Boniface Riddle 12: Superbia loquitur


Date: Mon 26 Jul 2021
Original text:
Serpens angelicus genuit me in culmine caeli,
Viperea spirans et crimina noxia cordi;
Pellexi et populi insidiando milia multa,
E superis regnis trudens in Tartara nigra.
5  Regina et mater peccati et praevia dicor,
Bella movens animis, caste qui vivere malunt;
Irasque insidiasque et mille crimina trado,
Altera in terris non est crudelior ulla.
Luciferum ut dudum seduxi fraude maligna,
10  Omnes sic passim mortales perdere tempto.
Qui me sub sinu gestant, se sternere tempnunt.
Viribus infestis alias convinco sorores.
In terris gradior, sed nubila vertice tango,
Terrificas grassans germanas subsequor una,
15  Viribus invisis sanctos in calce perimo,
Rectos ex armis propriis prosternere nitor.
An angelic serpent birthed me in the heights of heaven,
breathing out snaky crimes, villainous to the heart;
I allured many thousands of nations with my scheming,
shoving them from the heavenly realms into black Tartarus.
5  I am called the queen, mother, and vanguard of sin,
stirring up battles in souls who just want to live purely;
I bring anger and plot and a thousand crimes,
and no one else on earth is crueller.
Just as once I seduced Lucifer with evil deception,
10  so I seek to destroy all mortals everywhere.
Those who carry me in their heart hate to humble themselves.
I surpass the other sisters in harmful powers.
I walk on the earth, but I touch the top of the clouds.
Prowling about, I follow my sisters.
15  I strike saints in the heel with my evil powers,
and I work to overthrow the just with their own weapons.
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This edition is based on Ernst Dümmler, (ed.). Poetae Latini aevi Carolini, Volume 1. Berlin, MGH/Weidmann, 1881. Pages 1-15. Available online here.

Note that this riddle appears as No. 4 (De vitiis) in Glorie’s edition and 14 in Orchard’s edition.

Line 15 perunco > perimo, following Fr. Glorie (ed.), Variae collectiones aenigmatum Merovingicae aetatis. Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina 133A. Turnhout: Brepols, 1968. Page 327.