RIDDLE POSTS BY ARCHIVE DATE: JUL 2022

Symphosius Preface

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Haec quoque Symphosius de carmine lusit inepto.
Sic tu, Sexte, doces; sic te deliro magistro.

Annua Saturni dum tempora festa redirent
Perpetuo semper nobis sollemnia ludo,
Post epulas laetas, post dulcia pocula mensae,
Deliras inter vetulas puerosque loquaces,
Cum streperet late madidae facundia linguae,
Tum verbosa cohors studio sermonis inepti
Nescio quas passim magno de nomine nugas
Est meditata diu; sed frivola multa locuta est.
Nec mediocre fuit, magni certaminis instar,
Ponere diverse vel solvere quaeque vicissim.
Ast ego, ne solus foede tacuisse viderer,
Qui nihil adtuleram mecum quod dicere possem,
Hos versus feci subito de carmine vocis.
Insanos inter sanum non esse necesse est.
Da veniam, lector, quod non sapit ebria Musa.

Translation:

These silly lines also Symphosius amused himself by composing.
Thus, Sextus, you teach; thus, with you as teacher, I rave.

When Saturn’s annual festive period came back around,
Always established as endless fun for us,
After the happy feasts, after the sweet cups of the table,
When, between the senseless old women and the chatty boys,
The eloquence of tipsy tongues rumbled widely,
Then the wordy cohort, with their enthusiasm for silly speech,
Long reflected everywhere upon nonsenses
Of great, unknown name; but much frivolity was voiced.
It was the image of not a middling but a great contest,
To set variously or to solve them in turn.
But I, who had brought nothing with me that I was able to say,
So that I not be seen as the only one to be shamefully silent,
Made up these verses on the spot out of voice’s poetry.
It is necessary not to be sane among the insane.
Be kind, reader, because the tipsy Muse was not discerning.

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The preface to Symphosius's riddle collection


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 1: Graphium

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

De summo planus, sed non ego planus in imo
Versor utrimque manu: diverso munere fungor.
Altera pars revocat quidquid pars altera fecit.

Translation:

I am flat on top, but not on the bottom.
I am turned on both sides by hand: I perform a variety of jobs.
One part undoes what the other part does.

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Stylus


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 2: Harundo

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Dulcis amica dei, ripae vicina profundae,
Suave canens Musis; nigro perfusa colore,
Nuntia sum linguae digitis signata magistris.

Translation:

Sweet friend of a god, neighbour of the deep bank,
Singing pleasantly for the Muses; bathed in the colour black,
I am the tongue’s messenger, distinguished by the master’s fingers.

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Reed


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 3: Anulus cum gemma

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Corporis extremi non magnus pondus adhaesi.
Ingenitum dicas, ita pondere nemo gravatur;
Una tamen facies plures habitura figuras.

Translation:

At the end of the body I clung, not a heavy weight.
You would say I was innate, so little is anyone bothered by the burden;
My face, though single, can have many forms.

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Ring with Gem


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 4: Clavis

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Virtutes magnas de viribus affero parvis.
Pando domos clausas, iterum sed claudo patentes.
Servo domum domino, sed rursus servor ab ipso.

Translation:

I bring great powers with little strength.
I open closed doors, and then I close the open ones.
I keep the house for the master, but in turn I am kept by him.

Click to show riddle solution?
Key


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 5: Catena

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Nexa ligor ferro, multos habitura ligatos;
Vincior ipsa prius, sed vincio vincta vicissim;
Et solvi multos, nec sum tamen ipsa soluta.

Translation:

I am bound, tied by iron, and can bind many;
I myself am bound first, but I bind the bound in turn;
And I release many, yet am not myself released.

Click to show riddle solution?
Chain


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 6: Tegula

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Terra mihi corpus, vires mihi praestitit ignis;
De terra nascor, sedes est semper in alto;
Et me perfundit, sed me cito deserit, umor.

Translation:

Earth gave me body, fire gave me strength;
From the land I am born, my seat is always on high;
And moisture floods me, but quickly leaves me.

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Roof-tile


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 7: Fumus

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Sunt mihi, sunt lacrimae, sed non est causa doloris.
Est iter ad caelum, sed me gravis inpedit aer;
Et qui me genuit sine me non nascitur ipse.

Translation:

Tears are mine, but the cause is not sadness.
My path is toward the sky, but heavy air impedes me;
And he who birthed me, without me, is not himself born.

Click to show riddle solution?
Smoke


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 8: Nebula

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Nox ego sum facie, sed non sum nigra colore,
Inque die media tenebras tamen affero mecum;
Nec mihi dant stellae lucem nec Cynthia lumen.

Translation:

I am night on the face of it, but I am not the colour black,
And yet at midday I bring the shadows with me;
The stars do not give me light nor Cynthia her moon-beam.

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Cloud


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 9: Pluvia

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Ex alto venio longa delapsa ruina;
De caelo cecidi medias transmissa per auras;
Sed sinus excepit, qui me simul ipse recepit.

Translation:

From on high I come, a long, descended rushing-down;
I fell from the sky, sent through mid-air,
But the basin draws me out that at the same time receives me.

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Rain


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 10: Glacies

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Unda fui quondam, quod me cito credo futuram.
Nunc rigidi caeli duris conexa catenis
Nec calcata pati possum nec nuda teneri.

Translation:

I was once a wave, which I believe I will be again before long.
Now bound by the hard chains of rigid heaven,
I can neither endure being walked upon nor be held bare.

