Page:Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus 2.djvu/39

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Codex Sancti Pauli.

Bible. The contents are of a miscellaneous character; on ff. 1b and 4b stand the Irish poems printed below, all written in the same hand. The codex has been assigned to the eighth century by Windisch, to the ninth by Zimmer[1]. The latter date is in accordance with the indications of the language[2]. But some at least of the poems are of a considerably earlier origin.

The contents of the poems are as follows:

I. Some sort of charm or incantation, in part unintelligible,

II. A poem treating of the doings of the bookish writer and his favourite cat Pangur bán, edited by Windisch, Ir. Texte, i. 316; and with a French translation, in Rev. Celt. v. 128. The following peculiarities of the language may be noted, some of which would seem to point to the ninth century. Such are:

(a) Final ‑a = ‑ae: menma.
(b) bíth monosyllabic = bíid (the regular form in the Old-Irish glosses).
(c) nár by náthar.
(d) ‑sem = ‑som. This is frequent in Sg.[3], and is established for about 800 a.d. by the rhyme in Fél. Oeng., Ep. 524. The poem has also ‑sam for ‑som; once it is established by the rhyme with gal. Such a rhyme does not yet appear in Fél. Oeng.
(e) The aspiration of the object: cheist[4].
(f) Neut. nach for na: nach ré[5].
(g) dufuit = older dotuit.

In the case of such peculiarities as are not established by the metre, it is uncertain whether they are to be imputed to the writer or to the scribe. For féin, féssin etc. the poem has céin, and cesin by fesin. Such forms likewise appear in the St Gall glosses, in the Cambray Homily, and in the Imram Brain. Whether they are archaic or dialectical is not clear.

III. A riddling poem ascribed to Suibne Geilt, a king who is said to have lost his reason in the battle of Moira. The form durigni is found in Ml. and Sg. but not in Wb., which, however, has sg. i. dorignius. The word for ‘star’ is still rétglu not rétla, as it became later.

IV. Verses extracted from a poem ascribed to St Moling †697. The poem in its present form is of a much later date, but there is nothing in the rhymes to prevent its ascription to an early period. If J. S. be right in his conjecture that nem is for ném = níam, the poem cannot be later than about 700; if so, the verses may actually have been written by that saint. The whole poem is found in five MSS., viz. the Book of Leinster p. 284b, the Book of Ballymote, p. 256a, the Book of Lismore, f. 45a, and the Bodleian codices

  1. Supplementum, 15.
  2. Note in particular the confusion of nn and nd, and the treatment of final vowels in the fourth poem.
  3. Cf. Celt. Zeitschr. iv. 490. In Ml. and Wb. ‑sem is rare, Celt. Zeitschr. iv. 66.
  4. Cf. KZ. xxxv. 325 sq.
  5. Cf. nach quod Ml. 101a1.