The Celtic Literature Collective

The Scholar's Primer

Incipit Primer of the Poets, that is, eraicept, beginning of lessons, for every beginning is er. To what is this a beginning? Not hard. To the selection that was selected in Gaelic since this is the beginning which was invented by Fenius after the coming of the school with the languages from abroad, every obscure sound that existed in every speech and in every language was put into Gaelic so that for this reason it is more comprehensive than any language. Er then is every beginning, for this was the beginning with the poets, that every obscure sound should come in the beginning, to wit, the Beithe Luis of the Ogham on account of obscurity. Query, what is the reason why select language should be said of Gaelic? Not hard. Because it was selected from every language; and for every obscure sound of every language a place was found in Gaelic owing to its comprehensiveness beyond every speech. Query, then, did not Gaelic exist before it was selected? It did indeed, for the seventy-two languages are not found other wise. Query, in what land was Gaedel born? Not hard. In Egypt. And what particular place? Not hard. In the plain of Ucca in the South-Western division of Egypt. Who of the school went to it thither? Not hard. Gaedel son of Ether, son of Toe, son of Baracham, a Scythian Greek. Query, how much did he bring of it? Not hard. The whole of it except what poets added by way of obscuration after it had reached Fenius. Query, what language of the seventy-two was published by Fenius first? Not hard. The Irish Language ... for it is he whom he preferred of his school, and whom he had reared from his youth, and it is he that was the youngest of the school, and on account of its comprehensiveness beyond every speech, and it was the first language that was brought from the Tower. Fenius had Hebrew, Greek, and Latin before he came from Scythia, and he had no need to establish them at the Tower, wherefore on that account it was published first. Query, was there not among the many languages something nobler to take precedence of Gaelic? Not hard. No indeed, on account of its aptness, lightness, smoothness, and comprehensive ness. Wherefore is it more comprehensive than any speech? Not hard. Because it was the first speech that was brought from the Tower, it was of such extent that it was more comprehensive than any speech so that it was the one to be published at first. What are the place, time, person, and cause of Gaelic? Not hard. Its place, the Tower of Nimrod, for there it was invented at first. Its time the time of building the Tower by Adam's children. Its person Sachab son of Rochemhurcos and Gaedel son of Ether, son of Toe, son of Baracham, a Scythian Greek. What is its cause? Not hard. The building of Nimrod's Tower. Others say the cause was that Gaedel went into the land in which he was born so that he was the first that wrote it on tablets and stones in the particular place which is named Calcanensis. There Gaedel wrote Gaelic. Wherefore is worldly speech said of Gaelic, since it is not referred to by the learned sages? Not hard. On account of what it relates of worldly questions and cases both of laity and clergy. Wherefore is it said that he who reads Gaelic is rude before God? Not to it is reference made here at all, but to the whole of philosophy, both grammar, dialectic, and metrics; as the poet said:

Learning and philosophy are vain,
Reading, grammar and gloss,
Diligent literature and metrics,
Small their avail in heaven above.

Query, is Gaelic not philosophy? Not hard. (No) indeed save that which minor authors towards the end of the world make as a means for distinguishing them selves beyond the former authors: or this is what are worldly speech and vain philosophy, viz., the heresy and the unbelief which any one has shown against the truth, divine and human, and that is the meaning of rude before God.

What are the place, time, person, and cause of writing the Primer? Not one place have the four books, as the poet says: What is first is last what is last is first, to wit, what is first according to book order was invented last; to wit, the book of Cennfaeladh, son of Oilill. As regards place, time, person, and cause of writing that book of Cennfaeladh: its place Derry Luran, its time the time of Domnall, son of Aed, son of Ainmire. Its person Cennfaeladh son of Oilill; cause of writing it, that his brain of oblivion was dashed out of Cennfaeladh's head in the battle of Moira. Four glorious events of that battle: Rout of Conghal in his lie before Domnall in his truth; and Suibne in madness, but it is owing to the quantity of poems he had made; the Scotsman bearing the Irish man along with him over sea without being noticed, Dubh Diadh was his name; and his brain of oblivion being dashed out of Cennfaeladh's head, owing to the extent of poetry, words, and reading that he amassed.

Now the authors of the Gael say: Why did he say that the authors who were before him say? since it is Cennfaeladh that invented this book, viz., the Prologue of the Primer. And the authors of the Gael, that was Fenius Farsaidh, and Iar of the many languages, son of Nema. Not hard [2nd Ans.]. Owing to the nobility of the time he said it, that is, the present time, for he puts the present time for all times: ut dixit: Praesens tempus pro omnibus temporibus ponitur, i.e., the present time is put for all times. How is that? since he says of the one word in which are two syllables, that they are not spoken at one time, ut dicitur, lego, I read, quando dicis le-futurum est-go [quando dicis-go] praeteritum est le- i.e., when you say the first syllable, the last syllable is future to you, and [when you say the last] the first syllable is preterite to you. That is natural as the Latin ist said: Tempus non dividitur sed opera nostra dividuntur, i.e., it is not time that is divided there but our actions. This however, is not a reference to the authors who lived at the same time with himself which Cennfaeladh gave when he said 'the authors of the Gael say.' Why has he placed a first here? Because it is the eldest among letters and the noblest among vowels.

That this is the reason for the Irish Language (that is Fenius speech); a deed wonderful, unlawful, that is, an unusual deed, unusual for its infrequency, unlawful for its pride, an attempt on heaven in their fleshly bodies without permission of God.

Which happened there, i.e., the building of Nimrod's Tower. Now that Nimrod was champion of all Adam's seed in his time, Nimrod, son of Cush, son of Ham, son of Noah. There was not then any king over the world till the time of Nin, son of Bel, but only counsellors and chiefs were in existence up till that time. Seventy-two counsellors accordingly were in the world at the time in which the Tower was made. Now one of the 72 was Nimrod. A mighty man was he and a man famous in hunting, to wit, for stags; and in coursing, to wit, for hares; and in trappings, to wit, wild pigs; and in snarings, to wit, for birds. So that thus multitudes of men were following him so that he was more numerous, to wit, in armies and so that he was thus more powerful than a counsellor. So that it was he who united those 72 counsellors to one counsel to make the Tower with the grandson of his father's brother, to wit, with the great grandson of his grandfather's brother, to wit, with Peleg son of Ragau, son of Arphaxad, son of Shem, son of Noah. And he was one of the 72 counsellors, too, up to that time. And they say therefore that Peleg was the one counsellor and the same parent of them all. A question here is, the names of the 72 counsellors by whom the Tower was made, only that writings do not enumerate but the names of the 17 men who were most illustrious among them, to wit, Peleg, Nimrod, Eber, Latinus, Rabiath Scot, Nabgodon, Assur, Ibath, Longbardus, Bodbus, Brittus, Germanus, Garath, Scithius, Gotius, Bardanius, and Sardain. But at any rate after the flood the first king according to nature was Nimrod. That was the first king according to art, the Peleg aforesaid. According to authority, however, it was Nin son of Bel, son of Plosc, son of Pluliris, son of Agomolis, son of Fronosis, son of Gitlis, son of Tiras, son of Assur, son of Shem, son of Noah. He obtains, then, that thing. Nimrod said that it was his name that should be on that work for ever. Adrodamas, i.e., that thing also was granted him. Three things, then, on account of which the building of that Tower was accomplished by Adam's children, to wit, for dread of the flood again, and that they should go to heaven in their bodies from the earth, and to render their names illustrious after them, so that on that account said the King of heaven to the people of heaven (316): Venite ut videamus et confundamus linguas eorum, that is, come that we may see and confound those men's speech. Now great was the power of Adam's seed and their strength at that time in making the Tower, that they might know thus whether the power of heaven's King was over them, He confounded them, that is, He confused them. When one of them would say to another 'fetch me a stone' it was a stick he would bring, to wit, the slabs on which the mortar was mixed and the mallets by which it was mixed, these are the sticks and stones which they were talking about. Now poets came from Scythia a little time after these doings to seek to learn the many languages at the Tower since they thought i.e. they supposed i.e. they expected, of a place from which were dispersed and in which had been invented the many languages by Adam's children that they would remain there in per fection. They went therefore to the plain of Shinar unto the Tower, that is, the plain of Ucna or the plain of Doraimh in the North West of the plain of Shinar, a special name of the point on which is the Tower. The poets numbered seventy-five, that is, one for each language, and the three sages, to wit, a sage for each of the three principal languages, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Seventy-four languages, which is every one of these languages, that was what was dispersed there.

Fenius Farsaidh was the name of their chief, and he was a sage in the principal languages even before he came from the North out of Scythia. The reason why superiority is claimed on behalf of these three languages is owing to the amount of compositions that were made out of them, and owing to the mingling wherewith they mingled with every language, or again it was owing to the superscription that was written out of the three of them upon the board of the Cross. Since Fenius did not get a perfection of the languages at the Tower, he dispersed his school and his disciples abroad throughout the cities and territories of the earth on every side to learn the languages, and Fenius supported them with both food and clothing whilst they were so learning, to wit, seven languages [l. years], and Fenius stayed at the Tower and dwelt till his school came unto him from every direction, and he kept instructing the many races of the world at the Tower during that space of time. Hence he said in the body of the book that Fenius himself remained there at the Tower and there he dwelt. Other authors say that of the children of Ionan son of Japheth son of Noah from whom the Greeks originated and from whom Fenius sprung, there were none at the building of the Tower.

That is natural for Jonan had no children at all, or Japheth had not that son himself, ut Hieronyinus dixit. Query, What is Fenius genealogy? Not hard. Farsaidh, then, son of Baath, son of Magog, son of Japheth, son of Noah. Or Fenius Farsaidh, son of Eogan, son of White-knee (Glunfind), son of White-hand (Laimfind), son of Ether, son of Agnoman, son of Toe, son of Bonb, son of Semh, son of Mar, son of Ethecht, son of Aurtecht, son of Abodh, son of Aoi, son of Ara, son of Iara, son of Sru, son of Esru, son of Boath, son of Riafath, son of Gomer, son of Japheth, son of Noah, etc. And besides Fenius is a Scythian, and up to him are carried Scythians and Goths according to their genealogies. And they were all the seed of Noah. The Hebrew language is the tongue that was in the world before any building of the Tower, and it is it too that will be after doomsday, and some say that it was it which the people of heaven had Now after the disciples came to Fenius from learning, and after showing their journeys, to wit, their wanderings, and their works, to wit, their studies, then they asked the sage, to wit, Fenius to select for them out of the many languages, a language that no one else should have but which might belong to them alone. Wherefore on that account for them was invented the Select Language with its superadditions, the Language of the Irish, and the Additional Language, and the Language Parted among the principal letters as he has related in the Great Book of Woods, and the Language of the Poets whereby each one of them converses with another, and the Common Language which serves for every one from many races. Gaedel, son of Ether, son of Toe, son of Baracham, a Greek, was one of the two sages in Fenius company, so that from him was named Gaelic, to wit, ealg means noble, to wit, Gaedel ennobled it. Gaedeal Glas also, son of Agnon or Aingin, son of Fenius father's elder brother; and he too was a sage, even he. It is he that claimed this language for Gaedel, son of Ether; wherefore Gaedealg is from Gaedel, son of Ether. And Gaedil from Gaedel, son of Agnon or Aingin. Now the Language of the Irish was invented here, and the Additional Language, and Language Parted among the trees, and the Language of the Poets is the fourth, and the Common Language that serves everyone, the fifth. Now Fenius Farsaidh son of Eugenius, and Iar son of Nema, and Gaedel son of Ether are the three sages who selected these languages, and they were invented in the city of Eotenam, or Athena.

Query, what are the names of the 72 races from which the many languages were learnt? Not hard. Bithynians, Scythians, Scots, Germans, Medes, Sicilians, Hyrcanians, Goths, Pontians, Morini, Lyonese, Cyprians, Gauls, Pamphylians, Lydians, óig, Cycladians, Cretans, Corsicans, Sardinians, Sicilians, Rhetians, Rheginians, Rhodians, Romans, máir, Massilians, Moors, Macedonians, Morcain, náir, náir mais, Narbonians, Noricans, Nubians, brais, Bithynians, Britons, Boeotians, Magogians, Armenians, amuis, gairg, Galatians, Aquitanians, Athenians, Thessalians, aird, Alanians, Albanians, Hyrcanians, Italians, Spaniards, Goths, Getae (?), grinn, Saracens, Franks, Frisians, Langobards, Lacedemonians, Elisaeans (?), Thracians, Trojans, Dardanians, Dalmatians, Dacians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Brahmans, and Indians. Those then are the names of the 72 races whose were the 72 languages. Now one man for each of these languages, that was the complement of the school, and three sages, and each one of them was sent to his own language, and unto their common district unto that learning went not every one of the same race but every one of the same language, as for example, Cai Cainbrethach, Fenius' foster-son, one of the 72 disciples of the school. He was a Hebrew by extraction, and it was to Egyptians he was sent because his parents had lived there, and there he was brought up and reared from his youth, so that hence he says in the body of the book: Every one of the same speech went there, but not every one of the same race, unto his own district. Now seven years were the pupils on the course, and they were three years in displaying their studies after coming home, so that they were ten [years] accordingly, wherefore it is of this he says below in the body of the book: At the end of ten years after their dispersion from the Tower in every direction this language was selected for them. Now there were 25 persons that were the noblest of them. These are the names of them after whom are named the Ogham vowels and consonants. Here are their names: Babel, Lot, Pharaoh, Saliath, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, David, Talamon, Cae, Kaliap, Muiriath, Gotli, Gomers, Stru, Ruben, Achab, Oise, Urith, Essu, Iachim, Ethrocius, Uimelicus, Iudonius, Affrim, Ordines.

These are the names of the 25 persons, the noblest that were in Fenius school. Others again say that that is the alphabet which was invented in Achaidh, and at the Causeway of the Great Estuary that Amergen, son of Mil, invented, the Beithe Luis of the Ogham.

What letter, what character, what sound is that with which no word is ended? dinin disail, or f. And what sharp sound is found with which no strong word is begun? ng. The five principal vowels of the Ogham however, it was from the five persons who were noblest of them that they were named, a, o, u, e, i. Others again say that seven principal vowels are there, and that it is from the seven persons that were noblest there that they are named, and the two vowels that were added to those five vowels are ea, oi.

Query, what are the definite numbers of Nimrod's Tower? Not hard. Eight of them, to wit, 72 counsellors, 72 pupils, 72 races of men, 72 languages, the languages in his school, 72 peoples whose were those languages, and the races, 72 artificers to work at it, 72 building materials including lime, bitumen, earth, and cement in equal layers, 72 paces in width, as he said:

The number of the chosen Tower
Of Nimrod, it was a shelter to men,
Four and seventy paces,
Five paces, and five thousand.

Two and seventy counsellors,
They took companies on an expedition,
Two and seventy languages
God gave to confound them.

Two and seventy free races
Of the men, it was hard;
Two and seventy pupils,
Fenius sends them to learn.

Two and seventy free peoples
He subdivided, men of the earth;
Two and seventy chief artificers
For the skilful working of the materials.

Two and seventy building materials,
In equal quantity, he used,
Including lime and pitch
And earth and cement.

Seventeen cubits certified,
Near heaven upwards with a roaring wind,
And two and seventy paces
In breadth to reckon it.

