Thesis Theater: Patrick Lyon, “Merry Old Englyn: The Familiar and the Strange in The Old English Rhyming Poem”

Date & Time

Start: July 30, 2023, 3:00 pm

End: July 30, 2023, 4:00 pm


Signum MA student Patrick Lyon will present his thesis “Merry Old Englyn: The Familiar and the Strange in The Old English Rhyming Poem” and respond to questions from the audience in an interactive Thesis Theater. The discussion will be facilitated by Patrick’s thesis supervisor, Dr. Paul Peterson.


The Old English Rhyming Poem is one of the stranger and more overlooked entries in the lexicon of OE poetry, often regarded as interesting but flawed and incoherent due to its intensive pursuit of rhyme. As the poem is both unique and highly allusive, critical analyses have focused on the potential inspirations for (and origins of) the poem, and have attempted to make sense of the work’s convoluted grammar and syntax. This thesis examines three related questions concerning the poem’s origin, translation, and interpretation, and in conversation with critical analyses and previous editions of the poem presents a new argument for the inspiration of the poem coming from Welsh poetry. This thesis also makes the case that treating the poem as a riddle in addition to an elegy can make greater sense of some of the passages that earlier critics have found most vexing in the past.

About the Presenter

Patrick Lyon is a graduate of the Program of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame and has presented on topics of Tolkien Studies, Homeric epics, and Black Speech at various Mythmoots; he also writes freelance Movie and TV Features for In his spare time he enjoys gardening, Beowulf, juggling, Irish music, more Beowulf, playing the violin, a pipe full of Old Toby, a spot of the Old Winyards, and tilting at windmills of various sizes as he whiffles through the tulgy wood of academia. He enjoys all the comforts of a hobbity home with his lovely wife and three rambunctious children. 

About Signum Thesis Theaters

Each of our master’s students writes a thesis at the end of their degree program, exploring a topic of their choice. The Thesis Theater is their opportunity to present their research to a general audience, and answer questions. All are welcome to attend!

Update: this event is past, you can watch the recording here.

Join us on July 30 at 3pm ET for a Thesis Theater that explores Old English literature!