505] Ním thá-sa cumang duit, a Buchet, acht a aithe.
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>"I do not myself have [that] ability for you, o Buchet, except by
Here are Greene’s notes:
“If the reading of [the Book of Leinster] is correct here, we can hardly
have the verbal noun of ad-fen, which would give no sense,
and ‘aithed’ ‘to escape’ is not supported by any manuscript. Perhaps the
simplest is to read ‘áithe’ ‘sharpness’ and to understand ‘I cannot help
you except by admitting its severity’; the reading of R2 seems to be based
on some such interpretation. The introduction of the proverb ‘Áithiu cech
delg is ou’ (see O’Rahilly Irish Proverbs 304) seems somewhat forced and
rests on only one manuscript. Another possible interpretation would be to
read ‘a saithi’ ‘I have no help for you but their surfeit(s)’.”
‘cumang’ translates “power, ability, strength”.
‘Ním thá-sa’ looks like
the negative particle (ní-)
plus a 1st singular infixed pronoun (-m-)
plus the conjunct 3rd singular present indicative of the substantive verb
(-tá) which is lenited by the preceding infixed pronoun
plus the 1st person singular emphatic particle (-sa).
A literal translation is something like ‘It is not to
Strachan says that the infixed pronoun in this construction
is “expressing a dative relation” and he translates ‘ní-m thá as ‘I have
This is somewhat similar to Modern Irish ‘níl agamsa’ which uses the
substantive verb and a preposition and translates literally ‘it is not at
me’. It means ‘I don’t have’ in the sense of not possessing something.
The phrase ‘acht a aithe’ varies between manuscripts --
“as aithi, Y; is aithi, H; acht as aithe cach delg as só. As tír duit,
R; acht a galar ocum namma, R2” where the letters designate different
Here’s a literal translation of the line –
“I do not have power for you, Buchet, but its aithe.”
“The only thing I can do for you, Buchet, is its aithe.”