Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book

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Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book  (1963) , translated by Paull Franklin Baum


ANGLO-SAXON RIDDLES

OF THE EXETER BOOK


translated by

PAULL F. BAUM


DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESS

Durham, North Carolina

1963




© 1963, Duke University Press

Library of Congress Catalogue Card number 63-21168

Cambridge University Press, London, N. W. 1, England


Printed in the United States of America

by the Seeman Printery, Inc., Durham, N. C.




PREFACE

THE ninety-odd riddles in Anglo-Saxon which have come down to us in a single manuscript are naturally a miscellaneous collection of varying merit. A few of them are poetical in the best sense of Anglo-Saxon poetic style, as good as anything outside the heroic style of the Beowulf. Many of them are interesting as riddles: intentional ambiguities to be solved by the reader or hearer. Some of them are learned, turning on the interpretation of runic letters or dealing with subjects only the monkish mind would care about. Some of them are neat and clever and well versified; others are not so good.

In the manuscript the riddles appear in no particular order. The following translations have been grouped according to subject. It was not feasible to arrange them by types, because the typical forms of the riddle are not clearly fixed and the Anglo-Saxon riddles are too few to illustrate many types.

The language of the Anglo-Saxon riddles is often difficult, and even those who are fairly familiar with Old English cannot read them readily. Though some of the best have been translated in scattered places, and there is a prose line-for-line translation in the E.E.T.S. edition of the Exeter Book, not readily accessible to the common reader, it has seemed worthwhile to render them all in similar verse form, with brief explanations, for any who may be interested in the riddles as such and for the glimpses they afford of monkish diversion and of daily life in England of the eighth and ninth centuries—in modern terms, for their psychological and sociological values.

I am deeply indebted to Professor Elliott V. K. Dobbie for reading my manuscript with great care and suggesting many improvements.

p.f.b.




CONTENTS

introduction

i. NATURAL PHENOMENA

ii. CHIEFLY CHRISTIAN

iii. BIRDS

iv. OTHER ANIMALS

v. DOMESTIC SUBJECTS

vi. WRITING

vii. MUSIC

viii. WEAPONS, FIGHTING

ix. HORN

x. MISCELLANEOUS

xi. RUNES

xii. THE ‘OBSCENE’ RIDDLES

xiii. FRAGMENTS

bibliographical note

numbering of the translations and the krapp–dobbie edition

index of solutions

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was legally published within the United States (or the United Nations Headquarters in New York subject to Section 7 of the United States Headquarters Agreement) before 1964, and copyright was not renewed.
For Class A renewals records (books only) published between 1923 and 1963, check the Stanford Copyright Renewal Database and the Rutgers copyright renewal records.
For other renewal records of publications between 1922 - 1950 see the Pennsylvania copyright records scans.
For all records since 1978, search the U.S. Copyright Office records.

The author died in 1964, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 30 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.


Works published in 1963 would have had to renew their copyright in either 1990 or 1991, i.e. at least 27 years after it was first published / registered but not later than 31 December(31 December) in the 28th year. As it was not renewed, it entered the public domain on 1 January 1992(1 January 1992).