Liz raised the following matters based on my original transcription:
8. Ma ar n-eólus uaidh féin
fios na n-ôg s(e?)na n-aos
go naoi s(e?)o naoi anuas
inur do fhaoi gac[h] aos
uaidh do•gheabh do grés
fer gACH bhuain re baos.
But see now my revised reading:
(a) Maar (n-)eólus úaidh féin
(b) fios na n-ôg ’s na naos
(c) go naoi ’s ó naoi anûas
(d) mûr do fhaoi gac[h] áo[i]s
(e) uaidh do•gheabh do grés
(f) fer gACH b(h)ûain re bao[i]s.
>I can see the 'in' of 'inur' but not the rest. Is that a suspension
> mark above it that indicates that the 'ur' is left out? If so, it
>looks like two separate dashes.
I now read the three minims in this word as an 'm'. (It is often
difficult, or even impossible, to distinguish the minims involved in
groups containing i, u, n, and m; so that a group of such minims can be
resolved in various ways. Our scribe does often help out by making the
'i' somewhat longer.)
I take the mark above the 'm' to be the superscript symbol for 'ur'.
This is a zig-zag which looks a bit like ^^’ (only all joined up). For
other examples see line 6 of column 1 (leabUR) and the 2nd last line of
col 1 (briatUR).
>I see 'uaidh do ghebh' with a dash underneath the 'e'. Does that
>always indicate 'ea'?
It does look like a dash, but if you look carefully I think you can see
that it is more like a triangle without the right-hand side. That is, it
is the form of an 'a' that we see in the 'ao' and 'ae' ligatures. See
especially the ligature in the second word (naoi) in the line above this
one. (For the 'ae' ligature see Gary Ingle's webpage.)
Liz: [do grés]
>I see the 'e' suspended above the word and the final 's' but I
>don't see a 'gr'. The first letter resembles a 'T'. Is that
>a contraction for 'gr'?
If you look down and to the left you will see that the 'T' ends in a
curve so that it is more like a 'J'. This is one of the two ways our
scribe writes 'g'. (We will discuss this a bit more below on this).
When a vowel is written above a consonant it is read as 'r+vowel' (or
very occasionally 'vowel+r'). Thus in the 2nd last line of col 1,
briatUR starts with a 'b' and a 'superscript i' = 'bri'. (Something I
failed to remember when I first read this word!)
So 'g' 'r+e' 's' = 'gres', and there is a length mark over the 'e' as
well. (Um ... to the left of the 'e' at any rate: given that the 'e' is
superscript, there wasn't room to write it over the top of the 'e'.)
>>fer gACH bhuain re baos.
>The difference between 'gach' in this line and 'gach' in the line above
>is striking. The two 'g's look very different, for one thing, and the
>scribe abbreviated the word in two very different ways. Is this much
>variation from the same hand common in these old manuscripts?
This scribe uses both the traditional 'g' (which looks a bit like 5) but
also a version I don't remember seeing before which looks more like a J.
(The 'J' form is the one you commented on above in relation to 'do
The first version of 'gach' involves a contraction. 'g' + 'superscript
c'. A superscript 'c' stands for 'a+c'. So our word reads literally as
'g' 'a+c' ='gac'. In one sense it is not really an 'abbreviation' as
The second version involves a suspension stroke, so that it IS an
'abbreviation' which reads literally as 'g-'.
It is very common for scribes to use a variety of forms for the same
letter (quite apart from ligature forms). The letter 'a' is especially
prone to variation, and our scribe uses at least three types (which
vaguely resemble A, u, and an o + side stroke). You will recall that he
caused me considerable stress by suddenly switching from a normal 's' to
an elongated 's' here in this stanza.
In line with many other scribes, he also uses the d with a fairly
straight ascender (quite like our d) as well as the d which has its
ascender transformed into a horizontal line pointing to the left.
(For the latter 'd', and the traditional 'g', click on the appropriate
letters in Dr Tillotson's 'alphabet' section at:)