Dream of the Rood

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Girded him then
God Almighty
When he would
Step on the gallows,
Fore all mankind
Mindfast, fearless,
Bow me durst I not.

Rood was I reared now
Rich king heaving,
The lord of light-realms;
Lean me I durst not.
Us both they basely mocked and handled,
Was I there with blood bedabbled,
Gushing grievous from his dear side
When his ghost he had uprendered.

Christ was on rood-tree,
But fast from afar
His friends hurried
To aid their aetheling.
Everything I saw.
Sorely was I with sorrows harrowed,
Yet humbly I inclined
To the hands of his servants
Striving with might to aid him,
With streals was I all wounded.
Down they laid him limb-weary,
O’er his lifeless head then stood they,
Heavily gazing and heaven’s chieftain.

Fragment of The Dream of the Rood-Trans. Professor Stephens

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The Dream of the Rood is an Anglo Saxon poem, attributed to Caedmon of Whitby, and thought to date fromthe 7thC AD.

The poem tells the story of the Crucifixion from the persepctive of the Holy Rood… the Cross itself.

Full text of alternative translation available here.

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