Caedmon’s Hymn

This poem is an Old English poem that was written in honor of God the almighty. Above is the Old English version of this poem which i find is very beautiful compared to the Modern day English version.

Caedmon lived around 687 B.C and was a Celtic herdsman. This poem is one of the oldest known poems in our English Language. Bede, an Old English monk translated Caedmon’s Hymn in Latin, he also wrote it in, “Historica Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum”. The original poem had no name and I think that it was because the writer wanted to let his/her words speak for there self’s. The words are so powerful in the poem about god and heaven. The importance of not having a title allowed the reader to comprehend and use there own form of context to understand the poem. I believe this helps the poems case in which each reader can experience the poem in their own way. I think that this poem has an edge to it. Bede later tell us that Caedmon “fittingly was accustomed to making songs”. Which in my mind is that he was a very good musician and loved to play and or make music. Later the editor was the one who decided that this  old poem needed a name in which he decided it be known as “Caedmon’s Hymn”. The editor decided to call it a hymn because in his point of view (mine included), was a religious song praising god by Caedmon himself. I do agree that this was a good decision the editor made in calling it a hymn. When I was reading the poem out loud to myself I felt like I was signing to the lord almighty. The editor and I have made assumption that this poem was intended to be some type of religious song that needed to heard. When I heard the Old English original version of the “Caedmon’s Hymn” it was very elegant and beautiful.

The book, “From Old English to Standard English”, second edition by: Dennis Freeborn, describes how English has changed and how still to this day that the use of the bible is the best way to translate Old English text. There were many different stages to what we know today to be Old English there was first brought to Britain and then was apart of the Angelo Saxon period. The writing system during this time period was known as Runes, which are carving in wood or stone by Northern Europe. “Before the coming of the Anglo-Saxons, the majority of the population of Britain spoke Celtic languages. In Roman Britain, Latin had been used extensively as the language of government and the military and probably also in other functions.” quoted from my 4th scholarly resource. There were only a few words that were taken from the Celtic Language and many elements from Latin. The Anglo-Saxons where very big into Christianity which was apart of the sixth and seventh centuries. Christianity had a huge impact on cultural importance. Many of our surviving documents of Old English is mediated through the church and many of the works have to do with religion example Caedmon’s Hymn. This ties back to my previous topic as why Bede rewrote Caedmon’s Hymn in Latin and this is because during this time Latin Christianity was very significant in this time period of the English Language. Distinguishing features that can be pointed out is the  set of verbs, nouns, adjectives, and pronouns and how they are used to explain and describe things on paper.

“Now let me praise the keeper of Heaven’s kingdom,
The might of the Creator, and his thought,
The work of the Father of glory, how each of wonders
The Eternal Lord established in the beginning.
He first created for the sons of men
Heaven as a roof, the holy Creator,
Then Middle-earth the keeper of mankind,
The Eternal Lord, afterwards made,
The earth for men, the Almighty Lord.”

This is the modern day English version of Caedmon’s Hymn. Looking at modern day English version of this poem you can see that there is not a rhyming scheme present in this version as there is in the Old English version. In my opinion this version is still beautiful but the flow of the poem does not compare to the Old English version.

This is my analysis of this Old English poem. This time period there were many things happening in this world. There are probably many different factors that were apart of this time in our history when the English language was discovered. My research on this time period in our history really helped me to understand how the English has evolved into what we know now!

See more at:


2)History of the English language [Video file]. (1990). In Films On Demand. Retrieved February 20, 2015, from

3)From Old English to Standard English,Dennis Freeborn,University of Ottwa Press, 1998, Pages 479



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