Eternity In The Elegy The Seafarer English Literature Essay

The lament normally contains a narrative, non excessively frequently a personal 1 that expresses the implied writers woebegone province of head. As a formal poetic convention it is used by poets to capture the temper of unhappiness and sorrow caused by a personal loss or a province of personal businesss that is outside the range of the supporter ‘s influence. This is a slightly simplistic history which understates the nuances of the development of the lament but its briefness is knowing – for the intent of this essay we need to observe that the lament as a poetic signifier is governed by the thought of plaint. The Anglo-Saxon verse form The Seafarer therefore falls handily in such a description of signifier. But it is singular how the verse form initiates its narrative as a conventional lament and it later develops into a theological didacticism. The first-person narration of the mariner keening his life at sea gives manner to a spiritual warning which gives the verse form a feeling of incongruousness and can take one to believe that the 2nd portion could hold been added at ulterior phases. Although, on close reading the links between the mariner ‘s insisting on life ‘s transiency in the first portion and his subsequent accent on infinity in the 2nd can be made obvious and serve to intensify the verse form into a structural and thematic whole.

The first half of The Seafarer ‘s narrative illustrates the supporter as a alone figure brooding more among north-polar animals than among his fellow kinsmen. He emphasizes his solitariness with a apposition between the kingdom of work forces and the 1s of nature:

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At times the swan ‘s vocal I took to myself as pleasance,

The Gannet ‘s noise and the voice of curlew alternatively of the laughter of work forces,

The singing gull alternatively of the imbibing of Mead.

( lines 19b – 22 )

But nature itself is non a pure beginning of comfort as the above lines may propose for she throws snow and hail and air current at his vas and at such times “ no cheerful kinsman can soothe the hapless psyche ” ( ll. 25b – 26 ) . It is an jaunt through a hostile environment which is credited with being close to a peregrination, a journey of physical and religious endurance, as the supporter confesses – a “ way of expatriate ” . It should be noted that it is an knowing 1. We read of him being physically on land but slightly sea-restless, with his ideas and bosom still following the sea, wanting the minute when he would put off to run into the fatherlands of foreign people. “ The fathead warns with a sad voice ” ( line 53 ) but still the mariner is eager to go forth. The thought of the sea journey in the first half of the verse form as peregrination, albeit a spot excessively elusive and merely hinted at, is one of the links that provide continuity and coherency with the apparently incongruent 2nd portion of the lament.

The mariner ‘s narrative develops structurally through an intense use of resistances. His narrative springs back and Forth from ship to land, prolonging the clang between the solitariness of the sea and the joys of the land. With the development of the verse form, the resistance sea-land is given the overtone of a value judgement, surrounding with a disclosure acquired from the wisdom of seafaring. That one who has been distanced from the land is able to recognize the temporariness of his or her life, and the futility of accumulating hoarded wealths. The secular preoccupations of the dwellers on land are equated with futility, purposelessness, devoid of any regulating thought whereas the life at sea is the antipode – the beginning of the semi-spiritual disclosure. The 1 on land

has the joys of life, dwells in the metropolis,

Far from awful journey, proud and wanton with vino.

( lines 27a – 29a )

and he gives small recognition to:

how I, weary, frequently have had to digest in the sea-paths

( lines 29b – 30b )

The apposition between these two verbs is more than stylistical. For it serves to back up the overall resistance between land/sea: the dwellers of land are capable of really populating in an drunk amour propre while the mariner has to bear the problems of his journey.

In a metonymic sequence, the seaman declares himself heedless to the secular businesss:

Not for him [ the mariner ] is the sound of the harp, nor the giving of rings

nor pleasance in adult female, nor worldly glory –

nor anything at all unless the tossing of the moving ridges,

but he ever has yearning, he who strives on the moving ridges.

( lines 44a – 47b )

In my reading, the nisus for the moving ridges is a metaphoric diction of the creed of the pilgrim. The sea is the half-spiritual journey that enlightens one into seeing the transiency of life on Earth. For everything, as the mariner declares, “ ever and constantly aˆ¦ will turn into uncertainness ” and adult male is, every bit much he surround him or herself with worldly goods, “ doomed to decease ” . Earthly prosperity is ephemeral, life itself is merely a short explosion of being and it is ineffectual for one to account for his life with the accretion of material goods.

Up to this minute the lament is a slightly traditional one, in that it present the plaint of a individual character over a troublesome province of personal businesss, in the instance of The Seafarer, a semi-spiritual province of personal businesss. But with a powerful diction of his incredulity of the universe ‘s stableness:

I do non believe that the wealths of the universe will stand everlastingly.

( lines 66b – 67b )

the supporter launches into a spiritual soliloquy in which he expounds his thoughts of how one should populate and move after cognizing of his temporariness. At this textual minute, the verse form noticeably displacements from a heroic lament to a didactic-theological 1. The nucleus that holds together

the verse form is the resistance in the first portion land/sea now evolved into transient/eternal and the feeling of melancholy.

Indeed hotter for me are the joys of the Lord

Than this dead life fliting on the land

( lines 64b – 66a )

What would so give joy and substance to one ‘s life on Earth so that it does simply flit, or drag itself into decease? The mariner passionately states that work, courage, bravery, which finally inflame the power of his celebrity, might take one to a Communion with the glorification of the angels, “ joy with the hosts ” . In a relation analogue, the glorification of life in infinity will come when the glorification of lands one time powerful will put. The 2nd portion of The Seafarer is clearly more symbolically construed and the image of the lands, I suspect, stands for the death in importance of worldly values. So do the implicit heathen mentions in the image of the entombment lined with gold and “ a mass of hoarded wealth ” for all of those are no longer of value in the ageless. Thus the route to infinity is illustrated as lined non with gold but with a balance in one ‘s life, control of his passions, and wisdom in his relationships – all religious, metaphysical classs. The verse form shows how the transiency of life could be counteracted by following a series of semi-commandments ( for all their rhetorical might they are still subjective, expressed through the point of view of the narrator-protagonist ) that would take into a blest province of personal businesss in which

one ‘s life is “ belonging aˆ¦ in the love of the Lord, joy in the celestial spheres ” ( lines 121a – 122b ) . The insecurity of a life on Earth, with all its stuffs transient and person, is transformed through a theological didacticism into a security in the eternal.

The Seafarer is at foremost a sight an inconsistent verse form with two represented parts that are slightly incongruous with each other. But the resistance sea/land which promotes the thought of a lone, melancholy journey evolves into a metaphysical resistance between transitory/eternal

and therefore is one of the thresholds that bind the verse form together. The thought of a pilgrim’s journey in the first portion is consistent with the spiritual overtones of the 2nd and therefore unites both of them into a textual integrity that serves to advance a vision and doctrine of a life in a universe marked by transiency. The relation between the plaint and the obvious didacticism fits slackly within the convention of the lament but verse form is held together by the interplay of recurrent, yet germinating resistances and by the sincere authorization of the supporter himself.

Work cited:

1. The Mariner

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