Amra Of St Columba – 6th Century Poem on Life of Columba, an Early Culdee Church Father

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Welcome to the PDF E-Book page for the Life of St Columba, or Amra of Columba. The greatest relic of St Columba.
Saint Columba was reputed as a founder of the Church of the Culdees (Scottish and Irish church). A main takeaway from this poem outlining his life, was that he went to heaven every Thursday and returned with great details. This agrees with the Scripture’s description of Paul going to the third heaven, Elijah going up into heaven, and of most Bible Prophet’s visions.

The Amra of Columba

brings out these points as well as much more of the spiritual prophet aspect of the Culdees’ schools, as Biblical “sons of the prophets”, a vital office in the New Testament church, listed as more important in precedence than other church priestly offices.

Pastor Crouch, who kept up all the marks of the Culdee church, was himself taken to heaven 17 times with pure Bible messages for us all to be admonished into Biblical living. The assemblies of the Culdees were a succession of the schools of the Prophets, started by Jeremiah the Prophet and his Scribe Baruch, often misinterpreted to be Druid’s schools.  The Bible and history confirms, including in the annals, and even Jeremiah’s dated grave that he successfully completed the Biblical recorded mission to “transplant the kingdom of Israel to the North Western Isles” at Ireland. He brought King David’s throne, and the King’s daughters(Pharez Branch of Judah), Tea Tephi etc to marry the King of Ireland (Zara Branch of true Judah Trojans). The chief seats of all the Druidic schools all converted to be Christian Culdee establishments, as the ultimate aim now discovered in Christ (as was foretold the true Israel would do).

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Amra of St Columba Collumkill


Note: This poem itself, written directly after his death, is widely considered the most important relic of St Columba.

Amra Of St Columba


The place for the Amra usque in finein, i.e. the bit of land that is between Fene in UI Tigernan in Meath up to Dun na n-Airbed in the district of Masraige eastward of Irarus, or of Chechtraige Slecht from Breifne of Connaught; i.e. for Dallan.

[For] Colum Cille son of Feidlimid, son of Fergus, son of Conall, son of Neill, Dallan wrote this. Now this is the third cause for which Colum Cille came, viz. a refusal that Ireland’s kings around Aed mac Ainmerech put on Ireland’s poets; for it was owing to the multitude of the poets and to their burdensomeness that Ireland’s men were not able to find out what to do with them; for the person who was satirised there, if he did not immediately die, there used to grow poisonous ulcers upon him, till he was conspicuous to everybody, and till there was deformity upon him always; but upon the poet himself grew the ulcers, and he used to die immediately, if it was without fault that he satirised. Now the poets were at Ibar of Cinntracht in the territory of Ulster, for Ulster’s king gave them ‘coigny’ three years, or (may be) one whole year there. And it was then they set themselves to invent stories, but they were wholly unable (to do it) as they used to tell them; but to impose them on the wholly rude race among whom they were, ready-tongued poets concocted the lying fables. Well, a message came from Ireland’s poets to Colum Cille, to the effect that it was to them he should come before he went to Druim Cetta, the place where the kings were who refused them. And so they invoked God’s name upon the head of Colum Cille and of the Christian faith … was brought under his protection to Druim Cetta. There came afterwards Colum Cille as he came from his boat, seven twenties his number (of followers), ut poeta dixit:

Forty priests his number,
twenty bishops lofty power
at the psalm-singing without dispute,
fifty deacons, thirty students.

So he took the poets with him to Druim Cetta. Now Dallan mac Forgaill was under ban of expulsion among the poets though he was a doctor of wisdom and of poetry. But Colum Cille made reconciliation of the poets with the men of Ireland and with Aed mac Ainmerech, in precedence of every other case that was brought before the assembly, so that this is what is said even now-a-days, i.e. “Case of a privileged person before every case.” Then Colum Cille requested the kings who were there assembled to give the headship of Ireland’s poets to Dallan for his wisdom and for his knowledge in poetry (as being) beyond all. And Colum Cille made a black-poem (?) on going to the assembly along with Cormac’s poets. . .

(and Dallan asked), “What reward shall be given me for the eulogy?” Said Colum Cille, “Heaven shall be given to thee and to every one else who shall recite it . . . . shall not be more numerous than are hornless dun cows in a cow-shed.” “What are tokens that that shall be given?” said the blind poet. “There shall be given thee thy sight while composing the eulogy, so that there shall be visible to thee sky and air and earth”; and when it would be the end of the eulogy. . . .

Colum Cille made the freeing of Scandlan son of Cinnfaela from his hostageship, and he bowed down to the Gospel . . . . . . . a and he gave eight score plough-oxen to him… and to the soulfriend; and it was the coarbs of Colum Cille that were soul-friends . . . . Osraige, so that it is in Hi, and there are due eight score plough-oxen still to the congregation of Hi from the Osrarge . . . . between Aed mac Ainmerch and Aedan mac Gabrain about Dal-riata, and the Dal-riata were allowed to serve him . . . of the sea between Ireland and Scotland and Gall-Gaels to the King of Scotland on his behalf. He went . . .


