Old English Lyrical Poetry

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  • Topic: Poetry, Exeter Book, Lament
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  • Published : June 30, 2011
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* It is preserved in the Exeter Book.
* 'Widsith' means 'the far goer'.
* It is a poem of 143 lines, divided into three parts-
a) A Prologue- first 9 lines.
b) A speech by Widsith- Next 125 lines.
c) En Epilogue- last- 9(nine) lines.
* It is the autobiography of an itinerant minstrel who recounts the story of his long travels through the Germanic World. * During his tour he visited different tribal chiefs, lords, kings and princes and received rich presents. Some of them are well-known to History as- Eormenric, king of the Goths; Attila, king of the Huns; Albion-king of the Lombard, Theodrick, king of Franks and even the reference of Hrothgar and Hrothwulf. * It is a valuable piece of social and historical documents of primitive life. * To David Daiches- "What strikes us most forcibly is its catholicity; praise is meted out impartially to Huns, Goths, Burgandians,Franks, Danes, Sweedes, Anglos, Wends, Saxons and many others". * To S.Brook- "Widsith is our Ulysses".

The Wonderer:-
* It is an elegy of 115 lines by an unknown Anglo-Saxon Poet. * It is the lamentation of a young-man for his dead master. The Wonderer travels in a ship, alone and friendless, seeking a home for peace and protection under a new lord .In the sleep he dreams the happiness of his former days but after awakening he finds nothing but grey waves and falling snow which adds to his distress. Finally he draws the conclusion that miseries are the common lot of man. * The poem ends with a conventional Christian sentiment that good is the man who never loses his faith on God. * The poem is purely personal but attains the universality by virtue of its presentation.

The Seafarer:-
* It is a poem of some hundred lines.
* It is difficult to surmise wheather the poem is a monologue of a seaman or a dialogue between two sailors-one old and another young. * It seems to be in two distinct parts....
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