Riddle me

Riddle me

In Brief

Just after thinking of Jesus' "riddling sentence," and just before reciting his riddle of the fox, Stephen recalls the opening lines of a familiar riddle: "Riddle me, riddle me, randy ro. / My father gave me seeds to sow." He does not quote the rest, but it was a familiar riddle whose answer was "writing a letter."

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Quoting from English Riddles from Oral Tradition, Thornton quotes the lines that follow: "The seed was black and the ground was white. / Riddle me that and I'll give you a pipe (or a pint)." He observes that "Stephen simply suppresses the final lines of this riddle, as he suppresses parts of other things he alludes to. Probably he does so here because the riddle and its solution remind him of his failure to justify himself as an author."

Eric S. Egan has set to music several bits of poetry found in Ulysses, including this one.

JH 2012
Musical setting of Riddle Me by Eric S. Egan. Source: www.ericsegan.com.