Boniface Riddle 17: Ignorantia ait


Date: Wed 28 Jul 2021
Original text:
Iam dudum nutrix errorum et stulta vocabar:
Germine nempe meo concrescunt pignora saeclis
Noxia peccati late per limina mundi,
Ob quod semper amavit me Germanica tellus,
5  Rustica gens hominum Sclaforum et Scythia dura.
Adsum si gnato, genitor non gaudet in illo.
Non caelum terramve, maris non aequora salsa
Tranantem solem et lunam, non sidera supra
Ignea contemplans quaero, quis conderet auctor.
10  Altrix me numquam docuit, sapientia quid sit.
Altera sordidior saeclis non cernitur usquam.
Idcirco invisam vocitat me Grecia prudens,
Tetrica quod numquam vitans peccamina curo.
For some time now, I have been called a dolt and the nursemaid of errors:
indeed, from my seed the guilty children of sin
spread widely in the world, to the ends of the earth,
because the German soil has always loved me,
5  the rustic tribe of the Slavs and hard Scythia.
If I am born, a father does not rejoice.
Gazing outwards, I do not ask what creator founded
the earth or sky, the sun and moon crossing
the salty surface of the sea, and the stars burning above.
10  A nursemaid never taught me what wisdom is.
No one filthier is seen anywhere on earth.
For that reason, the wise Greeks call me the unseen one,
because I never try to run from terrible sins.
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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. 9 (De vitiis) in Glorie’s edition and 19 in Orchard’s edition.