Others say, however, that only nine materials were in the Tower, to wit, clay and water, wool and blood, wood and lime, acacias, flax thread, and bitumen, de quibus dicitur:--

Clay, water, wool, and blood,
Wood, lime, and flax thread of a full twist,
Acacias, bitumen with virtue,
The nine materials of Nimrod's Tower.
to wit, noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, participle, conjunction, preposition, and interjection are their names: Nomen, pronomen, verbum, adverbium, participium, conjunctio, interjectio, to wit:

1 person singular sum atáim
2 " " es atá tú
3 " " est atá sé
1 person plural sumus atámaid
2 " " estis atá sibse
3 " " sunt atáit

Sum, es, est, its singular.

Sumus, estis, sunt its plural.

There are two divisions in the Latin Alphabet, to wit, vowels and consonants. There are, atait, to wit, sunt, its Latin equivalent, to wit, its very general origin: totus, its particular origin, to wit, a proof there, to wit, a reference to the whole of the alphabet he gives here. What part of speech is the word sunt? For there are eight parts of speech, to wit, nomen, pronomen, uerbum, aduerbium, participium, coniunctio, prepositio, interiectio. Those are their names with the Latinist; noun and verb, pronoun and adverb, participle and preposition, conjunction and interjection with the Gael. It is certain in truth that the word sunt is a verb; and if so, what part of the verb? for there are in fact three of them in the singular, to wit, sum, es, est; and three of them in the plural, to wit, sunuis, estis, sunt, to wit:

1 person singular . . . sum
2 " " . . . es
3 " " . . . est
1 person plural . . . sumus
2 " " . . . estis
3 " " . . . sunt

Attaat, i.e., there is science in place, i.e., there is science of law in the chief poet's place is its meaning: or attaat, that is, there is science out of thee, quoth the disciple to the master.

Its meaning further, attaat, who fall, shine, show, come. Its use, that is, of ataat, in the nature of the vowel and the consonant. They fall into letters, i.e., they are converted out of that primary nature into letters. They shine, i.e., out of these letters into words. They show to the learned out of them, to wit, their meanings and their characters, i.e., the forms of the letters. They come out of those words into texts, and series of proverb, commentary, and poetic composition.

Two divisions, i.e., two true arrangements, or two true other things, or two true folds, or two intensive goings, or two intensive divisions, or two supreme folds, or two goings on them, or two divisions on them, or two distributions on them. These are the three or and the three er and the three fir of the Primer. What are the two, three, four, and five folds of the Primer? Not hard. Full tone and diphthong, the two folds of the vowels: semivowels, mutes, and aspirates are the three folds of the consonants, to wit: when there are four of them, however, two folds of the vowels and two of the consonants, i.e., semivowels and mutes, for h is a mute. When there are five of them, however, that is, two folds of the vowels and three of the consonants.

On the alphabet, i.e., for an "author's selection," or for "selecting of words," i.e., of vocables: or on the "selection at Tower": or from the word abecedarium, i.e., the beginning: or it is that which "ripens" their speech for every one: or alphabet, that is, placing a b: or it is "that which ripens" in Gaelic, incipit in Latin, apix in Greek, a be ce de dybum in Hebrew.

Latinda, that is, they speak the thing, i.e., the words: or Laitinda, i.e., from Laitindacht, i.e., a latitudine, i.e., from the extent of the speech: or from Latinus, son of Faunus.

Edón, that is, "it" its one explanation: or it is the one [.i.] of the learned man.

Gutta (vowel), i.e., voice foundation, i.e., foundation of the voice is that: or voice sent, in respect that voices are sent through them: or voice ways, in respect that they are ways of voices, ut Priscianus dixit: Dicitur autem litera vel quasi legitera quod legendi iter praebeat, that is, the letter is as a road for reading inasmuch as it prepares a way for the reading: or a voice place, i.e., they make a voice in place: or they vocalise, i.e., in respect that voice comes through them alone, ut Donatus dixit: Vocales sunt quae per se proferuntur et per se syllabam faciunt, i.e., the vowels are those that are pronounced by themselves and alone form a syllable.

Consonants, i.e., beautiful sounds, i.e., bright sounds: or consonants from the word consonantes, sounding together, i.e., they sound along with vowels: or consonants, i.e., delicate their sounds, i.e., scantily sounding owing to the smallness of its sound by itself. Why did he say vowel and consonants, since vowel is singular and consonants plural? Not hard. Vowels and consonants is proper there. Why did he say a vowel is a voice foundation, or a vowel is a voice which they utter, for the voice is no foundation to itself, and it does not find a voice through itself. Why did he say a consonant is sounding along with, since the consonant does not sound with itself or with its vowel? Query, what is the comparison of the unallowable of the first part of the Primer? Not hard. Fors, chance, knowledge of it is better, that is unallowable, for ignorance is not good. Why did he say a vowel, i.e., a voice path, for it itself is not a path?

What are peculiar, proper, common, and improper of the word vowel? Not hard. Peculiar to it, voice path, since it finds voice by itself. Proper to it, they express a voice, for it expresses itself. Common to it, i.e., voice foundation, for it is a foundation in the words. Improper to it, however, is voice foundation, when it is not a foundation in itself. Why did he say alphabet was a selecting at Tower? for the alphabets were not begun, as Fenius said, who was a sage in the three principal tongues even before he came from the North, and there are no sages without alphabets. In Achaia, then, were invented the alphabets of the world. The first doichned and the first dichned of the Primer here, to wit: Its first doichned is for, that is, ar is the word: Its first dichned, again, i.e. epe, cutting of author, i.e. tepe is the word itself.

There are, then, two divisions in the Beithe Luis Nin of the Ogham, i.e., vowels and consonants. Dano ·i· da n-ui, two of them, that is, da n-ui, two questions are there. N-ae is question, that is, the question on the Beithe Luis Nin of the Ogham, that is, ind oguamma of the perfect alliteration, or on the undying literary knowledge of the Ogham. As to fedha, wood vowels, moreover, two kinds are reckoned of them, to wit, artificial tree and natural tree. Artificial tree, i.e., the tree of the Ogham; and natural tree, the tree of the forest. As regards artificial wood, moreover, they are regarded as having two sorts of origin. Fidh, wood, then, is from the word funo [φωνέω], I sound, or from the word fundamentum, i.e., foundation, and that derivation, to wit, fundamentum, is common to artificial and natural wood. Now, as to fid, wood, good law is its meaning, both artificial and natural. Foundation, however, is its use, both artificial and natural. It is strange what makes the artificial wood have the two derivations, and the natural wood one, to wit, funo, and fundamentum. Not hard. Funo in respect of sound, and fundamentum in respect of foundation; and common to artificial and to natural wood is foundation.

Fid, wood, that is, fedh ae, extent of them, since five forms of ae are in existence, ae that nourishes, ae that sings, ae that sues, ae that judges, and ae that sits. Now ae that nourishes, i.e., while it is on the mind, and ae that sings at giving it, and ae that sues while asking the reward for it, and ae that considers about its greatness or its smallness, and ae that sits after being paid his reward.

Taebomnai, consonants, that is, taebuaim n-ai, side seam of them; or to the sides of the oaks they are, that is, to the sides of the chieftain wood they are; or taebomnai, i.e., cutting of material, from the fact that material for the words is cut out of them. Why did he say taeb uaim n-ui, that is, side harmony of poetry for there is no poetry without the consonants? Why is it said of the sides of the oaks, i.e., the vowels, for it is not at the sides they are, but before or behind them in the words that the consonants are? Cutting of material, however, that is the peculiar meaning of that expression. There is a correspondence to a word which he gave in the Latin alphabet when he said: There are two divisions in the Latin alphabet. It was a correspondence to nature, however, which he gave when he said: There are two divisions in the Beithe Luis of the Ogham.

When is the Beithe Luis one?

Not hard. The whole of it. When is it two things? Vowels and consonants. When is it three things? Vowels, diphthongs, and consonants. When is it four things? The three groups of the consonants and the ten principal vowels. When is it five things? Vowels, diphthongs, and the three groups of the consonants. When is it six things? The three composite letters of the Ogham ng, sr, qu. When is it seven things? The three additions to the Primer, h, forsail, and arnin.

H first. It increases b till it acquires the force of p, as the Latin ist said: b cum aspiration pro p ponitur, i.e., b with aspiration is put for p, so that h increases it, for p is the aspiration of the Gael. Forsail is the second addition. It adds a vowel power to the sound to make it long, as srōdn, slōg, etc. Arnin is the third addition. Where two consonants are required, arnin takes the force of one of them, e.g. ceann, etc.; for there is no doubling [of letters] in Ogham. Three composite letters of the Ogham exist, qu, ng, and sr. Where c stands before u, it is queirt that is to be written there, e.g. cuileand, etc. Where n stands before g, it is gedul that is to be written there, ut est, uingi, an ounce, cuing, a yoke, cingit, they step, etc. Where s stands before d, it is straiph that is to be written there, such is st in stial, the belt, etc.

There are two divisions in the consonants according to the Latinist, to wit, semivowels and mutes. The semivowels first, their parent vowels before them. The mutes, however, have their parent vowels following them.

Two divisions, then, to wit, two true separations in the common consonants according to the Latinist to wit, according to the letter guide, or the reading guide, or the broad marker that is, semivowels and mutes; semivowels, that is, half the voice is thrown out in order to sound them; or stammering voice; or half-voice place; or half-voice way; or half-voice foundation: and it is not because it would be half a voice exactly that would stand in them, but that they do not reach a full tone; unde Prisdanus dixit: Quicquid in duas paries dividitur, altera pars dicitur semis, i.e., whatever thing it be that is divided into two parts, one of the parts is said to be a half ut Prisdanus dixit: Semideos et semiviros appellamus non qui dimidiam partem habent deorum vel virorum sed qui pleni dii vel viri non sunt, i.e., though they are thus called half-men and half-gods, it is not because the gods might be half-men, or half-men gods, but that they are not complete. Similarly the semivowels are not full sounds, ut Donatus dixit: Semivocales sunt quae per se quidem proferuntur sea per se syllabam non faciunt, i.e., the semivowels are those that are pronounced by themselves. Quicquid asperum dicitur anditus expellit, i.e., the hearing rejects whatever thing is spoken roughly.

Mutes, i.e., bad foundations, or feeble ones, or sonorous, i.e., little spent is its sound; or weighty, or the greater the vowels when they are along with them; or from the word mntus, i.e., speechless, and not because they would be speechless altogether, for their sounds are in them even when they are small, ut Priscianus dixit: Informis dicitur mulier non quae caret formâ sed quae male est formata, i.e., a woman is called unshapely not because she is devoid of shape, but only because she has an ill shape. Thus, therefore, the mutes are not soundless but a scanty sound is in them tantum. Whence they are called mutae, i.e., foundationless, ut Donatus dixit: Mutae sunt quae nec per se proferuntur nec per se syllabam faciunt, i.e., the mutes are these letters which do not make a syllable by themselves, and are not pronounced by themselves, etc. The semivowels first, i.e. the first science for learning i.e. according to good knowledge; or the first knowledge; or the first hit upon the mention. Their parent vowels before them. The mutes on the other hand have their parent vowels after them, i.e., in the proper vowels. Their parent vowels, i.e., those whence is their deliver ance or their origin, i.e., their vowels. Why did he say the parent vowels are after them, if beginning be parents, since it is not usual that the beginning is last? That certainly is not his intention here, that parent vowels should be the beginning at all, but that science will be perceived in his mind, i.e., the law of voice which is at the beginning of the semivowels should remain with it to the last, and the consonantal law that is in them to the last should be uttered forth first.

The Gael did not think that appropriate that the nature of them both should be to have their vowel before them and after them, for this he thought appropriate that it should be the beginning of them that should remain firm with him and that their closing vowel should be put away, so that the Ogham Beithe Luis Nin were all mutes save vowels only, to wit, that was not appropriate, to wit, that was not indeed a cause of finding; or that was not indeed a sage's finding; or that was not an easy choice; or that was not a choice, however, in the opinion of the Gael; or there was not a course with respect to a vowel, to wit, with the wise satirist, to wit, with the man who had the wise course; that it should be nature; or that it might be a matter to be done to them both, i.e., to the semivowels and to the mutes, their vowels before them and after them, i.e., before them and after them, before them in the case of semivowels and after them in the case of mutes: but there is a doubt with me there still, and this was in truth a sage's finding with him so that it was the course which he followed in his mind, i.e., the vowel which exists in the semivowels should remain firm with him to the last, and as their last word should be put the sage's knowledge, to wit, the consonants should be put first so that it may not be a misplace of speech of the undying knowledge of the Ogham: save vowels only, per anastrophen is the name for that, to wit, a quickness of the turning, as e.g. l, so that there it becomes le, and n becomes ne. Why should he prefer them to be all mutes to their being semivowels and mutes, as they were with the Latinist? Not hard. In order to follow the Greeks, for there are no semivowels with them, and Fenius was a Greek; or again it is on account of the nobility of the order of the Greeks, ut dicitur: Omne uile priusponitur, omne bonum postponitur i.e., every mean thing is placed first, every distinguished thing to conclude.

Now as to genders, how many are there with the Irish? (that is, gooseberry (i) way). Not hard. Three of them, i.e., masculine, feminine, and neuter gender with the Gael, to wit, masculine, feminine, and neuter with the Latinist. Query, what is the difference among them? Not hard. Their three leading words of gender differ, to wit, hic, haec, hoc; i.e., he, she, it; he, the man; she, the woman; it, the heaven.

Query, when is there harmony between the gender and the element to describe them? Not hard. When its proper gender by nature is applicable to it. There is no harmony, however, between them when one gender may be applied for another, i.e., masc. for fem., or fem, for masc., or neuter for either of them. Now masc. may be used for fern, when a female child is called he, ut dixit poeta:

If I were a female child,
I should love every young student;
A man that is not discovered till he is heard of,
Perfect sense for a while to you, O people.

Also fem, may be used for masc. when the horse is called she:

The gabur is she, when it is a horse,
The gabur is he, if it be bleating,
The heron is she, though clearly it reveals itself,
The titmouse is he, though a female bird.

Also neuter gender may be used for masc. or fem, gender when it is said "it is his head," no matter whether that one is a man's head, or a woman's, ut dicitur:

A woman's head that has destroyed my work,
It has gained ground, no dear sound,
It is a head that which is the most horrible
Of any that is on a neck beneath heaven.

Also fem, gender may be used for neuter gender when a stone is called she, ut dicitur:

The flagstone is he, a feast that has flamed,
According to the threads of sages is the history;
A block is it, according to nature, a rock,
A stone is she according to artificiality.

The red flame is "he," a prayer of colours,
Against which will not prevail battle or shower;
A head is "it" of fairest form,
A place whereon with a glow the world distills.

The likeness of her form, without concealment,
Of Elba, daughter of Idad,
To a bright sun's fire on a field
Thereto I liken her beauteous shape.

If it be according to the proper use of the elements, however, there is no term of masc. or fern, gender save for what generates or for what is generated from; and neuter were else the nature of the whole. On the one hand neuter gender is derived from masc. and fem.; on the other, masc. and fem, are derived from neuter, as it is in the verses, and these are the derived neuters and the neuter couples and their pairs.

