The Wife's Lament Pages

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Links to Other Helpful Translations of the Poem


Links to other translations, with short descriptions by me:  

  Robert E. Diamond's Translation

            Richard Hamer's translation is fairly literal, which makes it a good one in my book.  He does use filler words when necessary and rearranges lines to make it more readable in modern English.  Although every translation also requires individual interpretation, I prefer to stay as close as possible to the original wording.  Because he avoids filler words, Hamer's translation has an authentic feel to it.

            Brian Kim Stefans' translation is less literal than many other translations, but it is also more poetic.  It has a song-like feel in the flow of the text.  There is also some extra puncuation added, which is unnecessary, but makes the wife's statements seem more emotional.  This site uses Adobe Acrobat and also includes translations of “The Seafarer,” “The Battle of Brunaburh,” “The Dream of the Rood,” and “The Wanderer.”

            Mary Savelli's translation is practically word for word.  While I prefer translations that are true to the original, I also feel that some interpretation is necessary in order to make sense of the poem for the reader.  Savelli's translation is very choppy and difficult to follow, because she does not take any liberties with the text.  It feels like reading the first stage of a translation, before it has been tweaked and rearranged for better flow and easier reading.