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  • noun [ masculine ]
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Cædmon, es; m. [Cædrnon, MS. C. C. C. Oxford: Cædrnon, Bd. 4, 24; S. 170, 50; Cedmon, S. 597, 12: Ceadmon, MS. B. S. 597, note 12: Cadmon, Runic Monmnts. by Prof. Stephens, fol. Cheapinghaven, 1868, p. 419, 11: cæd linter, mon homo]
A man employed by the monks of Whitby in the care of their cattle in the early part of the seventh century. He is the first person of whom we possess any metrical composition in our vernacular language. So striking and similar are some of his thoughts to Paradise Lost, it has been supposed that Milton had read his Poems. He became a monk of Whitby, and died in the monastery about A. D. 680. A full account is given of him in Bede's History, bk. iv. ch. 24. The origin of his Poem is thus recorded in king Alfred's Anglo-Saxon version of Bede
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  • Ðá stód him sum mon æt þurh swefen, and hine hálette and grétte, and hine be his naman nemde, Cædmon [Cedmon,

      Bd. 4, 24; S. 597, 12
    ], sing me hwæt-hwegn. Ðá andswarede he and cwæþ, ne con ic nán þing singan . . . Eft he cwæþ, se ðe mid him sprecende wæs, hwæðere ðú meaht me singan. Cwæþ he, hwæt sceal ic singan? Cwæþ he, sing me frumsceaft. Ðá he ðá ðás andsware onféng; ðá ongan he sóna singan, in hérenesse Godes scyppendes, ða fers and ða word ðe he nǽfre ne gehýrde . . . Ðá arás he from ðam slǽpe and eall ðæt he slǽpende song fæste on gemynde hæfde . . . Song he ǽrest be middangeardes gesceape, and be fruman moncynnes, and eall ðæt stǽr Genesis, and eft be útgonge Israhéla folces of Ægypta lande, and be ingonge ðæs gehát-londes, and be óðrum monigum spellum ðæs hálgan gewrites Canones bóc; and be Cristes menniscnesse, and be his þrówunge, and be his uppastígnesse on heofonas; and big ðæs hálgan Gástes cyme, and ðæra Apostola láre; and eft big ðam ege ðæs toweardan dómes, and be fyrhto ðæs tintreglícan wítes, and be swétnesse ðæs heofonlícan ríces: he monigleóþ geworhte then stood some man by him in a dream, and hailed and greeted him, and named him by his name, ' Cædmon, canta mihi aliquid,' =

    Cædmon, sing me something. Then he answered and said, I cannot sing anything. . . Again, he who was speaking with him said, Yet thou must sing to me. Said he, What shall I sing? Said he, Sing me the origin of things. When he received this answer, then he began forthwith to sing, in praise of God the Creator, the verses and the words which he had never heard . . . Then he arose from sleep, and had fast in mind all that he sleeping had sung. . . He first sang of earth's creation, and of the origin of mankind, and all the history of Genesis, and then of the departure of the people of Israel from the Egyptians' land, and of the entrance of the land of promise, and of many other histories of the canonical books of Holy Writ; and of Christ's incarnation, and of his passion, and of his ascension into heaven; and of the coming of the Holy Ghost, and the doctrine of the Apostles; and also of the terror of the doom to come, and the fear of hell-torment, and the sweetness of the heavenly kingdom: he made many poems,

      Bd. 4, 24; S. 597, 11-18, 25, 26-598, 9-17.
Cædmon was first published by Junius, from the Bodleian MS. the only one in existence. Junius published the Anglo-Saxon text only at Amsterdam in 1655, without a translation, in very small 4to, pp. 116. It was again published by
B. Thorpe,
    F. S. A. in large 8vo. 1832,
with an English translation, notes, and a verbal index, pp. 341.
Bouterwek, with German translation and notes, an excellent vocabulary, Lateinischangelsächsisches Wörter-verzeichniss, in 2 vols. 8vo. 1854. Gütersloh bei C. Bertelsmann.
Grein in 2 vols. 8vo. 1857, Text, vol. i. pp. 148.
Full form


  • Cædmon, n.