Exeter Riddle 7


Date: Fri 17 May 2013
Matching Commentaries: Commentary for Exeter Riddle 7

This week’s translation is a guest post from the wonderful Jessica Lockhart. Jessica is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, and she clearly knows a thing or two about stylish translating. Stay tuned next week for her commentary.

Original text:

Hrægl min swigað,      þonne ic hrusan trede,
oþþe þa wic buge,      oþþe wado drefe.
Hwilum mec ahebbað      ofer hæleþa byht
hyrste mine,      ond þeos hea lyft,
5     ond mec þonne wide      wolcna strengu
ofer folc byreð.      Frætwe mine
swogað hlude      ond swinsiað,
torhte singað,      þonne ic getenge ne beom
flode ond foldan,      ferende gæst.


My clothing keeps quiet, when I step on earth
or settle down on dwellings or disturb the waters.
Sometimes my dress and this lofty air
lift me over the home of heroes;
5     and widely, then, does the clouds’ strength
bear me over mankind. My adornments
sound out loud and entune sweetly,
sing clearly, when I am not touching
flood and fold, a soul faring.

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This riddle appears on folio 103r of The Exeter Book.

The above Old English text is based on this edition: Elliott van Kirk Dobbie and George Philip Krapp, eds, The Exeter Book, Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records 3 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1936), pages 184-5.

Note that this edition numbers the text Riddle 5: Craig Williamson, ed., The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), page 72.

Tags: anglo saxon  exeter book  riddles  old english  solutions  riddle 7 

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