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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Describing Fedelm in the Tain Bo Cuiligne

A bit of descriptive translation for today from the Táin Bó Cuiligne of Medb's first view of the seeress Fedelm:

Impáis in t-ara in carpat ocus dothaét Medb for cúlu, co n-accai ní rap ingnad lé, .i. in n-aenmnái for fertais in charpait na farrad ina dochum. Is amlaid bói ind ingen: ic figi corrthairi ocus claideb findruini ina láim deiss cona secht n-aslib do dergór ina dessaib; bratt ballabrecc uani impi; bretnas torrach trencend sin brutt osa brunni; gnúis chorcra chrumainech lé; rosc glass gairectach le; beóil derga thanaide; dét niamda nemanda, andar let batar frossa findnémand erctais ina cend; cosmail do nuapartaing a beóil; binnidir téta mendchrot aca seinm allámaib sirshúad bindfogur a gotha ocus a cáinurlabra; gilidir snechta sniged fri oenaidchi taidlech a cniss ocus a colla sech a timthach sechtair; traigthi seta sithgela, ingni corcra córi cruindgéra lé; folt findbudi fata forórda furri; teora trillsi da fult imma cend, trilis aile co m-benad foscad fri colptha.
Irische Texte Mit Ubersetzungen, Windisch (1905.)

"The charioteer turned the chariot and suddenly at Medb's back, she saw something, a person unusual to her, that is the single girl at a shaft of the chariot beside the company. And thus is the girl: besides weaving fringe and a sword of fine brass in her right hand, seven sword-ornaments of red-gold well arranged on it; a speckled-spotted green cloak on her; a brooch rounded, strong-covered there on her cloak and chest; a face red, rich-blooded with her; eyes green and laughing with her; a subtle red mouth; brilliant pearl-like teeth, you would think they were white-pearls showering abundantly from her head; similar to fresh scarlet were her lips; melodious strings of a lyre being played by a master, long lasting, sweet-sounding her voice and her enchanting speech; bright as falling snow from a single night was her shining skin and her body that was beyond her garment; feet slender long and fair, nails dark red, well-proportioned, round and neat with her; hair light-yellow, long, and golden on her; three plaits of hair on her head, another plait with a shadow reaching to her calf."

  The word used to describe the red of her face and nails is actually corcra which is a dark-purple red; in modern Irish this word means purple, but in older Irish it was considered a both purple and a shade of red sometimes translated as crimson. In contrast her mouth is "derga" a bright, intense red, while her lips are "nuapartaing" nua meaning new and partaing being a bright scarlet red associated dyeing cloth.  
    It's also interesting to note that her hair is described simultaneously as "light-yellow" and "golden"; finduidi is a magnifying term which implies intensity of color or quality and, with aelt, is associated with bleaching hair with lime, while forórda means gilt, gold colored, and in expressions glorious. Altogether we can take this as a description of her hair as long and shining blonde. 

Copyright Morgan Daimler

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