Short Delay

There will be a short delay in Anglo-Saxon Aloud postings.  My dog has decided that he either does or doesn’t like Ælfric, and so he chimes in on the recordings from the other room.  I may have to adjust when I do the recordings, or perhaps Lancelot will get used to Ælfric.

The Return of Anglo-Saxon Aloud: Prose

Taking a break after finishing the complete corpus of Anglo-Saxon poetry was fun, but I have found that I miss reading and re-reading bits of Old English every morning and then staring into the monitor as I try to edit the sound files.  So I’m moving on to Anglo-Saxon prose.  I am not promising to do the entire corpus this time.  The poetic corpus is about 30,000 lines and it took two years.  The prose corpus is an order of magnitude larger, and I’m not at this stage prepared to make a 20-year commitment.  But we’ll give prose a try and see what sounds good.

Originally I had thought to start with the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, but there are too many Roman numerals in there right now (not that I can’t read Roman numerals, but I not particularly good at converting them into Old English numbers on the fly), so I’ve decided to go with Wulfstan’s homilies.  I’m using Dorothy Bethurum’s edition and working through in chronological order.

As was the case with the poetry, I’ll try to post every weekday with the equivalent of 100 lines of text.

The complete corpus of Old English poetry is now on line

After nearly two years (just ten days short of two years), 528 posts and many hours of recording and even more hours editing, every Old English poem is now recorded and on-line at this site. The posting of “Instructions for Christians” a few minutes ago thus marks the completion of my original plan for Anglo-Saxon Aloud.

If some of the statistics are accurate, there have been nearly a quarter of a million downloads from Anglo-Saxon Aloud (I find this hard to believe, actually). The Dream of the Rood seems to have been downloaded the most, at 1,900 or so times thus far, with the Wanderer next, at 1,600.

If you have just discovered this site, I encourage you not just to click on the first recording below (which is not a very good poem, if it even is a poem), but instead to listen to some of the best Anglo-Saxon poems, including The Wanderer, The Seafarer, The Dream of the Rood, selections from Beowulf, Cædmon’s Hymn, and The Battle of Maldon. You can find over 100 different poems through the “category” links. If you would like to listen to the poems in both Old English and Modern English, with brief introductory discussion by me, you can buy the 2-CD set of Anglo-Saxon Aloud: Greatest Hits from the link. For complicated reasons, not all of Beowulf is on this site, but you can buy the entire poem in Old English as a 3-CD set at Beowulf Aloud.
I am extremely gratified by all of the feedback I have received on this project. I have learned an immense amount about Old English poetry by doing it and have also had a great deal of fun. And at the times when I wondered why I was spending yet another Thursday morning recording a week’s worth of posts, or when I was editing out the ten millionth loud breath or too-long pause, knowing that people were listening to me in Russia and Taiwan and Japan and Chile and Australia and South Africa was a great motivator. I am particularly encouraged that so many people have emailed to say that they have used the site for their classes.

A word about my pronunciation. I was trained to speak Old English by John Miles Foley at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He in turn was trained by Robert Creed. Professor Foley also worked with Benjamin Bagby on his pronunciation, so a great deal of the recorded Old English in the world goes back to John and to Bob Creed. But although there are good reasons for thinking that the way we pronounce Old English is close to the original pronunciation, I do want to note that there are different “schools” and accents of Old English. I definitely slip into American pronunciation of vowels on occasion, and those taught by different teachers will pronounce Old English in subtly (and less subtly) different ways. Such is the nature of language: it always changes from speaker to speaker, from time to time. I do not know what Anglo-Saxon native speakers, presented with the poems on this site, would think. Perhaps they would think it barbarous, but I am hopeful that they would recognize at least a little of the beauty of their poetry.

