Dominik Dengler: The Seafarer 80b-110 
       (EN2009, Pre-Conquest English II, 2000)

Translation policy: With this translation, I have attempted to stay as close to the original text as possible and mainly focused on literal translation. Nevertheless I took great liberty in repeating and replacing parts of the sentences, while preserving the original grammatical structures. My main concern was to emphasise recurring structures of the poem, which consequently created a certain rhythmic effect. With the help of those repetitive structures I intended to illustrate the desolate state and the strong emotions of the seafarer.

The days are gone,

          All glory of the earthly kingdom is gone,

                    There are no kings,
                    There are no caesars
                    There are no gold-givers,
                                                      Such as they were,

               Most glorious deeds
                              they then performed,
               Most lordly renown
                              they then lived in.

The joys are gone,

          All nobles have perished,

                              Weaker ones remain,
                              Weaker ones occupy the world,
                              Weaker ones use it through toil.

Glory is humbled.

          Old and sear grows the earthly nobility,
          As now does every man throughout this middle earth.

                              Old age           comes upon him,
                              Pale                 his face grows,
                              Grey haired      he mourns.

          He knows       his former lords,
          He knows       the princesí sons given to earth.

When his life slips from him,

Then his body will not be able

                    to taste sweetness,
          Nor    to feel pain,
          Nor    to stir his hand,
          Nor    to think with his mind.

Although a brother wishes
                              to strew the grave for his brother       with gold,

Although a brother wishes
                              to bury him among the dead              with various treasures,

Although a brother wishes
                              those various treasures to be             with him,

Yet, when he      hides gold in advance
                          hides gold in advance, while he still lives here,

It may not bring
                        any help
                        any help for the soul,
                        any help for the soul that is full of sin,
                        any help for the soul that is full of sin, against Godís awesome power.

The Creatorís awesome power, by which the earth turns, is great:

                    For he established the solid foundations,
                    For he established the earthís surfaces,
                    For he established the sky above.

Foolish is he, who does not fear his lord
                                        Death will come upon him unprepared.
Blessed is he, who lives in humility
                                        Grace will come upon him from heaven.

                    The creator established his spirit,

                    Because he believes in his might.

A man must steer his spirit with strength,
A man must keep his spirit       in place,

                    True to his pledges,
                    Pure in his ways.

Page created by Dr Jennifer Neville
Last updated 24 May 2000