By the Lake of Beer

St. Brigid's Cross.
St. Brigid’s Cross.

I’d like to give a lake of beer to God.
I’d love the heavenly Host
to be tippling there
For all eternity.

I’d love the men of Heaven to live with me,
To dance and sing.
If they wanted, I’d put at their disposal
Vats of suffering.

White cups of love I’d give them
With a heart and a half;
Sweet pitchers of mercy I’d offer
To every man.

I’d make Heaven a cheerful spot
Because the happy heart is true.
I’d make the men contented for their own sake.
I’d like Jesus to love me too.

I’d like the people of heaven to gather
From all the parishes around.
I’d give a special welcome to the women,
The three Marys of great renown.

I’d sit with the men, the women and God
There by the lake of beer.
We’d be drinking good health forever
And every drop would be a prayer.

— Tenth century Irish poem attributed to St. Brigid
(as sung by Nóirín Ní Riain on Vox de Nube).

An Oft-Quoted Scribal Note

A reader has written to ask for the Latin of three concluding scribal notes to the Táin Bó Cúailnge as found in the Book of Leinster to which I referred in a previous post. Here it is:

Sed ego qui scripsi hanc historiam aut verius fabulam quibusdam fidem in hac historia aut fabula non accommodo. Quaedam enim ibi sunt praestrigia demonum, quaedam autem figmenta poetica, quaedam similia vero, quaedam non, quaedam ad delectationem stultorum.

He Scourgeth Every Son Whom He Receiveth

Ideoque et nos tantam habentes impositam nubem testium, deponentes omne pondus, et circumstans nos peccatum, per patientiam curramus ad propositum nobis certamen: aspicientes in auctorem fidei, et consummatorem Jesum, qui proposito sibi gaudio sustinuit crucem, confusione contempta, atque in dextera sedis Dei sedet. Recogitate enim eum qui talem sustinuit a peccatoribus adversum semetipsum contradictionem: ut ne fatigemini, animis vestris deficientes. Nondum enim usque ad sanguinem restitistis, adversus peccatum repugnantes: et obliti estis consolationis, quæ vobis tamquam filiis loquitur, dicens: Fili mi, noli negligere disciplinam Domini: neque fatigeris dum ab eo argueris. Quem enim diligit Dominus, castigat: flagellat autem omnem filium, quem recipit.

Epistle to the Hebrews, xii, 1-6.

Fàilte Sorcha!

Sorcha the Polydactyl Cat.
Sorcha the Polydactyl Cat.

Polydactyly is a congenital abnormality, genetically inherited as an autosomal dominant trait of the Pd gene with incomplete penetrance.

Normal cats have a total of eighteen toes, with five toes on each front paw and four toes on each hind paw; polydactyl cats may have as many as eight digits on their front and/or hind paws. Tiger, a Canadian polydactyl cat with twenty-seven toes, was recognised by Guinness World Records as having the highest number of toes on a cat. Various combinations of anywhere from four to seven toes per paw are common, and the number of toes on either the front or rear paws is typically the same. Polydactyly is most commonly found on the front paws only, it is rare for a cat to have polydactyl hind paws only, and polydactyly of all four paws is even less common.

Welcome to your family, polydactyl Sorcha!

