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Elene; Judith; Athelstan, or the Fight at Brunanburh; Byrhtnoth, or the Fight at Maldon; and the Dream of the Rood Anglo-Saxon Poems   By:

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In the anthology of Anglo-Saxon poems, the reader is transported back in time to the rich and captivating world of early medieval England. Anonymous, the mysterious author behind these compelling works, grabs hold of our imagination and introduces us to a realm of heroes, battles, and profound religious devotion.

The collection opens with "Elene," a remarkable poem that follows the journey of Queen Helena as she sets out on a quest to find the true cross of Christ. With its vivid descriptive language, the tale paints a vivid picture of Helena's determination and the obstacles she faces along the way. This poem is not only an engaging narrative but also offers deep insights into the power of faith.

"Judith," another notable poem in the anthology, tells the story of a fearless heroine who plays a crucial role in preserving the nation of Israel. The poem blends dramatic scenes of intense battles with an exploration of the complexities of power and morality. Through Judith's unwavering courage and cunning, the reader is reminded of the strength and resourcefulness of women in a patriarchal society.

"Athelstan, or the Fight at Brunanburh," provides a glimpse into a historical battle that reshaped the political landscape of England. The poem displays a keen sense of national pride as it extols the virtues of King Athelstan and his triumph over the invading Vikings. The vivid descriptions of the clash between armies evoke a strong sense of the horrors and glories of war.

"Byrhtnoth, or the Fight at Maldon" delves into the concept of honor and loyalty, as it narrates the bravery and tragic fate of a Saxon warrior. The poem captures the essence of the epic heroic tradition, emphasizing the importance of personal valor. Through the lens of Byrhtnoth's sacrifice, the reader is encouraged to reflect on the fundamental values that shape our lives.

Lastly, "The Dream of the Rood" presents a unique and deeply spiritual perspective. Written from the perspective of the cross upon which Christ was crucified, this poem explores the themes of sacrifice, redemption, and the profound love that lies at the heart of Christian theology. The vivid imagery and emotional depth of the verses showcase the author's ability to blend religious devotion with artistic expression.

As a whole, these Anglo-Saxon poems offer an enthralling glimpse into the cultural and historical tapestry of early England. The nameless author skillfully weaves together tales of heroism, religious fervor, and the complexities of human nature. Through their timeless themes and evocative language, these poems remind us of the enduring power of storytelling and the resilience of the human spirit.

First Page:

ELENE;

JUDITH;

ATHELSTAN, OR THE FIGHT AT BRUNANBURH;

BYRHTNOTH, OR THE FIGHT AT MALDON;

AND

THE DREAM OF THE ROOD:

Anglo Saxon Poems.

TRANSLATED BY

JAMES M. GARNETT, M.A., LL.D.,

FORMERLY PROFESSOR OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE IN THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA; TRANSLATOR OF "BÉOWULF."

THIRD EDITION.

BOSTON, U.S.A.: GINN & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS. The Athenæum Press. 1911.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1889, by JAMES M. GARNETT, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

COPYRIGHT, 1900, BY JAMES M. GARNETT.

COPYRIGHT, 1911, BY JAMES M. GARNETT.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

TO PROFESSOR FRANCIS A. MARCH

CORYPHÆUS OF OLD ENGLISH STUDIES IN AMERICA

WITH SENTIMENTS OF THE HIGHEST REGARD

CONTENTS.

PAGE

PREFACE vii

INTRODUCTION ix

ELENE.

I. Constantine sees the vision of the rood 1

II. Constantine is victorious, the sign is explained, and he is baptized 4

III. Helena sets out on her journey in search of the cross, and arrives at Jerusalem 7

IV... Continue reading book >>




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