The Seafarer Man and the Natural World Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
How I have suffered grim sorrow at heart,
have known in the ship many worries [abodes of care],
the terrible tossing of the waves where the anxious night watch
often took me at the ship's prow,
when it tossed near the cliffs. […] (4-8)
The ocean on which the speaker travels is a dangerous place. Those tossing waves don't just throw the ship out of control – they do it "near the cliffs," where there's a danger of running aground and springing a boat-sinking leak. Right away, at the beginning of the poem, the natural world is a dicey, frightening place.
[…] Fettered by cold
were my feet, bound by frost
in cold clasps. […] (8-10)
The cold and frost totally mean business. They've got our speaker shackled, which is an interesting contrast with his description of himself as a traveler in constant motion. He may be physically in motion, but he feels trapped by his environment.
[…] I, wretched and sorrowful, on the ice-cold sea
dwelt for a winter in the paths of exile,
bereft of friendly kinsmen, hung about with icicles;
hail flew in showers. […] (12-17)
This passage links together a lot of important themes of the poem: exile, sadness, loneliness, and, of course, extreme winter weather. Being in exile is no cakewalk. In fact, it seems like the most miserable place ever: bad weather, no friends, and icicles.