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OLD-IRISH-L  February 2010

OLD-IRISH-L February 2010

Subject:

Re: Translation effort, help needed..

From:

Dane Pestano <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 23 Feb 2010 13:26:24 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (126 lines)

Hi Neil,

Thanks for your comments, they have helped a lot. I should state that this
verse relates to Mac Erca and his death and burial in the part of the story
it comes from. So I am not sure whether we should be inferring `a king of
heaven', ie Jesus or God rather than just a regular king, although strangely
Mac Erca can mean `son of heaven/the heavens' so perhaps this verse is being
played on more than one level. Some have compared Erca to Sanskrit 'Arka'
-ray, sun and hence the name may refer to a `star'.

> Ecal, ecal ifernn uar, 
> Fearful fearful is cruel hell 

>>Looks good (though maybe just 'cold, bleak' rather than 'cruel'.)<<

I have trouble with Hell being related to cold, where the death of Mac Erca
took place in fire. Perhaps bleak might be better as you say.

> beith sair siar i relcibh ríg.
> Existing to and fro in the burial place of Kings

>>I think it refers to the east-west alignment of the body in Christian 
burials: 'to be [lying] east-west in the graveyards of the King'.<<

Okay, that makes sense. Thanks.

>>Note that 'reilcibh' is plural here. This might suggest a plurality of 
kings - but I think the king here is Christ the King. Note that the 'king' 
in question is unambiguously singular later in the poem.<<

As above, I actually think it is plural and does not relate to Christ but to
Mac Erca himself.

> rob fhir, fír, rob ecail aed; 
> Body of a man, a mans body afraid of fire

>>The word 'fír' here has a long vowel (marked on the second occasion) - and

may provide a deliberate 'aicill' rhyme with 'sír' at the end of the 
previous line. So the word is 'true', not 'man'.
I think that 'rop, rob' are forms of the copula.<<

Okay, thanks. That makes more sense.

> fín, fín don uisqui cen bréig 
> Wine Wine, evil water, no lie

>>'Don' in the sense 'evil' is a noun. You seem to be treating it as an 
adjective (though it proceeds 'uisqui' rather than following it). Perhaps 
you are reading 'uisqui' as a genitive ('evil of water').<<

Yes, I did read it that way and then summarised it. I tend to try and get
the sense of it then make up an expression.

>>I think 'don' is just the preposition 'di' + the definite article: 'wine 
from water' referring to the wine of the sacrament of the Mass.<<

Mac Erca died in a vat of wine. Hence why it was evil for him.

> mar théit, téit ro fheadar Áeb. 
> The like has gone, has Eve come I wonder,  
> 
> (Dane: Real problem with this one, cant get what the sense of it is?)

>>However, Eve's name is normally spelled Éabha, I think. I would treat
'áeb' 
here as a spelling of the noun 'oíb'.<<

Okay, I had thought that it might not relate to Eve but didn’t know where to
look for the meaning. Thanks. That helps.

>>I don't understand how you got 'I wonder'. The verb looks like a form of 
'ro-fitir' to me.<<

Thanks, I did struggle bady with this part..

> Co bráth, bráth ní bia fo decht 
> For ever, judgment no food certainly

>>'Bráth' is simply repeated here, just as most lines begin with a repeated 
word. so "Til Doomsday, til Doomsday ...". Cf 'co fír, fír' later on.
'Ní bia' is the negative form of the 3sg. future substantive verb.
For 'fo-decht' see DIL under 'fodechtsa'.<<

Thanks, will do.


> dál, dál ic duine im airecht; 
> A meeting, a meeting of men in assembly

>>I don't think 'ic' (= 'oc') can mean 'of', and 'duine' cannot be dative 
plural. Nor does 'im' mean 'in'. But otherwise this is nearly there I
think.<<

It's these small words such as ic/oc and im etc that I have problems with as
the meanings can be so diffferent it's hard to tell what applies.

> mo bríg, bríg ro scaich a cacht, 
> My power, my power comes to an end in bondage

>>The verb 'ro scâich' (the -a- should be long) is perfect, so it's 'came' 
not 'comes'. The subject follows the verb, so here it is 'a cacht' ('a' is 
the possessive pronoun), not 'bríg'.<<

Okay thanks.

> A relic, relic ríg ruaid 
> A burial, a burial of the red king.

>>Looks fine. Though as the king is Christ, 'mighty' might be better than
'red'<<

Mac Erca was the red king. Erc can also mean `red'.

> co fír, fír do-chóid mo buaid; 
> For truth, in truth my power has gone.

>>The opening reptition is adverbial: "Truly, truly ...". I agree with your 
analysis of the remaining words, though I would translate 'my victory has 
proceeded'.<<

Okay, yes, that would still make sense.

Regards
Dane

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