Exeter Riddle 52


Date: Thu 19 May 2016
Matching Commentaries: Commentary for Exeter Riddle 52

Riddle 52’s translation is by Lindy Brady, formerly of the University of Mississippi (when she wrote this post), now from University College Dublin. Lindy works on all manner of medieval languages (Old and Middle English, medieval Irish and Welsh, Old Norse, Anglo-Latin!), and is especially interested multilingualism, landscape and identity.

Original text:

Ic seah ræpingas      in ræced fergan
under hrof sales      hearde twegen,
þa wæron genumne,(1)       nearwum bendum
gefeterade      fæste togædre;
5     þara oþrum wæs      an getenge
wonfah Wale,      seo weold hyra
bega siþe      bendum fæstra.


I saw captives brought into the house
under the roof of the hall – a hard pair –
who were seized, fettered fast together
by narrow bonds.
5     Near to one was
a dark-coloured Welsh woman, she controlled them
both on their journey, fixed by bonds.

Click to show riddle solution?
Buckets, Broom, Flail, Yoked oxen


This riddle appears on folio 113v 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 207.

Note that this edition numbers the text Riddle 50: Craig Williamson, ed., The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), page 99.

Textual Note:

(1) This emendation is from Williamson, pages 99 and 296. Note that the manuscript reads genamnan, which Krapp and Dobbie's edition emends to genamne.

Tags: anglo saxon  exeter book  riddles  old english  solutions  riddle 52 

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