by Thomas Hunnisett
Polyphony, Volume 2, Issue 2, First published April 2020, Manchester
"The lonely always remains,
His spirit is fearful, waiting for God's mercy.
The billowing waves drift far away;
Stir the frozen sea with your own hands.
On the way to his exile - 5
Thus spoke the digger;
Remembering the misery of slaughter,
Enemies and beloved relatives flee.
"Only in each sunrise 10
I have to regret my grief.
Now no one lives
To whom would I dare to openly express my heart.
I know it's true
than a man of real worth 15
You must bind your thoughts quickly,
You must keep closed the treasures of your heart,
You must think as you please.
But my weary heart cannot resist fate;
Even my troubled mind is no help. twenty
Therefore, like those who seek glory
Often tying sadness to their breasts
So I had to check closely.
Always away from friends
I must bind these thoughts with chains.
It has been like this for a long time;
When I had to bury my lord -
I had to cover my ring giver with dark soil
and then, despondent, leave this place forever. 30
Then I walked on the waves in the winter blues.
Homesick, I searched for a gentleman far away
A mead hall you could call your own;
A place for my friendless self to be known
To be consoled and seduced with joy.” 35
The wise know how cruel it is
Having pain as the only companion.
He who walks the path of exile with a frozen mind,
Don't live a golden life
Don't have any worldly gifts. 40
He remembers the hall brothers of his youth,
And his golden friend who gives gifts,
Who would entertain and party!
Happiness is gone now.
Now you know you quit - 45
All the wise teachings of your kind Lord.
Then sadness and sleep combine
And the lonely wretch is held by the thoughts of his master.
It seems that she hugs him and kisses him,
Put your head and hands on your knees. fifty
As in times past -
Like old times -
While enjoying the gifts from the throne room.
He then wakes up again, a friendless man.
He sees sea birds bathing in front of him, 55
In the boundless expanse of dark water,
Its feather-tipped wings are outstretched.
How falling snow and hail mix to form frost.
Then the wounds in her heart get worse
It hurts as he longs for his beloved. 60
His pain is renewed.
the Walkeris an Old English poem surviving in only one of the four main surviving Anglo-Saxon manuscripts,the exeter book, and although its basic structure and elegiac tone are widely recognized, the exact nature of the speech and the number of speakers within the poem remain the subject of debate (see note 1). In general, as with all Old English poetry, the precise manner in which the piece would have originally been performed and the circumstances of its reception remain obscure, although there is likely an element of oral tradition. With this in mind, any translator approaching the poem must be prepared to make certain assumptions and allowances in preparing it for a modern audience; It is these aspects of translation that my commentary will reflect on.
Any translator approaching Old English poetry must first decide what type of translation to attempt. The different translations almost always fall somewhere on a scale from the literal to the figurative; at one end it would be a literal Modern English transcription of the original, while at the other it would be something like W.H. Auden's 1930 poemthe Walker' (see Note 2). which, though it shares a title with Old English Elegy, has little in common save its tone and themes. In this context, my translation attempts to find something of a "middle ground" by using modern syntax, punctuation, and structure, to make it easier for a 21 Ton reader.
The most obvious visual change between my translation and the original is the use of stanzas to divide the main body of the poem into smaller sections. I didn't try to follow any particular rule or formula structure when choosing where a verse begins or ends. Rather, like a paragraph in prose writing, they were used to distinguish individual points or ideas. This serves to make the translation more accessible to a contemporary audience and was a conscious attempt to make the text less imposing and difficult to parse. This is in contrast to other translations, such as those by scholars Richard Hamer (see note 3) and Greg Delanty (see note 4), which, in addition to the quality of the translation, can be overwhelming to an inexperienced reader due to their unbroken content. structure. In addition, dividing the poem into stanzas allows more emphasis on certain concepts or images; Of particular interest here are lines 36-7 of my translation: “The wise know how cruel it is | Having pain as the only companion. By limiting the stanza to just these two lines, the solitary image evoked by the diction is complemented by the lines themselves which are isolated from the rest of the text.