Speech that is scientia, knowledge, from a Latin root. Word-wisdom, its use. Speech-way, its meaning, i.e., a narration along the way, along the path: conar, that which is trodden: tra, that is, let it come unto us, or let it go from us, that is, the saying; or tra, i.e., the three of them, i.e., the three genders, masc., fem., and neuter gender. Masculine gender is, however, added gender, or true gender, or goodman gender, or male gender, or manly gender, or better than the woman gender, or man gender only that it is. Feminine gender, again, i.e., woman gender, i.e., it were true, or lasting gender, or female gender, or bona scientia, to wit, good knowledge, or inferior to the gender of the man that the woman's gender is. Neuter gender, again, that is, dark gender or darkness gender or dark gender on her, or the dem is from the word demo, i.e., digbaim, I deprive: or unliving gender, i.e. gender inanimate, i.e., it is not a gender that applies to quick.

When is it erlonn, leading word? Well, it is erlonn when it refers to another thing, ut est, he is the man, etc. There is then a comparison between the fern, and the masc. there: or it is a comparison when it differentiates from any one else, with his father's name especially. Speech, when it is said it is he only, with no other along with him, ut Priscianus dixit: Oratio est ordinatio congrua dictionum perfectamque sententiam demonstrate, i.e., speech is an appropriate order of the words that shows the perfect sense. Erlonn is the same between two erlonn that are not the same, to wit, fri se or fri sed; for is sed is not erlonn i it is an anteposition.

Natural masc. speech, "he" is the man: artificial masculine speech, "he" is the heavens. Natural feminine speech, "she" is the woman: artificial feminine speech, "she" is the stone. Natural neuter speech, "it" is the heaven: artificial neuter speech, "it" is the head. There is beautiful nature and ugly nature. Beautiful nature first: It is her nose or her eye the woman's. Ugly nature on the other hand: It is his tooth or his mouth--the woman's; and quality of voice causes that, that is, nothing but want of use, as are the words of a language which we do not know, i.e., we do not think them sweet because we do not use them. Masculine, feminine, and neuter with the Latinist, that is, mas, a male, and cul, keeping: or com-fis-col knowledge, lust, i.e., major ejus scientia, et major ejus quam feminae luxuria; or it is from the word masculinus, i.e., masculine. Next feminine, to wit, fem-der, to wit,feme in Greek, uirgo in Latin: ainder every intact one. Femdeir, then, is a pure virgin; or femen quasi femer, i.e., a femore, i.e., femur, thigh, for it is then she is a woman quum femori ejus serviatur; or femen, i.e., a root of fighting, or contentiousness, unde femina dicitur de, a sheltered one, or tender skinned one; or it is from the words femenina, femina, i.e., womanly, or of womanly form, or womanly activities, or womanly deeds. Neuter, that is, I do not know what gender, since it is not she or he; or neuter from the word neutrum, neither one nor other, i.e., nec hoc nec illud, id est, nec masculinum nec femininum. Cesc, query, is from the word sciscor, I enquire. What is the difference among them? Not hard. Their three leading words of gender distinguish them, i.e., their three antedenotations, i.e., denotations before them, i.e., before the genders, i.e., he, she, it: but these leading words stand at the commencement to indicate the antedenotation of the words following them and masculine, feminine, and neuter gender is understood through them.

There is distinction, then, among the three genders. Query, when is there agreement (i.e., when is there a philosopher's one invention) between the gender, and the element for telling them? Not hard. When its proper gender is found upon it. But of all that generates and is generated from, there are two generations, a natural and an artificial generation. A natural generation of birth, to wit, son and daughter out of woman: an artificial generation, i.e., grass, out of the earth, as the Primer says: Great is the uselessness of the earth unless it bring forth progeny. There are four subdivisions of artificiality, to wit, Difference of Part, Cause of Euphony, Amplifying Speech, and Brevity of Terminology. Difference of Part, ut est, "he" is this female child, that is, the name arises from the part of virginity which is there in the girl: Cause of Euphony, ut est, she is the gabair, steed, and it is a name for a white horse, that is, goar, that is, solus in the Feinechus, or in the Welsh, so that the poet put b to it for the sake of euphony: Amplifying of Speech, ut est, it is her head, and the two expressions are the more lengthy: Brevity of Terminology, ut est, a bark of butter, and a sieve of corn; for it were tedious to say a bark round about butter, and a sieve round about corn. For these are two modes of speaking that exist, the natural mode and the artificial.

Now there are seven inflections, to wit, the comparative degree of the Latinist is named inflection by the poet. Inflection of meaning in a person, inflection of meaning of a person, inflection of person in active, inflection of person in passive. Inflection of distinction in distinguishing, to wit, positive, comparative, and superlative with the Latinist: foundation, aggravation, belaudation with the poet: good, better, and best with the Gael; inflection of greatness in increasing, inflection of diminution in diminishing. Inflection of meaning in a person first: unnse, here is the man; unnsi, here is the woman; onnar, here is the thing: inflection of meaning of a person: I myself, thou thyself, he himself, we ourselves, ye yourselves, they themselves. Inflection of person in active: I did, thou didst, he did, we did, ye did, they did. Inflection of person in passive: I am loved, thou art loved, he is loved, we are loved, ye are loved, they are loved. Inflection of distinction in distinguishing, that is, good, better, best (i.e., with the common Gael in contradistinction to the poet: it is foundation, how ever, with him). Inflection of increase in increasing: great, greater, greatest. Inflection of diminution in diminishing: small, less, and least.

Seven inflections, that is, it is to be sought out whence it is in his knowledge; or it is to be sought out whence he is in ignorance. Inflection, i.e., it stands in the unlawful, to wit, in the seventh part of the heptad is the whole comparison, ut est: Pars pro tota et tota pro parte, the part for the whole and the whole for the part. Etargaire, i.e., it is to be separated into three, and etargaire, i.e. gáir is voice, i.e., interpretation of the voice is there; or interdecision, i.e., after the deciding of his knowledge between them.

The comparison of the Latinist is inflection with the poet: filidh, poet, that is, generous seeking, or generous sitting: or fi, that which satirises, and li that which praises: or fili from the word philosophus, philosopher, owing to the duty of the poet to be a philosopher. Why is not comparison a triad with the Latinist, as inflection is a triad with the Gael, to wit, quantity, quality, and meaning? Well, with the Latinist it is two things, quantity and quality only, to wit, good and bad, that is the quality: great and less, that is the quantity. With the Gael, however, this is its quality, to wit, good and bad together. This is its quantity, to wit, great and small: and with him the small is great in comparison with that which is less. The poet's inchosc, signification, however, is with the Latinist not comparison at all, but pronomen et verbum.

What makes him say that comparative degree with the Latinist is named inflection by the poet, seeing there are but three degrees of comparison with the Latinist, and the poet has seven inflections? It is not indeed to equate them does he do so now, but that which is inflection with the poet is comparison with the Latinist, i.e., inflection of distinction in distinguishing. Not every inflection is comparison, but every comparison is inflection. Why is positive with him a comparison? Not hard. Because it is that which is the foundation, and there is distinction for it, ut dicitur, a number is opposed to a unit, ut est: Unus non est numerus sed fundamentum numeri, i.e., one is not a number, but it is a basis of number, and as the Gael has alt, joint, and it is not a metrical foot itself, though it is numbered with feet, and that through artificiality, to wit, the natural alt stands for positive.

Why is it not the name of comparative that they apply to all comparison? Not hard. Positive first: Now it does not surpass anything. The superlative, again, is not surpassed. The comparative, however, surpasses, is surpassed by something, so that it is for that reason comparison is an inclusive name.

What is comparison of sense without sound, and comparison of sound without sense, and comparison of sound and sense together? Comparison of sense without sound, ut est: bonus, melior, optimus. Comparison of sound without sense, ut est: bonus, bonior, bonimus; which it might be according to sound, though it does not exist according to sense. Comparison of sound and sense together, ut est: magnus, maior, maximus, that is the proper comparison. Yet there is good, and nothing to surpass it, ut est, Deus.

What is the difference between se, it is he, and uinse, here he is? Uindse first: the denotation of a particular person is there, ut dicitur: here he is, this man in particular, with his name, ut dixit poeta:

Here comes to thee the dear little fellow,
Son of a dear little black-bird [Mac Lonain].
Have thou every good prepared for him,
Dear little Cellach.

[Se] is a denotation of gender, however, as he is the man; and it is not known who in particular, but it is a man tantum. What makes the irlond, leading word, become insci, gender, and etargaire, inflection? When it is indsci, gender, it stands as denoting gender, but of which it is one; and they say "he is the man" when it is erlond, leading word, there. It is inflection there when it is said unse, there he is. A denotation of gender such as is the inflection of meaning in a person, i.e., it is in the person itself wherein is its meaning, so that it is known thereby as denoting first, second, and third person, wherein are all the inflections.

Why did he not deem it sufficient to say "I" in inflection denoting person? Not hard. Inflection is a differentiating of the person through its own defining of itself, to wit, in the first person singular it was not enough to say "I," so he says " I myself"; for it is more definite, and distinct from every person to say "I myself," ut dicitur: imponendo egomet, since it is I myself and not another person when it is said egomet. Quicquid iteratur ut firmus fiat, i.e., it will so be that everything which is reiterated is confirmed. There is found also the comparative without a positive, ut est: Dulcius est mare Ponticum quain cetera maria, i.e., sweeter is the sea of Pontus than all the seas, and that is an improper comparison. An improper comparison, too, is the first part of the Primer, to wit, fors, chance, i.e., better its knowledge. That is not proper; for ignorance is not good. Finit primus liber.

Incipit to Ferchertne's book. The place of this book, Emain Macha. In the time of Conchobar MacNessa. The person to it, Ferchertne, the poet. Reason for making it, to bring weak and rude folk to science.

Seven things according to which Gaelic is measured, letter and. verse-foot, declension and accent, syllable and gender, and inflection.

Seachta, heptad, i.e., septem its root according to the Latinist. Seven sciences is the meaning of it, i.e., a heptad of sciences are measured there. Its use, to wit, its number, that is, seven prime metres of the poetic art; or incitements of bard poetry; or seven metrical feet of the poetic art apart from monosyllable, for the heptad is not therein: on that account it was left out. Common, proper, and peculiar are asked for the word heptad: Common to it is each number of seven. Proper to it are its seven simples. Peculiar to it is the first number of seven to which it might be applied, to wit, the seven days of the week. Improper, its application to a number other than seven. Measure, i.e., mensura is its root according to the Latinist. Measure, its meaning. Tomus, measure, its use, i.e., to, tongue, and meas, estimate on itself, i.e., an estimate which is made by tongue. Is measure a species or a genus? It is a genus certainly. Query, what are its species? Not hard. Measure of poetry, of bard poetry, and of prose. What is peculiar, proper, common, and improper in measure? Not hard. Peculiar to poetry, that is, its being referred to its seven kinds. Proper to bard poetry, i.e., its measure to suit the ear, and proper adjustment of breathing. Common, however, to prose from a monosyllable onward.

Improper thereto, however, for alt, juncture, does not exist there. Septas, seven times for a heptad from this time forward.

Fid, letter, that is fundamentum its Latin root. Under law, its meaning: foundation, or wood of science its use. Peculiar, proper, common, and improper to vowels, i.e., peculiar to principal vowels, proper to diphthongs. Common, however, to consonants except h. Improper to it, however; for it is not a consonant at all, ut est: h non est litera sed not a aspirationis, h is not a letter but it is a mark of aspiration. Tinfedh, aspiration, i.e., a vanishing of letters, i.e., annihilation of a letter to apply to all these. That is peculiar, proper, and common to them.

Then deach, metrical foot, or because it is synonymous, prosody foot, from a Latin root. Good word or double word, then, its meaning: from them is linked its use, however. when it is a series. What are peculiar, proper, common, and improper in the metrical feet? Peculiar to them to apply their own names to them, such as dialt, monosyllable. Proper to them, to apply monosyllable to each of them, for it is a monosyllable that each one of them adds to another. Common to them is to apply feet to each of them. Improper to monosyllable, however, is to apply to it [the name of] one of the other seven metrical feet, for no juncture is contained in it.

Reim, course, that is, time of composition of ae, sciences, is its meaning when it is poetry: time of alliterations, when it is bard poetry, that is, it is not composition of a legitimate measure. Reim, then, that is, raid-uaim, speech-stitching when it is prose. Reim, then, its use; diall, declension, or tuiseal, case, its root: or reim from the word robamus, i.e., its root is a compound. Peculiar to reim, alliteration, of letter by letter in poetry: proper to a side [or end] reim through the quatrain of poetry and bard poetry. Common, however, to declension of sound without sense and to declension of sound and sense together: proper to prose: improper, however, to declension of sound only, for they are not inflected.

What caused him to deem it insufficient to say "I" only, and to say "I myself," ut supra?

Four species in prose, however, out of reim, declension to wit, declension of sound such as fer. Thence it is declined. Declension of sense such as Patraic. Its declension of sound is not found, for there is one form for its nominative and its genitive: declension of sound and sense as Fland, Flaind. Side declension in prose, that is, "I myself," for everything that is not full declension is side declension. Three things after which reim, declension is called: Declension out of, ut est, fer, for it is out of it that declension is declined. Declension into, ut est, fir, for into it is it declined. Declension out of and into together, ut est, in fer, i.e., its nominative and its accusative are there together. As to reim, too, its use is céim, pace:

Bellat mother of envenomed Nél
Of the children of full-fettered Latinus
Died on the bright day of the sun,
Spouse of Fenius Farsaidh.

to wit, alliteration from letter to letter, ut est:

Sian sleibi sirlata serind
Senshaill senim snechta snac
Slisiu slice samad saball
Snaithe snithe saland sacc.

Now as to forbaid, i.e., accentus with the Latinist, from the root of the word formarius, i.e., many-faced: "it is upon" (to wit, on the word) either on a long or on a short. Accent, either "it vivifies," or "it perfects" its meaning. It vivifies when it is forsail, that is, s is upon it; or forsail, that is, it is adding to, because it establishes the word as a long. Forbaidh, then, "perfects" when it is dinin disail, that is after n comes not s but d; or dinin disail, to wit, from that unadding, i.e., not adding. Forbaidh, then, to wit," thereon it is,"when it is ernin, that is, it gives n, or on it is n. Forbaid then, i.e., "on wood," is its use; peculiar to forsail: proper to ernin, its being on a long or on a short.

Common to dinin disail, or to all the accents to say forbaid, accent, of them. Inappropriate, however, for any accent of them to go in place of another, i.e., for the two accents of the vowels, and for the one accent of the consonants, i.e., the accent of the singular [on the plural] and the accent of plural on the singular, or the accent of a long upon a short: or inappropriate not to write its form.

Alt from the word altus, i.e., noble, its root according to the Latinist: alt, then, from that which is nurtured in his mind is its meaning. Alt co feser, however, is its use, i.e., that thou mayest know what alt, limb, of poetry applies to seven, that is the nath, the anair, the anamain, the láidh, the sétrad, the sainemain. As to alt an anma, joint of the name, in prose, the space of time that is between the two syllables is its meaning: alt co feser its use. What are peculiar, proper, common, and inappropriate of alt? Not hard. Peculiar, that is, to metre of alt, limb, of poetry: proper, however, to alt of bard poetry, that is, to metre. Common, inappropriate to the words of prose, that is, common to each word in which there are alta, intervals; inappropriate, however, to a monosyllable, for no alt, joint, exists there.

