Anonymous: The Dream of the Rood

(1023 words)

The Dream of the Rood is widely regarded as one of the finest short religious poems in the English literary canon. The poem relates the Crucifixion in the words of the Cross of Christ, an enormous and shifting beacon that appears as a perplexing symbol to a visionary in the night. The Crucifixion narrative is framed initially by the visionary's account of his or her astonishment and fear at seeing this celestial sign, at once lit by beams of light, bejewelled and glorious then shifting to a simultaneous sign of suffering—bleeding, oozing moisture, its size extending to the four corners of the earth. The Cross begins to speak of the moving events of the Crucifixion, and once the Cross has finished its narration, the visionary …

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Treharne, Elaine. "The Dream of the Rood". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 March 2003
[, accessed 28 November 2015.]