Exeter Riddle 83


Date: Sun 18 Nov 2018
Matching Commentaries: Commentary for Exeter Riddle 83
Original text:

Frod wæs min fromcynn     […]
biden in burgum,     siþþan bæles weard
[…] wera     lige (1) bewunden,
fyre gefælsad.     Nu me fah warað
eorþan broþor,     se me ærest wearð
gumena to gyrne.     Ic ful gearwe gemon
hwa min fromcynn     fruman agette
eall of eard;     ic him yfle ne mot,
ac ic on hæftnyd     hwilum arære
wide geond wongas.     Hæbbe ic wundra fela,
middangeardes     mægen unlytel,
ac ic miþan sceal     monna gehwylcum
degolfulne dom      dyran cræftes,
siðfæt mine.     Saga hwæt ic hatte.


Ancient was my lineage […]
I abided in towns, after the flame’s guardian
[…] of men, wound up with flame,
cleansed by fire. Now the hostile [one] holds me,
the earth’s brother, who first of men
brought grief to me. I very clearly remember
who first severed my lineage
entirely from my dwelling; I may not do him evil,
but I sometimes raise up bonds of captivity
far throughout the fields. I have many wonders,
no small strength on earth,
but I will conceal from each of men
the secret power of [my] precious skill,
my course. Say what I am called.

Click to show riddle solution?
Ore; metal; gold; coins; revenant; spirit


This riddle appears on folio 127v 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), page 236.

Note that this edition numbers the text Riddle 79: Craig Williamson, ed., The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), page 112.

Textual Note:

(1) the manuscript and Krapp and Dobbie read life here, though lige is a common emendation because it makes more sense. I’ve followed Williamson here (see pages 112 and 367).

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