In an early exercise in Bright’s Old English Grammar, the text from which I learned Old English, the “Learning-Maiden” says: “ðeah þe we ne mægen hieran ussera ealdfædera stefna, þeahhwæðere magon we rædan heora word, þa þe ða boceras gewriten habbað.” (Although we may not hear our ancestors’ voices, we nevertheless may read their words, those that the writers have written). We can never bring back the voices of those long gone, but, through centuries of patient scholarship, effective training and new technology, we can recapture at least an idea, an echo of what those voices might have been. I hope I have accomplished that, to a very small degree, here.
I am done with the poetry, and will be taking a short break from recording, but I am not done with Anglo-Saxon Aloud. 30,000 lines of poetry took 2 years. 300,000 lines of prose would then, theoretically, take 20, and I am not making that kind of a commitment right now (and it would in any event be longer, because prose has more words per line). My next step will either be The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle or Wulfstan’s Sermo Lupi, but I have not decided yet. I’ll also be doing some housekeeping, fixing tags, adding explanations, etc., here (so let me know if you find errors) and I hope to work with Aaron Hostetter, who has created the incredibly valuable Anglo-Saxon Narrative Poetry project) to link together translations with the recordings. At some point I will offer for sale (in case you don’t want to spend a year downloading) the entire corpus on a jump drive, iPod shuffle, or set of DVDs or CDs, but that is in the further future.

Again, thanks very, very much for your support over the past two years. Enjoy the poetry. Learn the language. Wes þu hal

Anglo-Saxon Aloud wins an award !

Over at The Ruminate, Larry Swain created the PEAA Awards (Praemium Ephemeridis Aetheriae Auctoribus awards [Award for Authors of Ethereal Diaries]), and he recently announced that Anglo-Saxon Aloud won for Best Podcast on Medieval Subject.

This award is incredibly gratifying, because it comes from the people who know best (the medievalist blogging community), and I really appreciate the award and Larry’s putting together the whole thing.

Of course it is a little ironic that I got the award just as I got too much of a cold to effectively finish up the poetry. The entire ASPR is recorded and posted, but there are a few other short poems (well, except Instructions for Christians, which is a beast). As soon as my voice no longer sounds like I have smallish bees up my nose, I’ll finish that up and then try some prose.

So thanks to Larry, to those who voted for Anglo-Saxon Aloud, and most importantly, for those who listen to Anglo-Saxon Aloud. Knowing that there are listeners, all over the world it turns out, has been the biggest motivator for my keeping up with the project, and the project itself has taught me an enormous amount about Anglo-Saxon poetry.


With the last post, the entire Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records is now available through this site. But Anglo-Saxon Aloud is not quite finished with Anglo-Saxon poetry. Over the next two or three weeks I will be posting spoken versions of Psalms 51-68, which I originally recorded as sung versions. I will not be removing the old sung versions, but will be adding a [sung] tag to them. When those Psalms are posted, the entire ASPR will be available in spoken form (I may return to the sung Psalms one day when I have better internalized the music of Psalmody).

There are also a few poems in Anglo-Saxon that are not in the Anglo-Saxon poetic records. I will be recording and posting these files as well. They are:

A44 Instructions for Christians
A45 Cnut’s Song
A46 Godric’s Prayer I and II
A47 The Grave
A48 Distich on Kenelm
A49 Distich on the Sons of Lothebrok
A50 Psalm 17:51
A51 Metrical Psalms 90:16 – 95:2
I hope to have all of these (most of which are extremely short) recorded, edited and posted, along with Psalms 51-68, before February 21, which will be the two-year anniversary of this site.

Then, after the poetry is done, I may take a break before moving on to posting some Anglo-Saxon prose. I may begin with the “Anglo-Saxon Chronicle Reading of the Day” or first may record some homilies or perhaps the Sermo Lupi: I haven’t decided yet.

Temporary Hiatus until Nov 21

Anglo-Saxon Aloud will be on temporary hiatus until November 21.  Please enjoy the poems in the archives.

Thanks for your patience.

