Tuesday 26 February 2013

Old English Riddles

Recent ASNC PhD graduates, Dr Matthias Ammon and Dr Megan Cavell, are pleased to announce their new blog, The Riddle Ages. Stemming in part from their participation in the department’s exciting Old English Reading Group, Ammon and Cavell have embarked upon the ambitious task of providing open access translations and commentary for every riddle in the Exeter Book. The hope is that this blog will act as a teaching and reference tool for those learning Old English, offer an easily accessible list of potential riddle-solutions for researchers and provide insight into these fascinating poems for interested members of the public.

Below is an example of the first post for Riddle 1:

Hwylc is hæleþa þæs horsc      ond þæs hygecræftig
þæt þæt mæge asecgan,      hwa mec on sið wræce,
þonne ic astige strong,      stundum reþe,
þrymful þunie,      þragum wræce
5   fere geond foldan,      folcsalo bærne,
ræced reafige?      Recas stigað,
haswe ofer hrofum.      Hlin bið on eorþan,
wælcwealm wera,      þonne ic wudu hrere,
bearwas bledhwate,      beamas fylle,
10   holme gehrefed,      heahum meahtum
wrecen on waþe,      wide sended;
hæbbe me on hrycge      þæt ær hadas wreah
foldbuendra,      flæsc ond gæstas,
somod on sunde.      Saga hwa mec þecce,
15   oþþe hu ic hatte,      þe þa hlæst bere.

Who among heroes is so sharp and so skilled in mind
that he may declare who presses me on my journey,
when I rise up, mighty, sometimes savage,
full of force, I resound, at times I press on,
5   travel throughout the land, I burn the people’s hall,
plunder the palace? The reek rises,
grey to the roofs. There is a clamour on the earth,
the slaughter-death of men, when I shake the forest,
the quick-growing groves, topple trees,
10   sheltered by the sea, pressed into wandering
by the powers on high, sent afar;
I have on my back that which earlier covered each rank
of the earth-dwellers, flesh and spirit,
swimming together. Say what covers me,
15   or how I am called, who bear that burden.

See the original blog post for possible solutions!

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