Aldhelm Riddle 73: Fons


Date: Thu 14 Apr 2022
Original text:

Per cava telluris clam serpo celerrimus antra
Flexos venarum girans anfractibus orbes;
Cum caream vita sensu quoque funditus expers,
Quis numerus capiat vel quis laterculus aequet,
Vita viventum generem quot milia partu?
His neque per caelum rutilantis sidera sperae
Fluctivagi ponti nec compensantur harenae.


Through empty hollows of the earth I spread, secretly and very quickly,
Following the winding circuits of its channels around the bend;
Though I lack life and am also totally without sensation,
What number could capture or what calculation get at 
How many thousands of living things I bring to life through birth? 
Neither the stars of the glowing sphere of heaven 
Nor the sands of the stormy sea are equivalent to these.

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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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