Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book/Annotated/55

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

55 (k-d 88)

Of the opening lines only a few words remain, and probably the end is lost.

But I stood upright     where I [was],
I and my brother.     Both of us were hard.
The place was noble     where we two stood,
the higher in honor.     The holt often hid us,
a shelter of trees     in the dark nights,
shielded us from showers.     The Lord made us both.
After us two large ones,     our kin will now follow us,
younger brothers     will drive us from our home.
I am unique in the world.     My back itself
is dark and wonderful.     I stand on the wood,
at the end of the board.     My brother is not here,
but brotherless now     I must keep my place
at the end of the board     and firmly stand.
I know not where     my brother is now
or where he dwells     on the bosom of earth,
who formerly dwelt     high by my side.
We stood together     in making war;
neither alone     declared his strength,
else were we in battle     both unavailing.
Now strange beings     tear into me,
injure my insides.     I cannot escape.
On the tracks he will find     success, he who seeks it,
. . . .     his soul’s profit. …




Ic weox þær ic s[…]
[…] sumor ·     mi[…]
[…]me     wæs min t[…]
[…]d ic on staðol[…]
[…]m geong     swa […]
[…] seþeana
oft geond
[…]fgeaf ·
Ac ic uplong stod     þær ic
mine broþor     begen wæron hearde ·
eard wæs þy weorðra     þe wit on stodan
hyrstum þy hyrra     ful oft unc holt wrugon
wudubeama helm     wonnū nihtū
scildon wið scurum     unc gescop meotud ·
Nu unc mæran twam     magas uncre
sculon æfter cuman     eard oðþringan
gingran broþor     eom ic gum cynnes ·
anga ofer eorþan     Is min bæc ·
wonn wundorlic     Ic on wuda stonde
bordes on ende     nis min broþor her ·
Ac ic sceal broþorleas     bordes on ende
staþol weardian     stodan fæste ·
ne wat hwær min broþor     on wera æhtum
eorþan sceata ·     eardian sceal
se me ær be healfe     heah eardade
wit wæron gesome     sæcce to fremmanne
næfre uncer awþer     his ellen cyðde
swawit þære beadwe     begen ne onþungan
hu mec unsceafta     Innan slitað
wyrdaþ mec be wombe     ic gewendan ne mæg
æt þā spore findeð     sped se þe se
[…]     sawle rædes

Antler, horn, inkhorn. There is some disorder in the text apart from the omissions due to damage to the manuscript; possibly the Exeter scribe had an imperfect copy before him. Apparently the “tracks” (l. 31) would be something written, homiletic or copied from the Bible.