Now indsce, gender, that is, scientia, from a Latin root: in deschae, the right way, is its meaning: word-wisdom its use: or, indsce, that thou mayest know the definite metre, i.e., that thou mayest know whether "she" or "he" is the metre that applies to seven, as for example the nath is "he," the laid is "she." Indsce, gender, of the prose name, that is masculine, feminine, and neuter. What are peculiar, proper, common, and inappropriate of indsce, gender? Peculiar to natural kindly gender: proper to natural unkindly gender: common, inappropriate to artificial gender, i.e., common owing to its being used, inappropriate, however, owing to its inappropriateness.

Now etargaire, inflection, from the word intergradimus, i.e., dominating: interpreting of voice is its meaning: a distinguishing is its use. What are peculiar, proper, common, and inappropriate of etargaire? Peculiar to etargaire of distinguishing in distinction, for it corresponds to comparison. Proper, however, to etargaire of meaning in a person, since it is the denoting of a particular person. Common and inappropriate, however, to all the etargaire, that is, common to the ordinal numbers: inappropriate, however, to any of them that do not correspond to comparison.

Query, is fidh, wood, a species or a genus? It is a genus certainly; and if it be a genus, what are its species? Not hard. Artificial wood and natural wood, to wit, artificial wood is the Ogham letter; natural wood, however, is wood of the forest. And as to wood, letter, of the Ogham, is it a species or a genus? It is a genus necessarily, for it has species, to wit, principal wood, vowels; cross wood, diphthongs; and side-woods, consonants. That is the genus generic and specific, i.e., wood. Query, is deach, verse-foot, a species or a genus? It is a genus certainly, for it has species, to wit, the seven verse-feet of poetry. That is the specific genus which the eight sorts of each of the two species of poetry have got. Query, is réim, run, a species or a genus? A genus, i.e., it has two species, to wit, poetry and bard poetry, i.e. réim, alliteration of letter by letter, and taebreim, side alliteration of letter by letter, ut est:

Columba, pious, powerful, etc.

Taebreim, side alliteration, however, ut est:

Fland, thou art the pilot of pleasant valour
Unto gentle Mullaghmast;
Art pure, art wise, rough is thy point,
Thou art a hero, Fland.

Four species in prose arise out of reim, flexion, reim of sound without sense, and reim of sound and sense, and prose taebreim, side flexion, and reim of sound only. Reim of sound without sense first: fer fir: reim of sound and sense, Flann Flainn: reim of sound tantum, Patraic Patraic: and prose taebreim, side flexion, I myself. Three species by which reim is called, reim in, reim out of, reim in and out of together; reim out of, ut est, fer, man: reim in, ut est, fir, of a man, in the declining: reim in and out of, in fer, the man, i.e., into which goes and out of which comes its full inflection in respect of singular sounds and of plural sounds. Reim in and out of together, that is, in, with respect to sounds singular and plural together: in, as regards meaning: or reim in, Patraic, for there is not in, according to meaning: reim in and out of together, Flann, Flainn, for it is in, according to meaning and it is out of, according to sound.

That is the genus, generic and specific which was formed here on the seven flexions, etc. Query, is ind forbaid, the accent, a species or a genus? A genus, for it has three species. That is the genus in which were found the three species of Gaelic. Query, is int alt a species or a genus? It is a genus certainly, for three species underlie it, to wit, artificial alt, natural alt, and alt co feser. The alt co feser has five species and five genera. Query, is indsce, gender, a species or a genus? It is clear that it is a genus and it has the three genders. It is a different genus that differentiates the world. Query, is etargaire, inflection, a genus or a species? A genus certainly, for its species are innumerable. It is the genus that differentiates among all things.

Query, what is esse, essence, of the seven by which Gaelic is measured? Not hard. Esse, essence, feda, of letter, first: that is the fragment of cut off air which the vowel takes in composing a word, unde poeta dixit:

Esse feda, essence of a vowel, it is to be studied,
Better for you to have the knowledge of it,
The fragment cut off of air
Which it possesses in composing a word.

What is esse of verse-foot? Not hard. The whole or one of the individual self-sustaining sounds which are reckoned from one to eight syllables, both included. What is esse reime, essence of flection? Not hard. The inflected, voiced, articulate change which obtains from the nom. sing, to the abl. pl. What is esse of accent? Not hard. The increase or diminution of time which an accent marks in co-extension with a sound.

What is esse alia, essence of interval? Not hard. The tongue silence which rests on the poet in passing from one letter to another if it be alt saorda, or from one syllable to another if it be alt aicenta. What is esse of gender? Not hard. The just and perfect essential which is seen in the three kinds. What is esse etargaire? Not hard. The consideration of size, smallness, quality, denotation, difference, variety or distinction which God hath fashioned among created things.

What is measure with respect to heptad? Not hard. To bring under notice the leading vowel that is in the verse, and the leading consonants, and that the vowels that stand in the caesura rhyme of the verse may be known, and that the same vowel may stand in the corresponding part of the endings, and that the number of consonants about them may be the same, and that it may be known which of the eight verse-feet enters into the metre, and that it may be known whether it is side alliteration, or alliteration of letter by letter, and that it may be known what accent stands upon a word of the corresponding sort, and which it is of the seven alta of trisyllabic poetry, i.e., of poetry. Insce, gender, i.e., that thou mayest know whether the metre is he or she. Etargaire, i.e., that thou mayest know what is the species of poetry as regards measure with respect to seven. And when dithyramb or metrical rhythm was present, how was it measured? for there is not couplet rhyme or caesura rhyme in it. Not hard. By a word completing a breath which was indicated by the fifth word, for five words are adjudged to be a breath of the poet. What is a heptad of the octave of the Auraicept? Not hard. When it is eight syllables in bricht that are present there are seven alta, intervals. What is the word containing one, two, and three syllables? It is named from one-third: and not more peculiar to it is the one-third from which it is named than are the two-thirds from which iarcomarc is named.

What are the two consonants that take_the force of a vowel? To wit c and r after a, ut est, Coluim Cille cecinit:

Whether it will be firm, whether it will be yielding,
Whether it will be warlike with numbers of deeds,
O Christ! wilt thou keep with us
When it will come to fare on a sea of ships?

What is measure with regard to fid, Ogham letter? Not hard. That thou mayest know their number and their singleness, their size and their smallness, their power and their want of power, their strength and their weakness. This is their number: five Ogmic groups, i.e., five men for each group, and one up to five for each of them, that their signs may be distinguished. These are their signs: right of stem, left of stem, athwart of stem, through stem, about stem. Thus is a tree climbed, to wit, treading on the root of the tree first with thy right hand first and thy left hand after. Then with the stem, and against it, and through it, and about it. These are their various vowels and diphthongs, ut est: ᚛ᚐᚑᚒᚓᚔᚕᚖᚗᚘᚙ

Query, why are those called woods, vowels? Not hard. Because they are measured by them and sewed with them, ut dicitur, la, ba. How are they, as vowels, measured with the consonants? Not hard. Every two consonants for a vowel in rhyme, every two corresponding letters in rhyme: that is rhyme, therefore, that it should be the same vowel that stands in the corresponding words, and that the number of consonants that may stand in them should be the same, ut est, bas and las: bras and gras: ceand and leand: dorn and corn: dond and cond.

What is measure with respect to fid, Ogham letter? To wit, that thou mayest know their number and their singleness, i.e., their number in five groups and their singleness in one group; their size and their smallness, i.e., their size in five strokes and their smallness in single strokes. What is the difference between their power and their strength? Their power first: when they utter voice alone, that is, a, o, or u: Their strength, however, when a prime position brings them into a syllable, such as bais, lais. What is the difference between their want of power and their weakness? Not hard. Want of power when the vowels are under nullifying, as for example fi[o]nd. True indeed, for the last letters that stand in these double sounds are not understood, through their being pronounced at once: weakness, however, when they stand in combinations equivalent to the diphthongs, and in the Ogham diphthongs such as fer and ben.

Five letters for each group: and there is one up to five for each of them, that is, one stroke up to five strokes, ut est, b one only, n five of them: or again another kind? Not hard. Want of power first: when they stand under nullity, ut quoniam quidem with the Latinist, or when three vowels stand in one syllable with the Gael, as Briain, of Brian, gliaid, a fight, feoil, flesh, beoir, beer with the Gael. Weakness, however, when they are consonised, ut seruus, uulgus with the Latinist, ut iarum, therefore, cian, far, ceir, wax, uull (ubull), apple, and aball, appletree, with the Gael.

Full power, too, is in them, both vowels and consonants, with the exception of h. So that they are distinguished through their signs, i.e., through their appearance, to wit, clearly do their conditions differ. These are their signs: Right of stem, that is, b to right of the ridge, that is the b group: Left of stem, to wit, to the left side of the stem, which is the h group: Athwart of stem, to wit, athwart is from thee, and against is to thee, or half athwart the stem, which is the m group: Through stem, that is the a group: About stem, that is on this side and on that, the diphthongs group. It is thus it is climbed, to wit, it is even thus it is graduated in the Ogham as it is graduated in the tree, to wit, thy right hand first, that is, group b: and, thy left hand after, that is, group h: and after that it is athwart and against, group m, to wit, athwart is from thee, and against is towards thee. Through, however, is group a: over, however, and about is the diphthong group. Thus are distinguished the vowels, the diphthongs, and the consonants. Why are those called vowels? Not hard. Because the consonants are measured against them, and the words are fairly woven out of them, ut est l a, b a, to wit, la, ba. That is the artificial possessive without rhyme save rhyme of vowels only. Not hard [2nd Ans.]. As a principal vowel only is required to refer it to seven, so the consonants that exist are required, every two consonants for a vowel, ut dicitur:

A rider I saw yesterday,
Round him a cloak with hue of blood,
White as a swan his colour is,
Foam of wave his two ears hue.

Two things are found there: identity combined with difference, as bas and las, and it is according to the correspondence of trisyllabic poetry, for the principal vowel that stands in them is the same, and it is an identical final consonant. Different, however, is the initial consonant, to wit, l [and b]. How are the consonants about the vowels measured? Not hard. Each two consonants of them are about the vowel. That is the proper proportion, to wit, that is perfect rhyme, ut est, bas, las. That is the unity with identity, and the unity without identity: and it is according to poetic correspondence, for the principal vowel that stands in them is the same, and there is an equal number of consonants; and that is the proper arrangement of trisyllabic poetry.

Now in the alphabet there is required origin from one, and its invention from two, its placing by three, its confirmation with four, and its binding together with five, its amplifying from six, its division from seven, its rule with eight, its demonstration in nine, its establishment in ten. The one is above, to wit, Fenius Farsaidh; the two, Mac Etheoir with him; the third Mac Aingin; the fourth Cae; the fifth Amirgen son of Naende son of Nenual; the sixth Ferchertne; the seventh his pupil; the eighth Ceandfaelad; the ninth his pupil; the tenth its establish ment in one, to wit, the Trefocal.

This is the beginning of the Primer according to Amairgen Whiteknee. Place of this book, Tochur Inbir Moir in the territory of Hy Enechglais Cualann: And its period the period of the sons of Milesius: the person of it Amairgen White-Knee, son of Milesius. The reason for making it that the sons of Milesius demanded it of him as is after us.

Who invented this speech, and in what place was it invented, and at what time was it invented? Not hard. Fenius Farsaidh invented it at the Tower of Nimrod at the end of ten years after the dispersion in every direction from the Tower, and it was every one speaking the same language that went there unto its territory and not every one of the same stock, as e.g., Cai Cainbreathach, pupil of Fenius Farsaidh, one of the 72 scholars of the school. He was a Hebrew by origin and he was sent to Egypt. And there Fenius himself remained, at the Tower, and there he dwelt so that there the school asked of him to select for them a select language out of the many languages which they had brought with them from abroad so that that speech might not be in the possession of anyone else but of themselves alone, or of anyone who should learn it with them again. Then was selected their language out of the many languages, and it was attributed to one man of them so that it is his name which is upon this language. That man was Gaedel, son of Angen, so that Gaedil, Gaels, is derived from him, from Gaedel son of Angen son of Whiteknee son of Whitehand son of Greek Agnumon. Now Gaedel son of Aimergen is the same as Gaedel son of Ether, to wit, his father bore two names, Aingen and Ether. It was there accordingly that this language was regulated. What was best accordingly of every language and what was widest and finest was selected for Gaelic; and for every sound for which no characters were found in all the other alphabets, characters were by them found for these in the Beithe Luis Nin of the Ogham, ut est:

Therefore its vowels were placed apart and its consonants also apart, so that every one of them stands apart from the other. Semivowels do not exist, as they do not exist with the Greeks, but only the mutes. For every element, for which there was no name in the other languages, names were found in Gaelic, ut est, grus, curds; cloch, stone; and linn, pool.

I beheld the lis
Past which would come a stream,
In which its curds were many
Though milk was not abundant.

What was best, widest, and finest of every language was put by them into Gaelic, to wit, what was easier and pleasanter to say, to wit, they thought having vowels and mutes in it easier and pleasanter than semi-vowels, mutes, and vowels as the Latinist has.

Better in reason with them, to wit, five of them for a long and five of them for a short, and five of them for soft sounds and five for a hard, and five for a full sound and five for a diphthong than the one five underlying all of them as it is with the Latinist, and this is what the Latinist says: His five vowels all take that effect, ut est: Latina vacates omnes et product et corripi possunt, that is, all the Latin vowels are such that they can be lengthened or shortened. Broader in letters, to wit, for there is nothing the Latinist has to correspond with that: broader in respect of meanings, words, and letters, to wit, broader in letters ᚛ᚒᚗᚘᚙ. The Latinist has nothing to correspond with it: broader in words, to wit, grus, curds; cloch, stone; lind, pool, the Latinist has nothing to correspond with those; curd, that is a cheese: galmula with the Latinist, curds with the Gael: to correspond with the Latinist's galmarium is the Gael's cheese: galmalam with the Latinist, gruthrach with the Gael: "stirabout" with the Gael, there is nothing answering to that with the Latinist: lapis with the Latinist, stone with the Gael: petra with the Latinist, rock with the Gael: scopulus with the Latinist, sharp pebble with the Gael. Cloch, onn, and ailcne, however, these are kinds of stones to which the Latinist has nothing corresponding: aqua with the Latinist, water with the Gael; amnis with the Latinist, river with the Gael; piscina with the Latinist, fish-pool with the Gael; to the Gael's pool, however, the Latinist has nothing corresponding. Hence then, the Gael is wider in words and letters than the Latinist. What the Latinist says is that though Gaelic is wider in words and letters, it is not wider in meanings; for though the Gael has many names in denoting the things, the relative meaning emerges out of the paucity of words which the Latinist does have. That is not true, as the Latinist himself says: Nisi scieris nomen, cognitio rerum periit, i.e., the knowledge of the things perishes, unless the name is known.

This is the beginning of this book according to Fenius, and according to Iar mac Nema, and Gael son of Ether. These are its persons; and this is its period, to wit, when all the children of Israel came out of Egypt. In Dacia it was invented, though others say it was in the plain of Shinar. The reason for writing it, because it was by the great school requested of Fenius, Iar, and Gaedel son of Ether that it should be selected for them as their Primer after it had been given by Moses and learned with him by Cae Cainbreathach; so that after that the alphabets were invented on one table, as he says: What are the alphabets, etc. Aur is every beginning: also aicce-acht, lesson, is icht aicce, child nurture, i.e., a deed, for it is in nurture that the disciple is with his fosterer: or aiccept that is acceptus, that is, of acceptance, to wit, unto thee of something that thou hast not: na nd-egeas, of the sages, of the men without doubt, to wit, the poets.

