Stories, Myths & Legends

Crith Gablach 

c. 7th C.a.d.


An Early Legal Poem.         Translated by D.A. Binchy

                1.  Ma be ri rofesser,             If thou be a king thou shouldst know
                2.  recht flatho,                     the prerogative of a ruler,
                3.  fothuth iar miad,              reflection according to rank,
                4.  mesbada slog                   contentions of hostings,
                5.  sabaid cuirmthige,           sticks quarrels in an alehouse
                6.  cuir mescae;                     contracts made in drunkenness;
                7.  mess tire,                          valuations of lands,
                8.  tomus forrag,                  measurement by poles;
                9.  foberta diri,                     augmentations of a penalty,
                10. dithle mesraid;                larceny of tree-fruit;
                11. mormain mrugrechto:    the great substance of land-law:
                12. mrogad coicrich.             marking out fresh boundaries.
                13. cor cualne,                      planting of stakes,
                14. corus rinde,                     the law as to points of stakes,
                15. ranh eter comorbu,         partition among coheirs,
                16. comaithig do garmaim   summoning of neighbours,
                17. gaill comlainn,                stone pillars of contest
                18. caithigthi astado.            fighters who fasten title.
                19. anagraitto rig,                from a king;
                20. righ comairge;                the extent of protection;
                21. corus co sesser                right of the fine up to the sixth man
                22. setaib seilb.                    in movables and land.
                23. Slan cach comaithches   Valid is every neighbor-law
                24. cuirther gallaib,              that is contracted by pledges
                25. gelltar smachtaib miach.    and secured by fines consisting of sacks.
                26. Mo laugu                        Greater or smaller
                27. log ndire.                        is the value of penalties.
                28. Dire n-aurbai                 The penalty for breaching a boundary fence:
                29. o dartaid co dairt           from a bull-calf to a heifer-calf,
                30. dochum colpthaige         from that to a yearling beast,
                31. co coic seotu cingith.      up to five seoit it extends.
                32. Cia annsom fidbeime     What are the most oppressive cases of tree-cutting
                33. fiachaib bacth?               for which fools are mulcted?
                34. Briugid caille,                 The hospitallers of the forest,
                35. coll eidnech.                    the ivied hazel.
                36. Esnill bes dithernam       A danger from which there is no escape
                37. dire fidnemid nair.          is the penalty for felling the sacred tree.
                38. Ni bie fidnemid               Thou shalt not cut a sacred tree
                39. fiachaib secht n-airech,  and escape with the fines for the seven noble trees
                40. ara teora bu                   on account of the fine of three cows
                41. inna bunbeim bis.           that is fixed for cutting its stem.
                42. Biit alaili secht                There are others, seven
                43. setlaib losae.                   atoned for in seoit due for undergrowth.
                44. Laumur ar dochondaib   Let me venture for [the benefit] of the immature
                45. dildi cailli:                       to state the immune things of the forest:
                46. cairi fulocht benar,         a single cauldron's cooking-wood that is cut,
                47. bas chnoe foisce              a handful of ripe nuts
                48. frisna laim i saith soi.      to which one stretches not his hand in satiety.
                49. Slanem de                       Freest of it all
                50. dithgus dithli.                  is the right of removal.
                51. Dire ndaro,                     The penalty for the oak,
                52. dire a gabal mar,            the penalty for lobbing its larger limbs
                53. mess beobethad;             with its life-sustaining mast;
                54. bunbem n-ibair               the stem-cutting of the yew;
                55. inonn cumbe cuilinn,      the same penalty for cutting the holly tree.
                56. Annsom de                      Most oppressive of it all
                57. dire secht n-aithlech       is the penalty of the seven commoners of the forest
                58. asa mbi bo:                     for each of which there is a cow as payment:
                59. bunbeim beithe,              the stem cutting of the birch,
                60. baegal fernae,                the peril of the alder,
                61. fube sailech;                   the undermining of the willow.
                62. sluind airriu aithgein      Declare restitution for them.
                63. anog sciath                     the maiming of the whitethorn
                64. sceo draigin;                   and of the blackthorn;
                65. dringid co fedo forball,   it restitution extends to the undergrowth of the wood,
                66. forball ratho,                  the undergrowth of fern,
                67. raited, aine,                    of bog-myrtle, of reeds,
                68. acht a ndilse do flaithib.     save that these are free to lords.
                69. Fothlac, tothlae,             Stealthy penetration, stealthy intrusion,
                70. tan, an,                           driving to and fro,
                71. aircsiu, arach                  looking on idly, tethering
                72. attrab, follscud,              squatting, burning,
                73. fuillechtae iadad;            blocking tracks;
                74. airlem en,                        overleaping by birds,
                75. oss, eisrechtae,                deer and pet animals,
                76. airlim con,                       overleaping by dogs,
                77. caithchi bech,                  trespass by bees;
                78. biit i trenaib dire              in thirds are payable in penalties
                79. ton-accomoing tairgille;    which the preliminary pledge comprehends;
                80. taurrana, tairsce,            driving forward, traversing,
                81. taulberna tar rout,          sudden breeches across the road,
                82. ruriud tar selba.              stampeding across holdings.
                83. samsil trachta.                similarly over strands.
                84. Tomus airchinne             Measurement of the fore-end
                85. co n-aurchur flescaich,   with a cast by a stripling,
                86. forsciu mrugrechto,        supervising the observance of land law,
                87. mrogad cocrich,              marking out fresh boundaries,
                88. caithche tigradus,            final responsibility for trespass.
                89. Tairgget smachta            Let fines be forthcoming
                90. iar cintaib coicthi           on the fifth day after the offenses
                91. a coir comaithech.          according to the law of neighbours.
                92. Cid ag con-ranna fri et?   What single ox shares liability with the drove?
                                93. Cid airlimm n-oenoirec       What overleaping by a single piglet shares liability with the herds?
                94. Cis tana di-chiallatar       What are the drivings carried out negligently
                95. dona segar tigrathus?      for which final responsibility is not enforced?
                96. Cis tuarrana foichlithi?   What are the concealed drivings forward?
                97. forsna soi fogeltath?       On which grazing-expense does not fall?
                98. Cis formenn dichmaire    What are the unauthorized stalkings
                99. do-sliat dilsi?                    which deserve immunity?
                100. Cis dithle di threbaib     What are the larcenies from houses
                101. nad tuillet dire?              which do not entail a penalty?

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