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Monday, March 21, 2016

Transltion ~ Pangur Ban


Pangur Ban is one of the more well known Old Irish poems, a work from around the 9th century which details the exploits -academic and hunting - of a scholar and his cat. The following Old Irish is from Stokes Thesaurus Paleohibernicus, from 1903. The English translation is my own. 


Messe ocus Pangur bán,
cechtar nathar fria saindán;
bíth a menma-sam fri seilgg,
mu menma céin im saincheirdd

(Myself and Fair Pangur
both of us with our tasks;
for his mind is on hunting,
my mind on each separate art)

Caraim-se fós, ferr cach clú,
oc mu lebrán léir ingnu;
ní foirmtech frimm Pangur bán,
caraid cesin a maccdán.

(I love the quiet, better than fame,
and my book zealously I study
no envy against me has Fair Pangur
he loves his own youthful skill)

Ó ru-biam ­scél cén scis ­
innar tegdias ar n-oéndis,
táithiunn ­ dichríchide clius ­ 
ní fris 'tarddam ar n-áthius.

(Where we are adventuring without rest
  here in our house, the single pair
we have unlimited feats
of acuteness to apply against something)

Gnáth-huaraib ar greassaib gal
glenaid luch ina lín-sam;
os me, du-fuit im lín chéin
dliged ndoraid cu n-dronchéill.

(Usually his furious attack
catches a mouse up in his net:
 my eye, my own net, reaches
a difficult concept that is well hidden)

Fúachaid-sem fri freaga fál
a rosc a nglése comlán;
fúachimm chéin fri fégi fis
mu rosc réil, cesu imdis.

(He sharpens his skill against these
his eye is the perfect tool for this
I direct my clear eye, though very weak
towards sharpening knowledge)

Fáelid-sem cu n-déne dul,
hi nglen luch ina gérchrub;
hi-tucu cheist n-doraid n-dil,
os mé chene am fáelid.

(He rejoices with his swift snaring
Cleaving a mouse in his sharp claws
I grasp a question, difficult, dear,
and my mind in that time is happy)

Cia beimini amin nach ré
ní derban cách a chéle;
mait le cechtar nár a dán
subaigthiud a óenurán.

(Even if we work thus every time
neither hinders the other one;
good we each are at our skill
rejoicing when alone)

Hé fesin as choimsid dáu
in muid du-n-gní cach óenláu;
do thabairt doraid du glé
for mumud céin am messe.

(He himself is capable of the purpose
at the work he does every single day;
to bring a dark thing to light
at my own work, am I)

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