The Wanderer (Old English Poem) | Summary, Themes, Structure, Literary Devices and Analysis

The Wanderer Poem: The Wanderer is an Old English sonnet safeguarded uniquely in a compilation known as the Exeter Book, a composition dating from the late tenth century. It checks 115 lines of the alliterative section. As is frequently the situation in Anglo-Saxon verse, the author and compiler are mysterious, and inside the manuscript, the sonnet is untitled.

Students can also check the English Summary to revise with them during exam preparation.

Here are the first four lines of the poem in the Old English language

“Oft him anhaga are gebideð,

metudes miltse, þeah þe he modcearig

geond lagulade longe sceolde

hreran mid hondum hrimcealde sæ,

There are scarce words in these four lines that a modern English speaker would understand within these lines. Because of these sonnets’ interpretation troubles and partially because of some confounding entries, frequently Old English/Anglo-Saxon verse has various capture attempts. This surely remains constant between the various interpretations. Siân Echard finished the interpretation utilized in this analysis.

Summary of the Poem The Wanderer

The Wanderer gets back to his own example. His caring ruler kicked the old age, and therefore, the Wanderer has been ousted from his country. He ventured out from home with the chilliness of winter in his heart and cruised the harsh waves looking for another ruler. He was forsaken, longing for the solaces and delights of another mead-corridor, yet discovered none.

The Wanderer relates his story to his readers, asserting that the individuals who have encountered outcast will see how unfeeling depression can feel. The Wanderer is cold, recalling the fantastic lobbies where he celebrated, the fortune he was given, and the thoughtfulness of his master.

These delights have now vanished. He asserts that any man who quits getting his ruler’s insight will be loaded up with a comparative misery. In any event, when he rests, this masterless man longs for more joyful days when he could lay his hands and head upon his ruler’s knees.

At the point when he stirs, the desolate man will be compelled to confront his forlorn reality, encircled by the dull waves, ice, and snow. The rich bliss of a man’s fantasies makes his isolation considerably more hopeless. He will envision his family’s essence and welcome them blissfully with melody; however, oh well, the recollections are transient. A sailor’s soul goes through these episodes of distress each time he gets alone, making his general distress more intense.

The Wanderer, at that point, proceeds to examine how masters are habitually constrained out of their lobbies and away from their realms. He addresses why he feels so troubled when the afflictions rulers face are typically considerably more extreme.

He, at that point, understands that the world is continually fluctuating, and a man’s educational encounters, acceptable and awful, are at last what makes him shrewd. The Wanderer records the exercises that he has realized; that an astute man should not be hurried in the discourse, rash or whimsical in the fight, and he should not be anxious, voracious, or bombastic.

A shrewd man should not flaunt until he is free of uncertainty. An astute man should acknowledge that wealth blur, structures fall, rulers kick the bucket, and their adherents bite the dust or scatter. The Wanderer offers a couple of instances of the last mentioned, referring to men who passed on in the fight, men who suffocated, limited what whose identity was carted away by a bird and another who a wolf slaughtered.

The Wanderer currently grows his ruminations towards the powerful. He says that God has made the word erratic and that difficulties can happen to anybody. Things can go from awful to great in a second. The Wanderer estimates that the Creator of Men, who made human civilization and struggle, is likewise shrewd. Indeed, even He has recollections of fights, recalling that one certain pony or man. Like the Wanderer, he should also mourn the deficiency of fortune, merriments, and great pioneers. The Wanderer mulls over how every one of these things vanishes on schedule, abandoning only dimness.

The Wanderer’s previous realm spoils behind a divider shrouded in the bodies of snakes. There could be not, at that moment any music, or incredible weaponry. Winter brings fierce blizzards and longer dusk, leaving men scared and defenceless. Notwithstanding, the Wanderer closes; life is troublesome on occasion. Everything is liable to destiny.

Abundance blurs, companions leave, and realms fall. The Wanderer presently credits these words to a shrewd man, or a savvy, in contemplation. He depicts this man as consistent in his confidence and, when something awful occurs, he doesn’t freeze, yet rather stays quiet until he can sort out an answer. All in all, the Wanderer encourages all men to seek God for comfort since He is the person who is liable for the destiny of humanity.

