Exeter Riddles 79 and 80


Date: Thu 26 Jul 2018
Matching Commentaries: Commentary for Exeter Riddles 79 and 80

Krapp and Dobbie’s edition treats the first line as Riddle 79 and the remainder of the poem as Riddle 80. Williamson’s edition and most scholars tackle them together as one poem. I’m going with that!

Original text:

Ic eom æþelinges         æht ond willa.
Ic eom æþelinges         eaxlgestealla,
fyrdrinces gefara,         frean minum leof,
cyninges geselda.         Cwen mec hwilum
hwitloccedu         hond on legeð,
eorles dohtor,         þeah hio æþelu sy.
Hæbbe me on bosme         þæt on bearwe geweox.
Hwilum ic on wloncum         wicge ride
herges on ende;         heard is min tunge.
Oft ic woðboran         wordleana sum
agyfe æfter giedde.         Good is min wise
ond ic sylfa salo.         Saga hwæt ic hatte.


I am a prince’s property and desire.
I am a prince’s shoulder-companion,
a warrior’s follower, beloved by my lord,
a king’s comrade. Sometimes a fair-haired
lady lays her hand on me,
a nobleman’s daughter, although she is dignified.
I have in my bosom what waxed in a wood.
Sometimes I ride on a bold steed
on the border of a host; my tongue is hard.
Often I give a speech-bearer after a song
a certain reward for words. My manner is good,
and I am dusky of self. Say what I am called.

Click to show riddle solution?
Horn, Falcon, Hawk, Spear, Sword, Scabbard


This riddle appears on folio 127r 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 235.

Note that this edition numbers the text Riddle 76: Craig Williamson, ed., The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), page 111.

Tags: anglo saxon  exeter book  riddles  old english  solutions  riddle 79  riddle 80 

Related Posts:
Contest: Old English Riddles for the Modern World
Exeter Riddle 24
Exeter Riddle 71