Locus huius artis is Druim Cetta, where was the Great Assembly. In the time of Aed mac Ainmerech and Aedan mac Gabrain it was composed. The person was Dallan mac Forgaill of the Masraige of Mag Slecht in Breifne of Connaught. The cause, to attain heaven for himself et aliis per se. Now there are three causes for which Colum Cille came from Scotland into Ireland at that time, viz. [i] to set free Scandlan Mor son of Cinnfaela, King of the men of Ossory, for whom he had gone in suretyship; [ii] to secure residence in Ireland for the poets, for they had been expelled owing to their burdensomeness, viz. thirty persons being the full retinue and fifteen the half retinue of the ollam-poet: twelve hundred their number, ut quidam dixit:

Once to Mael-choba of the companies at Ibar of Cinn-tracht
twelve hundred poets resorted to the north-west of the Yew.
‘Coigny‘ of three harmonious years
gave to them Mael-choba the Chief;
there shall remain to the day of white Doom,
(descendants) of the shapely race of Deman.

And [iii] to make peace between the men of Ireland and of Scotland about Dal-riata; so that Colum Cille came afterwards into the court, and some in the court rose up to give welcome to him, and the poets came to sing him their musical strains. So then Colum Cille said to Aed:—

Cormac fairly broke battles,—
new his praises, withered his treasures,
it is this I have read (to be) the grace of poetry:
luck where one is praised, woe where one is satirised, Aed

Fair the juice that is sucked from their free faces;
woe worth the land that absent is satirised!
ladder famous—fair the course—living men are pleased
praises live long after treasures (are gone).

Thereafter Colum Cille begged Scandlan(’s release) from Aed, who did not grant it to him; so he said to Aed, that ‘he [Scandlan] would take off his shoes about nocturns, wherever he [Colum Cille] might be’; and so it was fulfilled. It was Colman mac Comgellain of the Dal-riata that gave the judgement, viz., ‘their expedition and their hosting with the men of Ireland,’ for there is hosting always with possessions of land; but ‘their law of tribute and their tax with the men of Scotland.’ And it is that same Colman to whom Colum Cille did the kindness, when he was a little child, et dixit,

O fair conscience, O pure soul! here is a kiss for thee, give a kiss to me!

And Colum Cille said that it would be he who should make peace between the men of Ireland and of Scotland.

Dallan afterwards came to converse with Colum Cille, and recited the prologue to him, but Colum Cille did not let him go past that, (and said) that he should finish it at the time of his decease, that ‘it was for a dead person it was fitting.’

Then, Colum Cille promised riches and the fruits of the earth to Dallan for this eulogy, but Dallan accepted nothing but heaven for himself and for every one who should recite it, and should under-stand it, both sense and sound.

“How shall I know of thy death seeing that thou art in pilgrimage and I am in Ireland?”

So Colum Cille gave him three tokens, as to the time when he should complete his eulogy, viz. that it would be a rider of a speckled horse who should announce to him Colum Cille’s decease; that the first word he would speak would be the beginning of the eulogy; and that (the use of) his eyes would be granted him while he was composing it.

At Ath Feni in Meath was this eulogy sung, ut Mael-Suthain dixit; but Fer-domnach (his) coarb states that it was at Slige Assail it was sung, from Dun na nAirbed to the Cross at Tig Lommain.

Tres filiae Orci quae uocantur diuersis nominibus in caelo et in terra et in inferno, in caelo quidem Stenna et Euriale et Medusa, in terra Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos; in inferno Electo, Megaera, Tisiphone.

Hoc est principium laudationis.

‘Anamain’, between two ‘n’s is this, viz.: ‘n’ at the beginning of the eulogy, and ‘n’ at the end; i.e. ‘ni disceoil’ and ‘nembuain.’ Or, it is ‘fork’ of it, viz.: a doubly harmonised ‘raicne’ metre; i.e. two or three word-utterances beginning with one letter, in unbroken sequence, and a word beginning with a different letter following them.

‘Ni disceoil,’ i.e. not folly of a story, i.e. it was riot a story about a fool that will be made famous.

hid not ‘ceis’ music from Craiptine’s harp,
that brought a death-sleep on hosts;
it joined harmony between Maen
and marriageable Moriath of Morca.
Labraid was more to her than every prize.

Sweeter than every song was the harp
that was played (to) Labraid Loingsech Lorcc;
though the king was silent and plunged in secrecy,
Craiptine’s (harp) hid not ‘ceis.’

Three years was he without light,
Colum, in his Black Church;
he went to angels out of his captivity
after seventy-six years.

‘fo’ is a name for ‘good’ and for ‘honour’;
‘fi’ is a name for ‘evil’ and for ‘disobedience’;
‘an’ is ‘true,’—and it is no weak knowledge,—
‘iath’ is ‘diadem’ and ‘iath’ is ‘land.’

‘mur’ means ‘multitude’ yonder in the law,
‘coph,’ ‘victory,’—it is a full-right word.—
‘du,’ ‘place,’ ‘du’ means ‘thy right,’
‘cail,’ ‘protection’ and ‘cul’ ‘chariot.’

Ethne pre-eminent in her life-time
the queen of the Carburys
the mother of Colum,—bright perfection—,
daughter of Dimma mac Noe.

Up to the distance of a mile and a half was clear the voice of Colum Cille in saying his offices, ut dixit poeta:

The sound of Colum Cille’s voice,
great its sweetness above every company;
up to fifteen hundred paces,
with wonders of courses, is the distance that it was clear.

Hi with the multitude of its relics
of which Colum was dear fosterchild;
he went out of it at last,
so that Down is his old sanctuary.