However, this is not to say that this method is bug-free, and as Bruce Mitchell points out, using "a punctuation system designed for a completely different language" can "distort [the] flow of OE passages in both" contribute prose and poetry. ” (see note 5). In this case, the use of this style of syntax causes the poem to lose its deliberately written atmosphere and thus sacrifices an element of its dramatic impact. Furthermore, the inclusion of stanzas further separates the audience from the oral tradition from which the poem seems to derive; as such, certain strange or different elements, which may have drawn the reader to the poem in the first place, are also lost in translation.
However, the use of stanzas is not the only significant "modernization" of the poem that I have made. As mentioned above, questions about how many speakers are active and what lineages can be assigned to what are some of the most fruitful debates among scholars. By putting verses 1-6 and 10-35 in quotation marks, it becomes clearer which verses belong to the poet and which to the 'eardstapa' (dirt poker) (the Walker, 6) - whom I consider one of the three speakers of the poem - and the one of the 'anhaga' (the lonely one) (the Walker, 1) mentioned in the first line. Burton Raffel, in his translation of the poem, uses quotation marks to similar effect to make his interpretation of it clearer. He does so by enclosing lines 8-85, thus clarifying the distinction between the poet's first lines and the monologue, which he assigns to another speaker: a 'lone traveller' (see note 6). readingthe WalkerSince there are three speakers, it is perhaps less common than interpretations favoring one or two speakers, but it is not without precedent. Above all, it was that of J.R.R. Tolkien in his notes to the poem, in which he says "theground passnot identical to thatanhagafrom line 1: it is a similar case introduced as an illustration” (see note 7). My translation distinguishes lines 1-6 and 10-35 with punctuation to give each of these speakers a more clearly defined place within the text. Importantly, however, an element of uncertainty surrounding the original remains, as my translation could still be read as referring to only two speakers and the "Anhaga" could be conflated with the "Eardstapa". It seems unlikely that a definitive answer as to how many speakers there are in the poem will ever be reached, and so retaining the ability to interpret the poem in a variety of ways was an important consideration.
Beyond the general choice of punctuation and grammar used, we can now begin to examine the language used and analyze the translation in more detail line by line. An attempt was made to set the tone of the translation early on by adding the line "Oft him ānhaga are gebīdeð" (the Walker, 1) as “The lonely always remains”; although a literal translation might be something like "The lonely one often experiences". First, by deciding to change "Often" from the more literal translation "Often" to "Always", this translation unfortunately removes the element of litotes that is present in the original and therefore could be seen as a distraction from the work. original. The change, however, emphasizes the inescapable nature of the exile of the 'ānhaga' and thus lends a more definitive air to the rest of the stanza; The implicit hope that "often" would convey to a contemporary reader is removed. This sense of finality and hopelessness is further reinforced by the translation of "gebīdeð" as "last"; this was inspired in part by Greg Delanty, who opens his translation of the poem with the line "The lonely awaits grace" (see note 8), which I think effectively conveys the image of an exile grimly awaiting his fate.
This concept of the relentless "Wyrd" (fate) (the Walker, 5) is not uncommon in Old English writings; is mentioned in itBeowulfseveral times, notably when Beowulf himself comments before his fight with Grendel: "Gaéð á wyrd swá hío scel" (Fate always turns out as it should) (Beowulf, 455) and seems to reflect the more fatalistic Anglo-Saxon understanding of temporal existence. Although it should be noted that the representation of "Wyrd" in the clearly Christian texts ofBeowulfythe Walkerit is, as B. J. Timmer writes, not that of a "blind and hostile fate that rules the lives of men," but "an inevitability... subject to God" (see note 9). Perhaps it is this distinctly Anglo-Saxon mentality that makes this topic so intriguing, and the last line of the first stanza of my translation is an attempt to convey that. Splitting the Old English line 'wadan wræclāstas. Wyrd bið ful ārǣd’ (Itinerant routes of exile. Fate fully determined) (the Walker, 5) and by providing the second stanza with its own verse, emphasis is placed on the importance and irreversibility of destiny. Similarly, I chose to shorten the line to simply read "immutable fate" instead of the more verbose but linguistically accurate "fully determined fate" to make this point more succinct and punchy. Here too I owe a debt of gratitude to another scholar, Richard Hamer, who translated the phrase as "fate is inexorable" (see note 10), an interpretation I found powerful in its simplicity and wished to emulate.