Annales Cambriae

Page view from the Harleian manuscript of the Annals of Wales; British Library.
Page view from the Harleian manuscript of the Annals of Wales; British Library.
447 ‡ Days as dark as night.‡
453 Easter altered on the Lord’s Day by Pope Leo, Bishop of Rome.
454 St. Brigid is born.
457 St. Patrick goes to the Lord.
458 St. David is born in the thirtieth year after Patrick left Menevia.
468 The death of Bishop Benignus.
501 Bishop Ebur rests in Christ, he was 350 years old.
516 The Battle of Badon, in which Arthur carried the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ for three days and three nights on his shoulders and the Britons were the victors.
521 St. Columba is born. The death of St. Brigid.
537 The battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell: and there was plague in Britain and Ireland.
544 The sleep [death] of Ciaran.
547 The great death [plague] in which Maelgwn, king of Gwynedd died. ‡Thus they say ‘The long sleep of Maelgwn in the court of Rhos’. Then was the yellow plague.‡
558 The death of Gabrán, son of Dungart.
562 Columba went to Britain.
565 ‡The voyage of Gildas to Ireland.‡
569 ‡The ‘Synod of Victory’ was held between the Britons.‡
570 Gildas ‡wisest of Britons‡ died.
573 The battle of Arfderydd ‡between the sons of Eliffer and Gwenddolau son of Ceidio; in which battle Gwenddolau fell; Merlin went mad.‡
574 The sleep [death] of Brendan of Birr.
580 Gwrgi and Peredur ‡sons of Elifert‡ died.
584 Battle against the Isle of Man and the burial of Daniel of the Bangors.
589 The conversion of Constantine [king of Britain] to the Lord.
594 ‡Aethelbert reigned in England.‡
595 The death of Columba.
The death of king Dunod ‡son of Pabo.‡
Augustine and Mellitus converted the English to Christ.
601 The synod of Urbs Legionis [Chester].
Gregory died in Christ and also bishop David of Moni Iudeorum.
606 The burial of bishop Cynog.
607 The death of Aidan son of Gabrán
612 The death of Kentigern and bishop Dyfrig.
613 The battle of Caer Legion [Chester]. And there died Selyf son of Cynan. And Iago son of Beli slept [died].
616 Ceredig died.
617 Edwin begins his reign.
624 The sun is covered [eclipsed].
626 Edwin is baptized, and Rhun son of Urien baptized him.
627 Belin dies.
629 The beseiging of king Cadwallon in the island of Glannauc.
630 Gwyddgar comes and does not return. On the Kalends of January the battle of Meigen; and there Edwin was killed with his two sons; but Cadwallon was the victor.
631 The battle of Cantscaul in which Cadwallon fell.
632 The slaughter of the [river] Severn and the death of Idris.
644 The battle of Cogfry in which Oswald king of the Northmen and Eawa king of the Mercians fell.
645 The hammering of the region of Dyfed, when the monastery of David was burnt.
649 ‡Slaughter in Gwent.‡
650 The rising of a star.
656 The slaughter of Campus Gaius.
657 Penda killed.
658 Oswy came and took plunder.
661 Cummine the tall died.
662 Brocmail ‡the tusked ‡ dies.
665 The first celebration of Easter among the Saxons. The second battle of Badon. Morgan dies.
669 Oswy, king of the Saxons, dies.
676 A star of marvelous brightness was seen shining throughout the whole world.
682 A great plague in Britain, in which Cadwaladr son of Cadwallon dies.
683 A plague ‡was‡ in Ireland.
684 A great earthquake in the Isle of Man.
689 The rain turned to blood in Britain, and ‡in Ireland‡ milk and butter turned to blood.
704 Aldfrith king of the Saxons died. The sleep of Adomnán.
714 Night was as bright as day. Pepin the elder [actually Pepin II, of Heristal], king of the Franks, died in Christ.
717 Osred king of the Saxons dies.
718 The consecration of the church of the archangel Michael ‡on mount Gargano.‡
721 A hot summer.
722 Beli son of Elffin dies. And the battle of Hehil among the Cornish, the battle of Garth Maelog, the battle of Pencon among the south Britons, and the Britons were the victors in those three battles.
728 The battle of mount Carno.
735 Bede the priest sleeps.
736 Oengus king of the Picts died.
750 Battle between the Picts and the Briton, that is the battle of Mocetauc. And their king Talorgan is killed by the Britions.
754 Rhodri king of the Britons dies.
757 Ethelbalk king of the Saxons dies.
760 A battle between the Britons and the Saxons, that is the battle of Hereford and Dyfnwal son of Tewdwr dies.
768 Easter is changed among the Britons ‡on the Lord’s day ‡, Elfoddw, servant of God, emending it.
775 Ffernfael son of Ithael dies.
776 Cinaed king of the Picts dies.
777 Abbot Cuthbert dies.
778 The devastation of the South Britons by Offa.
784 The devastation of Britain by Offa in the summer.
796 ‡Devastation by Rheinwg son of Offa ‡ The first coming of the gentiles [Norsemen] among the southern Irish.
797 Offa king of the Mercians and Maredudd king of the Demetians die, and the battle of Rhuddlan.
798 Caradog king of Gwynedd is killed by the Saxons.
807 Arthen king of Ceredigion dies. ‡Solar eclipse‡
808 Rhain king of the Demetians and Cadell ‡king‡ of Powys die.
809 Elfoddw archbishop in the Gwynedd region went to the Lord.
810 ‡The moon covered ‡. Mynyw burnt. ‡Death of cattle in Britain.‡
811 Owain son of Maredudd dies.
812 The fortress of Degannwy is struck by lightning and burnt.
813 Battle between Hywel ‡and Cynan. Hywel‡ was the victor.
814 There was great thunder and it caused many fires. Tryffin son of Rhain died. And Gruffydd son of Cyngen is killed by treachery by his brother Elisedd after an interval of two months. Hywel triumphed over the island of Mona and he drove Cynan from there with a great loss of his own army.
816 Hywel was again expelled from Mona. Cynan the king dies. ‡Saxons invaded the mountains of Eryri and the kingdom of Rhufoniog‡.
817 The battle of Llan-faes.
818 ‡Cenwulf devastated the Dyfed region.‡
822 The fortress of Degannwy is destroyed by the Saxons and they took the kingdom of Powys into their own control.
825 Hywel dies.
831 ‡Lunar eclipse.‡ Laudent died and Sadyrnfyw Hael of Mynyw died.
840 Nobis the bishop ruled Mynyw.
842 Idwallon dies.
844 Merfyn dies. The battle of Cetill.
848 The battle of Ffinnant. Ithael king of Gwent was killed by the men of Brycheiniog.
849 Meurig was killed by Saxons.
850 Cynin is killed by the gentiles.
853 Mona laid waste by black gentiles.
856 Kenneth king of the Picts died. And Jonathan prince of Abergele dies.
860 Catgueithen was expelled.
864 Duda laid Glywysing waste.
865 Cian of Nanhyfer died.
866 The city of York was laid waste, that is the battle with the black gentiles.
869 The battle of Bryn Onnen.
870 The fortress of Alt Clud was broken by the gentiles.
871 Gwgon king of Ceredigion was drowned.
873 Nobis ‡the bishop‡ and Meurig die. The battle of Bannguolou.
874 ‡Llunferth the bishop consecrated.‡
875 Dungarth king of Cernyw ‡that is of the Cornish‡ was drowned.
876 The battle of Sunday in Mona.
877 Rhodri and his son Gwriad is killed by the Saxons.
878 Aed son of Neill dies.
880 The battle of Conwy. Vengeance for Rhodri at God’s hand. ‡The battle of Cynan.‡
882 Catgueithen died.
885 Hywel died in Rome.
887 Cerball died.
889 Suibne the wisest of the Irish died.
892 Hyfaidd dies.
894 Anarawd came with the Angles and laid waste Ceredigion and Ystrad Tywi.
895 The Northmen came and laid waste Lloegr and Bycheiniog and Gwent and Gwynllywiog.
896 ‡Bread failed in Ireland. Vermin like moles with two teeth fell from the air and ate everything up; they were driven out by fasting and prayer.‡
898 ‡Athelstan king of the Saxons died.‡
900 Alfred king of the Gewissi dies.
902 Igmund came to Mona and took Maes Osfeilion.
903 ‡Merfyn son of Rhodri died and ‡ Llywarch son of Hyfaidd dies.
904 Rhodri ‡sone of Hyfaidd ‡ was beheaded in Arwystli.
906 The battle of Dinmeir and Mynyw was broken.
907 ‡Bishop ‡ Gorchywyl dies ‡ and king Cormac‡.
908 ‡Bishop ‡ Asser died.
909 King Cadell son of Rhodri dies.
913 Ohter comes ‡to Britain‡.
915 Anarawd king ‡of the Britons‡ dies.
917 Queen Aethelflaed died.
919 King Clydog was killed.
921 The battle of Dinas Newydd.
928 Hywel journeyed to Rome. ‡Helen died.‡
935 ‡Gruffydd son of Owain died.‡
938 The battle of Brune.
939 Hyfaidd son of Clydog, and Meurig, died.
941 Aethelstan ‡king of the Saxons‡ died.
942 King Afloeg dies.
943 Cadell son of Arthfael was poisoned. And Idwal ‡son of Rhodri ‡ and his son Elisedd are killed by the Saxons.
944 Llunferth bishop in Mynyw died.
945 ‡Bishop Morlais died.‡
946 Cyngen son of Elisedd was poisoned. And Eneuris bishop in Mynyw died. And strathclyde was laid wasted by the Saxons.
947 Edmund king of the Saxons was killed.
950 Hywel king of the Britons ‡called the Good‡ died.
951 And Cadwgan son of Owain is killed by the Saxons. And the battle of Carno ‡between the sons of Hywel and the sons of Idwal‡.
952 ‡Iago and Idwal the sons of Idwal laid Dyfed waste.‡
954 Rhodri son of Hywel dies.