Two-Day Pause (Sept 25 and 26)

Because I don’t think “The Shire” has internet access, I will not be able to post on Thursday or Friday. You can get your fix of Anglo-Saxon Aloud from the archives, or buy a copy of Anglo-Saxon: Greatest Hits here.

Anglo-Saxon Aloud Greatest Hits is now available

Anglo-Saxon Aloud Greatest Hits: Now Available

The studio called today, and the CDs are finished. I will be able to start shipping them on Tuesday or perhaps sooner. If you would like a copy, you can order them by using the PayPal button at this link: Anglo-Saxon Aloud Greatest Hits. Cost is $30.00 USD ($25.00 for the CD and $5.00 for domestic US shipping)

Anglo-Saxon Aloud Greatest Hits is a 2-CD set that includes ten poems in Old English, their Modern English translations, and commentaries on each of them as well as an introductory lecture. The poems included are: Cædmon’s Hymn, The Battle of Brunanburh, The Wanderer, The Ruin, The Wife’s Lament, Wulf and Eadwacer, Deor, The Fortunes of Men, Riddle 47 (Book-Moth) and The Dream of the Rood.

I will have copies with me at A Long-Expected Party in Kentucky next weekend. For listeners who don’t use PayPal or who are overseas, email me at and we can make arrangements. You can also send me land mail at Prof. M. Drout, Wheaton College, 26 E. Main Street, Norton, MA 02766, USA. Thanks to all the listeners and readers who have given me so much encouragement. And if people like Anglo-Saxon Aloud Greatest Hits, I can maybe someday put together Anglo-Saxon Aloud: Unplugged.

Changing Course

Changes to Anglo-Saxon Aloud

I’ve become unhappy with how the recordings of my singing the Psalms have been coming out. The fact is, I don’t have the right kind of voice for singing these, they don’t sound good, and it takes an enormous amount of time to edit them into the form they are in, which still isn’t that good.

So I am going to change course.

I will post the rest of the Paris Psalter (Psalms 68 through 150) as spoken rather than sung recordings. Then I will go back and re-post Psalms 50-67 as spoken recordings.

That will give us the entire ASPR recorded and available on the web (I will put together a “Complete ASPR on CD,” but it will be expensive, unfortunately). I’ll then probably add a few poems that aren’t in the ASPR, such as “The Grave” and “Instructions for Christians.”

Then, I will simultaneously work to record the Psalter with one of my students who <em>is</em> a good singer for this type of music, and add some prose (starting with the Sermo Lupi, and maybe doing a “Daily Reading from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle” project).

At the same time, I have begun work on a CD, to sell, of poems in Old English, my own translations in Modern English, and a brief talk on each poem. I hope to have this done by the <a href=””>Long-Expected Party</a> event in Kentucky in September (though that may be too ambitious). Right now this is a “greatest hits of Anglo-Saxon poetry plus other poems that Drout likes” project: Dream of the Rood, Wanderer, Seafarer, Wife’s Lament, Husband’s Message, Fortunes of Men, Gifts of Men, Maxims, some riddles, Maldon, Brunanburh, Cædmon’s Hymn … I’ll see how it works out; I’d like this one to be just one disk.

Temporary Hiatus should end next week

The temporary hiatus of Anglo-Saxon Aloud, caused by various events, should end on Wednesday, June 11.

Thank you for your patience.

Anglo-Saxon Aloud Will Return Monday, with more singing.

See many of younz at Kalamazoo… Friday, 11:00 in Valley III near registration.

Paris Psalter Soon

I am working on the sung versions of the Psalms of the Paris Psalter and hope to start posting them on Thursday.  That will wrap up the ASPR in approximately five weeks.

Meters of Boethius, Meter 7 [all]

Temporary Hiatus due to Laryngitis

Anglo-Saxon Aloud will be on hiatus for a couple of days until I get over a little case of laryngitis.

The Coronation of Edgar [all]

Part of the 973 entry, this praise poem describes Edgar’s second (and somewhat mysterious) “Imperial” coronation at Bath.