As mentioned above, one of the goals of this translation was to attempt to convey elements of the original Old English diction to modern readers. A distinctive feature of Old English is the use of kennings, compound expressions with specific metaphorical meanings such as "hron-rād" (way of the whales) (Beowulf, 10) means the sea. None of the translations to which I have already referred seemed particularly concerned with preserving this device (see note 11). This surprised me because, as James Rankin points out, kennings "constitute an important element in the style of Anglo-Saxon poetry" (see note 12) and therefore I tried to communicate Old English diction using this device.
One particular case where this shows up in my translation is line 42, where the Old English "goldwine" (the Walker, 35) was literally translated as "friend of gold", although perhaps a more appropriate modern word would be "lord" or "ruler". By retaining this element of the original, not only is some aspect of Old English unfamiliarity and strangeness conveyed, but one must pause for a moment to reflect and deduce the meaning of the phrase; almost as if it were a little mystery in itself. Furthermore, this very example gives the reader some insight into the nature of the relationship between lord and servant in Anglo-Saxon culture. A similar effect is achieved in line 29 of my translation, where the same phrase "Goldwein" (the Walker, 22) – is translated as “Ringgeber”, which is in turn a literal translation of another Anglo-Saxon kenning “béahgifan” (the battle of maldon, 290) with a very similar meaning. These two examples convey to the reader that rather than being a distant figure one is obligated to serve, which might imply in a modern understanding of the term, a lord is someone who is individually devoted to and bestows gifts in return. . This suggests a much more personal relationship and helps the contemporary reader understand why the Lord's death is so central to the "Anhaga" and leads directly to his exile.
Another important aspect of Anglo-Saxon culture that I tried to convey throughout the translation was the symbolic importance of nature and, in particular, the role of the sea as a unique place of solitude. Exile was one of the worst punishments that could be inflicted on an Anglo-Saxon, and the true gravity of the situation is difficult for a modern reader to comprehend. In order to emphasize the miserable nature of the exile of “Anhaga”, I have been especially careful not to express any modern romantic notions of desert or desert in the translation.
The penultimate stanza of the translation reflects this best. Here the sea is described in a language that, while maintaining the tone of Old English, further emphasizes the arid nature of the landscape surrounding Exile. While the original simply describes "fealwe wēgas" (dark waves) (the Walker, 46), instead of referring to "the limitless expanse of the dark waters", the translation takes this image a little further. The reason for translating "wēgas" as "water" instead of the more precise word "waves" is to discourage any imagery of grandiose seascapes. The image he wanted to convey was more of a flat, dark plain of water that stretches as far as the eye can see, disturbed only by the movement of seabirds on its surface, a perfect reflection of the utter solitude of exile.
In addition to describing the sea itself, my translation also retains the element of pathetic error present in Old English. The line "hrēosan hrīm ond snāw, hagle gemenged" (falling frost and snow mixed with hail) (the Walker, 48) translates as "falling snow and hail mingle in frost" which, while remaining very close to the original, changes the verb "gemenged" to the present tense "mischen" and thus creates an image of the wanderer himself, who, due to covered by frost becomes bad weather. This is another image seen elsewhere in Old English poetry, viz.Wife's demand, in which the narrator describes his lover as being "storme behrīmed" (frost covered by the storm) (Wife's demand, 48) and the wording of my translation is a conscious attempt to evoke this distinctly Anglo-Saxon image in the reader's mind.
In conclusion, the stated goal of my translation was to attempt to transcribe Old English diction and tone.the Walkerin a way that would be attractive to a modern reader. Translations by other scholars helped me in this; However, I have tried to achieve something unique by employing modern forms of grammar and punctuation, while using phrases and images that, if not taken from the source text, would be representative of the themes and motifs addressed that are present in the Anglo-Saxon literature. and the culture as a whole.
1:Stanley B. Greenfield, „The Tramp“: A Reconsideration of Theme and Structure“,Journal of English and German Philology(Beyondi p) (Bd. 50, Nr. 4, 1951) S. 451-65.
Robert Björk, "Sundor Æt Rune: The Voluntary Exile of the Tramp"neophile(Bd. 73, Nr. 1, 1989) p. 119-29.
Robert Lumiansky, "The Dramatic Structure of the Old English Tramp",neophile(Bd. 34, Nr. 1, 1950) p. 104-12.
