index

 

The Seafarer
collated versions

"more like masonry than music":   J.R.R.Tolkien, on Beowulf

Author

Anonymous

B.Thorpe

C.W.M.Grein

H.Sweet

F.Metcalfe

G.R.Merry

S.A.Brooke

L.LaM.Iddings

R.Imelmann

J.D.E.Spaeth

E.Pound

E.Sieper

F.Olivero

C.Faust & S.Thompson

R.Imelmann

N.Kershaw (Chadwick)

C.C.Fries

R.K.Gordon

W.S.Mackie

G.Bone

C.W.Kennedy

O.S.Anderson (Arngart)

K.Malone

C.C.Abbott

G.K.Anderson

A.Scott

J.J.Graham/P.Jamieson

F.P.Magoun/J.A.Walker

I.M.De Brugger

E.Morgan

D.Whitelock

N.Denny

T.Scott

B.Raffel

K.Crossley-Holland

L.Hancock

M.Alexander

S.Susuki

C.L.Wrenn

C.B.Hieatt

G.Bantock

W.O.Rogers III

R.Hamer

R.Breuer/R.Sch÷werling

K.Moul

B.K.Green

L.L.Austin

S.B.Greenfield

J.Wain

S.A.J.Bradley

J.A.Glenn

R.F.Leslie

A.Oldknow

C.McPherson

K.Young

L.J.Rodrigues

G.D.Hansson

R.Sepp

S.L.Higley

J.C.C.Silvestre

Site version

D.Wellman

P.Manson

A.Wheeler

D.Breeden

W.G.Busse

Jung Joon Ihm

Amelia Penny

Date

  975

1842

1857

1871

1880

1890

1898

1902

1908

1910

1911

1915

1915

1918

1920

1922

1925

1926

1933

1934

1936

1937

1941

1943

1949

1949

1949

1950

1954

1954

1955

1960

1960

1964

1965

1965

1966

1967

1967

1967

1969

1970

1970

1972

1973

1974

1975

1979

1980

1982

1982

1983

1986

1987

1990

1991

1991

1992

1993

1994

1994

1995

1997

1998

1999

    ?

    ?

2005

Type

Anglo-Saxon verse

lexical

German verse

ll.44-64a prose

prose sections

ll.58-102 verse

ll.1-64a verse dialogue

verse

German: verse sections

ll.1-64a verse dialogue

verse

German verse

Italian verse

ll.1-64a verse

German: prose sections

prose

unknown

prose

verse

verse

verse (var 1943)

prose

verse

verse

verse sections

ll.1-64a Scots verse

Shetlandic verse

ll. 1-64 prose

Spanish prose (RKG)

verse

prose

literal verse

ll.1-64a Scots verse

verse

verse

verse sections

verse

literal verse

prose sections

prose

verse

verse

verse

German prose

ll. 1-102 verse

prose sections

1-102 verse

prose sections

verse

prose

literal verse

prose

verse

verse

verse

verse

Swedish verse

Estonian

literal

prose sections

verse

rhythmic ll.1-65a

typographic/visual?

verse

verse

German: literal

Korean

verse

Words

586

755

813

715 pr

---

844 pr

957 pr

860

---

733 pr

690

656

822

838 pr

---

918

unknown

827

847

786

766

916

798

779

---

814 pr

---

---

961

826

827

745

652 pr

729

826

---

773

872

---

860

858

725

778

760

817

---

764

---

723

915

712

815

809

730

779

761

571

607

706

---

650

---

---

696

680

---

---

---

Web Link

as1.htm

1842BT.htm

1857CWMG.htm

1871/1888HS.htm

1890FM.html

1890GRM.htm

1898SAB.htm

1902LLI.htm----1902LLI1.htm

1908/1920RI.htm

1910JDES.htm

1911EP.htm----1911EP1.htm

1915ES.htm

1915FO.htm

1918FT.htm

1920/1908RI.htm

1922NKC.htm

1925CCF.html

1926RKG.html

1933WSM.html

1934GB.htm

1936CWK.htm

1937OSA.htm

1941KM.htm

1943CCA.htm

1949GKA.html

1949AS.htm

1949JJG-PJ.html

1948-1950FPM-JAW.html

1954IMDeB.htm

1954EM.htm

1955DW.htm

1960ND.htm

1960TS.html

1964BR.htm

1965KCH.html

1965LH.htm

1966MA.htm

1967SS.htm

1967CLW.htm

1967CBH.htm

1969GB.htm

1970WOR.html

1970RH.html

1972RBRS.htm

1973KM.html

1974BKG.htm

1975LLA.htm

1979SBG.html

1980JW.htm

1982SAJB.html

1982JAG.htm

1983RFL.htm

1986AO.htm

1987CMcP.htm

1990KY.htm or Karl Young's site

1991LJR.htm

1991GDH.htm

1992RS.html

1993SLH.htm

1994JCCS.html

revision 2009

1995DW.htm

Peter Manson's site

removed

removed

removed

removed

2005AP.html

The initial word-count applied to lines 1-99 only. Where a word-count was entered for shorter passages, it was calculated pro rata.
Confusion persists. Re-counts necessary for renewed comparisons.

