By A. J. Barnouw (auth.)
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Extra info for Anglo-Saxon Christian Poetry: An Address
2) Ascension 0/ Christ (Christ II), vv. 856-63. I) 41 national ideas and traditions. The church did not destroy, but reanimate. We have to thank the Church of Rome even for the preservation of the secular poetry. The Beowuif, that epic of preChristian days, is, in the form in which we know it, the work of a convert, who by inserting a Bible myth here, and an utterance of Christian faith there, reconciled his love for the he athen heropoetry with his new creed. He wrought quite in the spirit of the preachers of the seventh century, whom Gregory charged to spare the heathen temples, but to destroy the idols therein.
Marked a eontrast. In this ease the differenee between the two poets is sharpened, perhaps, by differenee in nationality. More than two centuries after Augustine began his gradual and peaceful eonversion of the English, their relatives on the eontinent were made Christians by force. The figure of the sentimental Satan whieh the AngIo-Saxon drew, the Satan who, alas, would wish but onee to reach heaven. with his hands out-stretehed to the bright day, betrays the influenee of the gentler spirit of the Gospel, whereas the vigorous nature of the reeently eonverted heathen shines forth in the Saxon whose devil c1enches his hands for vengeanee, an attitude which is more c10sely kin to the spirit of the Old Testament.
Elend is "other-Iand-ness", it IS mlsery. And "elend" was the life on earth, this "prison", I) "this narrow land whither we had to turn in shame banished from thefatherland" 2). Thesombrewinter landscapes in the Beowulf which, as it were, symbolized the misery of the vale of tears, found their counterpart in the glowing pictures of the paradise set in radiant lightwherethedoorstoodopen for the holy ones of heaven, as in the Phoenix 3) which abounds in such scenes. Bede teIls that when the Christian preacher Paulinus, in the beginning of the seventh century, had spoken of Christ before King Eadwine of Northumbria and his wz"tan, one of the latter rose up and said: "The life of man, 0 King, is like the flight of a sparrow through the hall as you sit atmeatin thewinter-time with a warm fire burnChrist, v.
Anglo-Saxon Christian Poetry: An Address by A. J. Barnouw (auth.)