Poetic licence : LETTERS

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From The Rev B. A. Hopkinson Sir: I trust that the author of Beowulf is enjoying a ride on the Internet (report, 28 January). I hope, however, that he/she is honest enough to blush at being hailed as the writer of the first major poem in a European vernacular. "What about Caedmon?" I hear from the ghosts at Whitby Abbey. I should love to press their claim, yet other whispers drift from Ithaca: "What about Homer?"

Yours faithfully, BEN HOPKINSON Whitby, North Yorkshire 30 January