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The Seafarer

The Seafarer

by Anonymous

Man and the Natural World Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

[…] There I heard nothing
but the roaring sea,          the ice-cold wave.
At times the swan's song          I took to myself as pleasure,
the gannet's noise          and the voice of the curlew
instead of the laughter of men,          the singing gull
instead of the drinking of mead. […]
(17-22)

The speaker's focus on these birds shows just how desperate he is for companionship. Even though those birdsongs are a poor substitute for the laughter of men, he's willing to listen because that's pretty much all there is to hear.

Quote #5

[…] Storms there beat the stony cliffs,
Where the tern spoke,          icy-feathered;
always the eagle cried at it,          dewy-feathered;
(22-24)

These bird cries aren't the wistful sounds they were in lines 17-22. Now they indicate the struggle for life of both tern and eagle as the eagle seeks to make a meal of the smaller bird.

Quote #6

The shadows of night darkened,          it snowed from the north,
frost bound the ground,          hail fell on the earth,
coldest of grains. […]
         (31-33)

It's getting downright nasty out there. This description of worsening winter weather occurs just before the speaker launches into a description about how he feels troubled. So maybe, just maybe, the arrival of the storm signals the arrival of another storm inside our speaker. The weather acts as a barometer of what he's feeling.

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