Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book/Annotated/52

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

52 (k-d 17)


I protect my hearth,     my hoard and my home,
surrounded by strands     and filled within
with excellent treasures.     Often by day
I spit abroad     the terror of spears.
My success is the greater     the more I am filled.
My master sees this,     how darts fly from within me.
Sometimes I swallow     the swart dark weapons,
the poisoned darts.     My entrails are good,
precious to warriors,     the hoard that I hold.
Many remember     what goes through my mouth.



Ic eom mundbora     minre heorde
eodor wirum fæst     innan gefylled
dryhtgestreona     dægtidum oft
spæte sperebrogan     sped biþ þy mare
fylle minre     freo þæt bihealdeð
hu me of hrife fleogað     hyldepilas
hwilum ic sweartum     swelgan onginne
brunum beadowæpnum     bitrum ordum
eglum attorsperum.     is min innað til ·
wombhord wlitig     wloncū deore
men gemunan     þæt me þurh muþ fareð

The manuscript has above this the rune for B, either for Burg, ‘town,’ or for Ballista. If the former, the answer is a Town defended by its inhabitants. Above the rune for B, moreover, is the rune for L, and this points to Ballista, an engine for throwing missiles, as the solution, favored by recent editors. Since both answers would fit, the ambiguity is probably intentional, to promote argument.