Riddle 37

Riddle 37
bertha rogers

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english translation

Riddle 37

I saw a creature      who wore its womb
behind.      Greatly grown, it was obeyed
by a strong servant     who strove so hard   
that the swell in its bag      burst its bonds
through the white    of its eye.
It did not die,    though it seem doomed.
No, it gasped,    then breathed again,
aborning its own son,    itself its father.

original Anglo-Saxon poem

Riddle 37 — Anglo-Saxon Original

Ic ζa wihte geseah—      womb wΦs on hindan
ζriζum aζrunten.   ψ|egn folgade,
mΦgenrofa man,      ond micel hΦfde
gefered ζΦt hit felde,      fleah ζurh his eage.
Ne swylteξ he symle,      ζonne syllan sceal
innaξ ζam oζrum,      ac him eft cymeξ
bot in bosme,      blΦd biζ arΦred;
He sunu wyrceξ,     biξ him sylfa fΦder.