Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book/50

50 (k-d 35)

Me the wet ground,     exceeding cold,
first brought forth     from within itself.
Neither am I wrought     of woolen fleece
nor of hairs, with skill;     I know it in my mind.
I have no winding wefts     nor any warp in me;
nor with strong rods     does the thread resound for me,
nor the whirring shuttle     move across me,
nor the weaver’s rods     anywhere smite me.
Worms do not weave me     with fatal wiles
which fairly adorn     the fine yellow web.
Yet nevertheless     the wide world over
one will call me a joyful     garment for heroes.
Say now truly,     you cunning sage,
learned in language,     what this garment may be.


Mec se wæta wong     wundrum freorig
of his innaþe     ærist cende
ne wat ic mec beworhtne     wulle flysum
hærum þurh heahcræft     hygeþoncum min ·
wundene me ne beoð wefle     ne ic wearp hafu
ne þurh þreata geþræcu     þræd me ne hlimmeð
ne æt me hrutende     hrisil scriþeð
ne mec ohwonan     sceal amas cnyssan
wyrmas mec ne ā wæfan ·     wyrda cræftum
þa þe geolo godwebb     geatwum frætwað
wile mec mon hwæþre seþeah     wide ofer eorþan
hatan for hæleþū     hyhtlic gewæde ·
saga soðcwidum     searoþoncum gleaw
wordum wisfæst     hwæt þis ge wædu sy

In short, a Coat of Mail—woven, but not of wool or of silk. Weaving is suggested, yet with a series of exclusions to show that the thing is not what you would at first suppose.