Exeter Riddle 4


Date: Fri 29 Mar 2013
Matching Commentaries: Commentary for Exeter Riddle 4
Original text:

Ic sceal þragbysig      þegne minum,
hringum hæfted,      hyran georne,
min bed brecan,      breahtme cyþan
þæt me halswriþan      hlaford sealde.
5     Oft mec slæpwerigne      secg oðþe meowle
gretan eode;      ic him gromheortum
winterceald oncweþe.      Wearm lim
gebundenne bæg      hwilum bersteð;
se þeah biþ on þonce      þegne minum,
10     medwisum men,      me þæt sylfe,
þær wiht wite,      ond wordum min
on sped mæge      spel gesecgan.


At times busy, bound by rings,
I must eagerly obey my thane,
break my bed, proclaim with a cry
that my lord gave me a neck-torque.
5     Often a man or woman came to greet me,
sleep-weary; I answer them, winter-cold,
the hostile-hearted ones. A warm limb
sometimes bursts the bound ring;
however, that is agreeable to my thane,
10     the half-witted man, and to myself,
if I could know anything, and tell my story
successfully with words.

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Bell, Bucket, Plough-team, etc.


This riddle appears on folio 102v 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 183.

Note that this edition numbers the text Riddle 2: Craig Williamson, ed., The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), page 70.

Tags: anglo saxon  exeter book  riddles  solutions  riddle 4 

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