The answer to this riddle is the sun, though when you read it it could be something else related to seafaring. Semannum, more commonly spelled sæmanum, means mariners, plural, people in boats on the sea. Such people this stanza tells us, are always hoping for the answer to this riddle. They expect it too: hihte means joy as well as hope, but in the sense of an expectation of joy with elements of trust and comfort, which might otherwise be lacking in the cold and perilous waters of the North Sea.
Much of the time sæmanum is used to mean a general sailor, but it is also a word for invaders by sea and by the ninth and tenth centuries became a word for Viking. In the Old English poem “The Battle of Malden,” about a Viking attack that happened in the year 991, the Vikings were called sæman. But … More