Text: “Aed oll fri andud nane”

This anonymous Old Irish panegyric was recorded in a ninth-century manuscript and seems to have been composed in that century. It is one of the earliest Gaelic panegyrics (poems of praise) to survive in its entirety, rather than as a fragment.

The subject of praise appears to have been Áed the grandson of Muiredach, a king of Leinster who died in the year 760. The poet situates Áed as an individual within the wider “matrix” of ancestry and landscape, as has long been the case in Gaelic panegyric: his father, grandfather, royal ancestors and kin-group are named in consecutive stanzas, as are territories to which he is attached.

This text was first edited and translated in Stokes and Strachan, Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus, vol. 2, 295. Michael Newton adapted the text with extensive emendations from the article by Tomás Ó Cathasaigh, “The Making of a Prince: Áed Oll fri Andud n-Áne” in CSANA Yearbook 11-12, Rhetoric and Reality in Medieval Celtic Literature: Studies in Honor of Daniel F. Melia, eds. Georgia Henley and Paul Russell (Hamilton, NY: Colgate University Press, 2014), which also provided the information about the poem and subject summarized above.

§ 1. Áed is the inspiration for rousing praise; he supports the dispensation of hospitality; he is the most-beloved, distinguished pillar of the pinnacles of smooth[-plained] Reelion.

§ 2. The mighty backbone – a pious ruler – sustaining prosperous households; chosen above all his peers of the territory of cultivated Mullaghmast.

§ 3. The son of Diarmait is dear to me; even if asked, it is easy (to answer): praise of him is more precious than riches, I will sing it in poetic lays.

§ 4. The name of Áed is beloved and does not deserve reproach: this fame is well established; good repute that is not hidden, the pure figure for whom the lovely plain of the Liffy is homeland.

§ 5. Muiredach’s grandson is a massif constantly elected for high office; a descendent of the kings of Cúala, which spawned no evil person.

§ 6. This lordship is his heritage, bestowed boons of gods and men; the sprig of a blameless family of the handsome kings of Slievemargey.

§ 7. He is the trunk of a great tree – noble reputation – he is the subject-matter of boasts; he is the sapling of silver – high quality – descended of a hundred kings.

§ 8. Poems are recited at ale-feasts; human generations are recounted; we extol the name of Áed poetically with [toasts of] liquor.

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