The Husband's Message
The Husband's Message Dreams, Hopes, and Plans Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line) The only manuscript in which the poem is found has been damaged by fire, so that parts of it are indecipherable. (Crazy, right?) These sections are indicated by ellipses in the text.
Nor can he in all the world desire . . .
more in his mind, as he told me,
than that the all-ruling God might grant that you two
. . . together may afterwards
[give] to men and to retainers,
studded circlets. (30-35a)
The lord eagerly anticipates the time when he and his lady will be together again, presiding over a hall. The distribution of wealth to his subjects was one of the most important displays of an Anglo-Saxon lord's power. By anticipating his lady's participation in this ritual, the lord is indicating his desire to make her his legitimate queen, not just his lover. The future he is offering her is looking pretty good.
Now the man has
overcome his trouble; he has no lack of joy,
or of horses or treasures, or the pleasures of mead,
or any of the noble treasures upon earth,
prince's daughter, if he possess you. (44-48)
Although the lord offers his lady a place at his side as ruler, this passage suggests that the messenger views them as far from equal. The messenger obviously sees the lady as yet another of his lord's numerous possessions. The future that lays ahead for her, at least from the speaker's point of view, is therefore one of both power and subjection.