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Caedmon's <em>Hymn</em>

Caedmon's Hymn

by Caedmon

Descriptions of God

Symbol Analysis

A hymn exists to praise God, so it's no surprise that a lot of Caedmon's poetic invention goes to describing the good things God has created and thinking up elegant titles for him. Notice that there's a new one for every line. Some of them just use God-appropriate adjectives to spice up his names, but others display some pretty sweet metaphors. We've already looked at a few in the "Wordplay: Kennings" section above; here's the complete list:

  • Line 1: As discussed above in "the Kingly," this title uses metaphor to compare God to a powerful king.
  • Line 2: This metaphor builds on the God-as-builder imagery. Even if he did make the roof before the house, at least we know that he measured first, right?
  • Line 3: As discussed under "Kennings," this title proclaims that God is the originator of all glory.
  • Lines 4 & 7: Used twice, "eternal Lord" is a pretty familiar title for God that emphasizes how long he will remain powerful and glorious (answer: forever).
  • Line 5: In nine lines God creates all the wonders of the universe, including our earth, so it's probably fair to call him a "Creator." Yeah, he makes stuff.
  • Line 6: Once again God is protecting things, first his "heaven-kingdom" and now his humans.
  • Line 8: To sum it up, we get the title that encompasses them all. God is a "master"—a powerful leader—and he is also "almighty," an adjective that includes all of the other qualities listed before, like "eternal" (4, 7), "holy" (5), and "might" (2).