> For more on cauldrons with lids, here is an extract from a very
> interesting text edited and translated by Tadhg O’Donoghue (‘Advice
> to a Prince’) in Ériu ix (1921-23) at p 43 ff.
I love that text, aka "Diambad messe bad rí réil". I had to
restrain myself from quoting from it wholesale on the Quotations
site. Instead I chose a dozen of the maxims I like best.
> §22 [...] cuire cen chenn cruit cen céis
> samail na tûath déis a rríg
> “ ... tribes [sic!] who have lost their king
> are like a cauldron without a cover, a harp without a ‘céis’”
That's the O'Donoghue's translation, but "cuire cen chenn"
as "cauldron without a cover" doesn't work for me. I don't
know that "cenn" ever means "lid" -- "ceann" as "roof" in
Modern Irish would be the closest I know. And "cuire" means
"troop, company". So "cuire cen chenn" = a troop without
We once discussed the untranslated "céis" a little bit on the
list. Here's what I wrote in July 2001:
In the early poem "Amra Choluim Chille" there is a line that runs:
Is cruit cen ceis, is cell cen abaid.
It is a harp(er) without a céis, it is a church without an abbot.
(i.e. something deprived of a vital part)
The meaning of "céis" was uncertain even back then and the LU text
contains a number of glosses with alternative explanations, including
that a "céis" is a small harp that accompanies a large harp, or that
it is "ainm don delgain bic fostas in téit humaide na crute" (= the
name for the little peg that fastens the bronze/brass/copper string
of the harp). That seems like clear evidence of metal strings, in
> This really is an intriguing text, but O’Donoghue doesn’t offer a date
> for it or any real analysis of its relationship with the other wisdom
Colin Ireland doesn't mention it in the Introduction to his edition
of "Bríathra Flainn Fhína", in the section on "Varieties of Irish
Wisdom-Texts". I haven't made anything like a study of the language
of "Diambad messe", but my naive impression is that it's Classical
OI in origin.