2:WH Auden,collected poemsedition by Edward Mendelson (London: Penguin Random House, 2007), p. 62.
3:"The Wanderer", trans. Ricardo Hamer, inA selection of Anglo-Saxon verses(BeyondASV) (London: Faber, 2006), S. 176-85.
4:"The Wanderer", trans. Greg Delanty, inThe Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation, edited by Greg Delanty and Michael Matto (hereinafterTWE) (London: Norton, 2011), p. 57-6
5:Bruce Mitchell, „The Perils of Disguise: Old English Texts in Modern Interpunk“,English Studies Review(Bd. 31, Nr. 124, 1980) S. 385–413 (S. 25–6).
6:"The Wanderer", trans. Burton Raffel, inOld English prose and poems, edited by Burton Raffel and Alexandra H. Olson (hereinafterPOE) (Londres: Yale University Press, 1998) S. 7-9.
7:Stuart D. Lee, "J.R.R. Tolkien and the Wanderer: From Edition to Application",Tolkien Studies(Bd. 6, Nr. 1, 2009) S. 189-211 (S. 200).
8:"The Wanderer", trans. Greg Delanty inTWE(S. 57).
9:B.J. Timmer, "Wyrd in Anglo-Saxon Prose and Poetry",neophile(Bd. 26, Nr. 1, 1941) S. 24-33 (S. 25).
10:"The Wanderer", trans. Richard hammer aASV(art. 176).
11:"The Wanderer", trans. Greg Delanty inTWE.
"The Wanderer", trans. Richard hammer aASV.
"The Vagabundo", trans. Burton Raffel aPOE.
12:James Walter Rankin, "A Study of Kennings in Anglo-Saxon Poetry",i p(Bd. 8, Nr. 3, 1909) S. 357-422 (S. 359).
What is the main message of The Wanderer? ›
The Wanderer conveys the meditations of a solitary exile on his past happiness as a member of his lord's band of retainers, his present hardships and the values of forbearance and faith in the heavenly Lord.What are the two main themes in The Wanderer? ›
The anonymous writer of 'The Wanderer' engages with themes of loneliness, suffering, and religion in the text. These themes are quite common within the best-known Anglo-Saxon verse. The speaker in this piece is well acquainted with sorrow and describes a “wanderer” experiences with it.What is the metaphor in The Wanderer? ›
But, to me, the Wanderer is an archetype, a metaphor of examination; if you are looking for something, it is out there to be found, even if the path is something that brings you back to yourself. No path is straight, alone — there is a meander; any wander is a labyrinth.What are the major themes of the poem The Wanderer Analyse? ›
The Wanderer Poem Themes
The unknown writer of 'The Wanderer' engages with themes of suffering, loneliness, and religion in the text. These themes are quite frequent within the best-known Anglo-Saxon verse. The speaker in this piece is well acquitted with sorrow and describes a “wanderer” experience.
wandering Jew, in Christian legend, character doomed to live until the end of the world because he taunted Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion. A reference in John 18:20–22 to an officer who struck Jesus at his arraignment before Annas is sometimes cited as the basis for the legend.What is the cause of suffering in The Wanderer? ›
The speaker in "The Wanderer" is completely miserable because he has lost his loved ones and his lord (the local ruler that he was loyal to), and must now wander over the ocean far from home. This situation means that, to add insult to injury, he doesn't have anyone with whom he can share his sorrows.Who is the hero in The Wanderer? ›
Beowulf himself represents the heroic ideal because of his features, strength, and courage, but also because of his intelligence and honor. Beowulf is proud of his strength and great his honor.What does gold friend mean in The Wanderer? ›
The "gold-friend" who receives the exile at the feast is his lord. He is a gold-friend because of his role as dispenser of treasure to his noblemen.What kind of person is a wanderer? ›
A wanderer is a person who travels around rather than settling in one place. Synonyms: traveller, rover, nomad, drifter More Synonyms of wanderer.What are the three Kennings in The Wanderer? ›
Mind, Heart, Spirit.
