The Wonderer 10th Century

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Often the solitary one finds grace for himself the mercy of the Lord. Although he, sorry-hearted, must for a long time move by hand (in row) along the waterways, along the ice-cold sea, tread the paths of exile. Events always go as they must! So spoke the wanderer, mindful of hardships, of fierce slaughters and the downfall of kinsmen (comrades): Often I had alone to speak of my trouble each morning before dawn. There is none now living to whom I dare clearly speak of my innermost thoughts. I know it truly, that it is in men a noble custom, that one should keep secure his spirit-chest (mind), guard his treasure-chamber (thoughts), think as he wishes. The weary spirit cannot withstand fate (the turn of events), nor does a rough or sorrowful mind do any good. Thus those eager for glory often keep secure dreary thoughts in their breast; So I, often wretched and sorrowful, bereft of my homeland, far from noble kinsmen, have had to bind in fetters my inmost thoughts. Since long years ago I hid my lord in the darkness of the earth, and I, wretched, from there travelled most sorrowfully over the frozen waves, sought, sad at the lack of a hall, a giver of treasure, where I, far or near, might find one in the meadhall who knew my people, or wished to console the friendless one, me, entertain (me) with delights. He who has tried it knows how cruel is sorrow as a companion to the one who has few beloved friends: the path of exile (wræclast) holds him not at all twisted gold, a frozen spirit, not the bounty of the earth He remembers hall-warriors and the giving of treasure How in youth his lord (gold-friend) accustomed him to the feasting. All the joy has died!

And so he knows it, he who must forgo for a long time the counsels of his beloved lord: Then sorrow and sleep both together often tie up the wretched solitary one he thinks in his mind that he embraces and kisses his lord, and on his (the lord’s) knees lays his hands and his head, Just as, at times (hwilum),...
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