One possible interpretation is that the "cave" is the The wifes lament, meaning that the speaker lies dead and buried, and is speaking to us "from beyond. The Exeter Book has been dated to AD, so the poem was probably written no later than AD, perhaps much earlier.
Our narrator has had some seriously not chill stuff happen in her life, stuff that puts even our worst heartbreak, let alone our worst living situation, to shame. A final point of divergence, however, between the conventional interpretation and variants proceeds from the similarity of the poem in some respects to elegiac poems in the Old English corpus that feature male protagonists.
Also, it cannot be ignored that contained within the Exeter Book are 92 other riddle poems. Constructing a coherent narrative from the text requires a good deal of inferential conjecture, but a commentary on various elements of the text is provided here nonetheless. This interpretation, however, faces the almost insurmountable problem that adjectives and personal nouns occurring within the poem geomorre, minre, sylfre are feminine in grammatical gender.
Because other men held her new lover in contempt, she was forced to live in a cave. Fortunately for you, Shmoopers, we do speak a little Old English. He also examines the act of cursing in charters and wills, quoting examples such as the following: The Anglo-Saxon culture that took all acts of wearg-cwedol evil speaking very seriously and even warily watched for potential witches, Niles argues, would have little trouble accepting the poem as a curse.
What we do know is they all share quite a bit of overlap in terms of style and tone. He suggests that lines use an optative voice as a curse against the husband, not a second lover. Why Should I Care? One such treatment considers the poem to be allegoryin which interpretation the lamenting speaker represents the Church as Bride of Christ or as an otherwise feminine allegorical figure.
While arguing that the poem presents certain philological evidence to support an optative reading, the bulk of his support comes from contextual analysis of the act of cursing within the Anglo-Saxon culture.
Influence[ edit ] Various efforts have been made to link this poem to later works featuring innocent, persecuted heroines, but its lyrical nature and brevity of information make establishing such links difficult.
This, however, does not last, seemingly as a consequence of prior difficulties concerning her marriage. Whether intended as a formal malediction or an emotional vituperation is less important.
Before their untimely demise, the Anglo-Saxons produced some terrific literature in Old English; several largely intact volumes survive from this period.The titular "wife," our narrator and protagonist, begins the poem with a brief discussion of her present plight.
Her thoughts on this situation, in so many words, can be summarized as "Holy hockey pucks, I'm really sad—like, sadder that I have ever been.
"The Wife's Lament" is especially noteworthy amongst these elegies because, well, it's really emotional—like, "ready the tissues and let the band play on because we're going down with the ship" kind of emotional.
I wrack this riddle about myself full miserable, my very own experience. I can speak it— what I endured in misery, after I was grown, both new and old. "The Wife's Lament"―also known as "The Wife's Complaint"―is an Old English (i.e., Anglo-Saxon) poem from the Exeter Book, the oldest extant English poetry anthology.
The Angles and Saxons were Germanic tribes and the poem is generally considered to be an elegy in the tradition of the German.
”The Wife’s Lament” is a short lyrical poem with only 53 lines found in the Exeter Book, which is considered to be one of the largest known collections of Old English literature. The poem is sometimes referred to as “The Woman’s Complaint,” and. The Wife’s Lament I make this song of myself, deeply sorrowing, my own life’s journey.
I am able to tell all the hardships I’ve suffered since I grew up.Download