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Caedmon's <em>Hymn</em>

Caedmon's Hymn


by Caedmon

Caedmon's <em>Hymn</em> Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

It's obvious the modern English translation of Caedmon's Hymn doesn't rhyme, but if you look more closely at the Old English original, you'll notice that it doesn't rhyme either. In fact, none of O...


So even though Bede tells us that Caedmon sang this hymn to an angel in a barn, we can't assume that Caedmon and the actual speaker of the poem are the same. Why's that you say? Well, for one thing...


From Bede's detailed backstory, we happen to know exactly where Caedmon was when he first recited this hymn: in a barn with an audience of one extremely powerful angel begging for a song. "I don't...

Sound Check

It's tough to experience the true sound of Caedmon's Hymn unless you hear it in the original Old English (see "Best of the Web" for some online recordings). A lot of the beauty of the original lies...

What's Up With the Title?

Caedmon wrote a hymn and it's called "Caedmon's Hymn." Sarah writes a hymn and it's called "Sarah's Hymn." So far, so straightforward, right? But only if Sarah also happens to be the author of the...

Calling Card

Since this is Caedmon's only surviving poem, it's impossible to say which of its cool features might have also shown up in Caedmon's other stuff. Maybe he was fascinated with carpentry and worked i...


It's only nine lines long, but the complex arrangement of Caedmon's (two!) sentences and unexpected compound words like "mind-plans" and "Glory-Father" make this hymn a little tougher than it looks.


Caedmon was no Lady Gaga. According to Bede, "he was never able to compose any vain and idle songs but only such as dealt with religion and were proper for his religious tongue to utter." (Source.)...

Steaminess Rating

No sex in hymns, friends.

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