21 March, 2014.When this page was first posted, about 14 years ago, the number of Anglo-Saxon words used in The Seafarer, lines 1-99, was given as 586. From that day to this that figure was not queried. Today I discover that the total Anglo-Saxon word-count is 765. Weird and confusing lapse in memory and calculation. Not all the word-counts of the translations are limited to the first 99 lines. This situation was only discovered in the course of ruminating on the verbal ratios that may, or may not, lurk hidden in the poem's original composition. See here.

Judge not

This assortment offers a telling snapshot of the history not only of Anglo-Saxon scholarship, but also of many aspects of Anglo-American creative writing since 1842. Poetry is a noble calling; and from translation, as Giordano Bruno once remarked, "all knowledge has its source". Any censure which ignored the historical context would be invalid. Within that context, one of the most perceptive of the collection is, in my considered opinion, the 1902 version by La Motte Iddings. The correctness of her understanding of The Seafarer as an integrated (if divided) unity with a lucid, lambent meaning, was soon to be obliterated by Pound's "heave to overthrow the iambic'', in 1911. His remoulding of her diction, and the battering his breakers gave her decorous rhythms, is examined elsewhere. [Here]. For the next four or five decades, and longer, most of the verse versions seem to me bemused either by Pound's hypnotic beat and sound, or by the obdurate "search for Anglo-Saxon paganism" (see E.G.Stanley), which he built into his heave. Typical of this (to my mind) deeply flawed conception of the original poem are the footnotes appended by Colleer Abbott in 1943, and C.L.Wrenn in 1967.

A few other conclusions are: that German Anglo-Saxon scholarship (though far from faultless) was well ahead of the English (just as faulty --- for the same reasons), until its disintegration by about the mid-1920s; that this collection of translations stretches across a spectrum terminating in scholarship and poetry at either end; and that though the poets may be cavalier, the scholars can be numbingly obtuse. An apt point here is made by the Swedish poet Gunnar D.Hansson, in the preface to his 1991 collection of Anglo-Saxon verse interpretations, Slaget vid Maldon. Noting the inability of the average scholar to produce more than a semblance of poetry, he remarks that "Dåren har som varje skriftlärd vet sitt hjärta i munnen"; ie "As every scholar knows, the madman's heart is in his mouth". I understand this to imply that the pedant's innate insecurity, fear of obloquy and tunnel vision blind him to the wood for the trees.

It has to be added that no matter how daft the scholarship, nor how vile the verse, the quality of the original is so resilient that, like the coracle of its own creation, it surmounts whatever pounding it sustains.

New versions continue to appear in the search engines. 20 Dec 2000. One by Dr David Breeden (1999); for a website with some of his translations click here. Fragmentary translations by Dominik Dengler [lines 80b-110] here, Sarah De Bank [ll 80b-110] here and Susanne Gaertner [ll 39-67] here.

1 Jan 2001. Another in German by Wilhelm G.Busse (date unknown) which used to be viewable here. The site version done into German by a machine: here. A version apparently published 1977 by Professor Kim Suk-San, now (? from 1972) at Seoul National University, in Korean; click here. 28 Jan 2001. Another Korean version by Jung Joon Ihm here. A version by John F.Deane, Dublin, published in The Hero, Home, mid-2001: order it from him here. Try Peter Manson's version (click). Mind-expanding. A version from 1976 by George T.McWhorter: click here. A version of lines 1-47 by Bill Griffiths, published in The River November 2001; available from Kingston Rowing Club, Oak Road Playing Fields, Hull HU6 7LR: see here. The River also contains a different, unidentified version of lines 39-47. 1 Sep 2002: a first version in Dutch by Joop Visser; see here. Another version by an enigmatic author: see here. [Many of these links have vanished since posting. I wonder why this is.]

If the posting of any one of the above is objected to for copyright or any other reason, please inform me, and I'll remove it. A number of the more recent versions appear to have been removed anyway. Mail here.

 

commentaries: one, two, three, four, five, six

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