Vainglory (poem)

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Vainglory is the title given to an Old English gnomic or homiletic poem of eighty-four lines, preserved in the Exeter Book. The precise date of composition is unknown, but the fact of its preservation in a late tenth-century manuscript gives us an approximate terminus ante quem.

The poem is structured around a comparison of two basic opposites of human conduct; on the one hand, the proud man, who “is the devil's child, enwreathed in flesh” (biþ feondes bearn / flæsce bifongen), and, on the other hand, the virtuous man, characterised as "God’s own son" (godes agen bearn).

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