Finding Jesus in The Wanderer
During the Middle Ages, banishment was a devastating occurrence which plagued many Anglo Saxons. Upon being exiled, men were forced to travel the barren world alone in hopes of finding a new lord under whom they could serve. From this point on, melancholy and loneliness stood as the emotional basis on which every thought and dream was based. Until successfully locating a new mead hall and fellow companions, these loners were forced to look to themselves for comfort, or if they were lucky enough to realize it, the Lord. Not every exiled kinsmen was spiritual enough to grasp the realization that Christ was a stable means of service, unlike the leaders of their former kingdoms. In the elegy "The Wanderer" the exiled earth-dweller is one of the gifted who turns to the Lord for comfort in his time of need. This wanderer travels the road of loneliness and suffers his share of "winters in this world's kingdom" (Wanderer 68). After the suffering came the comfort, and the earth-dweller was able to revive his life and come to serve an everlasting kingdom from which he would never be exiled or lonely again. "The Wanderer" stands as a virtuous monument of spiritual recognition and an example of the process of healing which religious belief can accomplish.
In the original manuscript of "The Wanderer," the word "Lord" is not capitalized in the opening paragraph of the poem as it is in the Norton Anthology edition. I believe that by the editors capitalizing the word "Lord," the direct context of the poem is manipulated in a way which takes away from its intended meaning. My thesis is based on the fact that the word "Lord" in the first paragraph of the poem should have remained in lower case status.
He who is alone often lives to find favor, mildness of the lor
d even though he has long had to stir with his arms the frost-cold sea, troubled in heart over the water-way had to tread the tracks of exile. Fully-fixed is his fate. (Wanderer 68)
In this opening paragraph of the elegy, the earth-walker is telling the audience the utmost desire of exiled men: to find a new lord under which to serve. The wanderer is saying that most kinsmen are able to withstand the torment of banishment by holding fast to the belief that it will all work out in the end. Their only hope is to eventually come to a new kingdom where they are welcomed and able to reestablish their life as a fellow man of the mead hall. The wanderer fully understands that his fate is fixed. He will travel relentlessly in search of a new people using hope as his only means of salvation.
In the second paragraph of the poem, the wanderer comes to the realization that he must not lament on the fact that he is alone. He knows that self-pitying thoughts will be of no help to him. He says, "Words of a weary heart may not withstand fate, nor those of an angry spirit bring help. Therefore men eager for fame shut sorrowful thought up fast in their heart's...