The Wanderer themes

The Wanderer Poem Themes

The unknown writer of ‘The Wanderer’ engages with themes of suffering, loneliness, and religion in the text. These themes are quite frequent within the best-known Anglo-Saxon verse. The speaker in this piece is well acquitted with sorrow and describes a “wanderer” experience. This individual is discrete from their” lord”, the person around whom they structured their life.

Now, they’re haphazardly seeking out a new “lord” while mourning the old and all the warm memories along with that time. Moreover, the speaker further emphasizes the Wanderer’s isolation by describing the other losses he again. In the end, the speaker brings out the poem to a quick inference telling the reader that the only answer for this sorrow is to turn one’s mind and heart to God.

The Wanderer Poem – Man and the Natural World

Even in winter, sentenced to go over the untamed sea, denied the asylum of a perpetual home, the outcast in “The Wanderer” is helpless before the components. Pictures of winter climate accentuate the differentiation between the outcast’s prior life (in the warm and cordial mead-corridor) and the one he currently endures.

Before the sonnet’s finish, the colder time of year, storms have become malicious powers that “attack” individuals and structures. This portrayal, joined with the sonnet’s utilization of the customary Old English “beasts of battle” theme, in which rummaging creatures devour the losses of war, makes the common world into a dangerous power equipped for annihilating man and his manifestations.

Man is frail before it, sort of like he’s feeble before destiny. Truth be told, the regular world in “The Wanderer” could nearly be a substitute for destiny, an all-encompassing illustration of how it works in individuals’ lives.

The Wanderer Poem Pity

The speaker in “The Wanderer” is totally hopeless because he has lost his friends and family and his master (the nearby ruler that he was faithful to) and should now meander over the sea a long way from home. The present circumstance implies that to compound an already painful situation; he doesn’t have anybody to share his distress.

He’s not persuaded, notwithstanding, that talking about misery is a smart thought, and he regularly recommends that an astute man will keep his musings secured away his brain or heart. He portrays pity as an injury to his heart. It’s an injury that can never recuperate as each time he recalls what he has lost, the injury returns.

The Wanderer Outcast

“The Wanderer” depicts in extraordinary detail the considerations and feelings of an individual compelled to go a long way from his country alone. Having lost his family and ruler in war, the speaker currently goes all over looking for another master, the lone individual who can give the safe house, insurance, and money-related help he needs to endure.

The outcast’s pity is considerably more terrible because he has nobody to share it, being absolutely alone. The speaker’s language to depict banish itself, alluding to it as the “paths of exile” and “exile-tracks,” passes on the thought of the outcast as a grounded way that numerous others before him have tracked. The outcast’s experience – of having and afterward losing life’s delights – improves him fit than most to comprehend the brevity, or short life, of the entirety of creation.

The Wanderer Poem Structure and Form

‘The Wanderer’ is an Old English sonnet that is written in 153 lines. This deciphered adaptation is in current English and arrives at 116 lines. Similar to the case with by far most Anglo-Saxon verses, these lines are alliterative, implying that cadence depends on the reiteration of consonant sounds toward the start of words.

There is no rhyme, conspire, or metrical example perceivable in the interpretation. In this specific form, the interpreter has endeavoured to keep the refrains a similar length. Most of them are four-five lines in length.

The Wanderer Poem Literary Devices

The unknown writer of ‘The Wanderer’ utilizes a few fascinating literary gadgets that are as yet perceivable regardless of the huge contrasts between Old English and present-day English. These incorporate yet are not restricted to alliteration, enjambment, and caesura.

Caesural stops were a significant piece of Anglo-Saxon verse. Regularly, the lines were halted halfway through and got later on. For instance, the 10th line of the sonnet peruses: “Bewail my distress; there is presently none living.” The first form is “mine ceare cwiþan. Nis nu cwicra nan.”

Enjambment is another significant conventional gadget, one that is worried about the way that lines change. On the off chance that a line is cut off before the characteristic finish of the sentence or expression, it is likely enjambed—for instance, the progress between lines three and four, just as lines seven and eight.

Summary of The Wanderer

The Wanderer Poem Analysis

Lines One to Nine

“Often the solitary one experiences mercy for himself,


Bewail my sorrow; there is now none living.

Within this initial four lines of ‘The Wanderer,’ the speaker acquaints the reader with a single man, here and there called a “lone-dweller” or, for this situation, a “solitary one.” This man expects leniency from God and great courtesy, regardless of his destiny. That is, to meander the “sea” or the “rime-cold sea.”

