Why then, he wonders, should one wish for earthly fame? The best days and their joys, he concludes, are gone, and weaklings have come to power.When a man dies, none of his former joys will have meaning.Old English poetry is alliterative, relying on repetition of the initial sounds of stressed syllables rather than on rhymes at the ends of lines as its structural principle.
Why then, he wonders, should one wish for earthly fame? The best days and their joys, he concludes, are gone, and weaklings have come to power.When a man dies, none of his former joys will have meaning.Tags: Business Lesson Plans For High SchoolAp Essay Scoring RubricsAmerican Apparel EssayLaws Of Life Essay Bahamas 2015Stem Cell Research Newspaper ArticlesResearch Paper EssaysAfrican American Culture Research PaperEssay Prompt Stand DeliverNichols College Application EssayDissertation Andromaque Antoine Adam
Each line is divided into two half lines (separated by editorially provided commas in these examples), and the alliterating letters for each line () must occur in both halves.
Each half line usually has two stressed syllables, and while either or (more often) both may alliterate in the first half line (the “a” line), in the second half line (the “b” line), the first stressed syllable must alliterate and the second must not.
He contrasts his lonely and difficult seafaring existence with that of the dwellers on land, who enjoy the comforts and pleasures of social life.
At about line 33 of the poem, the seafarer resolves to return to the sea for another voyage, evidently to a distant land.
The sailor’s joy has been the cry of sea birds instead of the laughter of men.
On the sea, he says, there is no protector for men.The 124-line poem is untitled in the manuscript, and its author is unknown.The best-known translation is that of Ezra Pound, whose rendering of the first ninety-nine lines has been widely admired on its own merits by readers with no knowledge of the original.While there are many threads of imagery throughout the poem, including those of cold, barrenness, and the progression of the seasons, the central metaphor is surely that of the ship at sea, which was used throughout classical and medieval literature in a variety of permutations to symbolize human life.The specifically Christian version of the image used in this poem typically identifies the waves and salinity of the sea with the uncertainty and bitterness of postlapsarian life on Earth and the sailor as the Christian tossed about by its various storms and waves.He then shifts from personal experience to more general remarks in the third person about how seafaring men are different from landsmen, drawn more strongly to wander than to share in an admitted prosperity and the beauty of the land, especially in spring and summer.The seafarer then briefly returns to his personal thoughts about the voyage he is planning.He develops at length the argument that worldly goods and honors are transient and insubstantial and that wise people will therefore turn their minds entirely to the eternal life in the heavenly kingdom, considering not how to enjoy themselves on Earth but how to prepare themselves for Heaven, which offers the only true home for humankind. His only home has been a ship constantly encountering indifferent forces, the sea and the cold.The prosperous man situated on land does not know the icy feeling of exile, the feeling of being cut off from one’s loved ones.At the same time, he warns, there is no man so brave he can escape the anxiety that accompanies seafaring.His thoughts are not of music, riches, or women, but of his own longing.