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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