‘Aidbse,’ i.e. a name for music or for a ‘cronan,’ which a number of the men of Ireland used to make all together whatever it was that called them together. And this is what the men of Ireland did before him in the Great Assembly of Druim Cetta, so that there came pride of mind to him. An example of ‘aidbse,’ ut Colman dixit, i.e. the son of Lenine:

Blackbirds (compared) with swans, an ounce with masses,
forms of peasant-women with forms of queens,
kings with Domnall, a mere droning sound with an ‘aidbse,’
a rushlight with a candle, (is) a sword with my sword.

‘Ferb’ is employed to express three things, viz. ‘ferb’ means ‘word,’ ut dicitur, “if it be of the true-wondrous words of the white pure language”; and ‘ferb’ also means ‘blotch,’ ut dicitur, “blotches will rise on his cheeks after partial judgements,” i.e. perverse judgements; and ‘ferb’ also means ‘cow,’ ut dicitur, “three white cows, Assal drove them away from Mog Nuadat.”

Angelus dixit uel monachus this following:–

A humble youth, says ‘cet,’ deus ei indulget
he testifies no and uet in eternal life surget.

Labraid Loingsech, sufficient his number,
by whom was slain Cobthach in Dinn-rig,
with a lance-armed host from over ocean’s water;
from them Leinster was named.

Two hundred and twenty hundred Galls
with broad knees with them yonder;
from the lances which were borne there,
hence is ‘Lagin’ (the name) for Leinster.

‘Tuaim tenma’ was its name before there was made the Plunder of Dinn-rig, in which . . . . . . . . was killed.

openly he used to lie in the sand;
in his lair he was much-suffering;
trace of his rib through his garment,
it was clear when the wind blew it.

It is for this reason that he doubles the first word, for the intensity or the great eagerness of the eulogy, ut est, Deus, Deus meus.

Now this is its name with the Gael, viz., its ‘enunciation’-mode; i.e. this is its ‘mood of narration’: —

I fear, I fear, after long, long
to be in pain, pain, not peace, peace
as each, each, till doom, doom
at each hour; hour, though fatigue, fatigue.

Brigita dixit:

Good I deem my smallness;
to earth descends each race,
though any one were placed somewhat lower,
the love of Jesus he would merit there.

The Amra of Colum—every day
whoever he be that recites it in its entirety,
there will be to him the bright kingdom
which God gave to Dallan.

An assembly I gathered,—it is great folly,
in the house over Druim-lias;
O my Lord, O King of noble mysteries
in which there is. . . . . .

There is a woman in the country,
her name is not said :
ex ea erumpit peditum [She lets a fart–MJ]
like stone out of sling.

It is a physician’s medicine-chest without an ale-bag,
it is asking of marrow without bone,
it is a strain of music on a harp without a ‘ceis’,—
so is our state in the absence of our noble organ.

May thy bed be in swiftness!
after thy fight, sail of long height,
may there he brought in a chariot after a horse
thy wife, O hero, to her fair church!

Ferchertne the poet dixit:

Is name of demon shouted to you?
he who announces pain for his household:
may God not leave me, East or West,
in the track of the demon on whom it is shouted.

‘Cul’ is a name for a chariot without fault,
in which I used to go with Conor;
and ‘neit’ was a name for the battle
which I used to fight along with Cathbath’s son.

Woe with my looking to him!
increases on wall glance from below;
it was sweeter they sang a drone-murmur
his two bags towards a glance from below.

Not for that do I wake out of my sleep . . . . after pleasant sweet
sleep not word of Lent without any inquiry . . .
Rath of Rathmacc, victory of king’s son . .

Example of return to the usual sound is this:—

Were I the sweet-voiced smith,
smith of fire would I cleave to,
weapon that would slay calf of half-tonsured man:
I would grind (corn) for Mael-Sechnail.

God, God—whom I beseech before I come into His presence.
i.e. I fear God. Or, I pray before I come into His presence.

Chariot through battle.
i.e. as goes a scythed chariot through battle, may my soul go through demons’ battle to heaven!

God of heaven, may He not leave me in the track where it is shouted owing to its smoke from its greatness.
i.e. for making truth clear he says ‘God of heaven.’ Or, from his knowledge that He is not a god that is an idol; ‘may He not leave me crying in the track of demons from the greatness of their smoke.’

Great God (be) my protection from a fiery abundance of incessant tears.
i.e. ‘Great God for my protection against the abundance of the fire, in the place where tears are shed a long time at seeing it , i.e. quia fit ‘mur,’ viz. ‘abundance’; and as to ‘diutercc,’ it is a compositum nomen, of Latin and Irish, viz. ‘thu’ is ‘a long time,’ and ‘dercc’ means ‘eye,’ ut dixit Grainne, Cormac’s daughter:

“There is a person
from whom a long glance would have my thanks,
for whom I should give the whole world,
O Son of Mary, though a losing bargain.”

God righteous, truly near, who hears my twin-wail from (his) heaven-land of clouds.
i.e. God True-One. Or, God of the righteous ; truly near, quia est deus ubique et prope omnibus inuocantibus eum. My twin-wail, i.e. my two wailings, viz. wail of my body and wail of my soul, after clouds in heaven’s land. Or, wail of Old Testament and wail of New Testament. …to serve him by men with every object.

Not unworthy of song for descendants of Neill.
i.e. not without tale. Or, not trifling is the tale of Colum Cille’s death, to grandchildren of Neill, or to great-grand-children of Neill.

They sigh not (as) single plains (but all together); great woe, great noise intolerable.
i.e. not from one plain is it ‘alas’ or is it ‘groaning’ sed totis campis : the decease of Colum Cille is a great woe; noise, i.e. great is the trembling and the shaking that hath come into Ireland at the decease of Colum Cille.