In certain renditions of the sonnet, the accompanying lines allude to somebody known as the “earth-stepper,” in this form, the interpreter picked “wanderer.” This is either a similar individual as in the main refrain or somebody comparable. He’s similarly, however, alone as the primary speaker seems to be in any case.

The drifter is set out toward a discourse; above all, the speaker tells the reader that the vagabond is contemplating the difficulties he’s needed to endure. These incorporate the deaths of “dear kinsmen.” The eighth line of the sonnet gets the principal lines of the discourse, remembered for quotes.

Lines Ten to Twenty three

“To whom I dare tell clearly my inmost thoughts.


proceeded thence, winter-sad, over the binding of the waves.”

In these lines, the speaker notifies the reader that these days since he’s totally alone, there is nobody to whom he can “tell obviously [his] deepest musings.” His family members are dead, and one of the results of this is that he’s altogether alone. He would not like to uncover his considerations to simply anybody; they’re close to home to him. This is a topic regular to Old English verse, as is isolation.

The accompanying lines express that communicating distress helps nobody. The “troubled mind” doesn’t “offer help.” So, he adds, he needed to “bind” his considerations with “fetters,” or chains, since he was a long way from his country.

He’s genuinely, intellectually, and sincerely alone. He adds that his “gold-friend,” here and there interpreted as “lord,” passed on in the following refrain, and now he’s searching out another. Without a “lord,” the Anglo-Saxon champion had no wellspring of assurance or pay. Likewise, readers ought to observe the utilization of representation in these lines when the speaker says that the “darkness of the earth/covered my gold-friend.”

Lines twenty-four to thirty-three

“Sad, I sought the hall of a giver of treasure,


He remembers retainers and the receiving of treasure.

Within the following lines, the speaker depicts how he searched out “a giver of treasure,” or another master, wherever he went. He thought there might be somebody who “may wish” to comfort him and cure his forlornness. He realizes that on the off chance that he can’t track down another circumstance for himself that he will wind up on a “path of exile” where there’s no “twisted gold” yet “frozen feelings” and no wonder.

Lines thirty-four to forty-three

“How in youth his gold-friend


In former days, enjoyed the gift-giving.

In the following entry, the speaker differentiates the everyday routine he used to experience with what he’s encountering now. He once woke to satisfaction and happiness, however now he’s a “wretched solitary man.” He’d prefer to get back to the existence he had and dreams of what it would resemble.

Lines forty-four to fifty-three

“Then the friendless man wakes again,


The spirit of the floating ones never brings there many.

Tragically, the speaker portrays the “friendless man” waking from this cheerful dream. None of it was genuine. He’s as yet on the ocean with the “dusky waves” before him. The symbolism in these lines is not quite the same as that which has filled the past lines.

There is a more prominent spotlight on nature and how it encompasses the vagabond. The seabirds have the opportunity to take off that the drifter doesn’t. The drifter is continually helped to remember his circumstance when he begins to breathe easily because of what’s around him.

The Wanderer portrays his friends as “swim[ming] away again.” This is an inventive and smart method of getting the seascape around the vagabond and consolidating it with his contemplations.

Lines fifty-four to sixty-eight

“Familiar utterances. Care is renewed


Nor ever too eager for boasting before he knows for certain.”

Proceeding onward, the speaker says that the dreams he’s had of his lost family didn’t present to him the delight that he would’ve enjoyed. They carry no alleviation to his outcast. Truth be told, he says, they compound the situation for him. When he drives his spirits over the “binding waves” back to the corridor, his psyche develops dull. He ponders the existences of “men” and how they “suddenly left the hall floor,/brave young retainers.”

The accompanying lines get a thought that the speaker referenced beforehand, that somebody who encounters distress and misfortune as the vagabond has knows things that others don’t. A man, the speaker says, isn’t shrewd until he claims “a share of winters in the kingdom of this world.” This is one more illustration of “cold” as an image of this present speaker’s condition. It may likewise be associated with age, or years/winters, that have passed. The older have comparative information to those that have been ousted.

The speaker proposes that the “middle-earth” world will fall flat as humanity comes up short.

Lines sixty-nine – eighty-eight

“A man must wait, when he speaks a boast,


And this dark life with wise thought,

The following ones get a portion of the information that drifters and the old regularly have that others don’t. Men must be patient and smart, not very snappy to talk, or too anxious even to consider bragging over one’s achievements. The accompanying lines help the peruser to remember something different the vagabond has discovered that presence isn’t perpetual: life, human creation, and recollections breakdown.

