The Husband's Message
The Husband's Message Language and Communication 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.
I hear S join together with R
and EA and W and M to declare an oath. (50-51)
These lines personify the runes by saying they declare their oath aloud. Since an oath was a verbal contract between two people, the fiction of their "speech" is necessary to give this one legitimacy. They speak "for" the lord, making us wonder: Is it really possible for writing to speak for a person, to declare a vow in his place? Runes are mysterious; their meaning is often ambiguous. Their presence here reminds us of how all writing is a bit mysterious: yes, it can bridge the distance between two people, but it can also be impossible to interpret.