Old and Middle English Religious and Didactic Poetry


*An Augustine monk named Orm, who lived in Marcia, writers this poem about 1200 A. D.

*This book is called Ormulum because Orm wrote it.

*This single fragment contains 10000 lines.

*The poem is basically the translation and paraphrases in verse of some 40 Gospels.

*It is written is north East midland dialect and free from foreign words.

2. The owl and the Nightingale:-

*Autorship- unknown

* written probably in the early 13th century.

*It is a poem of some 800 octosyllabic lines.

*The poem is attributed to Nicholas de Guildford who lived at Portesham in Dorset.

*The poem is written in the form of debate.

*It is a long debt between a nightingale and any owl. Each one bitterly criticizes the manner of living, habit of taking food. Power of singing physical feature of the other with equal wit and wisdom. Finally to judge who the winner is they agree to fly to one Nicholas de Guild ford.

*The poem is a five example of allegory. The Nightingale stands for lighter joys of life, thoughtless youth art and mauve where as the owl stands for wisdom, sobriety, philosophy and thought.

*The poem has a high dramatic force which is born out of the clash of the country character’s and because of its wit; humour and diverting satires it can be characterized as a true comedy.

3.Poem Morale:-

*It is a poem of some 400 lines. Written probably in 1170 by an unknown poet.

*The poem begins with the poet’s lamentation for his in spent youth and wasted opportunities. He advises his reads to take the paths of true and virtue to gain the final salvation.

*The poem is inspired with Christian zeal and it echoes the medical Catholicism.

4.Cursor Mundi:-

*It is a poem some 24000 lines written in rhenium.

*It is written about 1320 probably by a North Anglic cleric.

*It treats almost all the old and New Testament stories and also much of later religious history.

*There are seven main divisions in the work to present the entire story of the Bible.

They are –

a. The fall of angels.

b. The creation of man.

c. The loss of paradise.

d. The death of Adam.

e. The story of Virgin Mary and Jesus Christian.

f. The mystery of Apostles.

g. Coming of anti – Christ and the Dooms day.

*Its aim was to popularize religious instruction of the people.

5. The prick of Conscience:-

*The poem is perhaps written by Richard Rolle of Hampole.

*The work which is based on the writings of the early fathers, describes the joys and sorrows of a man’s life as he is affected in turn by good and evil.

*The poem is divided into seven parts including a prologue.

*What is most important regarding this poem is that the abstract matter of this poem is handled in a simple way with several striking passages.

6.Handlying Synne:-

*The poem is written by Robert Manning in 1303.

*It is based upon “William Waddington’s Manuel des peaches”.

*In 44 stories the poet illustrates the various ways of sins.

7.   Love Rune:-

*The poem is written by some “Thomas of Hales”.

*The poem brings out the vanity and transience of earthly love and advocates the pure love of Christ.

8.Sinners, Beware:-

*It is poem of 354 lines.

*It describes the horror of hell, the horror of grave and the poem gives the warning against the seven deadly sins.

 Ref: 1. History of English Literature- Albert,      
     2. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature
3. Microsoft Students’ Encarta.