verse beg. Mellach lem bith i n-ucht ailinn

  • Late Middle Irish
  • verse
Late Middle Irish poem (12 qq) ascribed in one MS to Colum Cille.
First words (verse)
  • Mellach lem bith i n-ucht ailinn
Ascribed to: Colum Cille
Colum Cille
(fl. 6th century)
founder and abbot of Iona, Kells (Cenandas) and Derry (Daire).

See more
ff. 22v(34).11–23r(35).10
rubric: ‘Colum Cille fecit’
beg. ‘Mellach lem bith ind ucht ailiuin’
12 qq.
f. 10ra.8–29
beg. ‘Meallach lem bith an ucht ailoin’

12 qq. Without attribution. Meallach lem bith an ucht ailoin

According to O’Rahilly, lines 37-40 are quoted in the Ó Domhnaill life (p. 436).
  • Late Middle Irish
verse (primary)
  • snédbairdne (8²+4²+8²+4²)
Number of stanzas: 12 qq.
Textual relationships
Related: Robad mellach a meic mo DéRobad mellach a meic mo DéMiddle Irish poem attributed to Colum Cille.



Primary sources Text editions and/or modern translations – in whole or in part – along with publications containing additions and corrections, if known. Diplomatic editions, facsimiles and digital image reproductions of the manuscripts are not always listed here but may be found in entries for the relevant manuscripts. For historical purposes, early editions, transcriptions and translations are not excluded, even if their reliability does not meet modern standards.

[ed.] OʼRahilly, Thomas F., Measgra dánta: Miscellaneous Irish poems, 2nd ed., Dublin and Cork: Cork University Press, 1927.
Internet Archive: <link>
129–130 (text); 194–195 (notes) [id. 42.] Text normalised to “17th-century practice”; 12th quatrain omitted since O'Rahilly regards as it a later addition to the poem.
[ed.] Mackinnon, Donald, A descriptive catalogue of Gaelic manuscripts in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, and elsewhere in Scotland, Edinburgh: Brown, 1912.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
81–82 Edinburgh version.
[ed.] Meyer, Kuno [ed.], “Mitteilungen aus irischen Handschriften: Ein Gedicht Columcille's”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 5 (1905): 496–497.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Brussels version.
[tr.] Clancy, Thomas Owen (ed.), The triumph tree: Scotland's earliest poetry AD 550–1350, Canongate Classics, 86, Edinburgh: Canongate, 1999.  
Translations, with notes. Latin texts translated by Gilbert Márkus, Welsh texts by Joseph P. Clancy, Gaelic and Old English texts by Thomas Owen Clancy, Norse texts by Paul Bibire and Judith Jesch.
188–189 (translation); 336 (note) [‘Columba's island paradise’] Translation (11 qq) based on O’Rahilly.
[tr.] Skene, William F., Celtic Scotland: a history of ancient Alban, 3 vols, vol. 2: Church and culture, 2nd ed., Edinburgh: Douglas, 1887.
Internet Archive: <link>

Translation provided by Eugene O'Curry, based on the Brussels version, which according to the note, was “transcribed and translated for the late Dr. Todd by the late Professor O'Curry, and was kindly given to the author by D. Reeves, Bishop of Down and Connor, then Dean of Armagh, in 1886.”

Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
December 2022, last updated: June 2023