Today, I checked over the first big riddle in the Exeter Book collection and made numerous changes, some of them errors, most just where I thought I could sound better. Then I corrected and checked over #8 through #12, but very little was changed there.

I am growing more convinced that the “first three” riddles ought not to be considered a riddle at all. If “Wulf and Eadwacer” can be pulled out of that grouping, so can this one. It seems possible that a redactor or scribe, pulling together the Exeter Book, found some things that he or she liked about “W&E” as well as this “Storm” poem, that made him or her think about riddles or riddling techniques and placed them in a row, with the other riddles following it. There is the question “Saga hwæt ic hatte” (3.72) that certainly recalls the EB Riddles, as well as other questions which seemed to have tripped off a response to divide them apart as separate poems. But the “Storm” poems don’t use metaphor in exactly the same way as the other riddles, in that there is no misdirection here or attempts to confuse or mislead. There is just vividly metaphoric language, much more so than most Anglo-Saxon poems, even the other lyrics. So this is a strange one — probably too many scholars vested in keeping it right where it is, but there’s definitely work to be done to reconsider what this poem is doing.

Another note: in Riddle #9, the “Cuckoo” riddle, editors from way back emend line 4’s “weccan” to “þeccan” probably not liking an alliterating word in the final stress of the line. This emendation seems unnecessary to me, since it can be translated as is. I did not extend this attitude to line 6’s original reading of “snearlice,” usually emended to “swa arlice.” “Snearlice” is not in the dictionaries, but could be mean “like a snare.” I’m not sure what to do with that reading, so I’m holding off on adopting it.

On other note: In Riddle #11 “Goblet”, in line 2, there seems to be a defect in the line which various editors have filled. ASPR reads “on reafe minum,” which I used the first time I translated this riddle. Muir, following Thorpe and other older editors, places “hafu” (a raising?) there instead. I thought I liked how it sounded in the translated line, so I adopted this emendation.

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