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Ice


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 11: Nix

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Pulvis aquae tenuis modico cum pondere lapsus,
Sole madens, aestate fluens, in frigore siccus,
Flumina facturus totas prius occupo terras.

Translation:

Delicate dust of water, fallen with modest weight,
Dripping in the sun, flowing in the summer, dry in the cold,
About to make rivers, I first occupy whole lands.

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Snow


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 12: Flumen et piscis

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Est domus in terris clara quae voce resultat.
Ipsa domus resonat, tacitus sed non sonat hospes.
Ambo tamen currunt hospes simul et domus una.

Translation:

There is a house in the earth which resounds with clear voice.
The house itself reverberates, but the silent guest does not make a sound.
Yet both run, guest and house at the same time, as one.

Click to show riddle solution?
River and Fish


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 13: Navis

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Longa feror velox formosae filia silvae,
Innumera pariter comitum stipante caterva,
Curro vias multas, vestigia nulla relinquens.

Translation:

Long, swift daughter of the beautiful forest, I am borne,
With an innumerable crowd of fellows equally compressed,
I run along many roads, leaving no trace.

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Ship


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 14: Pullus in ovo

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Mira tibi referam nostrae primordia vitae:
Nondum natus eram, nec eram iam matris in alvo;
Iam posito partu natum me nemo videbat.

Translation:

I will tell you the wondrous beginning of our life:
I was not yet born, nor was I then in my mother’s womb;
And then, after I was born, no one saw me.

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Chicken in an egg


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 15: Vipera

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Non possum nasci, si non occidero matrem.
Occidi matrem, sed me manet exitus idem:
Id mea mors patitur quod iam mea fecit origo.

Translation:

I cannot be born if I do not kill my mother.
I killed my mother, but the same exit remains for me:
My death suffers that which my birth did then.

Click to show riddle solution?
Viper


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 16: Tinea

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Littera me pavit, nec quid sit littera novi.
In libris vixi, nec sum studiosior inde.
Exedi Musas, nec adhuc tamen ipsa profeci.

Translation:

Letters nourish me, but I do not know what letters are.
I have lived in books, but I am not more studious for it.
I have consumed the Muses, yet have not thus far made progress.

Click to show riddle solution?
Bookworm


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 17: Aranea

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Pallas me docuit texendi nosse laborem.
Nec pepli radios poscunt nec licia telae;
Nulla mihi manus est, pedibus tantum omnia fiunt.

Translation:

Pallas taught me to know the work of weaving:
My garments do not require shuttles, nor my threads a loom;
I do not have hands, by my feet alone is everything done.

Click to show riddle solution?
Spider


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 18: Coclea

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Porto domum mecum, semper migrare parata,
Mutatoque solo non sum miserabilis exul,
Sed mihi concilium de caelo nascitur ipso.

Translation:

I carry my house with me, always ready to move,
And after I have moved ground I am not a miserable exile,
But rather my company is given from heaven itself.

Click to show riddle solution?
Snail


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 19: Rana

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:
Raucisonans ego sum media vocalis in unda,
Sed vox laude sonat, quasi se quoque laudet et ipsa;
Cumque canam semper, nullus mea carmina laudat.
Translation:

I sound hoarse of voice in the middle of the water,
But my voice sounds of praise, as if it were also praising itself;
And though I am always singing, no one praises my songs.

Click to show riddle solution?
Frog


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Symphosius Riddle 20: Testudo

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Tarda, gradu lento, specioso praedita dorso;
Docta quidem studio, sed saevo prodita fato
Viva nihil dixit, quae sic modo mortua canto.

Translation:

Tardy, with a slow step, and endowed with a brilliant back;
Certainly learned in my zeal, but by cruel fate betrayed,
Alive, I said nothing; recently dead, I sing thus.

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Tortoise


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 21: Talpa

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Caeca mihi facies atris obscura tenebris;
Nox est ipse dies nec sol mihi cernitur ullus;
Malo tegi terra: sic me quoque nemo videbit.

Translation:

My face is blind, hidden in dark shadows;
Night is itself day, nor is any sun perceived by me;
I like to be covered by earth: and this way no one will see me.

Click to show riddle solution?
Mole


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 22: Formica

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Provida sum vitae, duro non pigra labore,
Ipsa ferens umeris securae praemia brumae.
Nec gero magna simul, sed congero multa vicissim.

Translation:

I am prudent in my life, not lazy when it comes to hard work,
Bearing on my own shoulders foodstuffs for a safe winter.
Nor do I carry a lot all at once, but I collect a lot little by little.

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Ant


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 23: Musca

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Improba sum, fateor: quid enim gula turpe veretur?
Frigora vitabam, quae nunc aestate revertor;
Sed cito submoveor falso conterrita vento.

Translation:

I am shameless, I admit: for what filth does my throat actually fear?
I avoided the cold and am now returned with the summer;
But I am quickly driven away, terrified of the false wind.

Click to show riddle solution?
Fly


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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Symphosius Riddle 24: Curculio

ALEXANDRAREIDER

Date: Fri 01 Jul 2022
Original text:

Non bonus agricolis, non frugibus utilis hospes,
Non magnus forma, non recto nomine dictus
Non gratus Cereri, non parvam sumo saginam.

Translation:

Not good to farmers nor a useful guest to crops,
Not great in size nor called by my true name,
Not pleasing to Ceres, I acquire not a little nourishment.

Click to show riddle solution?
Weevil


Notes:

This edition is based on Raymond T. Ohl, ed. The Enigmas of Symphosius. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1928.



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