Exeter Riddle 91


Date: Mon 02 Nov 2020
Matching Commentaries: Commentary for Exeter Riddle 91
Original text:
Min heafod is           homere geþuren,
searopila wund,           sworfen feole.
Oft ic begine           þæt me ongean sticað,
þonne ic hnitan sceal,           hringum gyrded,
5    hearde wið heardum,           hindan þyrel,
forð ascufan           þæt mines frean
mod · ᚹ · freoþað           middelnihtum.
Hwilum ic under bæc           bregde nebbe,
hyrde þæs hordes,           þonne min hlaford wile
10    lafe þicgan           þara þe he of life het
wælcræfte awrecan           willum sinum.
My head is beaten by a hammer,
wounded by crafty points, polished by a file.
Often I swallow what sticks against me,
when I must thrust, encircled with rings,
5     hard against a hard thing, a hole from behind,
push forward what preserves my lord’s
mind-JOY in the middle of the night.
Sometimes I pull back with my nose
the hoard’s guardian, when my lord wants
10     to consume the remains of those whom he commanded
be driven from life through slaughter-skill, for his own desire.
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This riddle appears on folios 129v-130r 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 240-1.

Note that this edition numbers the text Riddle 87: Craig Williamson, ed., The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), page 118.

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