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Caedmon's <em>Hymn</em>

Caedmon's Hymn


by Caedmon

Line 1 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Line 1

Now we must praise                     heaven-kingdom's Guardian,

  • Speaking in the first-person plural (technical term for "we"), the speaker in the hymn declares that it's time to get our praising on.
  • God is the subject of this poetic awe and admiration, but he doesn't appear as just "God." Heck no. This line gets the metaphors going with "heaven-kingdom's Guardian." "Heaven-kingdom" is an example of a specific form of Anglo-Saxon compound word called a kenning (see more under "Imagery."). Keep your eyes open for more examples.
  • And while you're at it: Mind the Gap! That cavernous space dividing the line in half is called a caesura, or pause, and it helps to organize each line's orderly system of stresses and alliteration (for more, see "Form and Meter").

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