— Ingram, James, translator. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. London: Everyman Press, 1912.

The primary text of the above translation is taken from the Harleian manuscript (a.k.a. MS. A — London, British Library, MS. Harleian 3859, folios 190r-193r.), the earliest copy of the Annales Cambriae which has survived. The text enclosed within the “‡” symbols are entries which are not found in the Harleian manuscript, but which appear in a later version.

Táin Bó Cúailnge

But I who have written this story, or rather this fable, give no credence to the various incidents related in it. For some things in it are the deceptions of demons, other poetic figments; some are probable, others improbable; while still others are intended for the delectation of foolish men.

— Colophon (Latin) at the conclusion of the recension of the Táin Bó Cúailnge as found in the Book of Leinster.

Cover (dust jacket) of Táin Bó Cúailnge, edited by Cecille O'Rahilly, and published by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies in 1970.
Cover (dust jacket) of Táin Bó Cúailnge, edited and translated by Cecille O’Rahilly, and published by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies in 1970 (orig. 1967).
"Here begin the youthful deeds of Cú Chulainn..."
“Here begin the youthful deeds of Cú Chulainn…”

The latest edition to my Gaelic library arrived at the house today, a fairly rare Irish/English copy of the Táin Bó Cúailnge, edited and translated by Cecille O’Rahilly in 1967 — and in pristine condition!

For All Seasons

More is a man of an angel’s wit and singular learning. I know not his fellow. For where is the man of that gentleness, lowliness and affability? And, as time requireth, a man of marvelous mirth and pastimes, and sometime of as sad gravity. A man for all seasons.

— Robert Whittington of Thomas More, 1520.