Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog



The title of Conor McPherson’s play The Seafarer comes from an Old English poem of the same name. The exact age of the poem is unknown, but it is thought to be from around 755 AD. It is told from the point of view of an old man, evaluating his life spend on the harsh and desolate sea. Below is an excerpt from the poem, translated by Sean Miller. You can read the entire translation side by side with the original text here.   

Fettered by cold
were my feet,
bound by frost
in cold clasp,
where then cares seethed
hot about my heart —
a hunger tears from within
the sea-weary soul.
This the man does not know
for whom on land
it turns out most favourably,
how I, wretched and sorrowful,
on the ice-cold sea
dwelt for a winter
in the paths of exile,

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