Riddle 23

Listen to the Old English version

Ic eom wunderlicu wiht, This is a standard opening in a number of first-person riddles where the riddler pretends to be the creature itself.

ic, pron. nom.s. I
eom, anomalous verb, 1s. of beon/wesan, to be
wunderlicu, adj. nom.s.f. wonderful, remarkable, strange. The root word wundor can mean: miracle, wonder, horror, monster. Like the word aglæca in Beowulf, it seems to mean "whatever startles you (whether terrible monster or godlike hero)."
wiht, noun f. or n., nom.s. creature, being, person

wifum on hyhte, "for the purpose of (bringing about) joy to women"

wif, noun n., dat.p. wifum, woman, wife
on, prep. normally on, in, into; here it marks purpose, for, as
hyht, noun m., dat.s. hyhte, hope, joy

neahbuendum nyt. neahbuend, noun m., dat.p. neahbuendum, neighbor, near-dweller
nyt, adj. nom.s.f. useful. See also the noun, nytt.

Nængum sceþþe nænig, adj. or pron. from ne + ænig, dat.s.m. nængum, not any, none
sceþþan, verb 6, 1s. sceþþe, hurt, injure

burgsittendra burgsittende, noun m.p., gen.p. burgsittendra, citizens, town-dwellers

nymþe bonan anum. nymþe, conj. except, unless
bona, (bana), noun m. dat.s. bonan, slayer, killer, murder
an, adj. or pron. dat.s.m. anum, one, a certain one, here used adverbially, alone

Staþol min is steapheah; staþol, noun m. nom.s. foundation, place. Compare Rid. 45.5, ond þæs strangan staþol
min, poss. pro. nom.s.m. my
is, anomalous verb, 3s. of beon/wesan, to be
steapheah, adj. nom.s.m. very high, literally, steap-high

stonde ic on bedde, stondan (standan), verb 6, 1s. stonde, stand, remain, occupy a space
ic, pron. n.s. I
on, prep. on
bed(d), noun n. dat.s. bedde, bed, couch, resting place, garden bed. Notice that the bed here is in bawdy terms something to sleep on (or make love on), but in plain terms it's a garden bed. Since the creature is a double, it stands on both!

neoþan ruh nathwær. neoþan, adv. beneath, below, from beneath. This location often carries bawdy implications in the double entendre riddles.
ruh, adj. nom.s.m. rough, hairy, shaggy, (occasionally) undressed
nathwær, adv. somewhere, literally, I know not where (ne + wat + hwær) This tongue-in-cheek ignorance as to location is typical in bawdy riddles when referring to sexual parts.

Neþeð hwilum neþan, verb I, 3s. neþeð, venture, dare. See below (þæt heo on mec gripeð) for what the ceorles dohtor dares.
hwilum, adv. sometimes, at times

ful cyrtenu ful, adv. very
cyrten, adj. nom.s.f. cyrtenu, beautiful, fair, bright, (and in some contexts) intelligent

ceorles dohtor, ceorl, noun, gen.s. ceorles, churl, countryman. OE ceorl can mean any of the following: churl, layman, peasant, freeman of the lowest class, man.
dohtor, noun, nom.s. daughter

modwlonc meowle, modwlonc, adj. nom.s.f. proud, haughty, licentious. Compare the bawdy implications of hygewlonc in Rid. 43, where a proud-hearted bride grabs at the boneless wonder of the bread-dough (penis) with her hands: On þæt banlease bryd grapode, / hygewlonc hondum.
meowle, noun f. nom.s. maid, woman

þæt heo on mec gripeð, þæt, conj. that . Substantive clause which tells what the ceorles dohtor dares to do.
heo, pron. (he, heo, hit), nom.s.f. she
on, prep. on, onto (here used with acc. object)
mec, pron. acc.s. of ic, me
gripan, verb 1, 3s. gripeð, grab, grab onto, seize, take, attack

ræseð mec on reodne, ræsan, verb I, 3s. ræseð, rush, hasten, attack
mec, pron. acc.s. of ic, me. The preposition “on” here follows the preposition.
on, prep. on, onto (here used with acc. object)
reod (read), adj. acc.s.m. reodne, red

reafað min heafod, reafian, verb II, 3s. reafað, rob, ravage, plunder, take forcefully, ?strip
min, poss. pron. acc.s.m. my
heafod, noun n. acc.s. head

fegeð mec on fæsten. fegan, verb I, 3s. fegeð, fix, join, confine
mec, pron. acc.s. of ic, me.
on, prep. on, onto (here used with acc. object)
fæsten, noun n. acc.s. fastness, enclosure, confinement, prison

Feleþ sona felan, verb I (with gen. object) 3s. feleþ, touch, feel, perceive
sona, adv. soon, immediately, at once

mines gemotes min, poss. pro. gen.s.n. mines, my
gemot, noun n. gen.s. gemotes, meeting, encounter, council

seo þe mec nearwað, seo þe, compound relative pronoun, nom.s.f. she who
mec, pron. acc.s. of ic, me.
nearwian, verb II, 3s. nearwað, confine, cramp, force in

wif wundenlocc-- wif, noun n., nom.s. woman, wife
wundenlocc, adj. nom.s.n. curly-haired

wæt bið þæt eage. wæt, adj. nom.s.n. moist, wet
bið, anomalous verb, 3s. of beon/wesan, to be. Sometime the beon forms carry future tense connotations.
þæt, dem. adj., def. art. nom.s.n. that, the
eage, noun n. nom.s. eye, (in some contexts) aperture, hole


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