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
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
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'.<<
> 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
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
Okay, yes, that would still make sense.