Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/383

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Celtic Myth and Saga.

the Leinster scribe, obviously owing to his having skipped the first boon through inattention in copying. As Lecan gives the full passage we have here ample proof that the 15th century MS. is not copied from the 12th century one, but goes back to the common original, a fact in itself of the utmost interest and import. Again, without the omitted phrases the whole passage loses all point and meaning. Yet Mr. O'Grady prints the Leinster text, nonsense though it be, and takes no account of the omitted passage, precious as it is to the folk-lorist and the textual critic.

These examples will suffice, I think, to justify regret that Mr. O'Grady should have given forth an incomplete and mutilated version when better ones lay ready to his hands. Unfortunately, I have to add that Mr. O'Grady does not even translate the whole of the text he prints. A single example will show this. The cause of the levying of the Boroma tribute was this: the king of Leinster's son weds one of the two daughters of the over-king of Ireland. After a while, pretending she was dead, he sought for and obtained the other in marriage. The two sisters meet, and to quote from Mr. Stokes' translation: "But when Fithir beheld Darfine she dies at once of shame. When Darfine beheld her sister's death she dies of grief [Thereafter the washing of the two maidens was performed in Ath Toncha, so that everyone said 'Rough is this washing'. Hence the neighbouring fortress 'Rough Washing' is so called.]"

Mr. O'Grady prints the Irish of the bracketed portion, but does not translate it, nor does he in any way indicate that he has omitted a very curious and important passage. In the first place we have plainly here an interpolation from the Dinnshenchas, that remarkable early mediƦval list of Irish topographical legends, a portion of which recently appeared in these pages, which is thus proved to have existed before the composition of the Boroma; in the second place we have an allusion to an incident no trace of which survives otherwise in the story.

It is not necessary to multiply examples of this most