Riddle n° 85 from the Exeter Book
Nís mín sele swíge, ne ic sylfa hlúd
Hwæt eom ic ?
My house is not quiet, I am not loud ;
What am I?
Beyond Tolkien using them in The Hobbit, riddles in verse are an ancient literary game. The Exeter Book, an important collection of Anglo-Saxon poetry from the 10th century, includes a fair number of them.
The text can be found online at the following address: http://www.georgetown.edu/labyrinth/library/oe/texts/a3.34.25.html; one word is mangled, we follow the correction adopted in A guide to Old English. We added acute accents on long vowels and diphthongs. The last sentences in italics have been composed for the purpose. The modern English translation of the riddle is a rendering into alliterative verse by Charles W. Kennedy.
An Anthology of Old English Poetry. Translated into alliterative verse by Charles W. Kennedy. New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 1960. 174 p.
Irvine, Martin, Everhart, Deborah. The Labyrinth: Resources for Medieval Studies. Hosted by: Georgetown University, Washington (D.C.). URL: http://labyrinth.georgetown.edu/
Mitchell, Bruce, Robinson, Fred Colson. A guide to Old English. Sixth edition. Oxford, Malden (Mass.): Blackwell, 2001. 400 p. ISBN 0-631-22636-2
Quotations of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, Édouard Kloczko, Christopher Gilson, Patrick Wynne, Rhona Beare, Thomas Alan Shippey, Charles Kennedy, Elaine Treharne, André Crépin, Régis Boyer, François-Xavier Dillmann, Gabriel Rebourcet, Keith Bosley, Pierre-Yves Lambert, Gwyn Jones, Thomas Jones are under the copyright of their publishers.
Last update of the site : 2006, August 9th.
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