The Wanderer Wisdom and Knowledge Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line).
When he with wise mind this wall-stone
and this dark life deeply thinks through,
the wise one in mind oft remembers afar
many a carnage, and this word he speaks.
The words the wise man goes on to speak are a long ubi sunt, or "Where are they?" lament mourning the loss of life's joys. This lament emphasizes the transience of life – how everything passes away in time. The crumbling building, experience of life, and memories of slaughter lead the wise man to this certainty of transience.
So said the wise one in mind, at secret conclaves sat him apart.
Good, he who keeps faith, nor too quickly his grief
from his breast makes known, except he, noble, knows beforehand
to do cure with courage. Well will it be
to him who seeks favor, refuge, and comfort
from the Father in heaven, where all fastness stands.
"So said the wise one in mind" could refer both to the previous lines (in which the speaker reflects on the fleetingness of happiness and human relationships) and to the ones that follow. These last lines repeat the proverbial wisdom we've already seen multiple times, about how it's good for a person to keep grief contained within himself, rather than express it. This time, however, the speaker gives an exception: if the grief-stricken one knows how to "cure" his grief, it's OK for him to talk about it. The last lines suggest that the "cure" for this grief might be the Father in heaven who, in his "fastness" (stability) contrasts with the transience that has caused everyone in the poem so much grief.