At the time when it tells of Colum being without life, without church.
i.e. the story is to us intolerable at the time when it is told us of Colutn’s decease, of his being no more in the world or in life, of his no longer abiding in a church.
Ubi invenitur ‘ris’, i.e. ‘story’? Not hard; in the Dialogue of the Two Sagesut dicitur, “delight of a king, smooth stories”; or in the Bretha Nemed, ut dicitur, “not payment of a company (that tell) stories”; ie. he possesses not the means of delighting a company (for their) stories.

How would a fool speak of him?
i.e. ‘coi’ is ‘way,’ in what way, and ‘india’ is ‘will he narrate’; what then is the way in which a fool will tell of him? Or, compared with him every person up to India was unlearned.

Even Nera, about God’s prophet.
‘sceo’ and ‘ceo’ and ‘neo’ are three Gaelic conjunctive particles. And even Nera son of Morand, or son of Fincholl of the fairy-folk, would not be able to tell of him. Or, even he was unlearned in comparison with Colum Clue.

On land of Zion he hath taken his seat.
i.e. on land of the heavenly Zion he sate down ; or the prophet of God used to tell of the sitting that shall be in the land of Zion, i.e. on earth.

No (more) is our sage the profit of (our) soul, for (he hath gone) from us to a fair land.
i.e. we have now none to benefit or to enlighten our soul, for our sage hath gone away from us to a fair land.
Or, from condio, ‘I salt’, i.e. the person who used to salt our stench of sins and trangressions with his teachings

He who preserves alive has died.
ie. the person who used to preserve us alive hath died. Or, the person who knows our life well hath died.

For he hath died to us, who was destined to secure our forgiveness.
i.e. he who was destined (to secure) our pardon, has died. Or, he who was destined for pity on our wretchedness, hath died.

For he hath died to us who was a messenger to our Lord.
i.e. the messenger who used to go from us to our Lord, hath died; for his spirit used to go to heaven every Thursday.

For now we have no more a sage who should avert terrors from us.
i.e. for no longer is alive the person who used to bring us knowledge of peace, and who used to stand in opposition so that there should be no fear in us. • Or, the sage who used to go from us into the land of . . .

For we have no king, who shall explain word-truth.
i.e. he who ran from us runs not back to us; he would state to us truth of word or true-word. Or, he does not come to our reproof, i.e. to our amelioration.

For (we have) no teacher who used to teach tribes of Toi.
i.e. he who wrought the aid of the tribes in teaching them till they were silent. Or, the teacher who sang (to) the tribes who were about Tai, i.e. nomex proprium of a stream in Scotland

Whole world,—it was his.
i.e. woe to the whole world, which he had, for it is in misery. Or else, he had the whole world.

It is a ‘cruit’-harp without a ‘ceis’-harp, it is a church without an abbot.
i.e. ‘ceis’ is a name for a small harp that accompanies a great ‘cruit’-harp in its playing. Or a name for a pulling upon which is the cord. Or, it is a name for the small peg. Or, a name for the tackling. Or, for the heavy cord, quod at melius, ut dixit the poet.

De ascensione eius in caelum.

He rose very high, God’s time about Colum of company.
i.e. he arose to a great height when God’s companies came to meet Colum Cille.

Bright shrine attendance.
i.e. bright is the shrine for which attendants came. Or else, bright were the peace-folk who came to attend on Colum Cille, viz. angels.

He kept vigil as long as he lived.
i.e. twelve hundred genuflexions by him every day except tantum on festival days, so that his ribs were visible through his dress.

He was of brief age.
i.e. straight, or insignificant or small (his age), viz. seventy six years, ut dixit the poet.

He was of slight food.
i.e. of trifling amount was his sufficiency.

He was head of science of every hill.
i.e. he was chief in science of every language up to its ridge pole. Or, a firm chief who used to turn every unlawfulness.

He was a hill, in book law-learned.
i.e. he used to teach the books of the law up to its ridge-pole. Or, quia fuit doctor in libris legis.

Blazed land south; with him district Occidens.
i.e. he blazed in the south land. Or, the south land was his. Or, he benefited it, and he benefited the land of the setting (sun). Or, it is his, just as was Inis Boffin on the sea.

Equally his was Oriens.
i.e. he blazed . . . in the East.

From clerics heart-pained.
i.e. for the clergy at Corccan Ochaide ; arid it is they whom he sent to Gregory. Or, perhaps his heart was silent with respect to clericship towards each.

Good his death.
i.e. good his death, quia fit ‘dibad’ and ‘bath’ and ‘ba’ and ‘teme’ are used to denote ‘death.’

God’s angels when he ascended.
i.e. angels of the God of heaven came to meet him whem he ascended.

De martyrio eiusdem in mundo.

He came to Axalu, great crowds, archangels.
i.e. he came to a place where is the angel Axal. Or, he came to a place where auxilium is given to each one, i.e. to a multitude of archangels. Or ‘axal’ means ‘conversation’; i.e. he came to the land in which conversation is made, quia dicunt hiruphin et zaraphin, sanctus sanctus sanctus dominus deus sabaoth dicentes. Or, ‘axalu’ is ucca (choice) sola (alone), and the word is compositum, viz. of Latin and Irish, sic; i.e. he came to the one place that is an object of choice to all, i.e. caelum.

