Old English Liturgical Verse
A Student Edition
  • Publication Date: May 31, 2010
  • ISBN: 9781551117881 / 1551117886
  • 256 pages; 6" x 9"

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Old English Liturgical Verse

A Student Edition

  • Publication Date: May 31, 2010
  • ISBN: 9781551117881 / 1551117886
  • 256 pages; 6" x 9"

This is a student edition with full Glossary of Old English poems, from manuscripts dated between A.D. 975 and 1060, which are based on liturgical materials used in the Anglo-Saxon Church. Each poem is presented with both a semi-diplomatic and a modern critical text on facing pages. Detailed explanatory notes accompany the text of each poem, and an introduction provides historical, cultural, and liturgical background for this sub-genre of vernacular English verse.


“In this book, Sarah Larratt Keefer intentionally breaks away from the modern Old English poetic canon, established in the nineteenth century, and successfully and engagingly presents a set of ten liturgical poems that demonstrably were part of the eleventh-century canon. Through these poems, Keefer allows us a more than generous look into personal and communal celebrations and what made Christian hearts beat in Anglo-Saxon England.” — Rolf Bremmer, Leiden University

“Keefer’s edition is much overdue: it fills a lacuna in the study of the Old English verse canon … Keefer’s edition is both teacher and student friendly. Its facing-page layout of semi-diplomatic text and modern edition instantly demonstrates how powerful the hand of a modern editor can be in shaping and interpreting poetry. Thus it encourages students to develop a critical awareness of the inseparable relationship between manuscript and edition in their study of poetry and courageously to respond critically and personally to each poem they address … Old English Liturgical Verse: A Student Edition is a valuable edition, and parts of it or its entirety should be used in the classroom; it promises to hold a permanent place in the libraries of both student and teacher.” — Helen Damico, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching

Old English Liturgical Verse has two unique advantages for the teacher of Old English. In a clear, accessible, and yet profoundly scholarly way, it presents the Anglo-Saxons’ engagement with some of the fundamentals of Christian belief, which are themselves carefully elucidated. At the same time, by presenting the semi-diplomatic text and the modern critical edition on facing pages, it vividly demonstrates how the printed edition transforms the original. This is a rich basis for class discussion and it will encourage the student to adopt a more questioning approach to the mediated form of the text that we invariably encounter across all periods of literature.” — Joyce Hill, University of Leeds

List of Figures

Introduction and Background

Lord’s Prayers

  • Exeter Lord’s Prayer
  • Corpus Lord’s Prayer
  • Junius Lord’s Prayer

Baptismal Creed


  • Old English Doxology
  • Titus Alphabet Doxology

Kentish Poems

  • Kentish Hymn of Praise
  • Kentish Great Miserere

Ah, Beloved Lord

Vision of the Rood

Appendix A: How Old English Poetry Functions

Sarah Larratt Keefer is Professor of English and a National 3M Teaching Fellow at Trent University.