Robert Browning- Robert Browning was a famous Victorian poet. His application of dramatic monologue gave him a distinctive recognition among his contemporaries. He was born in 1812. He wrote about variable topics of social and political discourse.
The poem is more like a song or an anthem for sailors. It is written in free verse, divided into three stanzas.
Summary of The Wanderers-
The poem describes a sea voyage, the making of the magnificent ship and the enthusiastic vigour of the sailors. In the first stanza, the poet is set on a sail, where the ship is making its way through the tough winds and waves. The poet goes back to a time when the mighty ship was constructed, the gaps were filled carefully by nailing the bark, made out of a forest tree. The poet goes on, that the outer part of the ship is layered with wood, to keep the edges strong enough to face the moody waves of the sea. The poet says it rather looks unclean outwardly due to the massive covering of wood which keeps it going in the worst of weather. Further, the poet says though the outside of the ship looks “rude,” but the “tent” of the ship is quite kingly. He mentions a scent from the coniferous wood, that gives a sweet fragrance to rough surroundings and helps to keep the salt water away from the surface. The tower that is held under it keeps the tent stable. The tent provides a relaxing room for the sailors. Thus, when they become tired and weary from the voyage, they assemble under the shade of the tent amidst the sweet smell, moonlight they sing along merry making. They sleep calmly as if dead. The men seem to be in complete peace during their travelling.
In the second stanza, the poet describes their joy of seeing land after a long voyage. Initially the pilot recommends to avoid a glimpse of the land, as it could be a false manipulation of the mind. But as the rocks grew near, they realise that they indeed have reached the land and they cry out in celebrations. the group of voyagers has reached their destination. They get to see stones of different shapes and kinds. The built a shrine for each precious rock. The poem continues to deliver a sense of joy and celebration among the voyagers. The poet says that everyone is so happy to get our work done and as the sun sets they sing along in unison. They have arrived on an island which can be taken to be their destination. After they built the shrines, they go to sleep. Next morning they decide to leave their piece of art on that island and get back to their ships to return. They were at peace to leave their beautiful piece of construction and then “depart” back to home.
Critical Analysis of The Wanderers-
The poem is a mere representation of feelings. The feeling felt by the sailors to take long voyages away from home and finding solace in the ship. They become so accustomed to the life on the ship that they are unable to stay much longer on land. They poet says that the sailors have a keen knowledge of detailing on the ship which is difficult for someone to understand who doesn’t enjoy sea voyages. The poet says they took long voyages, reached islands, stayed there and left behind a gift of their presence.
Conclusion- The poem is Robert Browning’s offering to the feeling he felt when he went on a sea voyage. He gave a positive and soothing lifestyle of the life on the ship. The poem gives a fine lens to the details of sailing.