[Riddle 50]

by Anonymous (from the Exeter Book)

Wiga is on eorþan      wundrum ācenned
dryhtum tō nytte,      of dumbum twām
torht atyhted,      þone on tēon wīgeð
fēond his fēonde.    Fōrstrangne oft
wīf hine wrīðeð;      hē him wel hereð,
þēowaþ him geþwǣre,      gif him þegniað
mægeð ond mæcgas      mid gemete ryhte
fēdað hine fægre;      hē him fremum stēpeð
līfe on lissum.      Lēanað grimme
[þām] þe hine wloncne      weorþan lǣteð.

[Riddle 50]

by Anonymous (from the Exeter Book)

There is a warrior who walks the earth,

a wondrous asset come,

who amid sparks was born so bright

from parents deaf and dumb.


In spite of foe, foe battles him

to both hostile the same.

So ferocious, he overpowers,

yet by a wife he’s tamed.


Them he’ll hark and well obey

and serve in harmony,

if they just serve, the women and men,

what proper meals he needs.


Good he’ll treat with good in kind,

his mild mercy earned.

But those who let him swell with pride

are grimly paid in turn.

translated from Old English by Evan Klavon