I have used S.A.J. Bradley's translation from his book Anglo-Saxon Poetry, and have kept his structure for the translation.



1 I can tell the true riddle of my own self, and speak of my experiences - how I have often suffered times of hardship in days of toil, how I have endured cruel anxiety at heart and experienced many anxious lodging-places afloat, and the terrible surging of the waves. There the hazardous night-watch has often found me at the ship's prow when it is jostling along the cliffs. My feet were pinched by the cold, shackled by the frost in cold chains, whilst anxieties sighed hot about my heart. Hunger tore from within at the mind of one wearied by the ocean. This that man does not understand, who is most agreeably suited on land - how I, wretchedly anxious, have for years lived on the ice-cold sea in the ways of the sojourner, bereft of kinsfolk, hung about by ice-spikes; hail pelted in showers. There I heard nothing but the raging of the sea, the ice-cold wave. Sometimes I would take the song of the swan as my entertainment, the cry of the gannet and the call of the curlew in place of human laughter, the sea-mew's singing in place of the mead-drinking. There storms would pound the rocky cliffs whilst the tern, icy-winged, answered them; very often the sea-eagle would screech, wings dappled with spray. No protective kinsman could comfort the inadequate soul.
27 He, therefore, who has experienced life's pleasure in cities, and few perilous journeys, insolent and flown with wine, little credits how I, weary, have often had to remain on the ocean path. The shadow of night would spread gloom; it would snow from the north, rime-frost would bind the ground; hail, coldest of grains, would fall upon the earth.
33 Now, therefore, the thoughts of my heart are in conflict as to whether I for my part should explore the deep currents and the surging of the salty waves - my mind's desire time and time again urges the soul to set out, so that I may find my way to the land of strangers far away from here - for there is no one on earth so confident of temperament, nor so generous of his gifts, nor so bold in his youth, nor so courageous in his deeds, nor his lord so gracious to him, that he never worries about his seafaring, as to what the Lord will send him; he will have no thought for the harp, nor for the ring-receiving ceremonial, nor for the pleasure of a woman nor for trust in that which is of the world, nor for anything else, but only for the surging of the waves - and yet he who aspires to the ocean always has the yearning.
48 The woodlands take on blossoms, the cities grow more lovely, the meadows become beautiful, the world hastens onwards: all these urge anyone eager of mind and of spirit, who thus longs to travel far upon the ocean paths, to the journey. The cuckoo too serves warning by its mournful cry; summer's herald sings and foretells cruel distress at heart. That man, the fellow blessed with affluence, does not understand this - what those individuals endure who follow the ways of alienation to their furthest extent.