The Rhyming Poem

The Rhyming Poem

The Rhyming Poem is one of the poems found in the Exeter Book, a tenth century book of Anglo-Saxon poetry. It is remarkable for being no later than the 10th century, in Old English, and written in rhyming couplets. Rhyme is otherwise virtually unknown among Anglo-Saxon literature, which used alliterative verse instead.

The poem is in the third booklet of the Exeter Book, which may, or may not, be an indication of composition. Many scholarly attempts have been made to decipher the collation of the Exeter Book and to determine if works were placed in the manuscript by date or theme. Unlike the "Monstrarum Librum" of the "Beowulf" manuscript, the Exeter Book appears to be a self-consciously archival collection.

The poem concerns the troubles and transience of life. It contrasts the life of a king at court with his life after his fall. The poem may take Book of Job chapters 29 and 30 as its inspiration.

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