I'm writing a series of choral pieces using Old English texts. Some are sacred while others are secular. The Our Father and Cædmon's Hymn are examples of the former while the Father's Lament, taken from Beowulf, is an example of the latter.
Cædmon's Hymn is the earliest recorded English-language Christian hymn. It's not too long, but it bridges the early Germanic world view with the Christian .
Nu scylun hergan hefænricæs Uard,
metudæs mæcti end his modgidanc,
uerc Uuldurfadur, sue he uundra gihwæs,
eci dryctin or astelidæ
he ærist scop ælda barnum
heben til hrofe, haleg scepen.
Þa middungeard moncynnæs Uard,
eci Dryctin, æfter tiadæ
firum foldu, Frea allmectig.
Now [we] must honor the guardian of heaven,
the might of the architect, and his purpose,
the work of the father of glory
as he, the eternal lord, established the beginning of wonders;
he first created for the children of men
heaven as a roof, the holy creator
Then the guardian of mankind,
the eternal lord, afterwards appointed the middle earth
the lands for men, the Lord almighty.
Fæder Ure, $1.99 at sheetmusicplus.
The Our Father has been set to music many times. This setting uses a Gregorian chant melody with some modern twists in the harmonies.
þu þe eart on heofonum,
si þin nama gehalgod.
Tobecume þin rice.
Gewurthe þin willa
on earðan swa swa on heofonum.
Urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us to dæg.
And forgyf us ure gyltas,
swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum.
And ne gelæd þu us un costnunge.
Ac alys us of yfele.
thou that art in heaven
be thy name hallowed
Come thy kingdom.
Bring about thy will
on earth as in heaven.
Our daily bread give us today.
And forgive us our guilts,
as we forgive our guilty.
And don't lead thou us into tribulation.
But release us from evil.