“God thee bless, thou loved Iona.”

THE DEATH OF COLUMBA. Saxon stranger, thou did’st wisely, Sunder’d for a little space From that motley stream of people Drifting by this holy place; With the furnace and the funnel Through the long sea’s glancing arm, Let them hurry back to Oban, Where the tourist loves to swarm. Here, upon this hump of granite, […]

I Do Not Compare the Disciple with the Master

Baithen was a man of tender soul, of whom we would fain speak at greater length, if it were not needful to circumscribe the wide and confused records of Celtic hagiography. Columba compared him to St John the Evangelist; he said that his beloved disciple resembled him who was the beloved disciple of Christ, by his exquisite […]

Towards Alba of the Ravens

This is a poem of Columkille’s, or at least ascribed to him. It is in very irregular metre, or rather changes its metre several times. The literal translation of the first few verses is as follows:– Delightful to be on Ben Edar (the Hill of Howth) before going over the sea, white, white; the dashing […]

I Would Not Speak Falsehood

On a time that Columcille was in Alba, he sent holy Baithin on certain errands to Aedan son of Gabhran. Aedan inquired of him who that man was, to wit, Columcille, of the which the folk of the Western World gave such great report. “He is a good man,” saith Baithin, “for he hath not […]

Next after Colum Cille Himself

9. F. QUINTO IDUS IUNII. BAOITHIN, abbot of I-Coluim-Cille, next after Colum Cille himself; and Tech Baoithin in Cinel Conaill was his chief church, for he was of the race of Conall Gulban. It was to this Baoithin it was permitted to see the three grand chairs in heaven empty, awaiting some of the saints […]

All Affrighted and Adrad

Another time when Columcille was in lona, holy Baithin set out for that foresaid isle. Columcille warned him that in the middle of the night tofore a terrible beast had come into the harbor betwixt lona and the isle that he was bound for; and that all that should go past that harbor should be […]

What Follows Let Baithene Write

Then leaving this spot, he ascended the hill that overlooketh the monastery, and stood for some little time on its summit; and as he stood there with both hands uplifted, he blessed his monastery, saying: Small and mean though this place is, yet it shall be held in great and unusual honour, not only by […]

Missing the Letter “I” Alone

QUADAM die Baitheneus, ad Sanctum accedens, ait, “Necesse habeo ut aliquis de fratribus mecum Psalterium quod scripsi percurrens emendet.”  Quo audito, Sanctus sic profatur, “Cur hanc super nos infers sine causa molestiam? nam in tuo hoc, de quo dicis, Psalterio nec una superflua reperietur litera, nec alia deesse, excepta I vocali, quae sola deest.”  Et […]