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Summer

This poem is from Aígidecht Aithirni, or ‘The Guesting of Athirne.’ Athirne was a satirist and poet of the Ulaid, who, in this tale, went to stay with his foster-son for a night but got delayed each time he attempted to leave. The tale is preserved in three different manuscripts, and are of varying lengths and detail. Four of the poems detail the good things about a particular season.

Fó sín smarad síthaister,
sám fid forard dorglide
nach fet gaíthe glúaiss;
Glass clúm caille clithaige,
cerba srotha saebuisci,
sén i fótán fó.

Summer is a fine season for long journeys,
Calm is the high, choice wood
that no breath of wind stirs.
Green is the plumage of the sheltering wood,
streams of wandering water are dried up,
there is a good omen in the fine turf.

From A Golden Treasury of Irish Poetry A.D. 600 to 1200, edited and translated by David Greene and Frank O’Connor, pp142-143.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Seasonal Quatrain: Bealtaine

This quatrain, one of four, is preserved in two separate manuscripts (Bodleian codex Rawlinson B. 512, folio 98b, 2, and the British Museum MS. Harleian 5280, folio 35b, 2), both dating to the sixteenth century. The quatrain has clearly been copied from the same source in both manuscripts, and based on the linguistic evidence, it appears the quatrain goes back to an original composition from around the eighth century. 

Atberim frib, lith saine,
ada buada belltaine:
coirm, mecoin, suabais serig,
ocus urgruth do tenid.
I tell to you, a special festival,
The glorious dues of May:
Ale, worts, sweet whey,
And fresh curds to the fire.

From Kuno Meyer, Anecdota Oxoniensia: Medieval and Modern Series (Part 8), 1894, p49.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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