This riddle is super-duper long! You’ll understand why when you get to the solution…
Ece is se scyppend, se þas eorþan nu
wreðstuþum wealdeð ond þas world healdeð.
Rice is se reccend ond on ryht cyning
ealra anwalda, eorþan ond heofones,
5 healdeð ond wealdeð, swa he ymb þas utan hweorfeð.
He mec wrætlice worhte æt frymþe,
þa he þisne ymbhwyrft ærest sette,
heht mec wæccende wunian longe,
þæt ic ne slepe siþþan æfre,
10 ond mec semninga slæp ofergongeþ,
beoð eagan min ofestum betyned.
Þisne middangeard meahtig dryhten
mid his onwalde æghwær styreð;
swa ic mid waldendes worde ealne
15 þisne ymbhwyrft utan ymbclyppe.
Ic eom to þon bleað, þæt mec bealdlice mæg
gearu gongende grima abregan,
ond eofore eom æghwær cenra,
þonne he gebolgen bidsteal giefeð;
20 ne mæg mec oferswiþan segnberendra
ænig ofer eorþan, nymþe se ana god
se þisne hean heofon healdeþ ond wealdeþ.
Ic eom on stence strengre micle
þonne ricels oþþe rose sy,
25 [a half-line is missing here] on eorþan tyrf
wynlic weaxeð; ic eom wræstre þonne heo.
Þeah þe lilie sy leof moncynne,
beorht on blostman, ic eom betre þonne heo;
swylce ic nardes stenc nyde oferswiþe
30 mid minre swetnesse symle æghwær,
ond ic fulre eom þonne þis fen swearte
þæt her yfle adelan stinceð.
Eal ic under heofones hwearfte recce,
swa me leof fæder lærde æt frymþe,
35 þæt ic þa mid ryhte reccan moste
þicce ond þynne; þinga gehwylces
onlicnesse æghwær healde.
Hyrre ic eom heofone, hateþ mec heahcyning
his deagol þing dyre bihealdan;
40 eac ic under eorþan eal sceawige
wom wraðscrafu wraþra gæsta.
Ic eom micle yldra þonne ymbhwyrft þes
oþþe þes middangeard meahte geweorþan,
ond ic giestron wæs geong acenned
45 mære to monnum þurh minre modor hrif.
Ic eom fægerre frætwum goldes,
þeah hit mon awerge wirum utan;
ic eom wyrslicre þonne þes wudu fula
oððe þis waroð þe her aworpen ligeð.
50 Ic eorþan eom æghwær brædre,
ond widgielra þonne þes wong grena;
folm mec mæg bifon ond fingras þry
utan eaþe ealle ymbclyppan.
Heardra ic eom ond caldra þonne se hearda forst,
55 hrim heorugrimma, þonne he to hrusan cymeð;
ic eom Ulcanus up irnendan
leohtan leoman lege hatra.
Ic eom on goman gena swetra
þonne þu beobread blende mid hunige;
60 swylce ic eom wraþre þonne wermod sy,
þe her on hyrstum heasewe stondeþ.
Ic mesan mæg meahtelicor
ond efnetan ealdum þyrse,
ond ic gesælig mæg symle lifgan
65 þeah ic ætes ne sy æfre to feore.
Ic mæg fromlicor fleogan þonne pernex
oþþe earn oþþe hafoc æfre meahte;
nis zefferus, se swifta wind,
þæt swa fromlice mæg feran æghwær;
70 me is snægl swiftra, snelra regnwyrm
ond fenyce fore hreþre;
is þæs gores sunu gonge hrædra,
þone we wifel wordum nemnað.
Hefigere ic eom micle þonne se hara stan
75 oþþe unlytel leades clympre,
leohtre ic eom micle þonne þes lytla wyrm
þe her on flode gæð fotum dryge.
Flinte ic eom heardre þe þis fyr drifeþ
of þissum strongan style heardan,
80 hnescre ic eom micle halsrefeþre,
seo her on winde wæweð on lyfte.
Ic eorþan eom æghwær brædre
ond widgelra þonne þes wong grena;
ic uttor eaþe eal ymbwinde,
85 wrætlice gewefen wundorcræfte.
Nis under me ænig oþer
wiht waldendre on worldlife;
ic eom ufor ealra gesceafta,
þara þe worhte waldend user,
90 se mec ana mæg ecan meahtum,
geþeon þrymme, þæt ic onþunian ne sceal.