What is the personification of sorrow in Wanderer? ›
Sorrow is personified – he eats with sorrow. Sorrow is always there and is with everything. The winter image, the repeating of 's' and 'lo' sounds reinforce the gloomy, tormenting atmosphere. Although there are other equally important elements like wisdom and Christianity, The Wanderer is primarily an elegy.What is the role of the sea in The Wanderer? ›
The sea represents hardship and struggle, but the man is drawn to it because it brings him closer to God. The sea represents the power of God. “Home” represents heaven or being closer to God.What is the theme or main idea of the poem? ›
The theme of a poem is the message an author wants to communicate through the piece. The theme differs from the main idea because the main idea describes what the text is mostly about.What is the irony in The Wanderer? ›
With this concluding narration, the poet draws attention to the irony in The Wanderer. The lonely man is characterized as unwise, simply because he speaks before he knows the best way. The alteration of the wanderer's tone on line 58 exhibits his disorientation with his own depressing syndrome.What is the climax of The Wanderer? ›
The climax of the story is when they all arrive at Bompie's. That's when all of the mysteries come together. Uncle Dock finds his beloved Rosalie. Sophie realizes that her birth parents died and that she is being raised by adopted parents.What does God say about The Wanderer? ›
Behold, you have driven me out this day from the surface of the ground. I will be hidden from your face, and I will be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth. It will happen that whoever finds me will kill me."
However, it is the word used for wander that really gives this verse its deep meaning. This word in the Hebrew is halaka, or a righteous walk and the word desire is nephesh which is often rendered as the soul.Who wandered for 40 years in the Bible? ›
For 40 years, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, eating quail and manna. They were led into the Promised Land by Joshua; the victory at Jericho marked the beginning of possession of the land.What are the three causes of suffering? ›
The basic causes of suffering are known as the Three Poisons : greed, ignorance and hatred. These are often represented as a rooster (greed), a pig (ignorance) and a snake (hatred).What is the root cause of suffering? ›
In Buddhism, desire and ignorance lie at the root of suffering. By desire, Buddhists refer to craving pleasure, material goods, and immortality, all of which are wants that can never be satisfied. As a result, desiring them can only bring suffering.
What are the eight types of suffering? ›
Eight Sufferings 八苦 (1) Suffering of Birth (2) Suffering of Old Age (3) Suffering of Sickness (4) Suffering of Death (5) Suffering of being apart from the loved ones (6) Suffering being together with the despised ones (7) Suffering of not getting what one wants (8) Suffering of the flourishing of the Five skandhas.Is there an end to The Wanderer? ›
There are, as of yet, no preset end-game scenarios, however, on entering a Barracks, the player often will be accosted by a group of three (3) armed soldiers.Who is the speaker in The Wanderer? ›
The speaker for much of the poem is a warrior who has had to go into exile after the slaughter of his lord and relatives in battle. Now, he contemplates what the experience of the exile teaches him about life.Is there Christianity in The Wanderer? ›
Most scholars think "The Wanderer" first appeared as a piece of oral poetry during the 5th or 6th century, a time when the Germanic Pagan culture of Anglo-Saxon England was undergoing a conversion to Christianity. It contains traces of both traditional Germanic warrior culture and of a Christian value system.What does The Wanderer dream of when he falls asleep? ›
In his sleep, the sorrowful exile dreams about "clasping" (embracing) and kissing his lord. The idea of clasping is similar to binding, but now, the action is a liberating one that brings the exile happiness.Why are there two speakers in The Wanderer? ›
The two speakers in this are the narrator and the wanderer. The narrator describes what the Wanderer experiences from an omniscient point of view. The wanderer describes his experiences from his point of view. The two together help you see both inside and outside of the experiences.What means friend of mine? ›
a friend of mine: one of my friends.What religion is the narrator in The Wanderer? ›
Characters: the narrator of the "wise man"'s speech (evidently a Christian, probably a monk-scribe), the "wise man," presumably the "Wanderer," himself, whose world-view is singularly pagan, the "liege lord" or now-dead king whom the Wanderer once served, "the young/mailed warrior," perhaps even the generic "friend" ...What was the Wanderers religion? ›
The Wanderer's religion included the belief of an afterlife in Heaven or Hell; where one went depended on the sins he had committed during his earthly life. Because where one went in his afterlife resulted from his actions, Christians did not believe in the pagan concept of Fate.Where does the word wanderer come from? ›
From Middle English wandren, wandrien, from Old English wandrian (“to wander, roam, fly around, hover; change; stray, err”), from Proto-Germanic *wandrōną (“to wander”), from Proto-Indo-European *wendʰ- (“to turn, wind”), equivalent to wend + -er.
