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OLD-IRISH-L  February 2009

OLD-IRISH-L February 2009

Subject:

Re: Cath Crinna §20

From:

Neil McLeod <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Fri, 6 Feb 2009 15:22:27 +0900

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (106 lines)

Dennis King wrote:
> OK, I'm going to do this with a couple of glasses of Markowitsch Grüner 
> Veltliner on board.  Wish me luck!  :-)

Sounds like you're already plenty lucky! (Be careful though. Too much of 
that stuff and you might pass out in the Viennese flat of a well-known 
Celticist. Or so I've been told ...)


>> LL   Mani thrôethad a ara
> 
> if not * he were to have subdued (past subjunctive of "traethaid") * his 
> * charioteer

Despite the lenition in two of the MSS, I would be inclined to see an 
invisible infixed 3rd sg masc pronoun here, referring to Tadc:

"If his charioteer had not deprived him".

What is the state of play with Class A infixed pronouns in the 10th 
century?

>>     ro-festais a môrgala;
> 
> they would find out / might have known (past subjunctive & conditional 
> of "ro·finnadar") * his * great X(??)

The word 'morgala' turns up again at LL 116a46 (see DIL sv eolairg). 
Perhaps it's a compound of 'már' and the accusative plural of 'gal' 
(fury). But I suspect that our word is merely a late spelling for 
'mordála' -'great splendours / assemblies', (The long á wouldn't be a 
problem as the rhyme in this couplet is rinn/airdrinn).

BB and Lec have 'mormana', which is equally perplexing. 'Great-portent', 
or 'mor-manna' - 'great boon'? Either combination might mean something 
like 'great display of splendour' (as indeed could 'mordál').

>>     ropad re Temraig tîr
> 
> (it) would be (3rd sg. conditional of copula) * before * of Tara * land

Wouldn't the genitive be 'Temrach'? 'Temraig' seems rather to be dative 
(following the preposition). I suppose we could argue for that spelling 
being a later slip by a scribe who didn't recognise it as a preposed 
genitive. Bear in mind, though, that this line is one syllable short. So 
perhaps it would be preferable to read 're Temraig na tír' - 'before 
land-rich Tara'. (Cf BB and Lec: 'a temraig na tor' - 'in Tara of the 
champions'.)


>>     resfed carpat a dâ rîth.
> would run * chariot * its * two * running(s)

> I'm not sure what to make of the "its two runnings"
Perhaps this: The charioteer took a course due south. He should have 
taken two courses: one west (to include Tara) and then one south.

 > but then again, I'm
> not sure we need to be bound by the supplied length marks here.  

But we need the long 'í'. 'Rith' ('running', with short i) does not 
rhyme with 'tír'. (The rhyme in this couplet is nor rinn/airdrinn.) 
'Ríth' (with long í) might be related to 'renaid'; but how to make sense 
of it here?

What I suspect is this: that the scribe of the version in LL did indeed 
write 'rith' with a short i, meaning 'runnings'. However, the poet would 
not have made that metrical error. Rather, I suspect, he wrote 'roth', 
and that this rhymed with line (c) because line (c) ended in 'Temraig na 
tor' (just as it does in BB and Lec). This would give the sense:

'It would be before Tara of the champions
That the chariot would have run its two wheels'.


> The sense I make out of this in my current frame of mind is that our man 
> had to whack his charioteer, otherwise "they" would have found out that 
> his excursion did not emcompass Tara.  

According to the narrative (§16), Tadc does not kill the chrioteer; 
rather he kills the servant he brought along as a witness (either for 
not keeping the charioteer to the chosen route, or simply for being the 
bearer of bad news). There is nothing later on to indicate that Tadc 
tried to pull a scam here (or to explain why he didn't get away with 
it). I think rather that our verse merely attributes Tadc's failure to 
encircle Tara to his charioteer, and laments that he therefore did not 
come to rule there in great splendour.

Roughly:
> 
> Had he not subdued (i.e. "killed") his charioteer,
> they would have found out about his great [blunder];
> (otherwise) it would have been before the land of Tara
> (the) chariot would have made its fitting run.

Had his charioteer not deprived him
They would have known his great-assemblies
It would have been before Tara of the Champions
That the chariot would have run its two wheels.

[BB, Lec:
There would have been in Tara of the Champions
the submission of its household after the great-circuit]

Neil

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