Mara ic eom ond strengra þonne se micla hwæl,
se þe garsecges grund bihealdeð
sweartan syne; ic eom swiþre þonne he,
95 swylce ic eom on mægene minum læsse
þonne se hondwyrm, se þe hæleþa bearn,
secgas searoþoncle, seaxe delfað.
Nu hafu ic in heafde hwite loccas
wræste gewundne, ac ic eom wide calu;
100 ne ic breaga ne bruna brucan moste,
ac mec bescyrede scyppend eallum;
nu me wrætlice weaxað on heafde
þæt me on gescyldrum scinan motan
ful wrætlice wundne loccas.
105 Mara ic eom ond fættra þonne amæsted swin,
bearg bellende, þe on bocwuda,
won wrotende wynnum lifde
þæt he … [a page is missing in the manuscript here at the end]
The creator is eternal, he who now controls
and holds this earth to its foundations.
The ruler is powerful and king by right,
the lone wielder of all, he holds and controls
5 earth and heaven, just as he encompasses about these things.
He wondrously created me in the beginning,
when he first built this world,
commanded me to remain watching for a long time,
so that I should not sleep ever after,
10 and sleep comes upon me suddenly,
my eyes are quickly shut.
The mighty lord controls in every respect
this middle-earth with his power;
just as I by the word of my leader
15 entirely enclose this globe.
I am so timid that a spectre quickly
travelling can frighten me fully,
and I am everywhere bolder
than a boar when he, enraged, makes a stand;
20 no standard-bearer in the world
can overpower me, except the one God
who holds and controls this high heaven.
I am in scent much stronger
than incense or rose are,
25 [a half-line is missing here] in the turf of the earth
agreeably grows; I am more delicate than she.
Although the lily is beloved to humankind,
bright in blossom, I am better than she;
likewise I necessarily overpower the nard’s scent
30 with my sweetness everywhere at all times,
and I am fouler than this dark fen
that stinks nastily here with its filth.
I rule all under the circuit of heaven,
just as the beloved father taught me in the beginning,
35 so that I might rule by right
the thick and thin; I held the likeness
everywhere of everything.
Higher I am than heaven, the high-king calls commands me
secretly to behold his mysterious nature;
40 I also see all the impure, foul dens
of evil spirits under the earth.
I am much older than this world
or this middle-earth might become,
and I was born young yesterday
45 famous among humans through my mother’s womb.
I am fairer than treasure of gold,
though it be covered all over with wires;
I am more vile than this foul wood
or this sea-weed that lies cast up here.
50 I am broader everywhere than the earth,
and wider than this green plain;
a hand can seize me and three fingers
easily enclose me entirely.
I am harder and colder than the hard frost
55 the sword-grim rime, when it goes to the ground;
I am hotter than the fire of bright light
of Vulcan moving quickly on high.
I am yet sweeter in the mouth
than when you blend bee-bread with honey;
60 likewise I am harsher than wormwood is,
which stands here grey in the wood.
I can feast more mightily
and eat as much as an old giant,
and I can live happily forever
65 although I see no food ever again.
I can fly faster than a pernex
or an eagle or a hawk ever might;
there is no zephyr, that swift wind,
that can journey anywhere faster;
70 a snail is swifter than me, an earth-worm quicker
and the fen-turtle journeys faster;
the son of dung is speedier of step,
that which we call in words ‘weevil’.
I am much heavier than the grey stone
75 or an not-little lump of lead,
I am much lighter than this little insect
that walks here on the water with dry feet.
I am harder than the flint that forces this fire
from this strong, hard steel,
80 I am much softer than the downy-feather,
that blows about here in the air on the breeze.
I am broader everywhere than the earth
and wider than this green plain;
I easily encircle everything,
85 miraculously woven with wondrous skill.
There is no other creature under me
more powerful in this worldly life;
I am above all created things,
those that our ruler wrought,
90 he alone can increase my might,
subdue my strength, so that I do not swell up.
I am bigger and stronger than the great whale,
that beholds the bottom of the sea
with its dark countenance; I am stronger than he,
95 likewise I am less in my strength
than the hand-worm, which the children of warriors,
clever-minded men, dig out with a knife.
I do not have light locks on my head,
delicately wound, but I am bare far and wide;
100 nor might I enjoy eyelids nor eyebrows,
but the creator deprived me of all;
now wondrously wound locks
grow on my head, so that they might shine
on my shoulders most wondrously,
105 I am bigger and fatter than a fattened swine,
a swarthy boar, who lived joyfully
bellowing in a beech-wood, rooting away,
so that he … [a page is missing in the manuscript here at the end]
Highlight the box with your cursor to reveal the solution: Creation