This is how God has “laid waste” to the locale. The old structures he’s been so keen on in the past lines are presently pointless. “old giants crafted them.” Even extraordinary, huge manifestations still in the end fizzle. By this point, the speaker’s completely inundated in a dull vision of the world. “This wall-stead” is another place of thought. They address the more extensive misfortunes the world endures.

Lines eighty-nine to ninety-three

“Old in spirit, often remembers long ago,


Alas the bright cup! Alas the mailed warrior!

In these lines, the speaker advances. He depicts what he’s gained from his different thoughts. His words are passionate and tedious as he ponders over the deficiency of things that have vanished over the long run. The speaker is focused on the things one may find in an extraordinary lobby, like that of his perished ruler.

Line ninety-four to one hundred eight

“Alas the glory of the prince! How the time has gone,


Here man is transitory, here woman is transitory,”

The barrier against which troopers have fallen is “wondrously high” and covers in portrayals of snakes. The territory has been annihilated and pillaged, as have the champions from their lives. The speakers were eager for the butcher, and their destiny was set.

The speaker discusses the breeze’s consequences for the divider; on the whole, he depicts it as “rough slopes,” recommending that the divider is a piece of nature, maybe much more than it is a piece of humanity’s creation. Murkiness falls, and the “kingdom of earth is full of trouble.” There is a represented blizzard assault that incorporates a hailstorm and obliterates the divider.

Lines one hundred nine to one hundred sixteen

“This whole foundation of the earth becomes empty.


Comforts from the Father in the heavens, where a fastnessStands for us all.

The sonnet arrives at its decision as the speaker considers what his expanded sight educates him. As it appears glaringly evident by this point, the speaker arrives to resolve that life is convoluted, hard, and eventually discouraging and forlorn. Destiny, he chooses, oversees everything and everybody.

This was a thought that surfaced from the get-go in the sonnet and to which he’s returned, a typical practice in this long sonnet. There is something of a difference between “fate” and the “Creator” that he likewise invested energy discussing. One recommends irregularity, while the other proposes aim. Everybody, he adds, has a place with God, and to God will return.

Eventually, as a remedy for all the distress that he’s accomplished and that everybody around him has (just as the figurative other “wanderers” on the planet), he recommends God. God is the place where “all fastness/stands for us all.” The unexpected consummation is a strong end to this winding sonnet.

Similar Poetry’s of The Wanderer Poem

Readers who delighted in ‘The Wanderer’ ought to likewise think about perusing some other notable Anglo-Saxon sonnets. For instance, ‘The Seafarer,’ ‘The Wife’s Lament,’ and ‘Beowulf.’ The last is the most popular Anglo-Saxon Old English sonnet. It recounts the narrative of the legend Beowulf who kills the beast Grendel and its mom.

‘The Wife’s Lament is told from a miserable lady’s viewpoint as she grieves the deficiency of her “lord” and her position on the planet. Her depression is impactful and agonizing. ‘The Seafarer’ is another piece that centres around dejection and isolation.

What is the main idea of the poem The Wanderer?

The Wanderer Poem Themes

The unknown writer of ‘The Wanderer’ engages with themes of suffering, loneliness, and religion in the text. These themes are quite frequent within the best-known Anglo-Saxon verse. The speaker in this piece is well acquitted with sorrow and describes a “wanderer” experience.

What does The Wanderer symbolize?

First, it represents the literal physical walls the Wanderer comes upon during his travels upon the sea. Second, the wall is a figurative concept that symbolizes the mental walls the Wanderer must scale in order to find security.

Is The Wanderer an epic poem?

Wanderer. Genre: epic song, sometimes described as an “elegy” or lament for things and/or persons lost to death.

Is The Wanderer about God?

The heroic traditions of The Wanderer were based on Fate and God. He was believed that they controlled people’s lives and could “put men into positions where it seems impossible for them to emerge with honor”.

What happened to the wanderer?

The poem begins with the Wanderer asking the Lord for understanding and compassion during his exile at sea. His kind lord died of old age and as a result, the Wanderer has been exiled from his country. He left home with the coldness of winter in his heart and sailed the rough waves in search of a new lord.