An Anthology of Old English Poetry Author:Charles W. Kennedy (Translator, Editor) Old English poetry translated into alliterative verse, incorporating one of the primary features of Old English verse. Even though Old English looks like a foreign language to readers of Modern English, one can still pick up a page of Old English verse and see clearly the alliteration present, words beginning with the same sound repeated. Gramma... more »rian Robert Diamond describes alliteration as a decoration for Modern English poetry, but a structural necessity for Old English.
Kennedy's translations also keep the metrical division that is present in Old English verse in his modern translations, as much as possible. Old English verse is arranged as verse-pairs, and these appear on the same line with a break between the two parts. The first part is called the 'on-verse', and the second part the 'off-verse'. On-verses can have one or two alliterating syllables; off-verses generally have only one alliterating word. Because of the differences in grammar structure that have taken place, Kennedy doesn't always keep to this pattern, although he does strive to do so.
Kennedy relates the obscurity of these Old English poems with the joke that it is a 'small body of verse almost completely surrounded by scholars'. The poems contained in this collection illustrate very clearly the Germanic foundation of the English language, and illustrate Germanic cultural influences over literature types. There are also religious and biblical themes included here.« less