Quiet, gode people, as we praise a quiet worker,
sound the voices from the Eastern thrones.
We call one from whose hands the finest fibers flow,
Albreda Aylese, who sets the spear-beam into binding.
With strong rods does the thread resound for her.
The whirring shuttle moves across a sea of strands.
The weavers rods her oars, the lozenges her woolen waves,
Her songs are ancient, rhythmic ones.
Her progress passes as many nights
as swan-road journeys in the summer.
As snow-hare stands in silent footprint
still, she sits, softly guiding sweetest silk.
She crafts the pattern, bright or subtle.
Flowers bloom eternal at her bid.
Æthelstan would blush at such gifts as she gives.
Witness her name weave’d in history
as the newest of the Order of the Maunche.
In her heart-home deep in Coldwood,
At the Closing of the Inne
She is granted arms to bear,
Vert, a winged frog salient Or,
Whose form soars o’er the warp and weft
Away from this lateness of September,
on this twenty-fourth day, in Our fifty-first year.
It is so done by the hand of King Kenric and Queen Avelina.
* * * * * * *
(Calligraphy by Rhonwen Glyn Conwy, Illumination by ______________
Text by Aneleda Falconbridge, inspired by the Anglo Saxon riddles of the Exeter Book)
The inspiration was from Anglo Saxon riddles found in the Exeter Book (and some epic poetry and a little norse-ish prose.)
37 (k-d 56) https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Anglo-Saxon_Riddles_of_the_Exeter_Book/37
|I was in there where I saw something,
a thing of wood, wound a striving thing,
the moving beam —it received battle wounds,
deep injuries; spears caused the hurts
of this thing; and the wood was fast bound
cunningly. One of its feet
was stable, fixed; the other worked busily,
played in the air, sometimes near the ground.
A tree was nearby, that stood there hung
with bright leaves. I saw the leavings
of the arrow-work brought to my lord
where heroes sat over their drinks.
|Ic wæs þær Inne þær ic ane geseah
winnende · wiht wido bennegean
holt hweorfende heaþoglemma feng
weo þære wihte ⁊ se wudu searwum
fæste gebunden hyre fota wæs
biid fæft oþer · oþer bisgo dreag
leolc on lyfte hwilum londe neah
leafum bihongen Ic lafe geseah
minum hlaforde þær hæleð druncon
þara flan on flet beran
The favored solution is Weaver’s Loom. The “striving thing” is the web still in the loom; it is injured by the needle or shuttle passing through it. The spears or darts “must be the teeth of the batten penetrating through the warp.” “The two feet can only be the weighted ends of the two rows of warp threads.” The tree with leaves is a distaff, with flax on it; and the standing warp explains the metaphor of feet. On this see the learned and well-documented article by Erika von Erhardt-Siebold, “The Old English Loom Riddles,” Philologica, Malone Anniversary Studies, Baltimore, 1949, pp. 9–17. Mrs. von Erhardt-Siebold includes with the Loom Riddles 50 (k-d 35), Coat of Mail, which is related insofar as chain mail resembles weaving; and 45 (k-d 70), which is usually solved as Reed Pipe (p. 37 below).
|Me the wet ground, exceeding cold,
first brought forth from within itself.
Neither am I wrought of woolen fleece
nor of hairs, with skill; I know it in my mind.
nor with strong rods does the thread resound for me,
which fairly adorn the fine yellow web.
Yet nevertheless the wide world over
Say now truly, you cunning sage,
|Mec se wæta wong wundrum freorig
of his innaþe ærist cende
ne wat ic mec beworhtne wulle flysum
hærum þurh heahcræft hygeþoncum min ·
wundene me ne beoð wefle ne ic wearp hafu
ne þurh þreata geþræcu þræd me ne hlimmeð
þa þe geolo godwebb geatwum frætwað
wile mec mon hwæþre seþeah wide ofer eorþan
hatan for hæleþū hyhtlic gewæde ·
saga soðcwidum searoþoncum gleaw
In short, a Coat of Mail—woven, but not of wool or of silk. Weaving is suggested, yet with a series of exclusions to show that the thing is not what you would at first suppose.