Exeter Riddle 33


Date: Wed 07 Jan 2015
Matching Commentaries: Commentary for Exeter Riddle 33

Riddle 33’s translation is by Britt Mize. Britt is Associate Professor of English and Rothrock Research Fellow at Texas A&M University where he works on Old and Middle English language, literature and poetics.

Original text:

Wiht cwom æfter wege      wrætlicu liþan,
cymlic from ceole     cleopode to londe,
hlinsade hlude;      hleahtor wæs gryrelic,
egesful on earde,      ecge wæron scearpe.
5     Wæs hio hetegrim,     hilde to sæne,
biter beadoweorca;     bordweallas grof,
heard, hiþende,      heterune bond.
Sægde searocræftig     ymb hyre sylfre gesceaft:
“Is min modor     mægða cynnes
10     þæs deorestan,      þæt is dohtor min
eacen up liden;     swa þæt is ældum cuþ,
firum on folce,     þæt seo on foldan sceal
on ealra londa gehwam     lissum stondan.”


Something wondrous came moving over wave;
the beautiful thing called out to shore from the ship,
resounded loudly. Its laughter was horrible,
terrible in the land. Its edges were sharp.
5   She was hate-fierce, slow in combat,
bitter in battle-deeds; hard, ravaging,
she carved into shield-walls, bound them with a hate-rune.
The cunning thing spoke of her own creation:
“My mother, the dearest of maiden-kind,
10   is the one who is my daughter,
grown up strong. It is known to men,
to folk among the people, that she shall come with joy
to the surface of the earth in every single land.”

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Iceberg, Ice, Ice-floe


This riddle appears on folios 108v-109r 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 197, but note that the punctuation differs at lines 7-8 and 11.

Note that this edition numbers the text Riddle 31: Craig Williamson, ed., The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), pages 87-8.

Tags: anglo saxon  exeter book  riddles  old english  solutions  riddle 33 

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