The Celtic Literature Collective

A Fragment of an Old Welsh Computus
Cambridge MS Add. 4543

A brief fragment, written ca. 850-910 CE, concerning a diagram relating to Bede about the Easter Controversy.

Text of the fragment.

guidaur . is mod . cephitor . did . hanaud . In ir tritid urd .i. In
trited retec . retit loyr . . guorhir seraul . circhl . ir ir tri ui . aur .
is did ciman . haci . . Or bissei pan diconetent ir . oith aur hinnith
pa sserenn . pigurthet . loyr in pan aedbid . ad ír lóc . guac . issi .
in triti urd . Oraur . ni hois . ir loc guac hinnith . in pāḡ rēgl-
nit . abruid ir serenn . hai bu in arcimeir .o. is gur tum tarnetor
ir loc guac haibid post .o. haccet . nitegid . di . a . hit niritarnher
ir did hinnuith .i. ir loc quac habid post .o. Ir nidibid ir loyr
di . a . hit niri tarnher rann . ir bissei . . Hacet is gurth . ir serenn
hai bid in eir cimeir .o. retit loyr ir did . hinnuith cen nit boi
loc guac inter o . et a . in pāḡ regulā . Is aries isid in arcimeir
aries . hithou tra nos in errcimeir loc guac .i. ii kl- Iān . . Cinnit
hoys ir loc guac hinnuith In pāḡ rēḡ . . post .e. issem ir .e.
hinnuith issid diguedham oll in pāḡ rēḡ . . hac in ir gueleri . gurt
trichiti nacgenei . bihit . dirterni ir loc guac hai bid in ir gueleri
nitegid ad serenn árall aries ithou guar kl- iān̄ bichet paniu
petguarid . did di aries . . Sic solvendum est Salt emmiguollig
hinnith ir bloidin hunnuith . ir hatbid oit guor mod in ir salt .
Ceis in ir loyr ha chepi . hinn in guir . ir ni deruid hinn . hou
nit bloidin salt hai bid im guarphenn circhl naunecant.

Quiggin's Translation.

it is known, it is a manner in which a difficult day is found. In the third row, i. e. in the third circuit the moon travels on the zodiac for the thrice six hours.1 It is a whole day with it2 (the moon). As regards the bisse when those eight hours increase3 what constellation is it to which4 the moon flies5 when it comes to it,6 the vacant space which is in the third row. When7 that vacant space is not8 in the regular page the constellation which was opposite o is not entangled.9 It is in excess10 that the vacant space which is after o is absorbed.11 And yet it does not pass12 from a in order that that day may not be absorbed, i. e. the vacant space which is after o. For the moon does not pass from a in order that a part, the bisse, be not absorbed. And yet13 it is towards the constellation which is opposite o that the moon runs that day, since114 there cannot be15 a vacant space between o and a in the regular page. It is aries which is opposite . . . aries itself16 . . . opposite a vacant space, i. e. 2 Cal. Jan. Although that vacant space is not in the regular page after e, that is, that e which is last of all in the regular page and in the calendar ............................17 until thou absorb the vacant space which is in the calendar it does not move to another constellation. It is aries itself on Cal. Jan. until it is the fourth day of aries. Sic solvendum est. It is the saltus that releases18 (disturbs?) this this year. For there are eight too many in the saltus.19 Seek in the (table of the) moon and thou shall find this true. For this does not fail. Is it not a saltus year which is at the end of a nineteen year cycle?2

[Quiggin's] Notes to the translation.
1. According to Bede's Ephemeris the moon stays for 11 days 6 hours and two-thirds (bissc) in each constellation.

2. i.e. it is a whole day which the moon gains thereby. Or bistri perhaps means 'from, as a result of the b.'.

3. From dy-gynnyddu. The ending is perhaps to be compared with O. W. forms in -int, cp. Strachan, Introduction p. 83.

4. For pa ... pi v. Loth, RC. XXXI, 327.

5. gurthet I take to be from gwrth + hed. In Bede 'peruolare' occurs in similiar passages. Otherwise it might be == gwrthyd, 'what constellation is it that the moon rejects, leaves behind?'

6. aedbid = a + e + d(i)bid, where e is the infixed pronoun. This is contrary to later usage, as pan is regularly preceded by y, when a pronoun is infixed (Strachan p. 35). For the form triti see the instances given by Loth, RC. XXXI, 320.

7. Or aur perhaps means 'from the time that'.

8. It is interesting to find that there are two instances in this fragment of the use of oes with a definite subject, cp. Strachan p. 101.

9. abruid apparently = afrwydd.

10. = guor twf?

11. This verb occurs four times in the fragment (tarnher twice, di-r-terni). Prof. Loth compares Bret. tarna, 'to sweep' ; tarner, 'dish-cloth'. He informs me that the verb occurs elsewhere meaning 'to absorb, dry up'.

12. I can offer no satisfactory explanation of this form which occurs once again. The absolute form egid is out of the question. Prof. Loth writes: 'A propos de tegid, je me souviens d' avoir entendu employer couramment a Carnarvon: tynghyd dans le sens de 'fuir', par exemple pour un bateau s'enfuyant devant la tempête. g intervocalique est sou vent pour ng, rarement, il est vrai, pour nc.'

13. == ac cyd?

14. cen nit == 'since not' for can nyd? This seems to suit the sense better than cyny.

15. boi = buy?

16. hithou = hitheu fem. referring to serenn? A few lines later it is written ithou.

17. gurt trichiti, cp. gwrthrychu, gwrthddrychu, 'to place in view, design'?

18. Apparently from ymollicng. It is natural to think of O. Irish relative forms such as imme-rádi. Prof. Loth also suggested this explanation, but he holds that -i- may represent an ordinary infixed prououu, the verb having the usual reflexive force.

19. I do not understand the purport of this.

20. naunecant evidently renders Lat. decemnonennalis. Cp. Bret, naondec. But what is the latter part? W. cant means 'a rim, hoop, periphery' etc.

Quiggin, E.C. "A Fragment of an Old Welsh Computus." ZCP VIII. New York: G.E. Stechert & Co. 1912. pp. 407-410

Koch, John T. "The Computus Fragment". Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia.. ABC-CLIO. 2005. p.470-471.