Some Swedish Seafarer words: anflygare, efter, grus, holme, hg, må, ovrn, skura, sköte, stten, srja, valväg (valplats), varþer, vng.
Some linked Anglish words: anfloga, eft, hrusan, holma, hyge, mg, unwearnum, scur, sceata, sias, sorge, wl weg, hreer, wongas


Why is Edward III, perhaps masquerading here as King Arthur, wearing an Anglian shirt ?

Space-Time at Sea

The New Scientist periodical, 6 July 2019, contained an interesting article, which was entitled either "How Our Minds Create Time" or "The Time Delusion". The excerpt above, contaning the phrases "being dragged along by a current", and "a navigational map in the brain", led me to suspect that it could perhaps contribute some further insight into the inexhaustible depths of The Seafarer. I was naturally also grateful to it for sorting out the connection between the lateral entorhinal cortex and the medial entorhinal cortex, as well as the manner in which signals are sent to the neighbouring hippocampus. Thank goodness that was cleared up !

There is a mystery here, however. The Space-Time article, which quotes Lucretius, ends with the words: "... how there can be anything but subjective reality ... physicists will have to grapple with the fact that quantum systems don't seem to become definite objects until they are observed." Is there a link here with a previous web-page ? On qantumization ? Consideration should perhaps also be given to an earlier article in New Scientist, 2 November, 2013, Does Now Exist ?, which points out that the universe doesn't need time, but we do. Or is all this nothing but a red herring, with nothing whatsoever to do with The Seafarer ? Prompt answers, please, on a postcard.

Having spent roughly six months of my life on a small boat, sailing from Florida to New York, Brattahlid to Iceland, Faeroes to Shetland, Spitzbergen to North Cape, Stockholm to Helsinki; and recalling how I kept the night-watch under the stars as my keel cut through the waves, it was easy to sense that time was merging with space.

Unlike the Anglian seafarer, on those voyages I was a member of a small crew of three or four, so I had company other than the seabirds, and was joined by kith if not kin. The voyages of the Anglian are in any case undertaken in a lifetime of allegorical solitude, making the interpretations ridiculous of, for instance, Burton Raffel, who had been shown "suffering in a hundred ships, in a thousand ports", not to mention those who opine that "the seafarer probably wasn't the only person on his shp" There was no actual ship, let alone a hundred of them.

Check Thomas Nail on Lucretius: "if all movement is also death .. Living is dying, and dying is living. The two are united in the same kinetic process." See here. Now we're getting somewhere. Could the Seafarer poet have been familiar with, or been at least aware of, Lucretius ? Not entirely impossible. He knew Latin, imho. De rerum natura was later discovered in a monastery. The Seafarer was composd by a monk, imho.

The bipartite construction of The Seafarer will be, and has been, examined here. And here (click).

The salient characteristic of poetry is memorability, which it achieves by various devices: rhyme and rhythm, alliteration and assonance, inter alia. If it doesn't have impact, it is not poetry. Poetry compresses thought and feeling into few words, mainly by ambiguity, which increases meaning. Poetry says more than is conveyed by its words alone. It is not easily forgotten, and easily remembered. 80% of the modernist compositions presented as poetry in the TLS today have no impact and no memorability. They are instantly forgettable. A list of the British nation's 100 favourite English-language poems, according to 12,000 voters, contains nothing by Ezra Pound, although the list does include other American poets, whose works are genuinely memorable..

After some thought, I have decided that the language spoken by the Anglians, or Angelcyn, would be more usefully known as "Anglish". The term 'Old English', implying that there is a close connection between Anglish and Modern English, is spurious. The Anglish language, although sufficiently different to qualify as foreign, is admittedly distant kin to Modern English. It's just that it is far, far more closely related to the modern Swedish, and even the German and Icelandic languages. Failure to appreciate the closer kinship of Anglish to these tongues leads to one textual misreading after another. Obvious examples are the emendation of wl to read hwl, ie reading "death" as "whale"; and the ludicrous interpretation of sceat as "sheet", or "spreading regions". Also unwearnum, idiotically rendered as "irresistibly"; wongas as "plains", and so on.

Wayne Leman: "Translation accuracy is measured by the degree to which users get the same meaning as
the original."

At left (click) is a Pound admirer's version of lines 58-64. Under the influence of Ezra, his multiple misreadings of the Anglish text are truly astonishing. Virtually everything is wrong: a tribute to Pound's injunction "make it new". It certainly has hardly any perception of what the author had said or was meaning to say. In this passage the bird of death is abroad. Those with ears attuned to the Anglish language may hear the beating of its wings. The anfloga is not a spirit nor a cuckoo. It conveys its defenceless prey along the death-way, back into the lap of mother earth.

sceat = skte = Schoss = lap. Not earth's breadth !
It is not who is right, but what is right.
sias secgan hu ic   =   stten sga hur jag
the ways say how I
the sea has no acres: acre cognate = ker = tilled arable field.
whale's beat ?

According to this site:; arms were attributed to the kingdoms of the Anglian heptarchy from the 12th or 13th century onward, with the development of heraldry. Although this seems a little late, when contemplating the arms used to designate the kingdoms of the heptarchy, it would seem that these heralds had not the slightest doubts about from where their ancestors had originated.

It has been pointed out by David Burns that there are over a thousand place-names in modern Sweden which start Angel, Engel or Ingel. Virtually no continental Saxon place-names occur in England. This was perceived long ago by Isaac Taylor. See here. In England, a Saxon was any man who wielded a seax. See Essex, above.

Sachsen, Sahson, Saksen, Sassen, Sassenach, Saxones, Seaxe,

See further comments on anfloga here.

more forgotten anfloga notes

"It is dangerous to be right in matters on which established monoglots are wrong." Voltaire, The Age of Louis XIV. (Adapted.)

another page
anfloga again
favourite topics    journey's jargon
The Cambridge Old English Reader
The Meaning of The Seafarer and The Wanderer.

Seafarer Latin     Lucretius
An, Ân, & Eft: Old English Grammar. A. Campbell
Pretentious Fake
R.I.Page and the DOE
Hugr, Hyge, Håg
The prefix un- in Anglo-Saxon
the central crux of the seafarer
Biblical Echoes
re: unwearnum
visualizations of the anfloga

essays and papers

© Charles Harrison Wallace 2019
all rights reserved

I have been obliged to content myself through life with saying what I mean in the plainest of plain language, than which, I suppose, there is no habit more ruinous to a man's prospects of advancement. T.H.Huxley, Autobiography, p 1, Lectures & Essays, Watts & Co, 1931.

I have been told that I was insulting for wanting to discuss the meaning of The Seafarer.

"Truth in three stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

Does this debate, like others, become increasingly bitter because its issue is so trivial ?

Truth treads on toes.

In AD 1992 the Vatican conceded that Galileo might have been right in AD 1633.
Roll on AD 2378 !

"no one to keen him but the black hags that do be flying on the sea"

In The oral text of Ezra Pound's "The Seafarer", in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, 1961, 47:2, 173-177, J.B.Bessinger concludes by noting that Ezra's "poem has survived on merits that have little to do with those of an accurate translation".

Iddings, 1902: "Great is the fear of the Lord".       Pound, 1911: "Mickle is the fear of the almighty".
Make it new ! Change the words !