Aldhelm Riddle 63: Corbus


Date: Thu 14 Apr 2022
Original text:

Dum genus humanum truculenta fluenta necarent
Et nova mortales multarent aequora cunctos
Exceptis raris, gignunt qui semina saecli,
Primus viventum perdebam foedera iuris
Imperio patris contemnens subdere colla;
Unde puto dudum versu dixisse poetam:
“Abluit in terris, quidquid deliquit in undis.”
Nam sobolem numquam dapibus saturabo ciborum,
Ni prius in pulpis plumas nigrescere cernam.
Littera tollatur: post haec sine prole manebo.


While stormy floods drowned the race of men
And new waters punished all mortals
With rare exceptions, who beget the seeds of the world,
I, first among the living, forfeited the covenants of law,
Refusing to subject my neck to the father’s command;
Whence I think the poet said long ago in verse:
'It washed away on earth what it did, transgressing, in the waves.'
For I shall never stuff my offspring with feasts of food,
Unless first I spot their feathers growing black in the flesh.
Let a letter be removed: after which I shall remain without progeny.

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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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