Analysis Of The Poem ' The ' Wild Swan ' Essay

1481 Words Nov 17th, 2016 6 Pages
The “wild swan’s song / sometimes served as music” from line 19 of “The Seafarer” is a metaphor for the scop, or storyteller, in Anglo-Saxon communities. This line indicates the importance of community because it shows the speaker trying to recreate the social aspects of community in his sea-bound exile. The use of the swan as a scop undermines the speaker’s community in exile in nature and leads the speaker to conclude that the only community left for him is in heaven. The “swan’s song” is echoed throughout the elegy, particularly in the first line, “I can sing a true song of myself” (“The Seafarer” l. 1). This “song” tells of the titular seafarer’s exile, his revelation that community is the most important part of life on earth, and his subsequent death that ends the elegy. In order to understand how the swan’s song impacts the elegy, it is important to understand how the Anglo-Saxons viewed swans. This Anglo-Saxon riddle, translated into English prose by Dieter Bitterli, is about swans and describes them in terms of how Anglo-Saxon people viewed them:
My clothing is silent when I tread the ground or inhabit the dwellings or stir the waters. Sometimes my trappings and this high air lift me up over the abodes of the heroes, [5] and the strength of the clouds then bear me far over the people. My adornments sound loudly and make melody, sing clearly, when I am not resting on water and land, a travelling spirit. (Bitterli 40)
This riddle shows the swan as a silent creature on…

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