Aldhelm Riddle 56: Castor


Date: Thu 14 Apr 2022
Original text:

Hospes praeruptis habitans in margine ripis
Non sum torpescens, oris sed belliger armis,
Quin potius duro vitam sustento labore
Grossaque prosternens mox ligna securibus uncis;
Humidus in fundo, tranat qua piscis, aquoso
Saepe caput proprium tingens in gurgite mergo.
Vulnera fibrarum necnon et lurida tabo
Membra medens pestemque luemque resolvo necantem;
Libris corrosis et cortice vescor amara.


A guest living on the edge of steep banks,
I am not sluggish, but am instead a warrior with weapon-teeth;
Moreover, I maintain my life with hard work
And fell large forests directly with these curved axes;
To the watery bottom through which swims the wet fish 
Often I, dipping, plunge my own head in the waters.
Healing internal wounds as well as limbs stinking 
With gore, I destroy both disease and deadly plague;
I am fed on gnawed bark and bitter rind.

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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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