Aldhelm Riddle 36: Scnifes


Date: Tue 15 Mar 2022
Original text:

Corpore sum gracilis, stimulis armatus acerbis;
Scando catervatim volitans super ardua pennis
Sanguineas sumens praedas mucrone cruento
Quadrupedi parcens nulli; sed spicula trudo
Setigeras pecudum stimulans per vulnera pulpas,
Olim famosus vexans Memphitica rura;
Namque toros terebrans taurorum sanguine vescor.


I am small in body, armed with sharp stings;
I ascend in a crowd, flying high on wings,
Claiming bloody prey with a gory sword, 
Sparing no quadruped; rather, I thrust my stings,
Pricking the bristly flesh of beasts with wounds,
Once famous for vexing the Egyptian countryside;
And now, drilling through into muscle, I am nourished on the blood of bulls.

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Stinging Insect


This edition is based on Rudolf Ehwald, ed. Aldhelmi Opera Omnia. Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Auctores Antiquissimi, 15. Berlin: Weidmann, 1919, pages 59-150. Available online here.

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