Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book/44
|Beautifully made in many ways
is this our world, cunningly adorned.
I saw a strange thing singing in a house;
its shape was more wonderful than aught among men.
Its beak was underneath, its feet and hands birdlike,
yet fly it cannot nor walk at all.
Yet eager for movement it starts to work
with various arts. It often goes around
again and again among noble men.
It sits at the banquet-board, awaits its turn
till comes its time to display its skill
among those who are near. It partakes of nothing
that the men there have for their pleasure.
Brave, eager for glory it remains dumb,
yet it has in its foot beautiful sounds,
a glorious gift of song. Wondrous it seems to me
how this very thing can play with words
through its foot beneath adorned with trappings.
It has on its neck when it guards its treasure,
bare, proud with rings, its two companions,
brother and sister. It’s a great thing surely
for a wise singer to think what this is.
|Is þes middangeard missenlicum
wisum gewlitegad · wrættum gefrætwad
ic seah sellic þing singan on ræcede
wiht on gemonge
sio hæfde wæstum wundorlicran
wæs neb hyre
fet folme fugele gelice
no hwæþre fleogan mæg ne fela gongan
hwæþre feþegeorn fremman onginneð
gecoren cræftum cyrreð geneahhe
oft gelome eorlum on gemonge
siteð æt symble sæles bideþ ·
hwonne ær heo cræft hyre cyþan mote
werum on wonge ne heo þær wiht þigeð
þæs þe him æt blisse beornas
deor domes georn hio dumb wunað
hwæþre hyre is on fote fæger hleoþor
wynlicu woðgiefu wrætlic me þinceð
hu seo wiht mæge wordum lacan
þurh fot neoþan frætwed hyrstum
hafað hyre on halse þōn hio hord warað
beagum deall broþor sine
mæg mid micel is to hycgenne
wisum woðboran wiht sie