Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book/Annotated/58

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book (1963)
translated by Paull Franklin Baum
1190276Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book1963Paull Franklin Baum

58 (k-d 32)

Beautifully made     in many ways
is this our world,     cunningly adorned.
Marvelous is its motion,     I saw this device
grind against the gravel,     crying out as it went.
This marvelous thing     had no sight nor feeling,
neither shoulders nor arms.     One foot only
had this curious device     to journey along on,
to move over the fields.     It had many ribs,
its mouth was midway.     Useful to mortals,
it bears abundance     of food to the people,
brings them plenty     and pays to men
annual tribute     which all enjoy,
the high and the lowly.     Explain if you can,
who are wise in words,     what this thing may be.


Is þes middangeard     missenlicum
wisum gewlitegad     wrættum gefrætwad
siþum sellic     ic seah searo hweorfan
grindan wið greote     giellende faran
næfde sellicu wiht     syne ne folme
exle ne earmas     sceal on anum fet
searoceap swifan     swiþe feran
faran ofer feldas     hæfde fella ribba
muð wæs on middan     moncynne nyt
fere foddurwelan     folcscipe dreogeð
wist in wigeð werum gieldeð
gaful geara gehwam     þæs þe guman brucað
rice heane     rece gif þu cunne
wis worda gleaw     hwæt sio wiht sie

It is a Ship. Its one foot is the keel; the rest is easy. The verbal repetitions are in the original. The first two lines are a formula, as in 44 (k-d 31), which just precedes it in the manuscript, and may be only a careless mechanical repetition on the part of the scribe.