Liz Gabay wrote:

> BB 
> Neartais a aes luaig nan diaid
> nirbo truag in to oir
> cosliab cuillind iar crich diib
> f(orf?)uirim crich doib.
> Lec
> Neartais aes sluaig na ndiaidig
> nirbo truag in to air.
> cosliab cuillind iar crich diib
> forfuirim crich diib.
>     I don't get the right number of syllables in most of the lines. Could 'diib' be 
> disyllabic?   

Yes, the final word in each line has to be disyllabic. Does the fact 
that conjugated 3rd plural preposition 'doib / diib' is disyllabic help 
us with a date?

Note that in line (c), 'tooir' must also be disyallbic here (and so 
written as one word). It was later a monosyllable with a long ''. Am I 
right in assuming that the 'o'was short in the disyallbic form? Again, 
does it being a disyllable help with dating?

I think you have gotten almost all of the letters right - but you have 
mistyped the final word in Lec as 'diib', when it is 'doib'. I also 
assume that in line (c) of BB you meant to type 'for[f?]uirim'. (The MS 
has 'fuirim' with a bar over the 'f'. A barred 'f' = 'for'.) I think, 
though, that the reading without the internal 'f' is the better one. (I 
take the verb to be a form of 'fo-ruimi' with the preverb 'for-', as 
sometimes occurs with that verb.)

I had problems with 'truag' in line (c) of Lec. BB confirms the reading, 
but what I see is 'tag' with a squiggle over the 't' which I assume is a 
'u' of some kind (standing for 'r+u'), but it is not a 'u' that I 
recognise. Do you have some information on it?

The next thing, then, is to tidy up the word division. In line (a) of BB 
'nandiaid' should be divided 'na ndiaid' (as in Lec). And since we need 
- a final disyllable; and
- 8 syllables in the line; and
- consonance with disyallbaic 'di-ib',
we can be pretty confident that we should follow Lec in reading 

In line (c), the preposition 'co' should be separated from the place 
name Slab Cuillind. (This is modern Slieve Gullion, about 7 ks inside 
the border of Co. Armagh.)

There appear to be some metrical defects. That is usually a hint that 
something further needs to be tidied up. In line (a), '[s]laig / 
slaig' gives a poor rhyme with 'trag' in line (b). So we might change 
the gen. sg. to the gen. pl. 'slag'.

There should be alliteration between two of the stressed syllables in 
line (a), but there isn't. I can't see a way round that. (We can't allow 
the 'n' of 'neartais' to alliterate with the nasalised 'd' of 'diaidig' 
- alliteration ignores mutations.)

So here is what I suggest:

Neartais a aes [s]la(i)g 'na ndiaid[ig]
nirbo trag in tooir
co Slab Cuillind ar crch diib
for-uirim crch doib

Neartais [a] aes slaig 'na ndiaidig
nirbo trag in toair
co Slab Cuillind ar crch diib
for-fuirim crch doib