Text: “A eolcha Alban uile”

This is a Gaelic poem probably composed for the inauguration of Máel Coluim mac Donnchada (r. 1058–93), aka Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland. It is worth noting that the term Alba is used in the poem, here translated as “Scotland,” although it signified all of Britain in earlier usage.

This extract was translated by Michael Newton from the edition of Jackson, “The Duan Albanach.”

§ 1. O all of you learned people of Scotland: o all you dignified, yellow-haired people! Do you know about the first invasion which conquered the land of Scotland?

§ 2. Albanus with his many troops took it; he was the magnificent son of Isicón; he was the honest brother of Briutus; Scotland [Alba] of the ships takes its name from him.

§ 3. Briutus banished his energetic brother across the stormy English Channel; Briutus took the noble land of Alba as far as the conspicuous point of Fothudan [< Gododdin].

§ 4. Long after kind, blessed Briutus, the children of Nemhidh took it; after Érglan came out of his galley, after the plunder of Conaing’s Tower.

§ 5. After that, the Picts [Cruithnich] took it, after arriving on the plains of Ireland; 70 glorious kings of theirs occupied the Pictish territory. […]

§ 7. After them, the descendants of Eochu took Scotland after a hard fight; the descendants of gentle Conaire, the foremost of the mighty Gaels.

§ 8. The three sons of Erc, the son of good Eochu; those three got the blessing of Saint Patrick; they took Scotland, for they had great energy: Loarn, Ferghus, and Aonghus. […]

§ 26. Máel Coluim, the handsome, healthy-looking son of Donnchadh [“Duncan”], is now the king; nobody but the most learned man of the learned ones knows the length of his reign.

§ 27. Listen: there are 52 kings up to the kingly son of Donnchadh of the descendants of pure-noble Erc from the east who took Scotland, o all of you learned people.

About Michael Newton

Arts and Sci Information Svcs
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.