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The Wanderer

The Wanderer

by Anonymous

Sadness Quotes Page 1

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Often the lone-dweller waits for favor,
mercy of the Measurer, though he unhappy
across the seaways long time must
stir with his hands the rime-cold sea.
(1-4)

There were lots of reasons an Anglo-Saxon warrior might need to travel across the sea. But this traveler is none to happy about being on the water, letting us know that he's probably not out for a pleasure cruise. There's a good chance that he might have been forced to travel over the sea for reasons beyond his control.

Quote #2

Oft must I, alone, the hour before dawn
lament my care.
(8-9)

Old English poetry often talks about the "dawn-song," the wailing or lament in the hours just before sunrise during which characters mourn the bad things that have happened to them or their relatives, most often death in battle. By saying that he, too, laments his cares (concerns, or worries) in the hour before dawn, the speaker makes his lament part of that tradition. He also subtly signals that his cares are probably related to the deaths of loved ones.

Quote #3

Therefore glory-seekers, oft bind fast
in breast-chamber a dreary mind.
So must I my heart –
often wretched with cares, deprived of homeland,
far from kin – fasten with fetters.
(17-21)

The speaker upholds the necessity of keeping sad thoughts to oneself. He tells us that he's sad by saying that his heart is "wretched with cares" instead of just saying that he is. This reflects a separation between himself and his feelings. The idea of the thoughts or feelings as beyond the speaker's control will recur again when he talks about memory as sending one's mind away from oneself.

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