Exeter Riddle 14


Date: Mon 28 Oct 2013
Matching Commentaries: Commentary for Exeter Riddle 14
Original text:

Ic wæs wæpenwiga.      Nu mec wlonc þeceð
geong hagostealdmon      golde ond sylfore,
woum wirbogum.      Hwilum weras cyssað,
hwilum ic to hilde      hleoþre bonne
5     wilgehleþan,      hwilum wycg byreþ
mec ofer mearce,      hwilum merehengest
fereð ofer flodas      frætwum beorhtne,
hwilum mægða sum      minne gefylleð
bosm beaghroden;      hwilum ic bordum sceal,
10     heard, heafodleas,      behlyþed licgan,
hwilum hongige      hyrstum frætwed,
wlitig on wage,      þær weras drincað,
freolic fyrdsceorp.      Hwilum folcwigan
on wicge wegað,      þonne ic winde sceal
15     sincfag swelgan      of sumes bosme;
hwilum ic gereordum      rincas laðige
wlonce to wine;      hwilum wraþum sceal
stefne minre      forstolen hreddan,
flyman feondsceaþan.      Frige hwæt ic hatte.


I was an armed warrior. Now a bold
young retainer covers me with gold and silver,
twisted coils of wire. Sometimes men kiss me,
sometimes I call close comrades
5     to battle with my voice, sometimes a horse bears me
over the bounds, sometimes a sea-steed
draws me over the depths, brightly decorated,
sometimes one of the girls fills
my bosom, ring-adorned; sometimes I must lie
10     on boards, hard, headless, despoiled,
sometimes I hang decorated with ornaments,
appealing on the wall, where men drink,
comely army-attire. Sometimes battle-warriors
carry me on a horse, when I must swallow,
15     treasure-stained, breath from a certain one’s breast;
sometimes I proudly call with cries
warriors to their wine; sometimes I have to reclaim
stolen goods from enemies with my voice,
put to flight fiendish foes. Reveal what I am called.

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This riddle appears on folio 104r of The Exeter Book.

The above Old English text is based on this edition: Elliott van Kirk Dobbie and George Philip Krapp, eds, The Exeter Book, Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records 3 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1936), page 187.

Note that this edition numbers the text Riddle 12: Craig Williamson, ed., The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), page 75.

Tags: anglo saxon  exeter book  riddles  old english  solutions  riddle 14 

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