+Seraphim (seraphimsigrist) wrote,


I came across a monograph about the old english poet (9th century
else nothing definite known about him) Cynewulf. and I find three
things that strike me as wonderful in a few minutes looking around
at wikipedia and elsewhere.
I think you will find them interesting too so...

1. On Poetry.
"Then he who created this world…honoured us and gave us gifts…and also
sowed and set in the mind of men many kinds of wisdom of heart. One he
allows to remember wise poems, sends him a noble understanding, through
the spirit of his mouth. The man whose mind has been given the art of
wisdom can say and sing all kinds of things."

2. Earendel

Eala Earendel engla beorhtast
Ofer middangeard monnum sended

Hail Earendel brightest of angels
Above Middle-earth sent unto men

Tolkien who adopted Middle-earth which first appears in Cynewulf
""There was something very remote and strange and beautiful behind
those words, if I could grasp it, far beyond ancient English."

3. A Legend that touched the heart.

It seems Cynewulf felt himself to have not lived well in ways, perhaps
too much luxury of gold received or of enjoying the hunt with horses
(although the horse in the line I will quote may be necessary to the
acrostic form he uses in Old English) but the translation of the legend,
which he clearly accepts literally, of the finding of the True Cross by
the empress Helen somehow touched and changed... this is the passage.

"Old and ready for death by reason of this failing house, I thus have
woven a web of words and wondrously have gathered it up; time and again
have I pondered and sifted my thought in the prison of the night. I knew
not fully the truth concerning the cross until wisdom revealed a broader
knowledge through its marvelous power o'er the thought of my heart. I
was stained with deeds of evil, fettered in sins, torn by doubts, girt
round with bitter needs, until the King of might wondrously granted
learning unto me as a comfort for my old age; until he gave unto me his
spotless grace, and imbued my heart with it, revealed it as glorious,
in time broadened it, set free my body, unlocked my heart, and loosed
the power of song, which joyfully and gladly I have used in the world.
Not one time alone, but often had I thought upon the tree of glory,
before I had the miracle revealed regarding the glorious tree, as in
the course of events I found related in books and in writings concerning
the sign of victory. Ever until that time was the man buffeted in the
surge of sorrow, was he a weakly flaring torch ], although he had
received treasures and appled gold in the mead-hall; wroth in heart ,
he mourned; a companion to need, he suffered crushing grief and
anxious care, although before him his horse measured the miles and
proudly ran, decked with gold. Hope is waned, and joy through the
course of years; youth 1265 is fled, and the pride of old. Once was
the splendor of youth(?); now after that alloted time are the days
departed, are the pleasures of life dwindled away, as water glideth,
or the rushing floods. Wealth is but a loan to each beneath the
heavens; the beauties of the field vanish away beneath the clouds,
most like unto the wind when it riseth loud before men, roameth amid
the clouds, courseth along in wrath, and then on a sudden becometh

all these words from a place in ways remote and yet somehow each
having a truth, dont you find? , which is no less true today...

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July 2 2014, 18:09:23 UTC 8 months ago

Middangeard also shows up pretty early in Beowulf, and I find great similarities between the aged Beowulf going after the dragon and Theoden of Rohan going to the Pelennor.


July 2 2014, 19:06:14 UTC 8 months ago

it seems tolkien's translation of beowulf is now available...have you seen it?
I havent ...limited time for books I guess for one thing. good to see you here...
remind me if we are friends on facebook? that seems now the easier place for


July 3 2014, 13:13:58 UTC 8 months ago

Yes, I have two big soft spots for Tolkien and Beowulf, so I pre-ordered it -- and it sounds remarkably like Lord of the Rings. (Actually, that's not so remarkable, is it?) It's two pages of apparatus criticus for every half page of text, but that's all right.

No, we're not friends on FB but we easily could be. I'm on FB as Laura Blanchard. I'll see if I can find you as seraphimsigrist.


July 3 2014, 13:21:16 UTC 8 months ago

for my part sent a friend request


July 3 2014, 07:55:02 UTC 8 months ago

Middle Earth also appears in Caedmon's hymn, the earliest known Anglo-Saxon poet.