Study Guide

Caedmon's Hymn Calling Card

By Caedmon

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Calling Card

Hard to Say

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 in an image whenever he could, here a roof, there a door, everywhere a floor floor.

What we do know is that the most obvious poetic techniques in this hymn—the four-stress lines, the alliteration, and the caesuras—are common to all Anglo-Saxon poetry. But Caedmon was the first English poet. Could he also have been the first (or one of the first) to use these literary styles, copied by generations of admiring poets afterwards? We'll never know.

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