From: Gaelic Language Bulletin Board [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Thomson
Sent: 04 October 2010 18:27
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [GAELIC-L] A question about Mackenzie's book of Incantations
Sgriobh Marion Gunn: 04 October 2010 09:12
> What is "the pranger", Tom? That is yet another word I have not seen before.
I'm getting careless - wrong language. The English is pillory ( a device which restrains someone by the neck and forearms so as to display them for public humiliation and abuse). Pranger is a German word which can either mean pillory or a version where the neck is chained to the lower legs with much the same purpose.
> It's the word "rosad" which most puzzles me. Elsewhere in the book, Mackenzie describes a certain omen as being "Good for Mackintoshes only. To others it is considered rosadach, or untoward". I suppose "rosad" links to "rosadach", but I'm not about to guess at how that would fit into the context above.
Rosad is a straighforward word, three possible meanings
1) evil enchantment/spell/charm/bewitchment
3) despicable or wothless person
The third meaning doesn't fit here, and in the phrase "Tog dhiom do rosad" the first meaning seems somewhat more likely than the second ("do rosad" good mean "the mischief you have done me", so the second can't be ruled out).
Since "orm" is still there at the end, "'S" is not a coordinating conjunction between two direct objects of tog (which is what it would have to be is "orm" was absent) so it's probably introducing a tense-free description of circumstances (an absolute construction), although it could conceivably be a copular verb. Given the first two lines, "'S aghaidh fir an cabhaig orm" should have to do with a face dripping with sweat (and maybe reddened too, and looking pretty grim), so I don't think either pillory or hurry is the neaning of cabhaig here, but the third meaning difficulties/straits/troubles. So my best guess at the meaning of the last two lines is "Undo your mischief for I look like one in dire straits" or something to that effect (and my "mischief" is intentionally ambiguous - it can either be ordinary mischief or magical mischief). But I think the last line could be interpreted as a threat along the lines of "you can see I'm getting pretty wild", so there's another ambiguity.
But what the point of the quattrain (which is my take on the phrase "meaning and purpose" used by Mackenzie) I still haven't a clue - being able to translate something doesn't entail knowing what it means (nor vice versa). Maybe one of the academics on the list can help - Micheal Bauer, Caoimhinn, any ideas?