the largest extant collection of Old English poetry. Copied c. 975, the manuscript was given to Exeter Cathedral by Bishop Leofric (died 1072). It begins with some long religious poems: the Christ, in three parts; two poems on St. Guthlac; the fragmentary "Azarius"; and the allegorical Phoenix. Following these are a number of shorter religious verses intermingled with poems of types that have survived only in this codex. All the extant Anglo-Saxon lyrics, or elegies, as they are usually called-"The Wanderer," "The Seafarer," "The Wife's Lament," "The Husband's Message," and "The Ruin"-are found here. These are secular poems evoking a poignant sense of desolation and loneliness in their descriptions of the separation of lovers, the sorrows of exile, or the terrors and attractions of the sea, although some of them-e.g., "The Wanderer" and "The Seafarer"-also carry the weight of religious allegory. In addition, the Exeter Book preserves 95 riddles, a genre that would otherwise have been represented by a solitary example.
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