Early bookmans of Anglo-Saxon literature believed that “The Seafarer” represented an early heathen verse form that had been adapted for Christian audiences by the interpolation of pious expressions throughout and a moral at the terminal ; consequently. these bookmans expended considerable inventiveness in trying to strike the Christian elements to detect the “real poem” concealed beneath these composite sheathings.
Pound’s celebrated interlingual rendition. in line with this accent. consistently removes or downplays many explicitly Christian elements of the verse form and Michigans before the overtly homiletic decision. which features some twelve direct mentions to God and the celestial spheres in the last 25 lines. Now. nevertheless. critics seem by and large to hold that the two halves of the verse form are unified by a motion from earthly pandemonium to heavenly order and that its coherent thematic push is the Christian message that the hereafter is more of import than life on Earth.
The verse form is often discussed in concurrence with “The Wanderer. ” another Exeter Book verse form that portions many subjects and motives with “The Seafarer. ” including the construction in which a specific intervention of biographical topic matter—the predicament of a roamer or Seafarer—is followed by a more general homiletic subdivision that draws a spiritual significance from the earlier stuff.
The crewman. as a adult male required travelling over a hostile and unsafe environment. had ever seemed to Christian poets to be a of course disposed image of the believer’s life on Earth. which should be viewed as a risky journey to the true fatherland of Heaven instead than as a finish to be valued in itself. In this verse form. the talker seems to be a spiritual adult male ( or reformed evildoer ) who has chosen the seafaring life as much for its efficaciousness as a agency of religious subject as for any commercial addition to be derived from it.
The original resistance in the verse form between landlubbers and Seafarers gives manner to the penetration that all work forces are. or ought to believe of themselves as. Seafarers. in the sense that they are all expatriates from their true place in Heaven. As lines 31-32 ( antecedently quoted ) set up. the land can be merely as cold and prohibiting as the sea. and the virtuous. at least. should trust that they will be sojourning in this rough universe for merely a brief clip.
True Christian “Seafarers” must psychologically distance themselves from secular life. as the Seafarer of this verse form has done both literally and figuratively. The poet appears to encapsulate his subject at the polar center of the verse form: “therefore the joys of the Lord seem heater to me than this dead life. fliting on land. ” This recommended ascetic backdown from secular involvements should enable the Christian to properly reject the amenitiess of life on the land as transient and seek spiritual instead than physical amenitiess.