The Dream of the Rood

June 20, 2007

Some time ago I mentioned that Michael D. C. Drout, professor of English at Wheaton College, was reading through the complete Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records and making audio recordings of his readings available online.

Recently he recorded one of the most famous and beautiful of all Anglo-Saxon poems: The Dream of the Rood. This poem survives in the Vercelli manuscript of the tenth century, though at least portions of the poem have been dated to earlier than c.750.

The audio is available here. Since it is rather difficult to follow without assistance, I recommend reading along with a parallel-text version.  Such a thing is surprisingly difficult to find online, but you might try this one.

A very fine modern translation of the poem has been made by Anthony Esolen. It seems, however, to have only been published at the old Pontifications site. Since that site died, the translation is not presently available. Even the Internet Way-back Machine cannot dig it up. I’ll keep my eyes open.

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