Aldhelm Riddle 53: Arcturus


Date: Tue 15 Mar 2022
Original text:

Sidereis stipor turmis in vertice mundi:
Esseda famoso gesto cognomina vulgo;
In giro volvens iugiter non vergo deorsum,
Cetera ceu properant caelorum lumina ponto.
Hac gaza ditor, quoniam sum proximus axi,
Qui Ripheis Scithiae praelatus montibus errat,
Vergilias numeris aequans in arce polorum;
Pars cuius inferior Stigia Letheaque palude
Fertur et inferni manibus succumbere nigris.


At the top of the world I am surrounded by starry crowds;
I have the name “esseda” (chariot) in common speech; 
Turning perpetually in my orbit, I do not incline downwards 
Like the others stars of the heavens do when they rush to the sea. 
I am enriched by this wealth for I am near the pole,
Which wanders, visible, around the Riphaean mountains of Scythia. 
I equal in number the Pleiades at the crown of the sky,
The lower part of which is reported to sink down into the Stygian or Lethean 
Swamp and among the black spirits of hell. 

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Arcturus, the star


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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