Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book/Annotated/22

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book (1963)
translated by Paull Franklin Baum
1188507Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book1963Paull Franklin Baum

22 (k-d 8)

I speak through my mouth     with many voices.
Skilfully I sing     with many modulations,
loud and strong, with various tunes.
I sing as I must,     unhampered, unhindered.
I am the nighttime     songster of old.
I bring joy to the men     who dwell in the towns.
When I sing out     with my flexible tones
they sit at home silent.     Tell me my name
who brightly imitate     professional singers
and loudly foretell     many welcome tidings.


Ic þurh muþ sprece     mongum reordum
wrencum singe     wrixle geneahhe
heafodwoþe     hlude cirme
healde mine wisan     hleoþre ne miþe
eald æfensceop     eorlum bringe
blisse in burgum     þōn ic bugendre
stefne styrme     stille on wicum
siteð nigende     saga hwæt ic hatte
þa swa scirenige     sceawendwisan
hlude onhyrge     hæleþum bodige
wilcumena fela     woþe minre

Various answers have been proposed (see pp. xv ff. above), but the most plausible (though it is hard to resist Nightingale for l. 5) is Jay or Jackdaw. Some of the apparent inconsistencies may be intended to confuse the listeners.