Six principal chiefs by whom the Tower was made, to wit, Eber Mac Saile, Grecus Mac Gorner whence are the Greeks, and Latinus son of Faunus whence are the Latins, Riabad Scot son of Gomer, Nimrod son of Cush, and Fenius Farsaidh. Fifty-two years from the dispersion of the Tower till the reign of Nin son of Bel with his reign of fifty-two. Seven hundred and seventy-four years from the reign of Nin son of Bel to the end of the reign of Tothmes king of the world in whose time Troy was at length sacked. Seven years old was the daughter of Latinus son of Faunus: so that there are nine hundred and forty-three years from the dispersion of the Tower till Æneas married Lavinia, and Latinus himself made his covenant with him. From that it is evident that the people of this Primer do not advance accurately, that Latinus was one of the seven chief rulers of the Tower.

Query, what are the alphabets of the three principal languages, both name and character? Not hard indeed. The alphabet of the Hebrews first, that is, Aleph Hebraeorum.

Aleph of the Hebrews Alpha of the Greeks A of the Latins.
א Α A
ב Β B
ג Γ C
ד Δ D
ה Ε E
ו Ζ F
ז Η G
ח Θ H
ט Ι I
י Κ L
כ Λ M
ל Μ N
מ Ν O
נ Ξ P
ס Ο Q
ע Π R
פ Ρ S
צ Σ T
ק Τ U
ר Υ X
ש Φ Y
ת Χ Z
Ω &

(ϡ Sampi) 900,

Now Fenius Farsaidh is the same man that discovered these four alphabets, to wit, the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin alphabets, and the Beithe Luis Nin of the Ogham, and it is for this reason the last, to wit, the Beithe is more exact because it was discovered last. There were in the school twenty-five that were noblest among them, and these are their names, which are upon the Beithe Luis Nin both vowels and consonants:


And there were seven that were most noble among these, from whom the seven principal vowels of the Ogham have been named, so for that reason they have been placed apart:


Others say that ten principal vowels stand in it and these are their names:


And these are the three that increase those to the above seven, to wit, ᚛ᚗᚘᚙ, so on that account their vowels and consonants have been set apart, and these are their names which are thus upon them.

Others, however, say that it is not from men at all that the Ogham vowels are named in Gaelic but from trees, though some of these trees are not known to-day. For there are four classes of trees, to wit, chieftain trees, peasant trees, herb trees, and shrub trees; and it is from these four that the Ogham vowels are named. Chieftain trees, quidem, to wit, oak, hazel, holly, apple, ash, yew, fir. Peasant trees, to wit, aider, willow, birch, elm, white thorn, aspen, mountain-ash. The shrub trees here, to wit, black-thorn, elder, spindle-tree, test-tree, honeysuckle, bird-cherry, white-hazel. Herb trees, to wit, furze, heather, broom, bog-myrtle, lecla, to wit, rushes, etc. Now beithe has been named from the birch owing to its resemblance to the trunk of the birch, ut dicitur:

Of withered trunk fairhaired the birch,

and therefore on the birch was written the first Ogham inscription that was brought into Ireland, to wit, seven birches were brought to Lugh son of Ethleann, to wit, thy wife will be taken from thee nisi eam custodieris, to wit, unless thou watch her. It is on that account b is still written at the beginning of the Ogham alphabet. Then as to luis, it is named from a tree, to wit, from mountain-ash, i.e., because luis is the name of mountain-ash in old Gaelic, ut dicitur: Delight of eye is mountain-ash, i.e., rowan, owing to the beauty of its berries. Fern, alder, again, is named from a tree, ut dicitur: The van of the Warrior-bands, that is, alder, for thereof are the shields. Sail, willow, again, is named from a tree, ut dicitur: The colour of a lifeless one, i.e., it has no colour, i.e., owing to the resemblance of its hue to a dead person. Nin too is named from a tree, viz., ash, ut dicitur: A check on peace is nin, viz., ash, for of it are made the spear-shafts by which the peace is broken: or, A check on peace is uindis. Nin, that is a maw of a weaver's beam which is made of ash, that is, in time of peace weavers beams are raised. Huath, again, is named from a tree, viz., white-thorn, ut dicitur: A meet of hounds is huath, viz. white-thorn; or because it is formidable owing to its thorns. Duir, oak, again, is named from a tree, ut dicitur: Higher than bushes is an oak. Tinne, again, is named from a tree, i.e., holly, a third of a wheel is holly, that is, because holly is one of the three timbers of the chariot-wheel. Coll, again, is named from a tree, ut dicitur: Fair wood, that is, hazel, i.e., every one is eating of its nuts. Queirt, again, is named from a tree, i.e., an apple tree, ut dicitur: Shelter of a boiscill, that is, a wild hind is queirt, i.e., an apple tree. Muin, again, that is, a vine-tree, ut dicitur: Highest of beauty is muin, that is, because it grows aloft, that is, a vine-tree. Gort, again, that is, ivy:--

"Greener than pastures is ivy."

Ngetal, again, that is, broom or fern, ut dicitur: A physician's strength is broom, to wit, broom or fern. Straiph, again, that is, black-thorn, ut dicitur: The hedge of a stream is sraibh, that is, black-thorn. Ruis, again, that is, elder, ut dicitur: The redness of shame is ruis, i.e., elder. Ailm, again, i.e., a fir tree, to wit, a pine tree. Onn, that is, furze. Ur, that is, heath. Edhadh, that is, ed uath, horrible grief, to wit, test-tree or aspen. Ido, that is, yew. Ebhadh, that is, aspen. Oir, that is, spindle-tree, or ivy. Uilleand, that is, honeysuckle. Iphin, that is gooseberry, or thorn, etc.

Now all these are wood names such as are found in the Ogham Books of Woods, and are not derived from men, ut alii dicunt.

Query, how many are their powers? Not hard. Full power is in them all both vowels and consonants, with the exception of h, that is, that h might be truly sunk, that is, as their nature may be, whether it be great or small. It is so set down in the Book of Ollams, to wit, four divisions that are seen on vowels, viz., power and want of power, full power and half-power. Full power in vowels, power in diphthongs, want of power in mutes, and half-power in semivowels. Others say that three divisions are proper there, viz., full power in vowels, power in diphthongs, and want of power in mutes; for no semivowel exists with the Gael. Query, what is long in vowels and diphthongs, and short in consonants? that is short by position, for the law of Ogham diphthongs is half-time on consonants always.

Query, how many verse-feet are there? Not hard. Eight of them: dialt, one syllable; recomrac, two syllables; iarcomrac, three; felis, four; cloenre, five; luibenchossach, six; claidemnas, seven; and bricht, eight syllables. One principal vowel in dialt, two of them in recomrac, three of them in iarcomrac, four of them in feles, five of them in cloenre, six of them in luibenchossach, seven of them in claidemnas, eight of them in bricht, besides consonants. Query, how far does a syllable extend to in greatest and least? To wit, a syllable with a meaning, five letters are in it, which is the greatest: it reaches an inferior limit at one letter, and that a word, ut est, a, o, i, viz. such as á, that is, a mountain height. Such are Á (Ard) Cuis, and Á (Ard) Cartaind, in Sleeve Luachra, to wit, names of particular mountains, ut dixit Mac Da Cerda:

A stag bells between two heights,
A piercing wind tosses us,
Proud is the stalker (?)
Before thirty long-shanked deer.

and o, on a head, to wit, an ear; and (I) Colum Cille's Island. Then it reaches a superior limit up to five letters, ut est, bracht, fat; tracht, strand; drucht, dew; scalp, gap. H is written and is not counted among the letters in the last words, but it is a mark of aspiration. As to every syllable, therefore, that does not add to another, each of them is the equivalent of a word. Verse-feet up to eight of them are in bricht. And that is the superior and inferior limit of all Gaelic from dialt, one, to bricht, eight, syllables, both included, to wit, that there may be power to every syllable, after they are gathered into verse-feet. It is briclit in which are eight syllables. dialt, syllable, is the foundation of all Gaelic except mod, toth, and traeth. Alta, joints, of science are measured with a man's joints as they are measured with every speech. Query, how are they measured with every speech? Not hard. That each syllable may correspond to another, ut est, down, up, east, west, south, north; that one dissyllable may correspond to another, for the like vowels and the like versefeet of them rhyme.

Five certain numbers of the Tower, to wit, 72 peoples, and 72 counsellors with them, 72 languages divided among them, and 72 pupils that came with Fenius to learn those languages, and 72 paces was the height of the Tower.

Query, what is the difference between indell, yoking, and tindell, unyoking? Not hard. Indell the question, and tindell the solution.

Seven chief leaders by whom the Tower was made, to wit, Eber son of Saile; Grecus son of Corner, a quo Graeci; Latinus son of Faunus, a quo Latini; Riabath Scot, a quo Scotti; Nimrod son of Cush, son of Ham, son of Noah; and Peleg son of Ragau, son of Arphaxad, son of Shem.

Query, what are the different significations between definite, more definite, and most definite? Not hard. Definite is the Greek alphabet, for it is more exact than the Hebrew alphabet. More definite, however, the Latin alphabet than the Greek alphabet. More definite than the Latin alphabet is this, to wit, the Beithe Luis Nin of the Ogham for it was invented last.

What single word comprehends the four divisions of the Primer without regard to difference of measure, termination, letter, word, or form? Not hard. The word alphabet, for it comprehends the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin alphabets.

H causes three things, to wit, bogad, lenition of final (?), sémigud, lenition of initial (?), and airdíbdud, extinction. Bogad first: it falls on consonants and follows them, viz.: p, c, and t, ut cloch, stone; both, booth. According to the Latinist, aspiration is usual after every consonant in Gaelic. Sémigud, lenition of initial, however, falls upon the consonants in general and precedes them, that is, on five consonants, b, c, d, t, g. Bogadh of b first, viz. sop and lop, such as Pátraig. It is h that softens the b that stands in it, for p does not exist in Gaelic. Sémigudh, such as a Phátraig, h is there, which is softer than the other example. Bogad of c, viz. clach, stone, and ach, alas! of d, viz. sódh, turning, and odh, music: of t, viz. táth, dissolution, and áth, ford: of g, viz. magh, plain, and agh, cow. Sémigud of b, however, a bhen, his wife, a bhán, its blank space, a bhe binn, O sweet woman: of c also, viz. o chiunn, since, do chein, from afar, o chianaibh, just now, o chetoir, immediately: of d, viz. dhamsa, to me, dhuitsiu, to thee: of t, viz. a thír, his land, a thuaigh, [to] his axe: of g, viz. a ghrádh, his love, and a ógha, his virgins.

Airdíbdud, extinction, however, comes upon two consonants (i.e., consonants become like vowels), that is, the letters s and f, that is, extinction is on them, that is, their being deleted altogether, such as the extinction of s, to wit, a shál, his heel; a shúil, his eye. Extinction of f, to wit, a fhind, his hair; a fhir, O man; ind fheda, of the letter.

This is different from the rhymes ᚛ᚕ᚛ᚓ᚜ euad, and edadh of the beginning of a word (give examples) that in uinge, cingit, and cuing there is need for two Latin letters to write the consonants n, g. There is no need but of ᚛ᚍ᚜ only for these two letters in Gaelic, ut est, ᚛ᚒᚍᚕ᚜ i.e., uingi, ounce, ᚛ᚉᚗᚍ᚜ i.e., cuing, yoke, ᚛ᚉᚓᚍᚔᚈ᚜ i.e., cingit, they step. Now sounds are not the same with which each one of these does not rhyme ᚛ ut est, seeit, they blow the fire, is written by ᚛. Seit, a road, by writing ᚛ᚕ᚜. Neim, poison of a serpent, is written by ᚓ. Min, that is, small, is ī there. Min, meal of corn, i.e., ᚛ᚓ᚜ Nemh, heaven round earth: neamh, with reference to water ᚕ is there. For there are three things for which diphthongs were introduced at all into the Ogham alphabet, viz. to correspond to a diphthong as is said in the mined judgments, that is, except Ogham diphthongs in which there are two sounds of the vowels; and also to differentiate sounds upon the Ogham vowels, for it is a softness of sound that exists in the Ogham diphthongs, ut est, neamh, heaven, ᚛ᚕ᚜ ea is there: naemh, saint, ᚙ ae is there, nem, poison, ᚓ᚜ i is there.

These are the five species of the Selected Language, viz.: Language of the Irish, Commentaries of the Poets, Parted Language, Obscure Language of the Poets through which each of them addresses his fellow, and iarmbérla such as: Cuic, a secret. Et ballorb, to wit, he has a member for completing poetry; or it is the name for a cano. Et muirne, spears, to wit, ill-will, or of ill will. There is another kind of iarmbérla, to wit, therefore, now, there are, indeed, moreover, even, after, on, query, pray, how many, what are, not hard, etc. Another kind also, on the (men), under, out of, through, past them. These are the staves of words with the poet. Another kind too, to wit, he that, indeed, unto, through, over, to, from, under, on. That is an interloping syllable with the poet. Unaccented Language, then, down to this point. It is for this reason that Unaccented Language, iarmbérla, is said of it, to wit, on account of its hardness like iron, iarunn, if it is possible to analyse it; or iarmbérla, that is, the speech which lar Mac Nema discovered last, and it is not possible to analyse it.

And Language Parted among the principal vowels, that is, language through which there is distinction of the principal vowels in the individual word through analysing their meaning, ut est, for example ros, that is, roi oiss, plain of deer, quando (when) it is rois caelli, copses of wood, and rass, duck meat, along a pool when it is ross of water, duck weed, rofhos, great rest, if it be on stagnant water, or roidh ass , . . . out of it if it be on a stream, and ro as when it is ros tin, flax seed, i.e., on account of the swiftness and density wherewith it grows. And the Bérla Fortchide, Obscure Language, fortchide, that is, the great darkness or obscurity of poetry, as said the poet in the school of Fenius: Etaill aro ni anfemde, to wit, i, island; Etall, that is, noble; and aro, that is, rowing; to wit, we shall not cease from rowing till we reach the noble Island, that is Ireland, or Spain; or it is definitely Spain, as is found in the Conversation of the Two Sages. Brimon smetrach. This is the Language of the Poets that is, the last kind here, to wit, bri, word; mon, feat; and smit, ear, and forrach, that is, stretching; or, bri, word, and mon, feat, and smetrach, that is, ear-lobe compression, that is, that they might injure some one. A brotherly trick is that which the poets used to do in satirising, viz., to take the lobe of his ear in his hand, that is, as no bone exists there, the individual whom the poet satirises could have no honour-price.

The fifth kind is the Usual Language which serves for every one; for others say of the Bérla Féine that it is the Commentaries of the Poets, and that it is not a separate language at all.

