The Earliest English Poems

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140445947
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/28/1992
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.74 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Riddle 25

I'm the world's wonder, for I make women happy
- a boon to the neighbourhood, a bane to no one,
though I may perhaps prick the one who picks me.

I am set well up, stand in a bed,
have a roughish root. Rarely (though it happens)
a churl's daughter more daring than the rest
- and lovelier! - lays hold of me,
rushes my red top, wrenches at my head,
and lays me in the larder.
She learns soon enough,
the curly-haired creature who clamps me so,
of my meeting with her: moist is her eye!

Swings by his thigh a thing most magical!
Below the belt, beneath the folds of his clothes it hangs, a hole in its front end,
stiff-set and stout, but swivels about.

Levelling the head of this hanging instrument,
its wielder hoists his hem above the knee:
it is his will to fill a well-known hole that it fits fully when at full length.

He has often filled it before. Now he fills it again.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction
A Note on the Translation
Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the Third Edition

The Ruin

Caedmon's Hymn

Bede's Death Song

Heroic Poems
Deor and Widsith
Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg
Waldere

Elegies
The Wanderer and the Seafarer
The Wife's Complaint, the Husband's Message and Wulf and Eadwacer

Gnomic Verses

Riddles

The Dream of the Rood

The Phoenix

Brunaburh

The Battle of Maldon

Map of the Site of the Battle of Maldon
Notes
Appendixes:
A. The Runes
B. Suggested Solutions to the Riddles
C. Anglo-Saxon Metric
Glossary of Proper Names
Further Reading

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 6, 2011

    Wonderful

    Many people are not familiar with Anglo Saxon (Old English) literature beyond Beowulf. That is very unfortunate because this literature is very rich and entertaining. Ranging from the heroic tales of Germanic traditions, to Christians hymns, to fun riddles from the Book of Exeter, this collection is a great way to step into Old English writing and culture.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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