| Quote #1
Often the lone-dweller waits for favor,
The lone-dweller's situation – having to cross the "seaways" – is portrayed here as the kind of thing that would cause him to doubt the favor and mercy of God. He hopes for these things even though his present situation on the open ocean gives him a reason to doubt.
| Quote #2
[...] Long ago earth covered
Instead of just saying that his lord was buried, the speaker says that "earth" (dirt), covered him in darkness. This personification of the dirt makes it into a somewhat ominous force, since it becomes the agent of death here.
| Quote #3
When the friendless man awakens again,
The friendless man here has just dreamed that he's back in the warm mead-hall among his friends. The waves, birds, and wintry weather contrast sharply with that dream. They become the antithesis of everything that's good in life. The "spreading wings" of the birds emphasize their freedom, possibly even joy, which contrasts with the way the exile feels.