Anonymous: Deor

(942 words)
  • Philip A. Shaw (The University of Leicester)

Deor is the name given by modern scholars to a short Old English poem which is preserved in a single manuscript, the large miscellany of Old English verse known as the Exeter Book (Exeter Dean and Chapter MS 3501). The poem consists of six stanzas of variable length, each terminated by a one-line refrain, “Þæs ofereode, þisses swa mæg”, which may be loosely translated as “that [sorrow] passed away; this [sorrow] can also pass away”. Each stanza provides an elliptical and allusive narrative of the misfortunes suffered by individuals involved in various episodes in Germanic legendary history. In each case, the poem focuses particularly on the emotional response of the sufferer to misfortune.

The first stanza …

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Shaw, Philip A.. "Deor". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 November 2002
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]