Page:Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus 2.djvu/44

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Description of the MSS.

there anything in the subject-matter to suggest interpolation. The stories are of the same kind as those related in the Patrician documents in the Book of Armagh; a little variation is found vv. 45 sq., and an exaggeration of the older story in v. 56. But on the whole the narratives agree closely. The exception is v. 34. The documents in the Book of Armagh (fo. 13b2) record only one occasion on which Patrick raised the dead to life, and then it was a giant whom he raised from the grave to shew his unbelieving followers that there had been actually a man of such a stature as his tomb indicated. As Thurneysen has pointed out[1], the verse seems to be an imitation of vv. 19–24 of the hymn to Christ ascribed to S. Hilarius[2]. It is very improbable that the author of the poem should have written two successive verses with the rhymes bethu: lethu.

III. Niníne’s Prayer.

This prayer is traditionally ascribed to the poet Niníne (notes to Fél. Óeng. July 6, Dec. 11) or to Fiacc, bishop of Sletty. It is a highly alliterative piece, without rhyme, and with no well-defined metrical system. As to the number of syllables, the first two lines are based on the division 7 + 5. Windisch, omitting prímapstal in line 6, would divide the poem thus: 7 + 5. 7 + 5; 10. 5. 9; 10. 5. 9; 10. 10. The absence of rhyme deprives us of the most important criterion for fixing the date of the poem; the language shews no signs of lateness, except what may be fairly imputed to the transcribers.

IV. Ultan’s Hymn.

This hymn, traditionally ascribed to Columcille or to Ultan of Ard Breccain († 656), to three of Brigit’s community, or to Brénainn, is the only one of the Irish hymns which shews high poetic art. There is nothing in the language to shew that the poem cannot go back to the seventh century a.d. The text has been restored below on the assumption that the poem is of so early a date.

V. Broccán’s Hymn[3].

In the hymns previously considered nothing has been discovered that would point to a later date than the early part of the ninth century. In the present hymn, taken as a whole, there are to be observed changes in the

  1. Rev. Celt. vi. 334 sq.
  2. Qui refertur post Erodem nutriendus Nazareth | multa paruus multa adultus signa fecit celitus | quae latent et quae leguntur coram multis testibus | praedicans celeste regnum dicta factis approbat. | Debiles facit uigere, cecos luce illuminat, | uerbis purgat leprae morbum, mortuos resuscitat.
  3. Cf. Windisch, Irische Texte i. 25 sq., Bernard and Atkinson ii. 1 sq., 189.