Texts

verse beg. Tánic sam slán sóer

  • Old Irish, Middle Irish
  • verse
  • Early Irish poetry
Poem on the coming of summer, attributed to Finn mac Cumaill. It evokes an image of the season by referring, for instance, to the appearance and behaviour of stags, dogs, salmon and birds such as the cuckoo and the blackbird.
Initial words (verse)
  • Tánic sam slán sóer
“Noble, perfect summer has come”
Manuscripts
  • Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson B 502 2, ff. 19–89 = Lebar Glinne Dá Locha (?) [1125 x 1150]
    ff. 60ra(=107a)5–18beginning: ‘Tanic sam slan soer’ context: Mac Lesc mac Ladáin aithech
    7 stanzas. The poem occurs in the context of an anecdote concerning a meeting between Finn and his servant Mac Lesc mac Ladáin (see Mac Lesc mac Ladáin aithech). The first poem beg. Fuitt co brath is attributed to Mac Lesc and followed by the present poem, which is here attributed to Finn.
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS C iii 2 (1236) [s. xvi]
    f. 10abeginning: ‘Tanuig samh slan saor’
    7 stanzas. The orthography has been modernised. James Carney (1971) suggests that it is a closely related but otherwise independent copy, probably deriving from the ‘lost’ Book of Glendalough. However, Pádraig Ó Riain (1981), who takes the view that the ‘Book of Glendalough’ refers, in fact, to a part of Rawl. B 502, sees no evidence of an independent transmission of the text.
Language
  • Old Irish Middle Irish
  • Old Irish (Meyer, Carney) or possibly, late Old Irish/early Middle Irish (Carney)
Date
“A date in the mid-ninth century would be very possible, but an earlier date might be arguable [...] The features of Tánic sam which would suggest a date c.800 (or earlier) are: npl. masc. adj. lúaith, léith, § 2; sáim for later sám, § 2; neut. fúam, § díambi, 3 sg. consuet. of copula, §§ 1, 3 etc.; ro-faith, perf. of fedid, § 5; for-berait (favoured by alliteration against, forbrit of MSS), § 7. Also dedlai, 3 sg. fut. of dlongaid (?), fris-sil, 3 sg. fut. of fris-slig if the interpretation of the text is sound. On the other hand, íach ‘salmon’ can hardly be very early, and suggests the late Old Irish or early Middle period. [...] Furthermore, we may note the word ocus in § 2. In early accentual verse there seems to be a tendency to avoid copulative conjunctions” (Carney).(1)n. 1 James P. Carney, ‘Three Old Irish accentual poems’, Ériu 22 (1971): 38, 39–40.
Form
verse (primary)
non-syllabic
Number of stanzas
7
Textual relationships
The poem is often considered in relation to three other ‘nature poems’ attributed to Finn mac Cumaill or an associate: the very early poem beg. Cétamon, cain cucht (attributed to Finn in Macgnímartha Find); and two poems sharing a manuscript context: Scél lem dúib cited by the Middle Irish commentary on the Amra Choluim Chille (Rawl. B 502, f. 58ra) and Fuit co brath already referred to (Rawl. B 502, f. 59vb). James Carney has suggested that the poem was composed in imitation of Cétamon.
(Possible) sources: CétamonCétamon

Old Irish poem on May-day, which offers images of the season of May in all its vivid glory, from the blackbirds and bees to the appearance of the trees. The poem is extant as a composition incorporated in a later text, Macgnímartha Find (‘The boyhood deeds of Finn’), where it is attributed to Finn as a demonstration of his poetic skills after he had learned the three arts of poetry (teinm láeda, im-us forosna and díchetal di chennaib).

Related: CétamonCétamon

Old Irish poem on May-day, which offers images of the season of May in all its vivid glory, from the blackbirds and bees to the appearance of the trees. The poem is extant as a composition incorporated in a later text, Macgnímartha Find (‘The boyhood deeds of Finn’), where it is attributed to Finn as a demonstration of his poetic skills after he had learned the three arts of poetry (teinm láeda, im-us forosna and díchetal di chennaib).

Scél lem dúibScél lem dúibEarly Irish poem on the coming of winter.Fuit (poem)Fuit (poem)CétamonCétamon

Old Irish poem on May-day, which offers images of the season of May in all its vivid glory, from the blackbirds and bees to the appearance of the trees. The poem is extant as a composition incorporated in a later text, Macgnímartha Find (‘The boyhood deeds of Finn’), where it is attributed to Finn as a demonstration of his poetic skills after he had learned the three arts of poetry (teinm láeda, im-us forosna and díchetal di chennaib).

Classification

Early Irish poetryEarly Irish poetry
...

Subjects

SummerSummer
...

Sources

Notes

James P. Carney, ‘Three Old Irish accentual poems’, Ériu 22 (1971): 38, 39–40.

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.] [tr.] Carney, James P., “Three Old Irish accentual poems”, Ériu 22 (1971): 23–80.
43–45 (critical and diplomatic editions from both MSS); 46–47 (translation); 51–52 + 37–39 (notes and discussion)
[ed.] Hull, Vernam [ed.], “Four Old-Irish songs of summer and winter”, Celtica 9 (1971): 200–201.
Edition from both MSS
[ed.] [tr.] Greene, David, and Frank O'Connor, “32: Summer”, in: Greene, David, and Frank O'Connor [Michael O'Donovan], A golden treasury of Irish poetry, A.D. 600 to 1200, London: Macmillan, 1967. 137–139.
Based on Rawl. B 502
[ed.] [tr.] Meyer, Kuno [ed. and tr.], Four Old-Irish songs of summer and winter, London: Nutt, 1903.
16–23
[tr.] Meyer, Kuno [tr.], Selections from ancient Irish poetry, London, 1911.  
A collection of early and medieval Irish poetry in English translation. The individual items are reprinted from earlier publications.
Internet Archive: <link>, <link>, <link>, <link>, <link>
A reprint of Meyer's translation

Secondary sources (select)

Ó Riain, Pádraig, “The Book of Glendalough or Rawlinson B 502”, Éigse 18 (1981): 161–176.
174
Contributors
C. A., Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
May 2011, last updated: March 2022