Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book/Annotated/68

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

68 (k-d 24)

I’m a wonderful thing;     I vary my voice:
I bark like a dog,     I bleat like a goat,
I quack like a goose,     I shriek like a hawk;
I imitate the eagle,     the gray one, the cry
Of the fighting bird;     sometimes the kite’s voice
is familiar to my mouth,     or the sea-mew’s song,
where I happily sit.    
GIFT is my name,
AK and RIDING     and the GOD helps,
HAIL and ICE.     Now you have my name,
as those six letters     clearly betoken.

Ic eom wunderlicu wiht     wræsne mine stefne ·
hwilum beorce swa hund ·     hwilū blæte swa gat ·
hwilum græde swa gōs ·     hwilū gielle swa hafoc ·
hwilū ic onhyrge     þone haswan earn
guðfugles hleoþor ·     hwilum glidan reorde
muþe gemæne ·     hwilum mæwes song
þær ic glado sitte     · · mec nemnað
swylce · · · ·     · fullesteð
· · · ·     nu ic haten eom
swa þa siex stafas     sweotule becnaþ

Here the runes are given their names, which of course are not intended to make sense; but their initial letters (underlined in the translation) are G A R O H I, which transposed spell HIGORA, jay or magpie. This is more like a puzzle than a riddle. If Jay is the solution of 22 (k-d 8), the two writers listened with different ears.