Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book/18

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18 (k-d 11)


My garment is darkish.     Bright decorations,
red and radiant,     I have on my raiment.
I mislead the stupid     and stimulate the foolish
toward unwise ways.     Others I restrain
from profitable paths.     But I know not at all
that they, maddened,     robbed of their senses,
astray in their actions     —that they praise to all men
my wicked ways.     Woe to them then
when the Most High holds out     his dearest of gifts
if they do not desist     first from their folly.









10
Hrægl is min hasofag     hyrste beorhte
reade scire     on reafe
ic dysge dwelle     dole hwette
unrædsiþas     oþrum styre
nyttre fore     ic þæs nowiht wat
heo swa gemædde     mode bestolene
dæde gedwolene     deoraþ mine
wōn wisan gehwam     wā him þæs þeawes
siþþan heah bringað     horda deorast
gif hi unrædes     ær ne geswicaþ

The solution is apparently Wine and a reproof of its excesses. Cf. 59 (k-d 27), Mead, and 60 (k-d 28), John Barleycorn. Ll. 5 ff. “I know not that…” seem to mean “it is no affair of mine that….” L. 9 has given trouble; probably “Woe to them when brought to the Last Judgment.” Or “dearest of gifts” may mean the gift of salvation.