What is short and long in them, etc.? Not hard. In such as neam, heaven, it is a diphthong that stands there. In nem, poison, however, it is the principal vowel that stands there, and the principal vowel that stands there is harder and the diphthong is softer, to wit, neam; or, again, it is short by nature and long by position in vowels, and short by position in diphthongs and long by nature; or, again, the Ogham vowels that stand there are the same as the vowels. The Ogham diphthongs are, in fact, the same as the diphthongs. As to the diphthong that stands in them, therefore, such as bean, bein would be made of it were it not a diphthong. Thus are the Ogham diphthongs. How is that, since ebad is the diphthong of the name when fer is spoken? That instance is not contrary to the diphthong. That is a short, and there is not upon it save a time and a half only at the most. There are two times, however, on the long vowel. That the foregoing diphthong was short there fore must be perceived. Besides, too, the vowel is able to adjust itself to long and short in them as the Latinist said: A circumflex is on the long syllables such as do, I give; si, if; and in the same way they say an acute accent is upon the short syllables, ut est, pax, a kiss. Thus the Gael puts forsail on a long, such as srón, nose, slóg, host, etc.; and ernin which compresses a final such as leacc, stone, ceand, head, etc. Therefore, although e is short in the word fer, it is not according to the Greeks that it is a diphthong. What causes the contrary of that, and the five Ogham vowels, and the seven Ogham vowels, and the ten Ogham vowels, according to another version? Not hard. The five Ogham vowels first: answering to the five vowels he gave the seven Ogham vowels, however. Moreover the ten Ogham vowels, that is, iphin, which stands for a diphthong: emancoll is doubled then, so that there are thus ten of them. Pin, moreover, stands for p, and emancoll for x, so that there are seven of them thus. This is according to the Auraicept of Munster.

Some say there is another kind, ebad and oir that stand for simple long vowels. Uilleann, moreover, stands for y, and for u when it is medial. Iphin stands for i medially, or it is the proper symbol there for p. Emancoll, again, stands for x, that is, to allow of Greek or Latin words being introduced into Gaelic, and on that account it is called Emancoll, twin c, for c is one of the two consonants that stand in x, and therefore c is said to be doubled there, and not s; for in x, c is earlier than s.

It is demanded, too, in the Beithe Luis Nin: What is the vowel that takes the force of a consonant, and the vowel that takes the effect of two consonants, and the vowel that takes the effect of a word, and the vowel that does not take the effect of a consonant, vowel, or word. It is the vowel that takes effect of a consonant, quidem, to wit, a vowel after another, and a vowel that usually stands on the primary vowel of its word, or along with a diphthong in one syllable, ut est, beoir, beer; feoil, flesh; Briain, of Brian, etc.; or a vowel that becomes consonised, to wit, u. A vowel that takes the effect of two consonants, to wit, one vowel that answers the measure of two consonants, ut dicitur: Every two consonants for a vowel. A vowel that takes the effect of a word, that is, a vowel that speaks alone. A vowel that does not take the effect of a consonant, vowel, or word, viz., u of nullity, ut dicitur: Nec vocales nec consonantes habentur, that is, which are not vowels and which are not consonants, or a vowel which stands after another, ut diximus, as we have said.

There is asked for, too, in the Beithe Luis Nin a consonant that takes the effect of a vowel, and a consonant that takes the effect of a consonant and a vowel. And a consonant that takes the effect of two vowels or of two consonants. And two consonants that take the effect of a vowel. And a consonant that takes the effect of five vowels and six consonants. And a consonant that takes the effect of three vowels and four consonants. And a consonant that takes the effect of a word. And a consonant that does not take the effect of a consonant, vowel, or word. The consonant that takes the effect of two vowels or two consonants is ng. This is the consonant that takes the effect of a vowel, to wit, q. It takes the effect of a consonant and a vowel, to wit, c, and u of nullity. And a consonant that takes the effect of a vowel, to wit, every two consonants for a vowel in a measure.

A consonant that takes the effect of five vowels and six consonants, that is d in the place of dinin disail. No wonder, when it takes the effect of the five vowels and the six consonants, though it takes the effect of two vowels and two consonants. A consonant that takes the effect of three vowels and four consonants, to wit, s in place of forsail. A consonant that takes the effect of a word, that is, a consonant that sustains the effect of an accent. A consonant that does not take the effect of a consonant, vowel or word, that is, a consonant along with which h constantly appears.

Query, how many verse-feet are there? Not hard. The foot with the Latinist: the verse-foot with the poet, ut Donatus dixit: Pes est syllabarum et temporum certa dimuneratio, the foot is a definite counting of the syllables and the times. The Gael also has a sure counting of syllables, feet, and times from dialt, one, to bricht, eight syllables: each verse-foot of them from one to another is a perfect syllable in Gaelic, so that thus there are eight in bricht, so that that is a definite counting from one syllable to eight of them. Diall, a syllable, that is, di, to deny that any alt, joint, exists there. Recomrac, dissyllable, that is re, the course in which the two syllables meet about the alt. Iarcomrac, trisyllable, i.e., afterwards they meet, i.e., after each last, i.e., a meeting of the three syllables with the two previous syllables. Feleas, tetrasyllable, that is, bad profit of the hand; or he, the poet, is satisfied whichever of them he will give, for it is even. Claenre, pentasyllable (that is, uneven its termination), for with respect to its course two of them are on one half and three on the other. Luibenchossach, hexasyllable, that is, the foot with its digits, the five toes; the foot being the sixth. Claidemnas, heptasyllable, that is, sword-manus, to wit, manus, hand, and the sword of the hand is the shoulder-blade: and it is the seventh syllable. Bricht, octosyllable, i.e., bri ocht, i.e., eight words are there, or bricht because eight syllables are shown there. Query, what is the difference between dialt, syllable, and a dheach, its verse-foot? Not hard. When the syllable is an Ogham diphthong, there is alt between (the vowels of the) diphthong in that case. But when it is a consonant and a primary vowel, there is alt between the consonant and the vowel. When, however, it is a single vowel such as a, o, there is alt between two times. One vowel in dialt, two of them in recomarc, etc., that is, a primary vowel, or a diphthong. It is on that account the triphthong is not contained in one syllable.

Eight syllables are in the biggest word in Gaelic, ut est, fiannamailcecheterdarai, Fiann-like-every-Second-one-of-them, and anrocomraircnicsiumaime, all-the-mistakes-which-we-have-committed, etc.

Thirteen syllables, however, are in the biggest word in Latin, ut est ab his honorificabilitudinitatibus.

This is a cardinal number, to wit, three or four. These are the ordinal numbers, however, primus et secundus et tertius, to wit, the names of their number in prose; and their ordinal names, moreover, according to nature.

That is their difference, an imperfect number, such as three or five; for they are not multiplied from factors. A perfect number, such as six, contains one of it six times, two three times, three twice. A perfect number is that, for it properly consists of factors. A quite perfect number, ut est, twelve, to wit, one is its twelfth, two its sixth, three its fourth, four its third, six exactly its half, thus, as for example in twelve, to wit, one, two, and three, these are six; and four after that, these make ten; and six after that are thus sixteen. So that that is a number which is greater than its factors through telling its halves. Every factor is a part, but not every part is a factor, etc.

Query, how far does dialt, syllable, extend in greatest and least? Not hard. A syllable with a meaning, that is, five letters are in it, which is its superior limit: one letter, however, which is its inferior limit, to wit, denoting perfect sense, such as o, ear, or i, island. Therefore dialt, syllable, is the origin of all Gaelic save mod, tod, and trod. What is the reason why it is not an origin for those? Not hard. Because each of them is a dialt, syllable, and a thing is not an origin for itself, or again dialt is the origin of all Gaelic save mod, tod, and troth. But I much prefer there certainly that they are not an origin of Gaelic but that it is an origin of meaning. What is the gender to which it is an origin? Not hard, to wit, mod is everything male, viz.: every male member and every male condition; and todh is everything female, to wit, every female member and every female condition; and troth is every thing neuter, to wit, which are neither one nor other, viz., every impersonal condition: or again they are not dialta, syllables, at all, and mod, tod, and traeth are not therefore an origin of Gaelic but they are origins of gender, ut dicitur, but there are for all that other Gaelic matters to which they are an origin, such as mod, to wit, greater its distance upwards; or mod, that is, mo, greater, is od, i.e., od, music when it is masculine, i.e., greater the music. It is greater than the music which is less, as, for example, aidbsi, choral song, in Drum Ceat, that is, tood: or to od, tae a ed, silent its law when it is feminine; or tod, that is, to od, that is, tod (is) the music, that is, the small music, that is, humming, or a little crooning in comparison with the great, i.e., the music which is greater. traeth, that is, weak its extent or its music in comparison with masculine and feminine: or traeth from the fact that the loud kinds of music, trumpeting or horn-blowing, overpower the low kinds. Another genus or mod, that is, greater its distance up when it is thunder, or when it is a tree. Tod, that is, tae, silent its law when it is a foetus, and it is ... another sound which is more silent than the other. traeth, i.e., they overwhelm, which overwhelms when it is a whistle; because it is shriller and harder than the other thing it is traet (tre fet) Others say that they might be names of instruments of music. What is their proof? Not hard. Greater its music when it is a harp. Tod, that is, tai a od, silent its music: when it is sweetest, it is more silent and lower than the other. traeth, that is, it overwhelms the other two when it is a trumpet, because higher is its mournful cry. On that account it is traeth to them. Or again mod and tod and traeth, to wit, those are names of masculine, feminine, and neuter members, as the Latinist says: Nomen membri viri vel nomen membri mulieris vel nomen membri neutri; and those are Greek words although it is in Latin that an example of them occurs, and they are not syllables, for they are not derived from anything, and nothing is derived out of them save that there might be formed mod, upon mod; tod, upon tod; and traeth, upon traeth. Secundum quosdam, it is a distinction of speech: "He, she, it," accord ing to the sons of Milesius: Uindius, uindsi, ondar, according to the Fir Bolg: mod, tod, traeth, according to the Tuatha De Danann. This is, then, the short of it: this is the origin of all Gaelic, to wit, dialt, syllable, that is, from recomrac, two, to bricht, eight syllables; and it is not the origin of an individual syllable as, for example, mod, tod, and traeth; and after every dialt, syllable, they have been set down here, and it is on that account they have been mentioned beyond every dialt, syllable, for attention was directed to them that they are dissyllabic: for their condaill is found, to wit, their fair division ut diximus. Or again mod, tod, and traeth are the names of the masculine, feminine, and neuter members as the Latinist has said: Nomen membri uirilis et nomen membri muliebris et nomen membri neutri, and those are Greek words though it is in Latin that an example of them occurs: and it is on this account that they are not dialta, syllables, for they are not derived from anything, and nothing is derived from them unless there might be formed mod for mod, tod fri tod and traeth fri traeth. Alta uad, joints of science, are measured, to wit, the metres of the airchetal, trisyllabic poetry, are measured with the joints of men as they are measured with any part of speech.

How are they measured with any part of speech? To wit, that every dialt, syllable, may correspond to another such as down, up, for that is its rhyme when it is the same in vowel, and the word made to correspond is the same in vowel, and the ending is the same in verse-feet.

There are twenty-five prepositional flections in declension, as is exemplified here below:--

Fer its nominative. Fir its possessive.
I fiur its locative. Ar fear its defensive.
Co fer its advancive. In fer its accusative.
A fir its vocative. Hi fir its ingressive.
Sech fer its neglective. Oc fir its depositive.
O fhir its ablative. For fer its invocative.
Fri fer its desidative. In fir its parentative.
Fo fiur its fundative. Do fiur its dative.
De fhiur its privative. Iar fiur its progenitive.
La fer its comitative. Im fer its circumdative.
Ar fiur its ascensive. Dar fer its trespassive
Frisin fer its augmentative. Tre fer its trajective.
Is fer its descriptive. Ri fiur its adversative

Also their plural may be:

Fir its nominative. Na fir its descriptive.
Ac feraib its depositive. Na fer its possessive.
Dona feraib its dative. sic in sequentibus.

Now as to fear, ehad, ea is the Ogham vowel of the noun which is pronounced fer; e its vowel; dialt, syllable, its verse-foot, to wit, one constituent sound without alt, division, at all. Two constituents are in io or iphin, its Ogham vowel, in its declension or in its possessive, when it is pronounced fir, to wit, because the two are there in its declension, io; e.g. fir, iphin, is there, e.g. do fir, io; e.g. a fir, iphin; e.g. o fhir. It is on that account that he does not reckon ebhadh, ea, as a declension, though it might be present in some cases such as co fer, etc. For there is but declension of meaning only in every position where there remains the Ogham vowel which stands in the nominative. In the inflections it is io or iphin that stands in them in every place where the nominative does not remain, so that on that account io or iphin is declared its Ogham vowel in its declension or in its possessive, etc.

Dinin disail, its accent, to wit, accentus with the Latinist; for these are the three accents which exist, to wit, arnin, dinin disail, and forsail, to wit, arnin compresses a final: forsail on a long is borne: dinin disail on a short takes (effect).

E.g. arnin, ut est, glonn, deed, donn, dun, crann, tree, glenn, glen: forsail, ut est, srōn, nose, slōg, host, mor, great: dinin disail, ut est, fer, cor, ler, tor, and all short words whatsoever. When the Ogham inscription is written there are written these accents above them to make clear long and short or to express tension, for they would not be understood otherwise: because as the Latinist puts an acute on the short syllables, ut est, pax, etc., and a circumflex on the long syllables, ut est, rés, so the Gael puts dinin disail on the short, ut est, fer; and forsail on the long, e.g. lāmh, hand; and as there is a grave in every single dictum of many words with an acute or a circumflex, that is to say arnin is along with dinin disail or along with forsail in one word, ut, ceann, head, and srōn nose. Airnin, therefore, it purchases n: or air nin, that is, upon it is n, for it is n that is written to mark that accent. Nin is a name common to all letters either vowels or consonants. Forsail, too, means sail upon it, for it is s that is written to denote that accent, for it is upon a long that forsail rests, and there is a lengthening of the time by it upon the s: or forsail, that is, it magnifies the word till it becomes long: or forsail, that is, furail, overflow, beyond the short. Dinin disail, that is, di, for negation therein, inasmuch as it is neither n nor s that is written but d to denote that accent, i.e., because it is a diminution of the time that d denotes, as it is an addition that s adds: or dinin disail, de sin from that, i.e., unadding, that is, non-addition. Others say the reason why d is written for dinin disail is that d stands at the beginning of dinin disail, and the reason why n is written for nin is that n stands at the end in it, and the reason why s is written for forsail is that s stands in the middle of it; vel ut alii dicunt, ail, that is, time excess past the short. Dine, that is, dinin, that is, not a letter, that is, it is not an Ogham vowel but it is an accent. Di[sh]ail, that is, not a long time or di[sh]ail, that is, non-addition or non-overflowing.

Alt co fesear that thou mayest know what alt huad, limb of science, it is of the seven alta, to wit, anamain, nath, eamain, láid, setrud, soinemain, dían with their duans. From that onward, it is from verse-feet that alta na huad, the limbs of science, are named, that it might not be mixed speech. Nath, i.e., it praises from the front. Anamain, i.e., án somain, glorious profit. Láed, i.e., it is sent or hastened: or leóaid, it wounds when it is satire: or from the word laus, praise. Sedradh, i.e., path of saying; or surety on a valuable. Sainemain, i.e., special its treasures with respect to the foregoing measure. Dían, two satires: or dian, huge and splendid; or ni áin, something of splendour. From that onward, i.e., from the seven principal metres forth it is from verse-feet, it is something of the verse-feet that thou wilt find and it is from them they have their name at the close of every part of their duan, and recomarc of their forduan, and iarconiarc of bard poetry, that it may not be mixed diction, that it may not be prose like the measure of the Daerbards.

Lorga fuach, staves of words, i.e., a staff out of a word, i.e., as there are staves in the hands of a man on barren places as he goes from place to place that he might not fall prostrate, even so are these here the staves that are in the reasonable speech (?) or in the mouths of the poets halting from word to word. Lorga fuach, staves of words, therefore, that is the interposition of two syllables between the two alliterations, as Cormac the bard cecinit: Im ba seasach im ba seang, etc., i.e., im ba is the lorga fuach.

