The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).>br>Volume I. From the Beginnings to the Cycles of Romance.

III. Early National Poetry

§ 8. The Wanderer

The Wanderer is a rather long elegy (115 lines), depicting the sufferings of a man who has lost his lord. Alone and friendless, he travels over the sea, seeking a home where he can find protection. In sleep, visions of his former happiness come back to him. When he awakes his heart sinks at the sight of the grey waves and the falling snow. Then he passes on to reflect on the vicissitudes of human life and on the ruined castles which may be seen in all directions, testifying to the destruction that has overtaken their owners. The poem throws an interesting light on the close nature of the relationship subsisting in early times between lord and man. It has been suggested that Cynewulf was the author; but this view is now generally abandoned. Indeed, the Christian element is slight and may be due to later additions.