We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Caedmon's <em>Hymn</em>

Caedmon's Hymn


by Caedmon

Analysis: Setting

Where It All Goes Down

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 know how to sing," Caedmon protested (according to Bede). But the angel wasn't chilling in a cow barn for nothing. He was there for some late-night entertainment and snapped back with, "Nevertheless, you must sing."

But let's step back from the legendary context for a moment and consider the implied setting of the poem itself. Obviously this is a religious poem since its subject is God's creation of the universe, and that means the "we" of the first line is speaking on behalf of a larger Christian community.

What settings would be appropriate for this kind of poem? Monasteries and convents, churches—really anywhere that a lot of pious medieval people might gather. Wherever this poem takes place, it's clear that the main focus is on a higher setting than the one here on Earth: heaven.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...