Exeter Riddle 1


Date: Wed 20 Feb 2013
Matching Commentaries: Commentary for Exeter Riddles 1-3
Original text:

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.

Click to show riddle solution?
Storm, Wind, etc.


This riddle appears on folio 101r 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 180.

Note that this edition takes this riddle together with the following two, dubbing them all Riddle 1: Craig Williamson, ed., The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), pages 67-70.

Tags: anglo saxon  exeter book  riddles  old english  solutions  riddle 1 

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Commentary for Exeter Riddles 1-3
Exeter Riddle 3
Exeter Riddle 23