Brian K.Green: 1974

excerpted from The Seafarer's Joy: The Interpretation of Lines 58a-64a

Studies in English 5: University of Cape Town 1974


go to line 62: click "irresistibly" to return

I have braved in a ship many halls of care, the monstrous rocking waves, where the anxious night-watch often troubled me at the prow of the ship as it beat close to the cliffs.

Truly, thoughts beat against my heart now that I voluntarily explore the high seas, the tumult of the salt waves; all the time my mind's desire urges my soul towards departing, that I may find far from here the homeland of exiles.

Truly now my thought ranges beyond the boundaries of my mind, my thought moves with the moving ocean beyond the whale's home, ranges far and wide beyond the broad world, and comes back to me; eager and hungry, the solitary bird screams, incites to the whale's road my mind irresistibly upon the expanse of the seas.

[keen and ravenous, my thought jubilates, points the way to the festive mansions]

Old age overtakes him, his face grows pale, grey-haired he mourns, knows that his former friends, children of nobles, have surrendered to the soil. Then, when life has gone, his body can no longer swallow what is sweet.

To the soul that is full of sins gold cannot be a help before the terrible power of God, when he has hoarded it during his lifetime here. Great is the terrible power of the Judge; because of it the earth will turn away; He established the solid foundations, the broad earth and the sky above. Wilfully foolish is he who does not fear his Lord; death comes to him unwelcome.

Let us think where we have a home, and then consider how we come there, and let us then also strive that we may reach that eternal happiness where life springs from the love of the Lord and there is joy in heaven. Let there be thanks to the Holy One because He, the Prince of Glory, the Eternal Lord, has made us worthy for all time.     Amen.



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