Chapter Excerpt

The Book of Killowen


Domfarcai fidbaidæ fál fomchain lóid luin lúad nad cél.

Huas mo lebrán indlínech fomchain trírech innanén . . .

Fommchain cói menn medair mass himbrot lass de dindgnaib doss

debrath nomchoimmdiu cóima cáinscríbaimm foróda ross.

A hedge of trees surrounds me:

a blackbird’s lay sings to me

praise which I will not hide . . .

Above my manuscript—the lined one—

the trilling of the birds sings to me.

In a gray mantle the cuckoo sings

a beautiful chant to me from the tops of bushes:

may the Lord protect me from Doom!

I write well under the greenwood.

—Verse written in the margin by an Irish scribe who copied Priscian’s Institutiones Grammaticae (a Latin grammar) in the mid-ninth century

Excerpted from The Book of Killowen by Erin Hart
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