Ind ráith di éis cach ríg iar n-óir…

Ind ráith di éis
cach ríg iar n-óir,
ocus int tslóig,
foait i n-úir.

(the * fortress * after
each * king * in turn
and * the * crowd
they-sleep * in * earth)

The royal residence stands
after every king in turn,
and as for that lot,
they lie in the ground.

This quatrain is actually a coda to another, possibly earlier, strophe:

Ind ráith hi comair in dairfhedo,
ba Bruidigi, ba Cathauail,
ba hAído, ba hAillelo,
ba Conaing, ba Cúilíni
ocus ba Maele Dúin.

The fort facing the oak wood,
it was Bruidgi's, it was Cathail's,
it was Aed's, it was Ailill's,
it was Conaing's, it was Cúilíní's
and it was Mael Dúin's.

James Carney edited and discussed these verses in "Aspects of Archaic Irish" in Éigse, vol. XVII, part IV.

Ach ach as tind ar toirrthimm...

Ach ach as tind ar toirrthimm,
choimthind lind clach is cerchaill.

oh * oh * is * sore * our * sleep
equally sore * to us * stone * and * pillow

Sleep comes hard to me,
the pillow might as well be rock.

A marginal note by Murchadh Ó Cuindlis, the scribe of the Leabhar Breac, on the bottom of page 105. He is very likely quoting a half stanza from an existing poem.

Atá in spideog derg uli...

Atá in spideog derg uli, a Domnaill, ocus atusa am oenur.

is * the * robin * red * all * o * Domhnall * and * I am * in my * oneness

The robin is all red, Donald, and I am all alone.

Murchadh Ó Cuindlis wrote this personal note at the bottom of page 73 of the Leabhar Breac. The Domhnall he apostrophizes here may have been his patron. This marginal note feels a lot like a haiku. With a little permissible "bádud" (vowel elision) has the seventeen syllables of a haiku, the reference to nature if not outright reference to season, and the "cutting" or "imaginative distance" between its two parts.

See also "Ach achon ach am toirsech monuar!" in this collection.

Fo chen aí...

Fochen aí,
bé shóer shonaisc.

(welcome * poetic art
lady * noble * well-linked)

Welcome, poetry,
noble, well-linked lady.

This is the beginning of a run of rosc and heightened prose formally addressed to "aí" (poetic inspiration, poetic art, poetic composition) found in CIH (1128.20ff). The word "ilbrechtach" can mean either "variegated" or "having many spells or incantations". The next section, which emphasizes that poetry does not come free, begins "Ar dligid túarastal" = "For she is entitled to recompense". See also "Ro-cúala ní tabair eochu ar dúana..." in this collection.

Nirbat dergnat chuirmthigi...

Nirbat dergnat chuirmthigi
nir·fhácba do chlothaige;
nirbat muichnech i n-úathad
nirbat búaibnech sochaide.

(you should not be * flea * of ale house
you should not leave * your * fame
you should not be * melancholy * in * solitude
you should not be * boastful (one) * of crowd)

You should not be an ale-house flea.
You should not give up your reputation.
You should not mope in solitude.
You should not boast in a crowd.

This quatrain was jotted down by a scribe in the upper margin of folio 124a in the Book of Leinster. The expression "ale-house flea" is found elsewhere and seems to refer to someone who is annoying in a social gathering. In "Bríatharthecosc Con Culainn", which is inserted into "Serglige Con Culainn" in LU, we find "Nibat dergnat colla coirme hi tig rurech" (You should not be a 'drunken flesh flea' in the house of a king). The translation "drunken flesh flea" is suggested in DIL, but the phrase is probably intended simply as a variation on the "dergnat cuirmthigi" found above.

I have normalized the spelling slightly. The original is:

Nirbat dergnat chormthigi
nir fhacba do chlothuide;
nirbat muichnech i n-uathiud
nirbat búafnech sochaide.

adba rón

adba rón

(abode * of seals)

the abode of seals = the sea

This kenning, essentially a two-word poem, is found in a short, finely wrought poem. This is James Carney's edition and translation found in "Medieval Irish Lyrics":

Fégaib úaib
sair fo thúaid
in muir múaid
adba rón
rebach, rán,
ro-gab lán

Look you out
over mighty ocean
teaming with sea-life.
home of seals
sporting, splendid,
its tide has reached

Dia dá mhaoin is mairg do·ní.

Dia dá mhaoin is mairg do·ní.

(god * of his * wealth * is * woeful * makes)

Woe to him who makes a god of his wealth.

This is the first line of the second stanza of the poem "Do·ní duine dia dá mhaoin" by Donnchadh Mór Ó Dálaigh (1175 - 1244).

Is é tadall ségainne...

Is é tadall ségainne
áit i fera céilide,
dotháet i tech, snaidid crann,
gaibid rann co éimige.

(is * it * visit * of * skill
place * in [which] * pours forth * social visiting
he comes * into * house * carves * wood
sings * quatrain * with * opportuneness)

It's a skilfull visit
to a social gathering:
he comes inside, whittles a stick,
and sings an appropriate rhyme.

This quatrain is found in the upper margin of page 116 in the Book of Leinster, where a scribe jotted it down along with a paired quatrain on the behaviour of the rude guest. I have standardized the spelling slightly.

Ná h-abair-se bréithir móir...

Ná h-abair-se bréithir móir
ná h-abair nach tibre chóir,
ór is nár a rádh co tenn
muna fedtar a comall.

(not * say [emphatic] * words * great
not * say * which-not * you might give * rightly
for * is * shame * its * saying * with * force
if not * is possible* its * fulfillment)

Don't make grand statements
and don't promise what you can't rightly give,
for it is shameful to boast of things
that you cannot deliver.

This is the sixth stanza in the poem "Fionn's Advice to Mac Lugach" at the beginning of "Acallam na Senórach". See also "Dá trian do mhíne re mnáibh" and "Bid co h-eistechtach cailli" in this collection.

Corbat cara sluaig ...

Corbat cara sluaig,
Corbat roga ríg,
Corbat cruithnecht chaem,
Corbat craebh co fín.

(may you be * friend * of multitude
may you be * choice * of king(s)
may you be * wheat * lovely
may you be * branch * with * wine)

May you be the friend of many.
May you be the choice of kings.
May you be the beautiful wheat.
May you be the branch that yields wine.

A blessing, in the form of a complete stanza in the metre known as lethrannaigecht mór, bestowed by Ailill Ólomm on his son Éogan Mór in the Middle Irish poem "A maccáin na cí".

Syndicate content