Woe

Tussu d'éc, missi d'anad...

Tussu d'éc, missi d'anad,
sírdursan ar sírscarad.

(you * to die * I * to remain
eternal sadness * our * eternal separation)

For you to die, for me to remain,
The everlasting sadness of our separation.

This is the second half of a stanza in which Cú Chulainn laments the death of his foster brother Fer Diad, who was manipulated into facing him in single combat by Medb and Ailill. This is the full stanza, from the LL Táin:

A Fir Diad, ardotchlóe brath,
dursan do dál dédenach,
tussu d'éc, missi d'anad,
sírdursan ar sírscarad.

Ciaran Carson's translation is:

Ah, Fer Diad, you were betrayed.
Our last meeting led to this,
my everlasting sorrow
that I live while you are dead.

Rot·gíuil ind shrathar dodcaid.

Rot·gíuil ind shrathar dodcaid.

(has-stuck-to-you * the * pack-saddle * of ill-luck)

The pack-saddle of misfortune has stuck to you.

This is the fourth and final line of a one-stanza poem recorded in the margin of a manuscript, one of three short poems in Old Irish published in the Thesaurus. Here's the whole poem as it appears there:

Gaib do chuil insin charcair,
ni róis chluim na colcaid.
Truag insin amail bachal;
rot giuil ind shrathar dodcaid.

Is snáth-gherradh saeghail...

Is snáth-gherradh saeghail ocus is aitherrach aimsire dam-sa!

(is * thread-cutting * of lifetime * and * is * change * of time/weather * for me)

It is a cutting of life's thread and a reversal of fortune for me!

Congal laments his fate, having been wounded by his foster-brother, Maelduin, in "Cath Muighe Rath" (FDG, p. 302). The metaphorical use of "aitherrach aimsire" to mean "reversal of fortune" is echoed in the Scottish Gaelic expression "Nach orm a thàinig an dà latha!" Literally this means "Is it not on me that the two days have come?!"

Dirsan lemm!

Dirsan lemm!

(calamitous * with me)

Woe is me!

Congal exclaims "Dursan leam!" to express his utter embarassment after having been gravely wounded not by a famous warrior but by the halfwit Cúanna in "Cath Muighe Rath" (FDG, p. 286). Variations on "Dirsan duit" (It's your misfortune!) are found throughout Early Irish literature.

Fó mo ruach...

Fó mo ruach!
Comrac fri mnaí mo druad:
sech romfácaib mo bhean féin,
bean mo druad ní romaithgéin.

(good * my * mire /
[sexual] encounter * with * wife * of my * druid /
besides * (that) has left me * my * wife * own /
wife * of my * druid * not * has recognized me)

Mine is a fine mess!
A tryst with my druid's wife:
not only has my own wife left me,
my druid's wife ignores me.

This lone stanza is embedded in a compilation of lore surrounding the idiot saint Mac Dá Cherda and St. Cummaine of Foda, edited and translated by J. G. O'Keeffe in Ériu, volume 5. Alan Harrison in "The Irish Trickster" explains that Mac Dá Cherda lost his sanity as a result of this episode, after the aggrieved druid cursed him.

Uch a lám...

Uch a lám,
ar scribis de memrum bán!
Béra in memrum fá buaidh,
is bethair-si id benn lom cuail cnám.

(och * o * hand/
all that * you wrote * of * parchment * white/
you will carry * the * parchment * under * fame/
and * you will be * in-your * tip * naked * of heap * of bones)

Alas, hand,
so much white parchment you've written!
You will make the parchment famous,
and you will be the naked tip of a heap of bones.

The comment left by a scribe in the margin of a manuscript he was copying, edited by Kuno Meyer in ZCP 2.225. Such comments are common in Irish manuscripts, a kind of graffiti recording the passing thoughts, feelings and opinions of the scribes. In "Dánfhocail", O'Rahilly gives a later version of this quatrain, as well as another one in the same vein:

Och, a lámh, ón och, a lámh,
ar sgríobhais do mheamram bhán;
mairfidh an meamram fá bhuaidh,
's beir-se san uaigh id chuail chnámh!

Truagh sin, a leabhair bhig bháin,
tiocfaidh an lá, is budh fíor,
déarfaidh neach os cionn do chláir:
"Ní mhaireann an lámh do sgríobh."

Am trú-sa trá!

Am trú-sa trá!

(I am * a doomed man - emphatic * indeed)

I'm doomed for sure!

So says Cú Chulainn in "Serglige Con Culainn" when he misses his second shot with a sling stone at a pair of magical birds who are flying in tandem, linked by a chain of gold. His failure to hit them shocks him because, as he goes on to explain, "Ó gabus-sa gaisced níro lá iomroll mo urchur cuss indíu." ("Since I took up arms my aim has never failed until today.")

Is mucc remi·tuit mess.

Is mucc remi·tuit mess.

(is * a pig * that falls before * acorn crop)

He is a pig that dies before the acorns fall.

In other words, "he has died a prematue death." In early Ireland pigs were expected to feast and grow fat on mast (fallen nuts of forest trees, mostly hazel nuts and acorns) in early autumn. A pig that does not survive until the mast fall dies before its time. This line comes from the tale "Togail Bruidne Da Derga", where Fer Rogain speaks it of the doomed king, Conaire.

The expression is also found in the Annals of the Four Masters (M1155.6) in regard to the death of Maol Seachlainn, and is reinforced by another similar expression:

As muc rémhi-téth mes, 'as craobh riana bláth' écc ind fhir h-isin. (... 'and a branch before its blossoming' the death of that man).

Is mór in bét!

Is mór in bét!

(great * the * calamity)

What a pity!

This exclamation, used as a cheville in a short poem found in "Sanas Cormaic", is still alive virtually unchanged 1,100 years later in Scottish Gaelic as "Is mór am beud". See also the quatrain that begins "Mór in bét!" in this collection.

At-chíu forderg, at-chíu ruad.

At-chíu forderg, at-chíu ruad.

(I see * crimson * I see * ruddy)

I see crimson, I see red.

Queen Medb asks the prophet-woman Feidelm to look into the future as her army sets out to do battle with Ulster in the epic "Táin Bó Cúailgne", and this is what she replies.

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