On The Wanderer and Wife’s Lament

I must say, I can not think of a more fitting elegy to be read alongside mine as The Wanderer. I have not been made acquainted with this “wanderer” but he seems a noble, if somewhat melancholy, fellow. I do so appreciate a traditional, godly sort of man in light of these rapidly changing times. He demonstrates a clear mastery of our humble English tongue, so much so that the depth of his sorrow pierces my very soul. Yet he also offers words of wisdom to console we dreary wanderers cursed to roam about the Earth waiting for Heaven beyond. He states that, “A wise man must be patient, neither too hot-hearted nor too hasty with words, nor too weak in war nor too unwise in thoughts, neither fretting nor fawning nor greedy for wealth, never eager for boasting before he truly understands” (42). He is indeed right that a true man should aspire to encompass all of these qualities and have an ultimate goal of wisdom rather than a more narrow goal of pure brawn or pure intellect. If one can not tell the difference between strength, intelligence, and wisdom, than he must certainly begin his journey there.

As for my lament, seeing the care with which it has been translated is truly moving to me and the thought of my small tale being read by so many over the years near brings me to tears. How fitting it is that the sorrow my lord brought me has been usurped by my joy at knowing so many have found solace in my song. Though this translation is lovingly done, it does allow for some confusion, or at the least interpretation, particularly in the second and third stanzas. Though to me this tale shall ever be painfully branded in my memory with every excruciating detail, me thinks an outsider may have difficulty understanding the chain of events. It seems a tad unclear whether my love wanted to leave me, if his kinsman pushed him to it, or if he wanted to leave the land out of a sense of duty but still longs for me across the sea, as I pine for him. Still, the passage on my time beneath that accursed Oak, rings bitterly true. I may always wish torment on my long lost love, but to the readers of my life’s journey, I wish only that you may never feel the pain of a broken heart. May your elegies not be such as mine, but if you must lament, then may you experience the joy of knowing that your story has weathered the waves of time and found home once more among a stranger’s breast. Praise unto you and God go with you all!

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4 thoughts on “On The Wanderer and Wife’s Lament

  1. I know not how I have come to this chamber, but it be by enchantment.

    I am Sir Launcelot De Luc, King Ban’s Son of Benwick and knight of the round Table.

    I have also spoken with this Wanderer. Your tales both remind us that beyond the reach of Camelot our island can be a cold place. They also prove that grief at being separated from one’s kinsmen is not a sorrow unique to man or lady.

    Your tale bears the signs that you have been victim of some great treachery. Pray tell me more and I may aid you.

  2. “Then I found my most fitting man was unfortunate, filled with grief, concealing his mind, ploting murder with a smiling face.”

    I gladly wager my life in defense of my noble kinsfolk. Nothing could wound me more deeply than learning that one of them, or even worse my love, was some breed of vile serpent unworthy of my devotion.

  3. Both your lament, Lady and that of this mysterious wanderer serve to strike a chord within myself. When I, upon the risk of both my own honor and that of Arthur, my King, set out in search of the Green Knight, I experienced truly lonesome times. O, how I longed to be back in Camelot surrounded by familiar faces! My wanderings, dare I say it, were nearly enough to drive me to madness for each day the coldness and solitude of my existence stood in such stark contrast to the warmth and companionship of Arthur’s hall. Most nights, I nearly froze, sleeping in my armor, my bed “among the bare rocks” (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 730). It was simply my horse Gringolet and I, and though he is a fine animal he is but a poor substitute for human companionship. My quest was a dangerous one, and as such I was filled with a terrible foreboding that I should be killed far from home, never to return to Camelot in this life, and without a friend in sight. I find these sentiments echoed in your own words, as you say, you had “few loved ones or loyal friends/ in this country, which causes me grief” (The Wife’s Lament 16-17). Thus, Lady, though the circumstances of our exiles seem terribly different, I feel that I may take the liberty to assume that I can sympathize with your plight, as well as that of this mysterious wanderer, at least to a point. His words that “He who has come to know/ how cruel a companion is sorrow/ for one with few dear friends will understand: the path of exile claims him” (The Wanderer 29-32). I pray that you do not find this comparison to be a presumptuous one. Though I can sympathize with your sorrows, however, I make no claim that my own are equal to your own. Ultimately, my own absence from my home is as a result of my occupation, but yours seems to be most unjust. It is a terrible fate to be alone and so far from the comforts of one’s home, and it breeds its own unique sort of despair. Though it may not be much, Lady, please accept my condolences regarding this trial you have been put through. I deeply regret that anyone be forced to endure such misery.
    Should you require it, I am at your service.
    Kindest regards.
    Sir Gawain

  4. Wanderer,
    I am pleased to read this reflection of yourself and your journey within the confines of this virtual communication space. I agree strongly with your words describing yourself and the type of person you hope to be during your time here. Nobility, traditionaityl, and Godly are all strong qualities for a person to have in these medieval times. Your lament may have been sorrowful and solemn, but filled with insightful words that have been passed from generation to generation. I am glad to find that this brings you happiness and satisfaction to know that your tale has had lasting strength and has touched so many souls. You concluded your address to this virtual communication in a most noble and Godly manner, natural to your character, wishing nothing but kind things for those who read your words. I look forward to communicating more with you and learning more about your tale and lifetime!

    Yours truly,
    Lanval

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