Bernard Morgan wrote:
> Is there an English translation for MacLiacc's poem "Sciath righ Gaela
> glantar hi!"?
> I wonder if the line below from the poem refers to a currenlty unknown
> king/lord of Teffia?
> Dear Bernard,
I am afraid there is no English translation of '*Sciath righ Gaela glantar
hi'*. You remember we spent a rather long time working on '*Samhoin so,
sodham go Tadg*' another poem attributed to MacLiag, one found in a later
manuscript, but which seems to have a lot of echoes of '*Sciath
righ*' occurs in the *Book of Ui Maine* (in a portion which, confusingly
enough, got detached and sold to the British Museum, and is now known as
Egerton 90), along with two other supposed MacLiag poems. Now, you will
remember from our long and tortuous wrestling with 'Samhoin so' that much
of its historical content seems to have been purely fanciful, and that many
of the characters were simply well-known personalities from the past who
were plucked out of their own context and shoved anachronistically into the
text. I presume that the poet (who could scarcely have been MacLiag, but
was surely a poet of the late 14c court of Ui Maine) in producing long
praise poems for his lord, found that their recital went down better if the
various personages introduced were ones that the assemblage could recognize
from other stories.
So the long and the short of it, dear Bernard, is that if you're looking
for information on 10/11c Ireland, '*Sciath righ*' is right bright red
herring. Where these poems could come in useful, is if you wanted to look
at the complex of political affiliations of Ui Maine in around the 1390s,
because I do presume that each and every one of the kinglets introduced in
the group '*Sciath righ Gaela, glantar hi!*', '*Beannacht, a Bruin, ar
Brigit*' and '*Leasg amleasg sin gu Atha Cliath*' must have been introduced
for reasons of contemporary politics. I haven't tried investigating this
further myself, nor have I any intention of doing so, but it would make a
nice project for a student of Late Medieval Gaelic Ireland.
All the best to you