Dominik Dengler: The Seafarer 39-67 
       (EN2009, Pre-Conquest English II, 2000)

With this translation I have tried to stay as close to the original text and attempted to preserve the grammar, as far as possible. However I took great liberty in applying punctuation, rearranging the word order, repeating and replacing words and parts of sentences and changing occasionally singular nouns into the plural. My main concern was to emphasise recurring patterns and structures of the poem, producing a certain rhythmic effect. This helped me to blend kennings and appositions into a fluent language, as well as creating the tone of a solemn and forceful speech of the Seafarer.

 

 

                                                                     

For indeed there is

no one on earth

   
 

no one on earth

so proud

 
   

so proud of spirit,

 
       
 

Nor

so generous

of his gifts,

 
 

Nor

so bold

in his youth,

 
 

Nor

so daring

in his deeds,

 
 

Nor his lord

so loyal

to him,

 
       

That he has no worries about his seafaring,

   
   

his seafaring, which his lord will make him do.

 
       

His thought is

not

about the harp,

   
 

nor

about the ring-receiving,

   
 

nor

about the joy of woman,

   
 

nor

about his worldly hopes,

   
 

nor

about anything else,

   
 

but

about the rolling of the waves,

   
       

For which he

 

must ever yearn

 
     

For which he, who goes to sea,

must ever yearn.

 
       
 

The groves take on blossoms,

   
The groves make cities more beautiful,
The groves make meadows brighter,
       

The world hastens on,

     
 

All this urges the eager spirit

to the journey,

 
 

All this urges the heart

to the journey,

 
       
   

By which he desires

to travel far

     

to travel far in the flood ways

       
 

The cuckoo too reminds us

   
   

reminds us with his mourning cry

 
 

Summer’s guardian sings,

   
   

Announces bitter sorrow in the heart.

 
       

That man

 

does not know,

 

That man,

blessed with comfort,

does not know,

 
   

does not know,

what some men suffer,

       

Who travel

most widely

   
 

most widely on the path of exile.

 
       

For indeed

my thought

journeys

 
   

journeys beyond the confines of my heart,

 

my mind

journeys

 
   

journeys widely with the ocean,

     

Over the whale’s domains,

     

Over the earth’s regions,

       

And

comes back to me,

       

comes back to me greedy,

       

comes back to me grasping,

       

The solitary flyer calls out,

     
 

Whets the heart irresistibly

   
   

on the whale-paths

 
   

on the whale-paths over the seas

   

on the whale-paths over the seas of the ocean.

       

For indeed the joys of the lord

mean more to me

 
 

mean more to me than

this dead life

     

this dead life loan on land.

       

I do not believe

     

I do not believe that earthly wealth lasts eternally

   

I do not believe that earthly wealth lasts eternally for him.

   

    

 
Page created by Dr Jennifer Neville
Last updated 20 April 2001