Daniel, lines 1-103

The poem opens with a proem or overture very much like that of Beowulf: the poet has heard of the might of the Hebrews and how, after their escape from Egypt, they enjoyed great power and prosperity. But then the people [apparently similar to the Anglo-Saxons whom Bede describes as overwhelmed by a surfeit of “corn and luxury”] began to abandon the law. God becomes angry at them and send the Chaldeans, under their king, Nebuchadezzar, to invade the and plunder the land of Israel.

Nebuchadnezzar seeks out youths who had been well educated. He finds three, named Hananiah, Azarias and Mishael, who are commanded to make their wisdom available to the king.

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