What are examples of three Kenning's, and three Caesura's in the poem "The Wife's Lament".

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A "kenning" is a kind of compound word with poetical meanings that was often used in Old English. Kennings are often referred to as "compound metaphors," as they have larger figurative meanings. Examples in "The Wife's Lament" include "earth-hall," which refers to a burial mound. The wife is commanded to live in a kind of underground hovel. Another kenning is "breast-cares," which refers to things that worry one's heart. A final kenning is "mind-sorrow," or something that causes the mind distress—in other words, a worry.

A caesura is a break in a line of poetry. Examples in this poem include "My lord ordered me to take this grove for a home—I have very few dear to me." The caesura occurs after the word "home" and functions as a break, perhaps because the narrator of the poem is too distraught to continue with her thought. Other examples are "Therefore my mind so miserable—then I met a well-suited man for myself" and "Ancient is the earth-hall: I am entirely longing—" The caesuras function as breaks when the narrator interrupts her train of thought, possibly out of distress.

mpvillaume | Student

Kenning are condensed metaphors used to describe objects. If one word in the kenning is also the name of the object, this is known as a half-kenning. 

Examples from this poem are: earth-hall (for her dwellings, a cave), heart-thoughts (for feelings), wave-tumult (for the sea)

Caesurae are pauses in the middle of the verse of an Anglo-Saxon poem and are usually marked with a comma or other punctuation in the middle of the line. 

Examples from this poem are: line 2 "my own wayfaring. I a woman tell"; line 7 "over the wave-tumult. I grieved each dawn"; line 17 "or faithful friends. For this my heart grieves:"