Exeter Riddle 56


Date: Wed 05 Oct 2016
Matching Commentaries: Commentary for Exeter Riddle 56
Original text:

Ic wæs þær inne      þær ic ane geseah
winnende wiht      wido bennegean,
holt hweorfende;      heaþoglemma feng,
deopra dolga.      Daroþas wæron
5     weo þære wihte,      ond se wudu searwum
fæste gebunden.      Hyre fota wæs
biidfæst oþer,      oþer bisgo dreag,
leolc on lyfte,      hwilum londe neah.
Treow wæs getenge      þam þær torhtan stod
10     leafum bihongen.      Ic lafe geseah
minum hlaforde,      þær hæleð druncon,
þara flana,(1)       on flet beran.


I was inside there, where I saw
a wooden object wounding a certain struggling creature,
the turning wood; it received battle-wounds,
deep gashes. Darts were
5     woeful to that creature, and the wood skillfully
bound fast. One of its feet was
held fixed, the other endured affliction,
leapt into the air, sometimes near the land.
A tree, hung about by leaves, was near
10     to that bright thing [which] stood there. I saw the leavings
of those arrows, carried onto the floor
to my lord, where the warriors drank.

Click to show riddle solution?
Loom, Lathe


This riddle appears on folio 114r 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 208.

Note that this edition numbers the text Riddle 54: Craig Williamson, ed., The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), page 101.

Textual Note:

(1) The manuscript reads þara flan here. I have followed Williamson’s emendation and explanation (pages 208 and 307), since Krapp and Dobbie unnecessarily supply an extra word in their edition: þara flana geweorc.

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