A dialt n-eterleme, its interloping syllable, is one syllable between the two alliterations ut est:--

To what side for ever after a course of crosses
Shall I beat my narrow fleet?
Shall it be east or shall it be west for a short while,
Shall it be north, or shall it be south?

Cia between lond and leth is the dialt n-etarleme, the interloping syllable; and lorga fuach, staves of words, and dialt n-etarleme occur in the middle of the stanza, viz., in ba, and ba. Fer tot, its telgud noe, its flinging of a man, for nae is man, ut est, if a man suffer on land, i.e. the man allows suffering on him, he goes afterwards to bathe himself in the water, he lets himself down the bank into the water, tot saith the wave under him, i.e., tot was the name of that sound which the wave makes: tott; tott, then, is its onomatopoetic name, or mixed name from sound, ut est, the bu of cows, the go of geese: or the heavy voice the man utters dropping himself on the water. From the sounds of birth have been named go go in sound, or bu bó, i.e., tot: or again, the man takes his garment about him from some one else. What he then says is fertom (i.e. give ye to me, i.e.) it serves me, feartot it serves thee, quoth thy companion to thee, that is a passive verb, feartot quoth his companion to him, this is an active verb.

Now urland, haft, is the name for a spear-bed, to wit, the black horn that is round the spear, it is that on which the spear rests, even as gender rests on these three, he, she, it: or on these ten urlaind, to wit, he, two, trí three, cethir four men. That is, these are urlanda, prefixes, of masculine gender, to wit, is é, it is he, the man, two men, trí three men, cethri four men: or urlond indsci is a sign of declension, masc., fern., and neuter. Masc. and fem. urland are, however, the same from that onward. Therefore they are not mentioned beyond four.

she, two, teora three, cetheora four women, are feminine urlanna, leading words, there. Is í, it is she, the woman, two women, teora three women, ceitheora four women. It é and it iat, they are, however, are common urlanna both fem. and masc. Is ed, it is, how ever, is neuter urlann, ut dicitur, it is his head. With masculine urland, again, neuter coincides in plural urlanda, to wit, two heavens, ut dicitur, two men, etc. Or urlann indsci, that is, masc., fem., and neuter gender. Thus far the body of the Primer.

Twenty-five prepositional flexions in declension, that is, five for full consideration of the poets in flexion while composing the ai, poem; and twenty artificial species besides. And the twenty artificial kinds, what is characteristic of them? Do they each of them conform to their own proper form? They do necessarily, for they are inflected forms. This is their number, three of them in the singular, three of them in the plural, so that thus there are six of them. As to the twenty artificial prose sorts, it is certain that this is their characteristic that there are twelve of them in the form of nominative and accusative, one of them in the form of genitive and vocative, seven of them in the form of dative and ablative: or eleven of them in the form of nominative and accusative, and three of them in the form of genitive and vocative, and three of them in the form of dative and ablative, i.e., three flexions in the singular fer, fir, ic flur; three of them in the plural na fer, na fir, na firu. As to the twelve flexions of them that pass into the form of nominative and accusative, these are their names here:

ar fer its defensive. co fer its advancive.
i fer its ingressive. seach fer its neglective.
for fer its invocative. fri fer its desidative.
la fer its comitative. im fer its circumdative.
dar fer its trespassive. frisin fer its augmentative.
tri fer its perforative. is fer its descriptive.

ut dixit poeta:--

Twelve flexions are these
Which methinks are not quite deceiving,
They pass into the letter form
Of nominative and accusative.

The seven flexions, however, that pass into the form of dative and ablative are:--

i fiur its locative. oc fiur its depositive.
fo fiur its fundative. do fiur its privative.
iar fiur its progenitive. ar fiur its ascensive.
ria fIur its precessive.

ut dixit poeta:--

These are the seven flexions
Which are not kinds to be destroyed,
They pass into pure forms
Of dative and ablative.

One flexion, however, goes into the form of vocative and genitive, ut dixit poeta:--

In fhir its parentative to all time
For possessive, for vocative,
And to them alone there comes not
Save it be the one form from the score.

These are the score of artificial forms with their characteristics, etc.

Now as tofer , man, ebadh, ea, is its Ogham vowel; io or iphin in its declension, or in its possessive, etc., to wit, idad, i, is in its possessive and vocative. It is iphin, io, however, in its dative and ablative. Ebad, ea, however, in its nominative and accusative.

What is proper of fedha in fedaibh, of fedha i fidh, and fidh i fedaib? Proper of fedha i fedhaibh, a vowel among vowels, first, to wit, a before the four vowels; for it is the first expression of all living and the last sigh of all deceased. Dilis fed i fidh, proper of vowels in a vowel, that is, proper is the Ogham diphthong whatever be the fid, vowel, in which it is written. Dilis fidh in fedhaibh, proper is a vowel among vowels, to wit, such is the Ogham diphthong which has two vowels, to wit, what is proper there is the first vowel, for the last is not reckoned.

Alt co fesear, i.e., that it may be known whether it is a metre of the seven primary combinations of poetry as regards measure. From that onward it is by verse-feet that alta, limbs of science, are expressed that it might not be mixed speech, that is, from that onward in the good words, that is, by good words the metres of airchetal are expressed that it could not be the mixed speech such as the Daerbaird use.

Lorga fuach, staves of words, that is, láirce lórchaine, full comely legs, to wit.disyllabic interpositions that stand before the (alliterating) words, saving them from two kinds, to wit, rogair, overshortness, and claenre or perversion of sense.

Fertot a telgud noe, its man-throwing. And bu bó and go géd, names these which through science the poets have invented according to their sound. Fertot, that is, a man has fallen there; and , cow, from the word boo or buo [βοάω], I sound, that is, it would be from the géim, roar; and géd, goose, would be from the goose-voice which it utters, as the Latinist has said: Nomen de sono factum est, i.e., the name has happened to the sound, ut est, connall, stubble, stip, that is its sound as it burns. Thence stipula has come to be the name for it with the Latinist.

Then as to aurlond, haft, or insce, speech, it is a name for the spear-bed. What is the artificial erlonn, haft, which is found to be nature? Not hard. The spear-haft. What is the aurlonn indsci, haft of speech, from which groweth no speech, but speech of death? The spear-point. What is the aurlonn, haft, which is iar lonn, after blade, the after-blade which is haft, and the haft which is remlonn, before blade, to wit, urlonn, haft, that is, the spear, to wit, haft itself that will come after blade, for iar is everything final; so that that is the urlonn, haft, which is after blade, and the urlonn, haft, is the haft which is remlonn, before blade, to wit, when the airiall reaches ground. What are urlonn, urlainn, urlainni in urlond? Urlonn, that is, urlonn, haft, leading word, mas., fern., and neut.: urlainni, the wife of the man: urlunna, the two in urlond, i.e., in heaven or in hell.

The urlunna, indices of gender, mas. and fern, plural are as follows: (mas.) sé: dá, trí, cethri: (fem.) sí: dí, teora, cetheora. From that onward the genders of number are the same. It is there is found an error of the plural neuter, to wit, its not having urlanna plural but in the singular tantum. What is artificial speech which is found with nature? Not hard. "It" is the head, for it is artificial to say "it" while it is on the man. It is natural, however, to apply "it" to it after striking cenn off him.

What single disyllabic word in the declensions will take the place, to wit, the effect of the four parts of declensions? The word perforative, for it includes the words perforative, locative, ingressive, and advancive; for the perforative will not exist without the locative, and the locative will not exist without the ingressive, the ingressive will not exist without the advancive, so that it is perforative which holds from end to end. What bricht is it in which stand eight Ogham letters according to the poet wherein the one letter will contain the force of half of it? ut est, sliachta, and that is a virtual half, not an exact half, to wit, it alone is against the seven letters. In what place of the Primer stands the artificial possessive without rhyme save rhyme of vowels only, ut est, la ba? That is, the possession which a has over the l and over b.

In what place is found a couple of consonants without a breath through them? Not hard. Where n stands before g, with no vowel between them, ut est, uinge, ounce. In what place is found the augmenting Ogham vowel after the completion of the eight syllables in the word bricht? Not hard. Where a diphthong will stand in the eighth syllable, one of the vowel is an augmenting vowel.

There are eight syllables in the biggest word in Gaelic, ut est, fiannamailechardaai. Thirteen syllables, however, form the biggest word in Latin, ut est, tenerificabilitudinitatibus.

What consonant will take the force of a vowel, word and consonant? Not hard. Q. What consonant will not take the force of vowel, word or consonant? Not hard. H.

What is the peculiar origin of the word aipgitir, alphabet? Not hard. A be ce, dibon, i.e., copulatio literarum per se, to wit, there exists in the alphabet a collection of letters with their relationship.

And as to letter itself, what is the origin from which it is? Not hard. From legitera, to wit, a name for a certain animal lair that dwells on the seashore [in litore] named Molossus, and whosoever sees the lair of that animal, to him is revealed knowledge without study. Therefore as it is a way for revealing wisdom and knowledge for anyone to see that lair, so the knowledge and sight of letters is a way for revealing knowledge to him, so that on that account the name littera from the name of the lair of the animal aforesaid is applied to letter in every place where it occurs. Or littera is from litura, rubbing, i.e., from the smearing, i.e., from the rubbing which the ancients used to apply to the waxen tablets, for thereon they (the letters) were first written by them. Or litera, i.e., path of reading, i.e., way of reading.

Of the origins of the declensions here below.

The beginning of letters, verse-feet, declensions, accents, intervals, genders, and comparisons as they were established by poets of the same school in which they dwelt, and by Fenius Farsaidh after the selection of Gaelic out of the 72 languages. Hence it was attributed to Goedel son of Angen, for it was he that desired the selection of Gaelic, to wit, the one language that was more beautiful and excellent than any language, so that for this reason it used to serve, and therefore it was attributed, so that hence Gaelic and the Gael are named. Nel, or Nin, son of Fenius it was who married Scota, daughter of Pharaoh, so that it is from her name they are called Scots.

Fer its nominative sing. Fir its nominative plur.
Fir its possessive sing. Na fer its possessive plur.
Do fer its dative sing. Do feraibh its dative plur.
In fer its accusative sing. Inna firu its accusative plur.
A fhir its vocative sing. A fhiru its vocative plur.
O fir its ablative sing. O feraibh its ablative plur.
Og fir its depositive sing. Oc feraib its depositive plur.
Co fer its advancive sing. Co feraib (or co firu) its advancive plur.
Sech fer its neglective sing. Sech feraib (or sech firu) its neglective plur.
Tre fer its perforative sing. Tre feraib (or tre firu) its perforative plur.
I fer its ingressive sing. I firu (or a feraib) its ingressive plur.
I fir its locative sing. I firu (or a feraib) its locative plur.
For fer its attestive sing. For firu (or for feraib) its attestive plur.
Fo fhir its fundative sing Fo fhiru (or fo fheraib) its fundative plur.
Tar fer its trespassive sing. Tar firu (or tar feraib) its trespassive plur.
Ar fir its ascensive sing. Ar firu (or ar feraib) its ascensive plur.
Fri fer its desidative sing. Fri firu (or fri feraib) its desidative plur.
Feron its hyperbole. Fer its hardening.
Feer its retarding. Refer its inversion.
Ser its change of initial. Fel its change of final.
Ferfer its reduplication, is not found. Firine its diminutive.
Sofer its ennobling. Dofer its enslaving.
Fera its exaltation, is not found. Feraib its humiliation.
And, on, neath, through, in, past the men, its staves of words. From, out of, in, to, through, across, past a man, its interloping syllable. Fefrier its internal division.
Fertot its man-throwing. Fe its theft of a hard.
Its theft of a long is not found, or feir is its theft of a long.
Ferr its doubling a final. Fe its losing a final.
Ise, etc., he, she, it, its prefix of gender.

Head, heart constituting the man's two neuter selected attributes. Eye and tooth the couple of the head. Membrane and gore the couple of the heart. (The couple of the udder, that is, milk and streamlet: the couple of the gore, that is, redness and crimson.) Leg and foot the couple of supporting. A pair, too, of the correlated neuter, that is, eyelashes and eyebrow, i.e., abhrochtur, upper eyebrow (or imcainead, treating superciliously) couple or pair of the eyes. Root and breadth, the couple or pair of the teeth. Skin and sinew the couple or pair of the shins. Activity and surface the couple, i.e., pair of the feet. In another respect, too, these are the pairs of the correlated neuter, its accents, for there are three kinds that are in existence, one for warding upon, one for good warding, and one for warding against. Gein forcométa, for warding upon, first, ut est, ailnme for glún, cap on knee, similarly, for on it from above stands the spear of the true forsail, and it is there with at once it is produced out of thy lips in length and in loudness. Dinin disail are in use as, for example, fuil blood, which is along with feóil flesh, and blood which is in the flesh. It is thus that dinin disail permeates the word from beginning to end without arresting it, without stretching it. Arnin such as cnāim mullaich top bone, leicni jaw-bones, cnuicc knuckles, and find hair, and those that do not originate with man at first, for under the like ness of a man's limbs are limbs of science made. Now the arnin does not at once appear with the word on which it falls so that it is at the end that it compresses the word.

Masculine declension thus far.

Incipit feminine declension. Woman.

of a woman. from a woman. through a woman.
of the women. from women. through women.
to a woman. with a woman. in a woman.
to women. with women. in women,
the woman. unto a woman. on a woman.
the women. unto women. on women.
O woman. past a woman. over a woman.
O women. past women. over women.
benōn its hyperbole. or mna its full.
ben its hardening. its reduplication, to wit, ben-
ben its retarding. ben is not found,
neb its inversion. Though some say that there
befrien its internal division. is not any lān in its re-
ben its unity. duplication.
ben its full. benīne its diminutive.
soben its ennobling.

doben its enslaving; its exaltation is not found (or in the singular, that is, benna). Mna in the plural its exaltation. Its humiliation, to wit, benaib is not found. On, under, through, in, past the women, its lorga fuach: from, to, past, on, in, tis woman, its interloping syllable. Bentot its man-throwing. Be its theft of a hard. Its airichill fuit does not exist, or airicil (i.e., fuit) is not found. Bel its change of final. Benn its doubling a final. Be its losing a final. Pap and knee their selected neuter, fair bearing, and sridit the passage of milk from the breast, their couple; taste and sweetness, their pair. Cap and hollow of knee, the couple of the knee. Bone and flesh their pair. Or these are their pair, their accents, as we have said.

Feminine declension thus far.

Incipit neuter declension here below.

Nem heaven. Nemon its hyperbole. Nime its hardening. Neem its retarding.

of the heaven. at heaven. through heaven. on heaven,
to heaven. at heavens. through heavens. on heavens,
to heavens. unto heaven. into heaven. over heaven,
the heaven. unto heavens. into heavens. over heavens,
the heavens. past heaven. in heaven. under heaven.
from heaven. past heavens. in heavens. under heavens.
from heavens.

Nefriem its internal division. Nem its unity. Nem its full. Its diminutive is not found, nor its reduplication. Its ennobling does not exist, nor its enslaving, nor its exaltation. Nimib is its humiliation. On, under, through, in, past the heavens, its staves of words: from, to, in, unto, out of, under, on, of, past the heavens, its interloping syllable. Its man-throwing may not serve. Ne its theft of a hard, ut est, nem of the water, or poison of a serpent, ut est, nem im thalmain heaven about earth. There is no airichill (i.e., fuit). Nel its change of final, nemm its doubling of final, ne its losing a final. Ised, etc., he, she, it, its prefix of gender. Its selected neuter is not found, for it is itself neuter gender. Cloud and bow of heaven its neuter couple: colour and height their pair, or it is their accents that are their pair.

