Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book/9

9 (k-d 83)

Ancient my lineage     . . . . .
I lived in towns     after the keeper of fire
. . . . .     encircled with flame
purified by fire.     Now earth’s brother,
an enemy, guards me,     who was first for me
a bringer of sorrow.     Full well I remember
who in the beginning     drove my lineage,
destroyed all the world.     I may do him no harm,
but I raise up captivity     from time to time,
the wide world over.     I have many glories,
no little strength     in all the land,
but I must conceal     from every man
the secret power     of precious skill
and the path I follow.     Tell what my name is.


Frod wæs min from cym     […]
biden in burgum     siþþan bæles weard
[…] wera     life bewunden
fyre gefælsad     nu me fāh warað
eorþan broþor     se me ærest wearþ
gumena to gyrne     Ic ful gearwe gemon
hwa min fromcynn     fruman agette
eall of earde     ic him yfle ne mot ·
ac ic on hæft nyd     hwilum ārære
wide geond wongas     hæbbe ic wunda fela
middangeardes     mægen unlytel ·
Ac ic miþan sceal     monna gehwylcū
degolfulne dōm ·     dyran cræftes
siðfæt minne     saga hwæt ic hatte

The text is uncommonly difficult, as though the author tried too hard to be “poetical.” The answer must be Metal in some form: ore, gold, money. The keeper of the fire is Tubal Cain (Gen. 4:22).