One joy of my job as an English teacher is discovering beauty. Today, as I was preparing a review packet for my eleventh-graders on the Anglo-Saxon era, I stumbled upon this poem by St. Caedmon, an illiterate seventh century British monk.
Known as the father of Old English poetry, Caedmon tended horses in the monastery of St. Hilda of Whitby. “Hymn of Creation” came to him, fully formed, in a dream. It’s his only surviving poem, and what a one.
Now let us praise the Guardian of the Kingdom of Heaven
the might of the Creator and the thought of his mind,
the work of the glorious Father, how He, the eternal Lord
established the beginning of every wonder.
For the sons of men, He, the Holy Creator
first made heaven as a roof, then the
Keeper of mankind, the eternal Lord
God Almighty afterwards made the middle world
the earth, for men.