they strove for honour in this world, and obtained great glory by their good actions, and made a good example for those who came after them--thus, they now dwell above the stars in eternal happiness, because of their good deeds."

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