He reached a land in which it is not night that one has seen.
i.e. he came to a land in which night is not seen.

He reached a land for Moses, we deem.
i.e. in which it is our opinion that Moses is,

He reached plains of customs, that songs are not born (there).
i.e. it is not a custom for any tune to be born in them, for there is never any want of that tune out of them.

That sages heard not.
i.e. sages are not able to tell it. Or, no sage listens to another,

King of priests cast out toils.
i.e. the King of the priests flung all diseases from Him in the time of His death, ut dicitur, Tristis est anthea mea usque ad mortem.

He suffered; in a short time he gained victory.
i.e. finely he subdued his passions in the short time that he lived.

Terror of him was on the devil.
i.e. the devil was a horror to him. Or, he was deemed a horror by the demon, viz. by the gods of perdition.

To whom celebration was a hanging.
i.e. to whom Colum Cille’s celebration was a ‘way of stopping,’ or was a ‘spear of stopping.’ Or, a ‘hanging’ in its own meaning, i.e. so long as there was heard the voice of Colum Cille at celebration, he was not let out till the celebration was finished; and they used to ask news of him thereafter.

From his powerful art.
i.e. by the power of his clerkship he used to effect that.

Robust right he keeps.
i.e. he knew the great strength of right quia idem est, ‘robust’ et ‘robustus.’ Or, he preserved his uprightness strongly.

Was known (his) grave, known (his) wisdom
i.e. the place of his burial was known, viz. Hi, or Down, ut dicunt alii. Or, it was known up to Rome, and his wisdom was known.

Sageship to him was granted of deity.
i.e. there was granted to him sageship of the Deity ; from the Son of God he got that. Or, he lived in granted Deity of the Son of God.

Sure good in death.
i.e. it is certain that the death he departed is good. Or, good was the person who died there.

He was skilled in Axal the angel.
i.e. he was skilful in the conversation of the angel whose name was Axal.

He used Basil-judgeinents.
i.e. the judgement of pride that he fell into in the Great Assembly of Druim Cetta, so that it was on that account that Baithin brought a testimony from Basil to subdue the pride. Or, he made use of Basil’s Judgements of Doom.

He forbade works of chorus, in crowds, in choruses.
i.e. he forbade, with a view to his mind being (fixed) on God, the eulogy that the hosts made on him. Or, he prohibited the deeds of God owing to the apparition of the black hideous multitudes; and what summoned him therefrom was the testimony from Basil, or the words.

De scientia eius in omnia parte.

He ran a race which he runs.
i.e. there overtook him the race which he ran.

For hatred, well-doing.
i.e. he used to do kindly deeds in return for hatred, quia fit ‘cais’ ‘hatred.’

Teacher sewed word.
i.e. he used to sew the word of teaching, viz. the tutor. He explained glosses clearly.
i.e. he was swift at interpreting the glosses clearly. Or, he wounded the glosses, &c.

He secured correctness of psalms.
i.e. he corrected the psalms by obelus and asterisk.

He commented on law-books, books ut Cassian loved.
i.e. it is thus that he read books of law, as he used to read books of John Cassian for their easiness. Or, he read, just as John Cassian read, books Legis.

H e fought battles gulae.
i.e. he fought the battle of gluttony. Or, ‘culai’ is what is good in it, i.e. he fought the battles of the three Culs, viz. battle of Cuil Dremne against Connaughtmen, and battle of Cuil Feda against Colman Mor son of Diarmait, and battle of Cuil Rathen against Ulstermen, in the contest for Ross Torathair between Colum and Comgall.

Books of Solomon he followed.
i.e. he followed the books of Solomon. Or, he attained to the books of Solomon. Or, ‘sexus’ i.e. ‘fexsus,’ ut dicifur ‘fenchas’ pro ‘senchas,’ ut dixit the poet:

Poets that are in existence read
‘fenchas’-law eagerly with Fergus.

(Note, the 3 established books are Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon)

Storms and sea-voyages he perceived.
i.e. ‘sina’ viz. ‘sonenna,’ fair-weather periods; and ‘rima’ ‘doinenna,’ foul-weather periods; and it is from the word inzóer that ‘imrim’ is derived. ‘Raid’ i.e. ‘roraidestar,’ he (fore)told them.

He divided a division with figure, among the books of the Law.
i.e. he set the history of the Law on one side; and its allegorical sense on the other side.

He read mysteries very-wise.
i.e. ‘ros-ualt,’ a beast that dwells in the ocean; these are its tokens: when it vomits with its face landwards, poverty and want (shall be) in that land to the end of seven years; if it is upwards, poverty and storm in that air ; if downwards, loss and mortality on the beasts of the sea. He used afterwards to tell of the mysteries of that animal to people, that they might be on their guard against him. Or, he read runes with great-sages. Or, it was he himself that was a sage.

Amid schools of scripture; and he joined mutual-fitness of moon about course.
i.e. he understood how the moon runs in front of the sun nunc, post nunc.

He perceived a race with branching sun.
i.e. it is for this reason the sun is called ‘branching,’ because from it there is light to stars and to men’s eyes ; uel nouit cursum fluminis Rheni, a name that is thence applied to every stream.

Rhine course.
i.e. he was skilled in the course of the Rhine .i. maris.

He would number the stars of heaven, who could tell of each very noble thing.
i.e. I think he would tell of the stars of heaven, he who could recount every noble thing that Colum Cille did. Or, Colum Cille would recount a very noble thing about his endeavour, or about stars.

