Aldhelm Riddle 79: Sol et luna


Date: Thu 14 Apr 2022
Original text:

Non nos Saturni genuit spurcissima proles
Iupiter, immensum fingunt quem carmina vatum,
Nec fuit in Delo mater Latona creatrix;
Cynthia non dicor nec frater Apollo vocatur,
Sed potius summi genuit regnator Olimpi,
Qui nunc in caelis excelsae praesidet arci.
Dividimus mundum communi lege quadratum:
Nocturnes regimus cursus et frena dierum.
Ni soror et frater vaga saecula iure gubernent,
Heu! chaos immensum clauderet cuncta latebris
Atraque nunc Erebi regnarent Tartara nigri.


Saturn’s vilest child did not produce us—
That is, Jupiter, whom the poets’ songs depict as immense— 
Nor was mother Latona our creator on Delos; 
I am not called Cynthia and my brother is not called Apollo,
But rather the ruler of high Olympus,
Who now presides over the lofty castle on high, did produce us.
We divide the four-part world with a shared law:
We rule the nocturnal courses and the mastery of days.
If sister and brother did not govern the unstable world with authority,
Alas! measureless chaos would surround everything in shadow
And then black Erebus would reign over gloomy Tartarus. 

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Sun and Moon


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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