Solving Riddle 26

Now that we have identified all the different grammatical components it is time to piece them together. Using the information we have discovered, as well as your knowledge of the cases and general sentence patterns, translate the text. When you have finished see if you can figure out the answer to the riddle. I have colour coded the different parts of speech (i.e. pronouns, nouns, verbs, etc.) in order to make it easier for you. In the text boxes label the case, number, gender, verb class and rough translation of all the words. It is perfectly acceptable to copy this information from past exercises, but make sure you understand what you are copying. Do not passively transfer the information from one page to another. If you need to review past lessons feel free to do so, but always make sure you understand why you giving a particular answer. You need to understand how the words are functioning and why they are positioned in specific places. Do not fall into the habit of simply trying to create nice sounding sentences, as your translation will be relying on pure luck. Paying attention to cases is vital and your translation will not be accurate unless you do so. If you try to cut corners and piece together a sentence without understanding all the grammar you will make things difficult for yourself as your studies continue. If you take the extra time now it will benefit you later, when all you will need to practice is your speed. Figure out what aspects of the language you are struggling with and focus your attention on these details in order to improve your abilities. After you have labelled everything in the passage try to come up with a final translation and compare you work with the example provided.

  Riddle 26: (Provide the Grammatical Information) Legend:
  Ic eom wunderlīcu wiht, wifum on hyhte, Pronouns
  nēahbūndum nyt ; nngum scee Verbs
  burgsittendra nyme bonan ānum. Adverbs


  Staol mīn is stēaphēah, stonde ic on bedde, Conjunctions
(5) neoan rūh nāthwr. Nēeđ hwīlum Note: "e" is an
indeclinable relative
  ful cyrtenu ceorles dohtor, particle
  mōdwlonc mēowle, t hēo on mec grīpeđ,  
  rseđ mec on rēodne, rēafađ mīn hēafod,  
  fēgeđ mec on fsten ; fēle sōna  
(10) mīnes gemōtes sēo e mec nearwađ  
  wīf wudenlocc : wt biđ t ēage.  


  Your Final Translation  

Ic eom wunderlīcu wiht, wifum on hyhte,

nēahbūndum nyt ; nngum scee

burgsittendra nyme bonan ānum.

Staol mīn is stēaphēah, stonde ic on bedde,

neoan rūh nāthwr. Nēeđ hwīlum

ful cyrtenu ‌ ceorles dohtor,

mōdwlonc mēowle, t hēo on mec grīpeđ,

rseđ mec on rēodne, rēafađ mīn hēafod,

fēgeđ mec on fsten ; fēle sōna

mīnes gemōtes sēo e mec nearwađ,

wīf wudenlocc : wt biđ t ēage.



Translation Example:


Riddle 26
  Ic eom wunderlicu wiht, wifum on hyhte, I am [a] wonderful thing, [a] joy to women,
  neahbundum nyt ; nængum sceþþe useful to neighbours; [I] injure no town dwellers
  burgsittendra nymþe bonan anum. except [my] slayer alone.
  Staþol min is steapheah, stonde ic on bedde, My position is very high, I stand on [the] bed,
(5) neoþan ruh nathwær. Neþed hwilum [and] below in some place unknown, [am] hairy.
  ful cyrtenu ceorles dohtor, Sometimes [a] very fair peasants daughter,
  modwlonc meowle, þæt heo on mec griped, [a] spirited young maiden, grasps onto me,
  ræsed mec on reodne, reafad min heafod, rushes me continuously red, ravages my head,
  feged mec on fæsten ; feleþ sona binds on me fast, [and] immediately feels
(10) mines gemotes seo þe mec nearwad, my encounter, she that presses hard [on] me,
  wif wudenlocc : wæt bid þæt eage. [a] woman with braided locks: moist is that eye.

            Riddle twenty-six is finally complete; can you figure out what it is describing? There has been much debate among scholars as to the meaning of this particular puzzle. The two most popular answers are very different from one another. Reading the riddle, one might think that the subject is an onion and that the person being injured is she who prepares the vegetable and is sprayed by its spiteful perfume. On the other hand, this riddle has heavy erotic overtones, and the answer could quite possibly be sexual. In fact, both answers could be correct, demonstrating the wonderful sense of humour the Anglo-Saxons had. This type of humour is called double entendre, and has a long-standing history.

            As you can see, riddle twenty-six is remarkably different from riddle eight. While the first riddle we translated was very gentle and elegant, the second is far more playful and blunt. As we continue translating these riddles you will discover the wonderful diversity of the Exeter puzzles. From the witty and obscene to the clever and refined, these passages demonstrate the wide array of human thought and emotion that was present so long ago. The variety of these riddles show us how the Anglo-Saxons were not so different from ourselves n the sense that they too experienced pain, love, humour and hate. Although we live in a different era and contexts have changed, the raw human quality of these riddles transcends time.



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