Which we from Colum Cille have heard.
i.e. we have heard from Colum Cille.

De admiratione et caritate eius.

Who was, who will be alive, that would be more wonderful on lands, very learned, northern?
i.e. what is the place in which he was, and what is the place in which he will be alive, who should be more wonderful and more perfect in the northern land than Colum Cille was?

He used to tell till lately.
i.e. Colum Cille used to narrate up to lately.

Who knew not falsehood.
i.e. I shall not recognize falsehood now, for dead is the man used to tell us (what it was), viz. Colum Cille. Or, he used to tell us from now to the ninth descendant of the genealogy of each. Or, the (syllable) ‘ Let ‘ which is there as idem et uetus testamentum and the (syllable) ‘no’ is nouum testamentum; i.e. he used to tell us both of Old Law and afterwards of New Testimony.

A course he made more lucky.
i.e. luckier than every course was the course that Colum Cille ran.

Towards ladders on city, to world he is borne.
i.e. towards ladders of the heavenly city he pressed; ‘ to world ‘ i.e. to him its treasure. Or ‘co domun’ ad caelum.

on account of God humanity.
i.e. this is why he did that, for the humanity of the Son of God; i.e. that the suffering of the Son of God should take effect for him.

On seats he is crowned.
i.e. on stations for him in the kingdom.

He gave the desire of his eyes.
i.e. he sold everything that was an object of desire to his eye here below.

A perfect sage, he believed Christ.
i.e. the perfect sage believed Christ. Or, ‘creis’ is from the verb creo, he increased afterwards in Christ. Or, Christ put increase upon him.

Also not ale, also not gluttony, satiety: he avoided flesh.
i.e. he avoided ale, he avoided gluttony, he avoided satiety; he avoided flesh; or past his lips.

He lived ‘cath.’
i.e. catholicus.

He lived ‘cast.’
i.e. castus.

i.e. ‘doit’ is ‘toit’; full of charity was he (towards) all. Or, perfect was Colum Cille in charity.

Famous stone at victory.
i.e. stone of subduing, quia fit ‘ and,’ a stone ; Colum Cille was as a stone of subduing of every evil ; and also he lived so that he was a stone of victory, ut fit a rock on a promontory of land.

He lived a full benefit.
i.e. he lived so that he gave his full benefit to each.

He lived a great benefit of guests.
i.e. he had plenty of good even though he did it to guests.

He lived noble, he lived ‘obid,’ he lived over death.
i.e. great was his nobleness, and though he was noble, he was humble ; and this is why he practised humility, in that he knew death (was) over him. Or, he was mighty over death.

He was gentle, he was a physician, with the heart of every sage.
i.e. he was lenis. Or he was compassionate.
i.e. he was full of blessings. Or, he was a binder. Or, he was a physician, a healer of all.

Our diadem, Axal of conversation, it was abstemiousness of which he died.
i.e. the diadem that we had in conversation of the angel whose name was Axal; it was of the slightness of his drink that he died, for he consumed neither ale nor food in the year he died save on Saturday and on Sunday.

Was sweet, was unique his art of clerkship.
i.e. everybody deemed his voice a sweet one; and everybody was satisfied with the unique art of clericship which he had. Or, clericship was (only) one of his arts, for he was a poet, a prophet and a sage.

To (ordinary) persons he was inscrutable.
i.e. he was incomprehensible to everybody (on the score) of his talent.

He was a protection to naked persons, he was a shelter to poor persons.
i.e. in clothing and feeding them.

It was afresh he suffered every weight of storm.
i.e. every heavy storm that he suffered Colum Cille took it as a new one. Or, heavier than every blast to us was this new blast, said the blind man.

From Colum discipline of territories.
i.e. by Colum they used to instruct the territories.

Great dignity we think ‘manna.’
i.e. ‘miad’ reverence. ‘Mar’ abundance. ‘Manna’ the manna is what the children [of Israel] said of it: ‘man-hu’ .i. quid hoc nisi cibus caelestis; we expect afterwards, i.e. great reverence will be given to him, of the heavenly food.

Christ will enrol him in His service among righteous.
i.e. then there shall be given him the reward of his service; amongst the righteous, viz. angels and archangels.

Through his long (period) during which he served.
i.e. he was long in reaching that service.

Wise a sage who reached four men’s path.
i.e. wise is the sage who followed the track of the four, viz. the four evangelists; or he himself reached it quia aliud Finnianum euangelium legit.

Till he went with song.
i.e. it is thus he went, with song to heaven, i.e. the song of the household of heaven and earth, or of the Old and of the New Testament.

To heaven-land after his cross.
i.e. to the land of heaven he went after cross and passion.

Hundred churches’ guardian of waves; under com pleteness of offering.
i.e. guardian of waves is he, over seas of a hundred churches; and this is a definite (number put) for an indefinite, ut est, Hi and Derry. Or, guardian of waves under perfection of offering (up to) that number.

Great-deed, not idol-(worship): he brought together no perverse company.
i.e. great is the amount that he effected of good, and not idol-worship; he nourished no place in which was a perverse company.

. . . . . .
i.e. he used to bring them to psalm-singing. Or, he used to milk them, i.e. he used to pacify.

Not long not cold any heresy.
i.e. he sent not from him (as messenger) any one who would inflict evils, and he did not himself practise any heresy ; viz. he did riot enforce heresy on anybody ; or, he did not himself adopt heresy.

