Seven Sleepers

Seven Sleepers at Kalamazoo’s 48th Medieval Congress
Thomas A. Bredehoft (working on book on this which will be published this year?)
tabrede at

favorite songs is Dylan’s “Hurricane”
It’s my work, he’d say, and I do it for pay,
And when it’s over, I’d

epo-coinu in English
part of brilliance lies in way he makes up rule for his songs as he goes along

author of Seven Sleepers is the 11th century Bob Dylan?

argues Seven Sleepers is verse, not prose.
In book talked about how it can be delineated as verse.
What I did not attempt in book, is whether whole of Seven Sleepers is a verse (800+ lines)?
Part of difficulty of accessing verse or prose of 11th C is lines, meter
metrical psalms is far less well understood
manifest differences between psalms and Aelfric shows change in OE verse
what one must do to determine if verse is to examine whole of text, see if it has a consistent line structure.
Does it have lines or equivalent metrical structure?
not delineated as verse in mss
but that has no bearing on whether it is verse or prose

short answer:
not decided on final lineation
do think it is a verse intention
1100 lines of OE verse

three passages (on handout for examples), not typical, but exemplary

difficulty to determine what words included in alliteration
all nouns, verbs
but only some adverbs, adjectives
infinitives potential

counted some speculative alliterations, because they were function words

all three non-alliterating lines in the first example of 16 lines, then all have connections to prior alliterative
there are line links of rhyme
rhyme echoes
10 examples of final –on inflection in 11 verses is too insistent to ignore
there are 7 different verbs. Not repetition of verbs causing the inflectional rhyme.

lineation is stretch lines in verse

6 potential alliterations randomly in a line just over 15% chance
torture line includes allusion to beasts of battle

passage should be identified as rhyming

Not all of Seven Sleepers is as strong and impressive in use of rhyme and alliteration.
Don’t label it as prose, just because it fails to match meter of Beowulf or Aelfric.

Not able to be contained in a rigid count of nouns and stresses.

Rhyme and alliteration remarkable performance, even in irregularities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge