Write an essay on Anglo-Saxon religious poetry with reference to Caedmon and Cynewulf


Write an essay on Anglo-Saxon religious poetry with reference to Caedmon and Cynewulf.



Answer: The Anglo- Saxon poetry is of two types - pagan and Christian. The German tribe Saxon brought with them some poems of pagan origin but later on they were colored by Christian doctrine and morality. Thus, there was a blend of Christian and pagan sentiment in them. The most prominent pagan poem is Beowulf. The other pagan epics are Widsith, The Fight of Finnibur, The Battle of Maldon. The pagan elegiac poems are The Wanderer, The seafarers, The Wife's Lament and The Husband's Message. But all of the pagan poems had Christian sentiment and theme.


Anglo Saxon Christian poetry is mainly the works of Christian poets who were monks.
The remarkable   Christian poets of this period are Caedmon and Cynewulf.
From Bede's "Ecclesiastic History", we can know that Caedmon was a monk.
He was the first and foremost Christian poet in the history of English literature.
One day in his sleep Caedmon was a vision of a strange figure who asked him to sing.
He asked " what shall I sing"?  The strange figure said " sing the beginning of created
things". As Caedmon was an illiterate man, it is said, The Bible was read to him. He
was remembered for his paraphrases of the holy Bible. These were written by Caedmon
in 670 A.D. we have got five poems " Genesis, Exodus, Daniel, Judith and Christian
and Satan. All the subjects of the poems are taken from Bible and they are strong and
spirited with the gift of descriptive writing.
Nothing definite is known regarding Cynewulf and his way of life but he was a writer
of great influence and poet of genuine power. There are four poems which are tunic
signature of Cynewulf. They are -
1. The Christ.
2. Juliana.
3. The False of Apostle and
4. Elene
The poems which are attributed to Cynewulf are Andreas and Thoenix.
The Dream of the Rood, Guthlac and The Riddles. Among these, "The Dream of the
Rood" is the finest of the Anglo- Saxon Christian poetry.










Short note on Beowulf:

Answer: Beowulf is the earliest epic of English literature. It is also the national poem
of England. Like Greek literature, English literature started with epic poem. The date
of publication of the literary work is unknown and the writer is also anonymous.
The manuscript of it was discovered in a west Saxon dialect of Wessex. It had been
named after the hero of the poem "Beowulf". All the texts are about monster but the
prime concern of Beowulf is not with monsters or even hero but with human wisdom
and Destiny.
 There are many episodes of the story of Beowulf. Beowulf who was the Prince
of Geats went to help the king of Danes. A monster, Grendel, was killing the people
of Danes in the time of sleeping. The hero attacked Grendel but could not kill him
directly but wounded the monster mortally. Later on, Beowulf had to fight with
Grendel's mother who came to take revenge on the death of her son. Consequently,
she was killed by the hero and he rescued the people of Danes. He returned to Geats
to become the king. After long fifty years, a dragon began to frightened the people
of Geats because of his stolen treasure from his cave. Beowulf encountered the dragon
in his and killed him with the help of his relative Wigfal but he was also mortally
wounded and Beowulf died. In the end of the poem, the people of his kingdom
buried him in the mound.

Write an essay on Anglo-Saxon religious poetry with reference to Caedmon and Cynewulf Write an essay on Anglo-Saxon religious poetry with reference to Caedmon and Cynewulf Reviewed by PRC Foundation on Monday, January 14, 2019 Rating: 5

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