He did not . . . . . anything that was not a king’s right.
i.e. he did not regard as distinguished anything, but as according to God’s law.

That he may not die world-death.
i.e. that there should not be a fixing to him of death for ever. Or, death in the world.

Alive his name; alive his ‘un-stitched.’
i.e. his soul in the next world.

Owing to (a multitude) which he caused (to be) under the law of saints.
i.e. for the multitude that he drove under saints’ law, therefore is his name alive in this world, and his soul in the next.

Wasting attacked his side.
i.e. he betrayed the fatness of his side, for the form of his rib was visible through his clothes on the sea-shore.

Desires of his body, he checked them.
ie. he destroyed the desire of his body.

He checks quarrelsomeness.
i.e. he destroyed stinginess, ut poeta dixit:—

Do you deem it good
when truth is spoken to you?
he enjoins love; treasures approach;
he takes not quarrel with one whom he loves.

Is not the child the son of Ua Chinn?
i.e. whose is the child? Not hard, the son in truth of Ua Chinn, viz. Colum Cille. Or, there was not of the son of Ua Chinn either stinginess or quarrelsorneness.

Sin which takes away from jealousy; sin which takes away from envy.
i.e. he practised no whit of jealousy, he did not commit sin. Or, he did nothing of attack or of envy, nought which would take away sin; quia fit ‘demo,’ viz. I take away.

Good in your judgement the grave (that was) his.
i.e. it is good for you; you deem good his grave.

Against every toil (from) successions of weather.
i.e. against every disease of successions of weather, i.e. each season used to exert its quarter(ly influence).

Through an idolatrous district, he meditated (on its) guilt.
i.e. on going through a district in which there is idolatry, he meditated on its guilt.

For credulous chariots.
i.e. for this reason he passed this judgement upon them, for the credulous chariot of his body. Or, for the clericship he sent away from him his chariots.

Long fight; he sought truth; he fought against body.
i.e. perpetual warfare; ‘soich fir’ i.e. he pursued the truth; ‘fiched’ i.e. he used to make aggression on his body while here below.

That a king’s son may not come upon two things of God.
i.e. the son of the king shall not go upon two things of God.

Into a dread voice, into a dread verse.
i.e. into the dread voice, viz. It maledicti: there shall be no other verse to him but Uenite benedicti patris.

He was buried before age, before infirmity.
i.e. he was buried before age came to him ; and he was weak i.e. for he had completed seventy-six years.

For hell, in Scotland (was) fear.
i.e. for fear of hell he went into Scotland.

Aed celebrated all mighty-men, a lasting poem of battle on a heavenly champion.
i.e. Aed mac Ainmerech gave seven ‘cumals’ to get his name inserted into this eulogy of Colum Cille; and Aed charged the blind (poet) that this poem to the champion viz. Colum Cille, should be more lasting than any (other) poem.

Not undear.
i.e. to me, but it is dear.

seu insignificant.
i.e. and not trifling ; or ‘ni handil’—he did not ‘frame’ and he did riot stitch together a thing that would be insignificant.

Not a champion at all new towards a pacification of Conall.
i.e. not a champion at all new is this man towards the confirming of a peace with Conall. Or, towards pacification of body, i.e. at peace-(making) between body and soul.

Blessing subdued rough tongues, that were at Toi, a king’s will!
i.e. he subdued the mouths of the rude persons who were with the high king (of) Toi, though what they would have liked was to utter evil things, but it was blessing that they really uttered, ut fuit Balaam.

From men by journeyings, with God he stayed.
i.e. from men he was taken away and with God he abode.

For ‘adbud’ for splendour, he distributed bright hospitality from his city. . .
i.e. for his patience and for his fasting the descendant of Conall gave pure hospitality in his city. Or, for his pomp and for his patience he gave hospitality, &c.; for he did not do that ut faciunt hypocritae.

In disease, fair sage and master of household.
i.e. ‘udbud,’ nomen doloris .i. proprium, viz. toil, or ‘ingiu sechi.’ Afterwards the sage was kindly, so that that disease should not consume nor seize him; and also he was a magister to his household, on that same matter. Or, ‘ingiu sechi’ i.e. now and again his skin encompassed him owing to the abundance of his capacities. Or, ‘adbud’ i.e. in stilling ambition, in solving questions of the Canon. Or, it is ‘dibdud.’ i.e. destroying falsehoods. Or, it is the name of a booth for reading in; or, proprium loci in Cenel Conaill.

With an angel he conversed; he spoke in Greek grammar.
i.e. he made conversation with an angel, and he learnt grammar like Greeks. Or, he conversed grammatically and in Greek.

Free beyond territory; that I tell.
i.e. a freeman whom seven districts followed; here it is a definite (number) for an indefinite. Or, extern territories were pursued. ‘That I relate;’ i.e. it is thus that I make its narration.

The son of Feidlimid fought the north; fin(em) nouit.
i.e. the son of Feidlimid for whom twenty districts used to fight; definite number here also for indefinite; for whom the land to the North fought. Finem nouit; i.e. his own death, or finem mundi.

There went not to the world; lasting was his recollection of the cross.
i.e. not well he came into the world (owing to) the shortness of his life; he was however everlasting in the recollection of the cross on his body. Or, there came none hither to the world, who was more constant in his recollection of the cross of the Son of God.

… he said prayers, with deed he verified.
i.e. that which he wove with prayers of intention to do, he carried out with deed.