Neuter declension thus far.

Its nominative fer. Its possessive fir. Its dative do fhiur. Its accusative in fer. Its vocative a fhir. Its ablative o fhiur. Its depositive oc fiur. Its advancive co fear. Its neglective sech fear. Its perforative tre fer. Its ingressive hi fir. Its locative hi fhir. Its attestive for fer. Its fundative fo fhiur. Its trespassive tar fear. Its ascensive ar fiur. Its defensive ar fer. Its interrogative cia fer. Its circumdative im fear. Its privative di fiur.

Now others add three to these, its privative den fir; its descriptive in fer; and its parentative in fir: but its privative is the same as its ablative; its descriptive is the same as its accusative; and its parentative is the same as its possessive.

Incipit to the divisions of analysis is this below.

There are two views of analysis, that is, analysis according to the meaning it denotes and analysis according to the method which it uses. There are four divisions of it, to wit, size, quality, denotation, and accent. Analysis according to the quality which it signifies: There are eight sub ordinate parts in it, and four primary parts of the eight subordinate parts. These are included under the four primary parts, so that thus there are eight primary parts, besides conjunction, derivatives, and compounds, to wit, conjunction of sense and species, perceptions of body, soul, substance, number, and accent. That is the accent in which they have all been reckoned. That is the size, that the size or smallness which is in the word might be known. That is the quality, that it might be known whether it is a quality of evil or good that underlies the word. That is the denotation, that it might be known of what innsce it is, whether gender or part of speech. If it be a part of speech, what is the difference between part and speech. If it be gender, what is the gender? masculine, feminine, or neuter gender? If it be feminine gender, to wit, female gender, ut est, nutrix, nurse, with the Latinist, the whole female species that passes over human lips, that genus belongs to nutrix, for nutrix is nurse to them all. If it be masculine gender, that is, male gender, ut est, pater, father, with the Latinist, the whole species of masculine, feminine, and neuter that passes over human lips, it is pater that is father to them all, that is, Almighty God, Father of all the elements. If it be neuter gender, that is, lifeless gender, ut est, caelum, heaven, with the Latinist, the whole neuter species that passes over human lips is named from nem, heaven. Quality is the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth declensions, and rann, verse, and res, tale(?), and rece. Res is the first division. Rece is the subdivision. In that subdivision there are four parts, to wit, seven numbers, seven accents, and seven aspects, its aspects according to sense, species, voice, verb and language. It is for conjunction of the voice, and that word, and language that the divisions of analysis grow.


This is trefocul as the bards and the patreni (?) have devised it, to wit, trefocul, without a heap of bones, without cramping of diction, without plagiarism, without sameness, without banishing ornament, without one of the dallbach, without one of the ellach, save a single ellach, without disgrace, without pause, without rhyming accident, without unrhyming accident, without their word which poets call frisuithi) without regular repetition of diction, without narrative on another subject, without blasphemy, without detraction, without a word that exceeds derision, without metre (ae) on non-metre (an-ae), without wrongly placing single syllables to answer as a trisyllabic word in the use of bard measure, so that there be not the four-rhyming quatrain which bards compose, so that there be no violation of law upon the words if it be a measure that is kept up, as he said: Trefocul poets plead.

Or Trefocul is without wrongness, without too many rhymes, without an over-long, without an over-short, with out want of emphasis, without over-emphasis, without an absent to a present, without asingular to a plural, without false gender, without false alliteration, without false rhyme, with out error, to wit, those are the twelve faults of composition.

To guard against these are 24 kinds, to wit, corraib there: its hyperbole, its hardening, its retarding, its reduplication, its inversion, its singleness, its full, its diminutive, its ennobling, its enslaving, its exaltation, its humiliation, its losing a final, its doubling a final, its internal division, its change of initial or final, its theft of long, its theft of hard, its man-throwing, its prefix of gender, its mod speech, its neuter couples, its selected neuters, their pairs, with colour and properties, with measure as regards letter, verse-foot, run, and accent, interval, gender, and comparison for every sort of speech that is produced on human lips; for it is from syllable that dissyllable is estimated, from dissyllable that trisyllable is estimated, from trisyllable in turn quadri syllable, from quadrisyllable pentasyllable is estimated, from pentasyllable hexasyllable is estimated, from hexasyllable heptasyllable is estimated, from heptasyllable octosyllable is estimated: for the limbs of science are equal to the limbs of man, for there are 365 limbs of man, 365 measures of poetry, 365 days in the year, and 365 herbs through the earth, so that the protection of the Trefocul encompasses them, de quibus dicitur:

Trefocul poets plead.

Trefocul which poets plead
To defend their lawlessness,
Is no more than a burden of a children's part
From something, I reckon, which they understand.

Shields and pure countenances
Ward off many blemishes
As perfect Adna has devised them,
It is no profit not to turn them.

Twelve "errors," it is clear to you,
The poets must know them;
Etain has found no profit of them,
She has woven the beauty of poetry.

Twelve shields and twelve countenances
She has appointed to guard oneself against them,
The blemishes without a weak bare rhyme,
They succour them with double their number.

The countenances of defence which I shall mention,
"Hardening" and "singular" that are not unsharp,
Right "ennobling," "enslaving,"
The "staves of words" for true measurement.

"Interloping syllable" entire,
"Theft of a long" it is true,
"Theft of a hard," it is not wrong,
"Change of initial" for its visitation.

"Apocope of initial," "doubling of initial" in front,
"Mod speech" with its modes,
It is a twelfth dear countenance,
"Prefix of gender" for reckoning it.

The shields of defence throughout the world
Are "hyperbole" and "retarding,"
Ancient poets have found out those
Two "metatheses" and "internal division."

Its "full" is not full without foundation,
Its "reduplication," its "diminutive,"
A memory to each noble old bard
Its "exaltation," its "humiliation."

I reckon "man-throwing," with venom,
And "change of final,"
"Apocope of final," it is troublesome,
"Doubling of a final" of a good word.

Those are the twelve shields,
The learned are in the habit of observing them,
And the twelve countenances which have been granted,
The four and twenty divisions.

The poets that do not know this,
No back to essay poetry is on them.
How can they conceal their wrongs?
How can they ward off "errors"?

Is it one countenance or one lofty shield
Which saves from each blemish full rough,
Or the twain that are thrown around every blemish?
Not thence, from considering it, will harm arise.

Whoever he be that sings with his understanding,
Through his intellect rough and dangerous,
It is difficult and it is troublesome
To take account of the Trefocul.


Trefocul the three words
A knowledge of its secret is very hard,
Thirty-six up to this point
Are found through its species of Gaelic.

Twelve "errors" of them,
It is no rhyme without their common metrics,
No friends to me, O men, are they
Who separate rewards from praise.

A wrong of them I tell at the outset,
I am skilled respecting it:
It is not one wrong but it is three wrongs,
From which every noble lay is not nobly fair.

Of "wrong of body" everyone has heard,
In my verses it will not be very usual,
Besides every difficulty therefrom,
A "wrong of rhyme," a "wrong of sense."

"Wrong of body" is not a wrong without doubt,
It is ten injuries that it injures [works],
They levy a debt of praise outside,
Two purple shields over against it.

The "wrong of rhyme," fitting are
Two countenances against the clear defect,
And two shields behind them,
Not mean is their full protection.

Two shields, two countenances of the cheek,
It is that which protects "a wrong in meaning ";
"A text of sense," without sin,
Is a species of protection.

Two kinds which defend "too many rhymes,-
So that the work be not clearly blundering,
Three shields, three countenances, without noise
Defend the excessive "overlong."

Five shields, three countenances, without anguish,
It is that which defends against "overshort";
One countenance that wards off from you "want of emphasis,"
And one countenance that wards off "over-emphasis."

One countenance for defence, lest it cost us a heifer (?),
Which defends "an absent to a present";
A shield also and a pure countenance
Defend "a singular" for "a plural."

Nine shields of defence, with difficulty,
Defend all "false rhyme";
Though he does not speak with his good taste,
Seeing that one countenance defends it.

The three countenances, cheek by cheek,
Well do they defend "false alliteration";
And two shields, ye do not think it deceitful,
Defend hideous "false alliteration."

"False gender," it is not a reckless i se,
Which one guarding countenance defends;
Two shields defend "error"
Lest it should be too bare and too grey.

"Error" a common harmonious name
Has clung to every complete blunder;
The "error" is not a name without ambiguity,
Though it is great blemish to which it is peculiar.

"Error" if it be a name for every blemish,
Why shall it cleave to a single blemish?
Since it is not one blemish, without fault,
That is naked sided in Trefocul.


Shields and countenances it finds for them
As they heal every unbeautiful thing;
From us, it is not a sudden silence,
"Hyperbole" wards off two faults truly.

One remedy has "hardening," without sin,
And one remedy has "retarding";
It is not a kind of mad act it meditates,
Six good protections has "metathesis."

Known to my mind, without reproach,
Six helps in their "internal division,"
Against one blemish which its "singleness" defends
And its "full" full gracefully.

"Reduplication" wards off from us, with colour,
The three blemishes full well;
Defends, not ill is the work,
Against two blemishes its "diminutive."

Against two blemishes defend, without decay,
"Ennobling" and "enslaving ":
Against two veritable blemishes defend indeed
Its "exaltation" and "humiliation."

"Staves of words" protect here below
Against two blemishes full plainly:
A great "interloping syllable "
With us remedies two "errors. 1

Its "man-throwing," beauteous its taste,
It is against two "errors" that it heals;
"Theft of long" it is the better of it,
It does not ward off from us save two things

Its "theft of hard," without doubt,
Has saved us from two difficulties,
It wards it off, without winding up of yarn.
As it sees it, "change of initial and final."

"Losing a final" wards off three blunders,
Of our disobedient "errors,"
By "doubling a final," without heavy sorrow, too,
The same equal number is assisted.

"Mod speech," it is not an evil mode,
Does not protect but one blemish;
"Prefix of gender,"harmonious name,
Does not protect save one blunder.

These are countenances and shields,
To sages they are not unsharp;
Not well goes to stretch verses
Any poet that does not carry them out.

To pay the two score, without reproach,
Which are found of damages on blunders,
Worshippings to the King Who gave them,
Seven and forty helps.

The poets that came over
Along with the Tuath De Danann,
There was many an Ollave with them
Making holes in the Trefocul.


Two shields which defend "wrong of body,"
From me in this verse it is greatly to be believed,
"Metathesis" of sharp-edged words
And "metathesis" of syllables.

Its "theft of a long," it is constant,
That there may not be its "change of a final;
"Hardening," "retarding," of measure
Defend the "wrong of rhyme."

Against the "wrong of sense" defend
"Staves of words," "a well-leaping syllable,"
And "perfected sense," without sin,
Is a species of defending them.

Every verse has been destroyed utterly
With respect to "excess of rhymes" in verses,
"Excess of rhyme" would not abide
Despite "exaltation," "humiliation."

The two "internal divisions," as was heard,
The two "thefts" here below,
The "losings of finals " God gave them,
Beyond these "over long" will not reach.

"Hyperbole," "reduplication," without blemish,
"Man-throwing," and "diminutive,"
They make rare each "over short " before you
"Staves of syllables," "doubling of finals."

"Ennobling" of the world's men
Against "want of emphasis," it is a good help,
"Enslaving" every man of them
Helps them all against "over emphasis."

"Unity" defends against "plural" in the poems,
Against "singleness" its "full" defends,
"An absent to a present" verily,
"Mod speech" for its great defence.

Against "false rhyme" defend, oh man!
"Hyperbole," "two metatheses,"
"Man-throwing," ornamental the work,
"Internal division" of letters, "diminutive."
"Theft of hard," O happy one!
Its "losing of final," and "doubling of final."

Two "metatheses," right "reduplication"
Help unlawful "false alliteration,"
And these help it here below
"Doubling," "losing," "change of final."

"False gender" is taken account of there,
Quickly aurland "prefix" defends it.
Against "error" to some extent protect
"Reduplication," "exaltation," "humiliation."

Destruction of flexion is every bad flexion,
For it there is no name but "error";
I have no clear desire that it should be pilfered
Out of the Trefocul which they plead.


Of the Laws for closing Poems here below.

Consider the closings of your poems,
Ye people of the lawful art.
Query, it is not a question of concealing
Whether firmly ye have closed them.

Unless every compact poem is closed,
What fault is in the Trefocul?
For it is that which has put them away of old,
Many faults of poetry.

Each man of the poets,
Unless his vigorous poem be closed,
What fine for it is due from him,
From the man who makes the full pleasant lay?

What is the name of each close of these
Which the bards name to their brethren?
Let each one listen, let him hear the knowledge,
Unless he would remain in his ignorance.

The comindsma to Dondchadh (Duncan) is "Do,"
The ascnam, "Dond" on each fair day,
The saigid (is) this, it is the famous version,
Dondchadh the Ollave name.

Ascnam (approach) after full approach is a pleasant mode,
"Dondchadh through whom the world boils,"
Uaim do rind (alliteration at end) "Duncan of the many hosts,
Through whom boils the fiery world."

Whether the same close is due
Let it be found out by the poets,
For the body of the duan in their poem,
And for the complete conclusion.

"Full approach," "approach," "alliteration at end"
Close bodies of poems, it is plain to us;
Every concluding word, it is a pure glory,
Repetition of first syllable is due to their close. Closed.

Ye poets of the world, West and East,
Both in Ireland and in Scotland,
They deserve no lucky treasures
For every poem that will not be [properly] closed. Closed.

If any one ask the law
What is the number of a company of the true poets
On a journey of entertainment, upon the road of a circuit,
For customary needs, for feasts:

Twenty-four verily
[For] a journey of entertainment of a royal Ollave,
Eight for a circuit, without anguish,
Twelve men for customary needs.

Ten for prepared feasts
Are due to him, the choice of learned people,
For glorious contests are these,
The Ollave's four companies.

Twelve men will fall (?) to a poet of the second order,
Five men for their customary needs,
Six for a circuit, scholars of renown,
Eight verily for feasts.

Give to a poet of the third order for his song
Eight, noble his great company,
Six for feasts of knowledge,
Five for a circuit, four for customary needs.

Six to a poet of the fourth degree, hide it not,
For every journey of entertainment provide ye,
Four for feasts of knowledge,
Three for a circuit, two for customary needs.

Four to a poet of the fifth degree, a band which is best,
And three for feasts of poets,
Two for a circuit, to be adjudged to the poet,
And for his needs one alone.

Three for a journey of hospitality on which he goes,
A chosen company for a poet of the sixth degree,
Two for feasts, with cleverness,
One for a circuit, one for quite customary needs.

Thou shalt not exceed two after that,
The two companies to poets of the seventh degree,
One for a circuit, one for a feast provide thou,
One for his needs: if any one ask.
                If any one ask the law what.

Finit. Amen, finit, Solomon O'Droma nomine scripsit.

L. Muircheartach Riabhach O'Cuindlis wrote this for his faithful fosterer MacFirbis, and for his blessing besides.

Calder, George. Auraicept na n-Éces: The Scholar's Primer. Edinburgh: John Grant, 1917.