Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/381

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373
Celtic Myth and Saga.

forms of the version he in other respects slavishly follows! An example will make this plain.

The Boroma is one of the most important tales edited and translated by Mr. O'Grady. It so happens that Mr. Whitley Stokes, whilst Silva Gadelica was passing through the press, published text and version of the same tale in vol. xii of the Revue Celtique. Means is thus afforded to the non-Celtic student of testing the method of editing and translating of both scholars. One singularly reassuring result of the comparison between the two versions is that for practical purposes Middle Irish has been mastered; substantially, the two renderings, made independently of each other, agree.[1] The Boroma, which tells of the tribute levied upon Leinster by an over-king of Ireland in the second century, and continued by his successors until the seventh century, is preserved mainly in two MSS., the 12th-century Book of Leinster and the 15th-century Book of Lecan. Mr. O'Grady prints the former version, which is incomplete, at the end, and leaves out a number of passages found in Lecan. Mr. Stokes supplies all deficiences in the Leinster text from that in Lecan, bracketing the passages thus dealt with. I select a few of the passages to show what is lost in Mr. O'Grady's version.

In the course of the tale it is told how Aed, son of Ainmire, is defeated and slain in his attempt to levy the tribute. Lecan adds: "but though Aed fell on account of the Boroma he had levied it twice without a battle." Now whether this be addition to the original text by a non-Leinster scribe, or its absence in the Book of Leinster be due to deliberate omission from patriotic motives, there can be no doubt as to the importance of the passage for estimating the historic value of the narrative. When Aed dies his wife laments as follows:

  1. This applies to the prose. Very considerable differences exist in the renderings of the verse.