Exeter Book Riddle #47: The Book-Moth

Original Old English:

Moððe word fræt.        Me þæt þuhte

wrætlicu wyrd,        þa ic þæt wundor gefrægn,

þæt se wyrm forswealg        wera gied sumes,

þeof in þystro,        þrymfæstne cwide

ond þæs strangan staþol.        Stælgiest ne wæs

wihte þy gleawra,        þe he þam wordum swealg.


English Translation:

A moth made feast of words.        I thought that

a weird-wrought fate        when I found that wonder out—

that the wyrm had swallowed away         some song of men,

a thief in the shadow        of the glory-firm speech

and of its strong support.        The stealing guest was not

a mite the wiser        though he had ruminated upon the words.

Emily Sun is a junior in Columbia College, studying English and Biology. She hails from heaven-candle-y San Diego, right by the whale-road.