Exeter Riddle 26

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This is the 26th riddle from The Exeter Book.


An enemy came,     claiming my life.
My worldly strength     he stripped, then wet me,
Drowned me in water     then drew me out,
Set me in sunshine,     where soon I lost
The hair I had.     A hard edged knife
Cut me and ground me     clean from all grime,
Fingers folded me,     a fine bird's clothing
With swift drops made     many traces
Across my brown skin's breadth,     imbibing the tree-dye,
A valley stream     strode across me
And left a dark path.     A pious man clothed me
In boards, then hauled     hide across me
Bedecked with gold;     I was glad to be bound by
The smith's fine work     of wire around me.
Now the decorations     and the dye of red
In such wonderous forms     give wider fame
To the people's protector     from the pains of hell.
If the children of men     choose to enjoy me
They shall be safer     and surer of victory,
Mightier of heart,     happier of mind,
Wiser of spirit,     wealthier in friends
Who are dearer and faster,     more faithful and better,
Kinder and fairer,     who foster glory
With fondest love      and fellowship,
Kindness links them,     its loving embrace
Holding them soundly.     Say what I am,
That is needful to man.     My name is famous,
A giver of healing,     and holy too.

           Translation by Conrad Leviston.



Although some give the conservative anwer book, the answer is almost certainly The Bible. Note that the translation above was made on the assumption of the latter answer.