Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book/Annotated/53

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

53 (k-d 14)

I was an armed fighter.     Now a young home-dweller
covers me proudly     with twisted wires,
with gold and silver.     Sometimes men kiss me.
Sometimes with my song     I summon to battle
happy comrades.     Sometimes a steed carries me
over the marches.     Sometimes a sea-horse
bears me over waves     with my bright trappings.
Sometimes a maiden     fills my ring-adorned bosom.
Sometimes I must lie     hard and headless
stripped on the tables.     Sometimes I hang,
with ornaments proud,     on the wall where men drink.
Sometimes a good weapon,     the warriors bear me,
riding on horseback,     with treasure laden,
I must breathe in the breath     of a man’s breast.
Sometimes with my music     I summon proud warriors
to drink their wine.     Sometimes with my voice
I rescue the booty,     put foe to flight.
    Ask me my name.


Ic wæs wæpen wiga     nu mec wlonc þeceð
geong hagostealdmon     golde sylfore
woum wirbogum     hwilum weras cyssað
hwilum ic to hilde     hleoþre bonne
wilgehleþan     hwilum wycg byreþ
mec ofer mearce     hwilū merehengest
fereð ofer flodas     frætwum beorhtne
hwilū mægða sum     minne gefylleð
bosm beaghroden     hwilum ic bordum sceal
heard heafodleas     behlyþed licgan
hwilū hongige     hyrstum frætwed
wlitig on wage     þær weras drincað
freolic fyrd sceorp ·     hwilū folcwigan
wicge wegað     þōn ic winde sceal
sincfag swelgan     of sumes bosme ·
hwilū ic gereordum     rincas laðige
wlonce to wine ·     hwilū wraþþum sceal
stefne minre     forstolen hreddan
flyman feondsceaþan     frige hwæt ic hatte

Horn, described under various aspects marked by the “Sometimes” repeated ten times in nineteen lines: on the head of a steer, as war-horn (also on ships), as drinking horn, as hunting horn, as warning against thieves. “Ring-adorned,” l. 8, ‘adorned with a necklace.’