Exeter Riddle 34


Date: Tue 27 Jan 2015
Matching Commentaries: Commentary for Exeter Riddle 34

Riddle 34 comes to us from Corinne Dale. Corinne is a PhD student at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she works on riddles and ecocriticism.

Original text:

Ic wiht geseah      in wera burgum
seo þæt feoh fedeð.      Hafað fela toþa;
nebb biþ hyre æt nytte,      niþerweard gongeð,
hiþeð holdlice      ond to ham tyhð,
5     wæþeð geond weallas,      wyrte seceð;
aa heo þa findeð      þa þe fæst ne biþ;
læteð hio þa wlitigan,      wyrtum fæste,
stille stondan      on staþolwonge,
beorhte blican,      blowan ond growan.


I saw a creature in men’s dwellings,
the one who feeds the herds. It has many teeth;
its nose is at use; downward it goes,
plunders faithfully and proceeds towards home,
5     hunts through walls, seeks plants.
It always finds the ones that are not firmly rooted;
it lets the beautiful ones, firm in their roots,
stand still in their foundations,
shine brightly, bloom and grow.

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This riddle appears on folio 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.

Note that this edition numbers the text Riddle 32: Craig Williamson, ed., The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), page 88.

Tags: anglo saxon  exeter book  riddles  old english  solutions  riddle 34 

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