Caedmon's Hymn: West Saxon Version
Nu sculon herigean heofonrices weard,
meotodes meahte and his modgeþanc
weorc wuldorfæder, swa he wundra gehwæs
ece drihten, or onstealde.
He ærest sceop eorðan bearnum
heofon to hrofe, halig scyppend;
þa middangeard moncynnes weard
ece drihten, æfter teode
firum foldan, frea ælmihtig
Here's a translation into Modern English (courtesy of wikipedia):
Now [we] must honour the guardian of heaven, the might of the architect,
and his purpose, the work of the father of glory as he, the eternal lord,
established the beginning of wonders.
He, the holy creator, first created heaven as a roof for the children
Then the guardian of mankind, the eternal lord, the lord almighty,
afterwards appointed the middle earth, the lands, for men.
I became obsessed with this little poem after listening to Professor Seth Lerer reading
it aloud in The Teaching Company's wonderful lecture series on the History of the English Language. I highly recommend the lectures!
Audio files here: http://www.archive.org/details/caedmon_librivox
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