The Seafarer

The Seafarer Summary

At a Glance

In "The Seafarer," the elderly seafarer reminisces about his life spent sailing on the open ocean. He describes the hardships of life on the sea, the beauty of nature, and his love of seafaring. The end of the poem consists of a long meditation on God and the righteous path to heaven.

  • At the beginning of the poem, the speaker describes the often dreary and lonely life of a seafarer. He contrasts this with the relatively easy life of land dwellers, who have ready access to food and wine.

  • Season change, and the seafarer's tone changes from one of loneliness to adventure. He loves sailing, and despite the hardships of life on the ocean, he enjoys his time there.

  • The sea imagery recedes, and the seafarer speaks entirely of God, Heaven, and the soul. He ends the poem with a series of gnomic phrases on these themes.


(Poetry for Students)

Lines 1-5:
The elegiac, personal tone is established from the beginning. The speaker pleads to his audience about his honesty...

(The entire section is 1434 words.)