Tuesday, March 25, 2008

St Aldhelm's riddles

I went over to visit some friends in Sherborne yesterday and had a quick look at the beautiful Abbey which was saved from destruction by Henry VIII when the locals bought it as their Parish Church. There was a modern statue of St Aldhelm (639-709) who became Bishop of Sherborne in 705. He was famous for his riddles and here are two of them:

Though the war trumpet bray with hollow brass,
The lutes throb sweetly and the bugles call,
My inward parts give forth a hundred notes,
And, when I roar, men hear no other sound.

From cracks of stone I came in molten flood,
While flames were battering the rocky core,
And the loud-roaring furnace brightly glowed.
Now clear as ice am I, capricious too,
And very brittle; men may break my neck,
Taking my slippery body in their hands.
Yet wits I alter, when I kiss men's lips,
And fill their cheeks with Bacchic sweets, and make
Their tottering footsteps bring them to the ground.

Answers please!


Blogger kinglear said...

At the risk of seeming rude, the first could be a fart and the second ice/icicles??

12:53 pm  
Blogger marymaryquitecontrary said...

Is first one an organ? The second a wine glass.

7:36 pm  
Blogger Dave Cole said...

Well, if you're whispering from Winchester, it's not far to go to susurrate from Sherborne.

I hail from the same part of the world as where you live. If you have time when you are next in Sherborne, try to visit one of the castles, the Old or the New. They're both worth the visit.

I can't better King Lear's suggestions for the answers to the riddles, except that the first might be a belch.

9:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

King Lear, would you second my nomination for Winchester Whisperer to go to the House of Lords ??

I personally think she would make an excellent Baroness !!


There must be a few other steps, but we could at least get the ball rolling, and with the credit crunch, it seems a suitable juncture for a 'career switch'..

Whether she would want to go back to the smoke is neither here nor there - when duty calls.. !

10:47 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi all - good to hear from you! Marina has an unbroken track record in winning competitions on this blog and she's now won a second virtual bottle of champagne.
Dave - I hope you'll visit me in Winchester next time you're down.
Thank you for your kind words, Anon. At the moment my concentration is on surfing through this market volatility.

8:32 am  
Blogger Dave Cole said...

I have to ask, given that you live in Winchester - you're not related to me, are you?



10:02 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Not as far as I know!

11:47 am  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

What a wonderful riddle, I love the descriptive words, eg: "My inward parts give forth a hundred notes", I wish we still spoke like that today.

9:01 pm  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Enjoyed them very much but can't imagine the answers!

11:59 pm  

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