Imatges de pÓgina

Farewell East-to Alba from me,

Delightful is the sight of her bays, and valleys green—
Watching the Sons of Usna at the chase,
Delightful it was to sit on the prospect of her cliffs.

The nobles of Alba met at the banquet,
And the sons of Usna, deserving of respect,*
To the daughter of the Earl of Duntreon,
Næsa gave a secret kiss.

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But they followed me swimming,

Both Aindle and Ardan, who ne'er used deceit;
I return with them home-

Two, who would face a hundred in fight.

Næsa gave his word of truth,

And swore thrice in presence of his arms
That on me he would never inflict grief
Till he went to the host of the dead.

The lady of Duntreon likewise gave
Her solemn word and rash vow,
Till death should separate them,
She never would go with man.

* I have put urŋeaċ in the genitive case, according to rule 10, page 79.

+ Eilit baot, does not mean a hind from the hill. Baot signifies soft, effeminate, or any thing easily frightened: hence used for timorous

A seems to be the proper word instead of ead: they are pronounced alike; however, it is the safest way to observe the strict orthography of words. Re a coir, merely means beside it; as le cois na fairge, by the sea-side.

Alas! did she hear this night

Næsa to have gone to his grave beneath the clay,
She would weep with sorrow wild,

And I too would weep sevenfold with her.

The day seems long without the children of Usna,
For it was not tiresome to be in their company,
Sons of the king, cause of these my flowing tears,*
Three lions of the hill of Umha.

Three attachments to the daughters of Britain,
Three hawks of the hill of Guilinn.

Sons of a king to whom valour made obeisance,†
And to whom heroes yielded homage.

Three warriors not liberal of homage,
Your fall is the cause of woe--
Three sons of the daughter of Chathfa,
Three supporters of the wars of Culna :

Three who were reared at Aoifi,

To whom the territories around paid tribute,
Three pillars of the headlong bursting battle
Were the three youths of Sgatha,

Three fosterlings that were at Uatha,
Three warriors lasting in strength,
Three renowned sons of Usna,
Tis mournful to be in want of you,

*Other editions of this beautiful poem have re n-diltaiż deórajde, that is, the entertainers of strangers or sojourners, or by whom strangers were entertained; but the above is preferable.

+ This line is not easily understood, nor translated-for rig milide means a warlike king-and being in the singular, can be applied only to one, but the relative pronoun compounded with oo, and the following words include the sons of Usna; so that rig milide cannot be the proper reading, and on the authority of an other edition, I have adopted mic niż as the proper reading, and the easiest to be understood.

It is difficult to find words exactly corresponding to buan a d-treise, for buan signifies everliving, everlasting, unceasing, and treise signifies victory, conquest, &c.

Their eyebrows were dark brown,*
Their eyelashes bright and light,
Their eyes sparkling and flaming,
Their cheeks as the flame of embers, (wood.)

Their legs as the down of swans,
Their knees nimble and fair,
Soft and delicate their hands,
And their arms fair and manly.

The high king of Ulster, my first bethrothed, †

I forsook him for love to Næsa

Short will be my life after them;
I will sing their funeral dirge.

That I would live after Næsa
Let no one on earth imagine,
Nor after Aindle and Ardan,
Life to me would not be dear.

*This verse and the one following, is not found in some editions; and would appear ridiculous if translated literally. 'Fuineoga,' I have translated eyelashes, though literally it means a window. The two verses, as far as I can judge of them, seem to be an addition of unmeaning versification.

+ This line and the next, are incapable of translation in the way they are, for to translate them would be, "High king of Ulster, I forsook in elopement thy love Næsa; from which it would appear, that addressing the King of Ulster, she told him that she forsook the love of Næsa, which would be contrary to the poem altogether and as the language of this poem has evidently been changed from what it once was, this word should not have been excepted from the fate of the rest, elo is certainly the ancient orthography, but does not agree with the modern rule-caol le caol agus leadan le leatan, and as the other words have been pruned and adapted to this rule, why not this also? Caloo is the modern method of writing this word, as is evident from the following line of the beautiful translation of Moore's melodies, by Dr. M'Hale, Ealocad le mo ċuilfioñ 's ni aireóċaid me an fon, Cho geur leis an naṁaid ta dar n-dibirt as dioñ. Here ealócao, the first person future, means, I will elope, or escape or rather, I will fly in elopement; but the meaning of this line will soon appear, by adopting a manuscript reading, as, ard rid Ulad mo ceadfear, do treigeas é 4 żrad Naore, the translation of which is as above.

After thee I will not long survive,

For sufficient already is the length of my life-
Since my love has gone from me
I will shed showers of tears over his grave.

Man! who diggest their grave,
Make not their tombs narrow,
For I will be with them in the grave,
Sorrowing, and lamenting.

Their three shields and three spears
Were oft times their bed beneath them;
Place their three swords of steel
Over their heads in the grave-youth.

Their three hounds and three hawks
Shall henceforth be without folk of game,
Three firm supporters of battle,
Three youths of Conall Cearnaigh.

The three collars of their three hounds
Draw sighs from my bursting heart,
For with me they were in keeping,
Therefore their sight is cause of my tears.

I never before was alone

But the day your graves were preparing,
Though often times you and I
Were before in loneliness.

My sight has departed from me
Upon seeing the grave of Næsa,
"Tis short till my spirit flees away,
For my people of lamentation live not.


Besides the abbreviations exhibited in page 3, many contractions are used in the Irish manuscripts. Various tables of them have been compiled, and attempts made to reduce them to general principles; but in a business so very arbitrary and fanciful as that of abbreviating, it may be readily conceived that no systematic arrangement, however ingenious, can be completely satisfactory.

The following tables, originally published by the learned General Vallancey, contain by far the best and most useful list of contractions that has yet appeared.

It is necessary to observe, however, that certain contractions, made according to general rules, have not been inserted in the tables, viz :

When a vowel is placed over a consonant, it carries the force of p, and its own power, either before or after the ɲ; as,

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tra tre tri tro tru. Or, dar der tir tor tur.

When the smalls is set over a consonant, it has the force of ear; if be doubled, the π must be doubled also; as,


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At the end of the table are inserted various characters, termed ceañ fa eite, the head of the ridge, or, con fa ċasán, the reaper's path. The use of these is as follows:-When a sentence ends in or near the middle of one line, the next sentence begins

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