He sprang therefrom an illustrious birth, descendant of Art . . . Neill with might.
i.e. he was born, a noble birth too, of Art; a descendant of Neill with might, i.e. he was mighty. Or, ‘nis Neill conert’ is: not towards the powers of Neill he lent his aid, but towards the powers of the Holy Spirit.

He did not commit an injury for which one dies.
i.e. he did not commit any injury, for which his death would be fitting, if this were a cause for that in general.

Cond’s profession broke grief; going ‘druib’; greatness his goodness.
i.e. there was breaking and grief in the city of Conn from the ‘do druib’ that was on Colum Cille when he went yonder ‘Greatness of his goodness,’ i.e. great size is the goodness that was on him from the ‘dodruib’ that was upon him. Or, there was sighing and sorrow in the profession of Conn.

Son, name of cross.
i.e a son who gave his name to a cross; or a son with whom the name of Christ’s cross was held in remembrance4

Up to this his age; ecce aër; ceno ‘indias.’
i.e. up to this his age, i.e. I am sure of his age. Ecce aer, i.e. plain to me is the air, for there were allowed to him his eyes whilst he was engaged in praising. Certo ‘indias’ i.e. great were his deeds of skill, as I relate.

Al-liath; a melodious lion in snow a new meeting.
i.e. ‘al-liath,’ stands for ‘al-lith,’ stands for ‘lith a aille,’ i.e. I festival of his praise.’ As roars a melodious lion in snow at a new meeting, for when the lion utters his roar, there come under him all animals, so that he puts a cast of his tail around them, so that they die in that place, except rat and fox. The hunter comes to him thereafter, and he puts a cast around him so that he dies. Sic Colum Cille: the person round whom he puts a cast of his teaching, could not get across it away from him, save unjust persons; the cast of the teaching of God’s Son about him. Or, it is ‘all—iath’ i.e. ‘into the land of the rock’; for the lion goes into the land of the cave whilst the frost lasts, so that he utters his roar after coming out into the new rock-cave.

Till death how shall I tell.
i.e. till my death I shall not narrate tales of Colum Cille.

A journey in the body to the upper air; his choice he made joy summer-peace.
i.e. the journey that he went in the body to the upper air, as went Paul; and that was his own choice ; he carried out his choice to the good in which there is peace and joy. Or, he caused that there should be given him his choice with summer-peace, with the peace of summer, for in that season he died. Or, he brought about peace for his congregation by the journey that he made to the upper air.

The famous one, wisdom; it is certain for him.
i.e. a sage with good fame opened to them; certain to him. i.e. it is certain that he did that.

To him not the groan of one house; to him not the groan of one string.
i.e. ‘ong’ means ‘visitation’; or string (of) timpan harp or string (is) road. Not visitation of one house thereafter: or not visitation of one string or of one road, to us is the bewailing of Colurn Cille Where is ‘ong’ found ? Not hard: in the Fotha Breth, ut dicitur: ‘ongaib, coscaib carat’
i.e. with groans, chastisements of friends.
i.e. for fear of their chastisements, of their visitation with a view to the chastisement of him by his friends. Or, ‘ong’ is ‘ongan,’ it was not an ‘ongan’ of one house to him, but an ongan ‘of many houses.’ Or, it was not an ‘ongan’ of one road.

Heavy people, word under wave.
i.e. heavy is his bewailing with the tribes; and this story is a word ‘under wave.’

For it was due from him: the lamp of the king which was extinguished, was relit.
i.e. the lamp of the king, of God; it was due to us (to make) this eulogy on him. ‘do.r.adbad’ i.e. ‘rodibad’ is ‘was extinguished, in this world,’ was relit, yonder, hi regno caelorum.

Eulogy is this, of the king who made me king, who will redeem us to Zion.
i.e. eulogy; ‘wonderful is the saying,’ or ‘is the grace’; or ‘not-smooth’; or ‘wonderful is the course that is under it above.’ The ‘am’ that is in it is the same as ‘death’ quia post mortem pretium laudis datum est caeco. Or, the ‘am’ is the same as ‘nem,’ ‘heaven,’ so that ‘am-rath’ means ‘nemrath’: really, for heaven was given him as the payment for his eulogy. ‘Of the king who made me king,’ i.e. it was Colum Cille that gave the hardship to me. ‘Zion’ i.e. perhaps, ‘save us unto Mount Zion’ or ‘to the heavenly city.’

May he carry me past torments.
i.e. may he take me past the demons of the air ad requiem sanctorurn. Or, past ‘riaga’ i.e. past the daughters of Orcus.

May it be smooth abode-darkness from me
i.e. may it be easy for me to go past the black abodes, ubi sunt dernones. Or, ‘mendum’ i.e. lie, and ‘menna’ means lies : may he expel from me the black lies.

May the descendant of the body of Cathair with nobility see me without stain.
i.e. may he look on me without stain, a descendant of Cairpre Nia-fer of Leinster; for Ethne daughter of Dimma mac Noe was his (Colum Cilie’s) mother, of the Carburys of Leinster ; and he (Cairpre) was a descendant of Cathair Mor, son of Feidlimid the All-wise.

Great re-declension; great of the poem, of heaven, heaven-sun.
i.e. great is the re-forming I have put on the above words; great is the ‘nath’ the poets used to make in the beginning for sun and moon; and not greater is the darkening they used to put on them, as I have put. Or, though great they deemed the excellency of sun and moon, not greater do we deem it than the excellency of the death of Colum Cille nid am huan… i.e. quia caecatus sum iterum.