The Wanderer

An  Anonomous Tenth Century Soliliquy


'Often the solitary man enjoys

The grace and mercy of the Lord,

though he Careworn has long been forced to stir by hand

The ice-cold sea on many waterways,

Travel the exile's path; fate is relentless.'

So spoke a wanderer who called to mind

 Hardships and cruel wars and deaths of lords.

 Frequently have I had to mourn alone

My cares each morning;

now no living man Exists to whom I dare reveal my heart Openly;

and I know it for a truth

That in a man it is a noble virtue

To hide his thoughts, lock up his private feelings,

However he may feel. A weary heart

Cannot oppose inexorable fate,

And anxious thoughts can bring no remedy.

 And so those jealous of their reputation

Often bind fast their sadness in their breasts.

 So I, careworn, deprived of fatherland,

Far from my noble kin, have often had

To tie in fetters my own troubled spirit,

Since long ago I wrapped my lord's remains

In darkness of the earth, and sadly thence

 Journeyed by winter over icy waves


… or in a languge 2 ceturies befre Chaucer


'Oft him anhaga are gebides,                                                      

Metudes miltse, peah pe he modcearig

geond lagulade longe sceolde

hreran mid hondum hrimcealde sae,

wadan wrmclastas; wyrd bib ful arced.'

Swa cwaeb eardstapa earfeba gemyndig,

wrapra waelsleahta, winemaega hryre.

Oft is sceolde ana uhtna gehwylce

mine ceare cwipan. Nis nu cwicra nan

pe is him modsefan minne durre

sweotule asecgan.

Ic to sope wat peet bip in eorle indryhten

peaw peet he his ferolocan fmste binde,

 healde his hordcofan, hycge swa he wille.

 Ne maeg werigmod wyrde wisstondan,

  ne se hreo hyge helpe gefremman.

  For bon domgeorne dreorigne oft

  in hyra breostcofan bindao fmste.

 Swa is modsefan minne sceolde,

 oft earmcearig, Vle bidaeled,

 freomagum feor, feterum sielan,

sippan geara id goldwine minne

hrusan heolstre biwrah and is hean ponan

wod wintercearig ofer wapema gebind,