The Seafarer Suffering Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
[…] Indeed he credits it little
the one who has the joys of life, dwells in the city,
far from terrible journey, proud and wanton with wine,
how I, weary, often have had to endure
in the sea-paths. […] (26-30)
Life in the city is just about as far as possible from the life of a "terrible journey." For one thing, the city-dweller possesses material comforts like wine. For another, there are people around – not just seabirds.
[…] This the man does not know,
the warrior lucky in worldly things what some endure then,
those who tread most widely the paths of exile. (53-57)
There's that word again: "endure." It's no longer a completely bad thing here, though, since it provides our subject with special knowledge that a lucky warrior cannot possibly have. It seems that suffering may have a purpose after all.
All that old guard is gone and the revels are over—
the weaker ones now dwell and hold the world,
enjoy it through their sweat. […] (86-88)
One of the consequences of the Fall of Man, according to the Hebrew Bible, was that the earth no longer yielded its fruit freely. As punishment for his disobedience, man had to work hard for his daily bread. This is what our speaker is referring to here when he says that the "weaker ones" must enjoy the world "through their sweat." This reference to the Fall reminds us of another of its consequences: that women will bear children in pain and suffering.