What does the kenning whale road represent? ›
kenning, concise compound or figurative phrase replacing a common noun, especially in Old Germanic, Old Norse, and Old English poetry. A kenning is commonly a simple stock compound such as “whale-path” or “swan road” for “sea,” “God's beacon” for “sun,” or “ring-giver” for “king.”What are the 4 types of kenning? ›
- Open Kenning (adjective noun) – i.e. wakeful sleeper, walking dead.
- Hyphenated Kenning (noun-noun) – i.e. heaven-god, man-slayer, battle-sweat.
- Possessive Kenning ('s or s' format) – i.e. heaven's light, bird's road.
- Prepositional Kenning (includes any preposition) – i.e. door of doom, giver of salvation.
The elegiac tone expressed in “The Wanderer” is that of loneliness and longing, and is recurring throughout the course of the poem.What is the speaker mourning in The Wanderer? ›
The major themes were mourning of the lost, enduring pain of one's heart, yearning for dear one's love, and putting time as a fault for these grievances. In The Wanderer, the man mourns for his former position of a warrior who had a great lord, friends, and joy.What aspects of life a wise man understands according to the poem the wanderer? ›
According to the wanderer, a wise man understands that he must be patient and must never become complacent or boastful. A wise man knows that everything in life is impermanent and fragile.How does The Wanderer's present life compare with his former life? ›
Presently, the wanderer is alone at sea living a life of loneliness and sorrow. In the past he was surrounded by friends and family and felt happy. He is now constantly bombarded with memories of the deaths of these loved ones.What structures is The Wanderer talking about? ›
The buildings the speaker refers to are called the "old giants' work." This description of them conveys the idea of huge, even monumental buildings, making their desertedness seem even more profound. Calling the buildings the work of giants implies that the people who built them were truly great.What is the setting of The Wanderer? ›
(Conjecture about the setting of the poem: In Anglo-Saxon England a warrior owed complete fealty to his chief. A warrior was stunned unconscious during a battle in which his chief died. He revived after the battle and found himself chiefless. Several years later he recounts his plight.)What is the central statement of the poem? ›
The central theme of a poem represents its controlling idea. This idea is crafted and developed throughout the poem and can be identified by assessing the poem's rhythm, setting, tone, mood, diction and, occasionally, title.What is the theme of the story meaning? ›
The term theme can be defined as the underlying meaning of a story. It is the message the writer is trying to convey through the story. Often the theme of a story is a broad message about life. The theme of a story is important because a story's theme is part of the reason why the author wrote the story.
What is the author's purpose in writing the poem? ›
An author's purpose is his reason for or intent in writing. An author's purpose may be to amuse the reader, to persuade the reader, to inform the reader, or to satirize a condition.What are the 3 types irony? ›
The three most common kinds you'll find in literature classrooms are verbal irony, dramatic irony, and situational irony.What happened to The Wanderer? ›
The Wanderer was seized once more by the U.S. government in 1861 for use against the Confederacy during the Civil War. After the war, it passed into private hands and sailed commercially for a few years before sinking off the coast of Cuba.What advice does The Wanderer give? ›
A man cannot be wise until he is very old, says the earth-stepper. A wise man must be patient, emotionally stable, and careful about what he says. A warrior must not be weak, foolish, or cowardly. He must think carefully before boasting or making a promise.What does The Wanderer dream about why is this significant? ›
In his sleep, the sorrowful exile dreams about "clasping" (embracing) and kissing his lord. The idea of clasping is similar to binding, but now, the action is a liberating one that brings the exile happiness. These physical gestures are signs of a nobleman's loyalty.How does the Wanderers present life? ›
His present life is dark and lonely. He has lost everything he once held dear. Still, he is accepting of his fate because he knows all is ordained by God, and in God he finds comfort.What is personification in The Wanderer? ›
Lines 102-106: The speaker uses personification when he describes winter weather "attacking" the abandoned building "in anger toward men." Now, the winter weather has become a malevolent force like the one that slaughtered the exile's kinsmen.