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Caedmon's <em>Hymn</em>

Caedmon's Hymn


by Caedmon

Lines 3-4 Summary

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

Lines 3-4

the work of the Glory-Father,                     when he of wonders of every one,
eternal Lord,                                             the beginning established.

  • …annnd we're still in the same sentence here, but hold tight, because a period is in sight at the end of line 4. The first part of line 3 is another appositive, this time providing a further description of line 2, which told us about God the architect and his "mind-plans." Here Caedmon re-phrases this as "work" and re-titles God as the "Glory-Father," emphasizing that he is the parent of all glory.
  • This becomes important in the rest of lines 3-4 because then we get a mini-description of just how God fathered this glory.
  • The syntax here is a little tricky, so let's break it down. First, eliminate "eternal Lord," another re-titling of God and an appositive of "he" in line 3. That means "eternal Lord" is also the subject. Think back to HP: in the sentence "Harry Potter, the boy wizard, rocks," both "Harry Potter" and "the boy wizard" function as the subject.
  • That leaves us with this: "when he of wonders of every one…the beginning established." Or, in other words: when God established the beginning of every wonder. All of the wonderful things in the universe—the sun, the continents, the herbivores, you name it—have their beginning in God.
  • So, to recap this heckuva sentence from line 1 to line 4, we have: It's time to start praising God, his power and his awesome creative plans, and particularly his work in the universe creating everything from scratch.

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