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OLD-IRISH-L  February 2009

OLD-IRISH-L February 2009

Subject:

Re: Poem by Cináed the Wise 6

From:

Neil McLeod <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scholars and students of Old Irish <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 27 Feb 2009 08:25:49 +0900

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (89 lines)

Liz Gabay wrote:

>> BB
>> cath Droma Fûait fîthi - foglach
>> cath sûairc Sithbe - seglach
>> cath Cnuic i clos os(a)nad - armach
>> i cosnam na Temrach
>>
>>
>> Lec.
>> cath Droma Fûait fichthi - foglach
>> cath sûairc Sithbe - seaglach
>> cath Cnuic i clos osnad - eangach
>> i cosnam na Temrach

> The battle of Druim Fúait Fichthi -  pillage

>    I thought ‘fichthi’ might be ‘figthe’ (woven, plaited) and ‘Droma Fûait fichthi’ 
> might translate ‘Woven woods ridge’. 

Yes, I think you are right about it being 'figthi' 'woven, plaited'. BB 
has 'fíthi', which also means 'woven, plaited', but the long 'í' in BB's 
'fíthi' spoils the rhyme with 'Sithbe'. I don't think that 'figthi' is 
part of the name, because we have 'Druim Fúait' = 'Ridge of the Wood' 
(without the 'fighthi') in our other sources for these battles - the 
poem by Flannacán as well as the Annals of Tigernach.  I think 'figthi' 
here is an adjective indicating that the trees on the ridge are thick on 
the ground and entangled. So I would suggest translating the three words 
as 'thickly-wooded Druim Fúait'.

I take 'foglach' to be an adjective ('pillage' would be the noun). The 
fundamental meaning of the noun 'fogal' is 'doing harm with violence' 
(so, pillaging, inflicting injury and so on). As the adjective here 
describes the battle, I would go with something like 'vicious'.

 > The pleasant battle of Sithbe –  dreaded ?

 >    ‘Súairc’ doesn’t make much sense in line 2, unless it is being used
 > ironically.

I agree that 'pleasant' seems inappropiate as a description of the 
battle (though there may be counter-examples that list-members will be 
able to give us). However, the word 'súairc' is also used to describe 
people in a complimentary fashion: 'noble' and so on; so here I would go 
with 'the valiant Battle of Sithbe'.

 >‘Síthbe’ translates “a pole, shaft, rod or
 > ridge; especially a chariot pole...a pin or brooch...
 > a ridge of earth.”

That's interesting. Probably it is 'The Ridge' here then (or 'The 
Pinnacle' or something like that.)

 >  I thought ‘seaglach’  might be some variant of  ‘eclach’
 > “fearful, causing or inspiring fear, dreaded”).  Could the ‘s’
 >  represent the copula, which often
 > elides into the following word in Modern Irish.?

I don't think the present tense of the copula would fit here. I take the 
adjective to be a spelling for 'sedlach' (< 'sed' strength, viogour'), 
and would translate it as 'vigorous / full of vigour'.

 > The battle of the Hill in hearing groans  - noisy

I suspect that Cnoc here might be a place name (cf Carrac and Carn 
Eorlaig in the other sources); especially given the formula adopted in 
this stanza and the preceding one of naming the place and describing the 
battle there. But it might not be (which mgiht explain the variation 
found in the sources).

"In hearing groans" seems a bit strange to me. I took 'osnad' to be nom. 
sg. and  'i clos' to be the preposition 'i' + the nasalising relative 
particle (which combined are still written as 'i') + 3rd sg pret passive 
of ro-cluinethar ‘hears’ = 'in which a cry of anguish was heard', which 
seems like better Irish to me, though the the singular 'cry' is less 
fitting than your (gen) plural.

The adjective on the end is 'engach' 'noisy' (I went with 'tumultuous') 
in Lec, but 'armach' in BB. I take BB's adjective to mean 'full of 
weaponry' (< 'arm', 'gear of war').

 > In the protection of Tara.

Since Tadg is trying to recapture Tara, not defend it from attack, I 
would be inclined to translate 'cosnam' here as 'conflict, struggle': 
'in the struggle for Tara'.

Neil

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