By A. J. Barnouw (auth.)
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Additional info for Anglo-Saxon Christian Poetry: An Address
In an Old English poem of a time which still remembered the first years of Christianity, a Satan who lamented but did nothing would be unimaginabie. For although his poetry may be verbose, and repetition its characteristic feature, the Anglo-Saxon hirnself was a man of action. How Httle the weakly complaining guardian of hell realized the ideal of the nobleman- and In Old English poetry Satan always appears as a noblem an- we can learn from the poet of The Wanderer: I know indeed That in an earl 'tis an honorable custom, That he hold fast the thoughts of his heart, And possess his soul in silence, let him ponder whatsoever [he will.
1021. Ed. A. S. Cook. Boston, 1900. 3) Cf. Grein-Wülker, III, 175 ff. I) 2) 3° in runes (Part II of the Christ trilogy), it is said of Christ after His victory over hell and Satan: The Saviour of souls will seek now The Gift-stool of spirits, God's own child, After theplay ofbattle. Now you may seeplainly What kind of Lord it is who leads this host. I) Yea, a lord with the courage and the generosity of a Beowulf, the hero who attacked the devilish monster in hishole in the sea andovercameit, then, having become king, ascended the "gift-stool" and gave gold and rings to his faithful ones.
Cf. Grein-Wülker, H, 294 ff. I have only to remind you of Thrytho in the Beowulf, and of Cynethryth, the wife of King Offa of Mercia, whose character recalled that of Thrytho to her fellow-countrymen so vividly that traits of the historical figure became confused with those of the woman of t~e saga. 'e subject-matter and motives akin to those of their own poetry, which could be re-created in the national forms. Their imagination, however, attempted something even bolder when it transformed the characters of the New Testament to suit the figure of the Germanie hero.
Anglo-Saxon Christian Poetry: An Address by A. J. Barnouw (auth.)