What a day to finish the translation of the first poem. Buncrana is buzzing, the Main Street packed up to the brim, I can hear its sounds from here, and two very unique shops have opened within the last couple of days on the otherwise very quietly but fast dying Main Street.
Not a good day for early/medieval Christian monks to cross my way, being largely responsible for much headache, stretching the patience of even the toughest stamina way above its limits. Not only did they latinised Old Irish, which would have left it still traceable, but they also forced upon it their notions of rhyming. So instead of choosing a word that would rhyme, they changed the spelling of a word, most agreeable with the nature of their distinguished mind, to fit the rhyme. As a result they swapped vowels at any god given opportunity, exchanged the first letter of a word and/or added/dropped one or two more at the end, as well as adding or changing letters in the middle, none of which had anything to do with grammar, leaving the good and the great some eight hundred, thousand years later at their wits end as to the meaning of their words and wars on paper have been fought over it ever since.
Although the beauty of one line, the early time of this expression, made me jump with joy as if I just found something very precious. And perhaps I did – if I am right.
“ from here he sailed into the fabric of time”
For this poem I used Edward Gwynn’s 1903 (pages 34-41)and 1924 (pages 92-101) translation as template to guide me and the electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language under the combined forces of the Royal Irish Academy and the University of Ulster.
THE METRICAL DINDSHENCHAS
Behold Ailech of Imchell before you
residence of the sovereign strong race of Néil
a grave beneath fair Banba’s whiteness
of the swift Aed son of the skilful Dagda.
The bright Dagda was full of splendour
a ruler of Fodla’s feast till the end;
fierceness remains … as long
dawn rises over Bruig.
He was king of Erin with hostages in abundance;
he was a ruler of noble slenderness, he was a chief;
good sons drinking on his side
beloved Cermait, Oengus, and Aed.
Aed died on Benn Bain Baith,
through the boldness of the layman’s swift
used to be proved at the sharp point (of his blade);
guilty to all was Corrgend Crúaich.
Corrgend was banished for this evil crime
from every tree on every plain in every sea
any habour was cold under the white sun
with the corpse of the man as his burden.
The warriors of Erin surrounded the king
from every land with strong slender steps
they aroused like a column of soft water
at the fort of Fathemain Fáil’s son.
Corrgend was found with wounded heart;
a foolish cloaked burden of the living;
the evil deed’s face spoke through rage
where Ailech stands today.
Enough of the pure grave remained pure
land now visible to all
place of the dear Dagda under the sworn stone
in Banba’s good land until doomsday.
There was no peace to save him from this evil
deprived by murder of Aed’s mighty spirit
Dagda’s blemish hides his son
without a stone remains the age old grave.
He found a stone laid out above the lough
under the might of doom he quickly died
his fame was shattered and his fury;
he said his final word of “ail” with “ach“.
Ailech without Corrcend defeated
would not be the strong tower clear the richness of its horses;
whose cunning man upon this spot
was king over the Tuatha de Danann.
Ailech of Imchill above any other dwelling
enough spike headed walls against jealousy
together with the furious grim people of Dea
a circle of faith of Nemain and Nét.
Imchéll castle-builder of the firm Dagda
shored up a great base in the noble plain;
Coblan grandson of Garb of valiant rank
wove the grave of faultless Aed.
Corrcend died quickly with firmness in his body
proud of his evil not renowned for love
shattered beneath the rock and the corpse
his limps removed from the grave.
Who spread all this
thrice composed a song of praise
a strong man careful with his silent
without falsehood to the birth of the son of God? D.
Ailech Frigrend what is its source?
When the poem was composed, noble its beauty,
Frigriu was a craftsman from Cruthmaige Cé
in the time of Fubthaire of Iona.
Fubthaire mountain peak of all of Alba
gave chase to the land of Cruthmaige,
until the cold ruler of venom-handed sharpness
met Fiachraig Roptene the king.
A house was built at the bright mouth of the ocean
by Frigrind a spot good for any protection;
he quickly placed it across two seas
within the ground of Ailig of the kings.
Swift Eochu Domlén carried off
in blue mist a hostage white her cheek;
not seeking the fleet across the sea
a flight of brilliance his maiden made.
Elech of the fair-haired Fubthaire
crossed the water of Luchraide without a boat,
long-haired mother worth every blessing,
of the three Collas of the race of Conn.
How well-known is their powerful conquest,
settled through ferocious strength by the sharp witted host
a forceful king was rowing,
from here he sailed into the fabric of time.
Eogan arose to the wonder by cleaning
soul and body entirely;
gaining possession by the powerful sanctity
of the Briton blessing the abode.
Patric, not weakening his protection,
as long they obey him at all times,
the household of Eogan above any other sound
were granted the blessing of God. D.
Victorious clergy blood of pure ordination
on the crest of Ailig, whatever happens,
a ruler with wisdom finds honour,
my brother is without guilt without sin.
Colum Cille of the race of Niall,
all-pure abundance a beautiful promise,
beyond watching over all of Alba,
is the golden crown of fair Daire Calgaig.
Colum guided as the scholar
Conaill and Eogan be praised,
grandson of the king Codail who founded Iona,
come to my aid I beseech God. D.