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Early Indo-European Texts

Old Irish

Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel, Caren Esser, and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Old Irish with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Old Irish Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Old Irish language and its speakers' culture.

Audacht Morainn 'The Testament of Morann'

Comath fírinni, cotnofathar. [...]
Ocbath trócairi, cotnocéba. [...]

Aranécath arid sencharpait.
Ar nícon chotli are senfʰonnith.
Remi déci, íarmo déci, tair sceo desiul sceo túaithbiul.
Deéci, imdích, imdídnathar, arna bó
co foill na forráin fonnath fodrethat. [...]

Is tre fʰir flathemon rosaig cech dán mochtide mind suíthi. [...]

Apair fris, ní már nairlise nimderga, ar is dortuth cecha flatho folam la foscath ó fʰini do fʰlaith fuiliche. [...]

Admestar iarn asa thoichib túath tacarthaib.
Admestar hume asa daingni deni dlúmaicdib.
Admestar arcat asa bethu bríg bánaicdib.
Admestar ór asa fʰorníamaib allmaraib adamraib. [...]

Toléci dorche do sʰorchi.
Toléci brón do fʰáilti.
Toléci borb do ecnu. [...]
Toléci dóer do sʰóer.
Toléci dochell do chlothaib. [...]
Toléci anflaith do fʰírfʰlaith.
Toléci debuith do chóri.
Toléci gó do fʰír. [...]

Fírfʰlaith cétamus,
luithir side fri cach fó,
fristibi fírinni inde cluinethar,
cotenocaib inden aici.

Flaith congbále co slógaib díanechtair;
insoet a sʰlóig side,
insnádat a aidilcni,
air ní soí soithcedach sechtair.


Let him preserve justice, it will preserve him. [...]
Let him exalt mercy, it will truly exalt him. [...]
Let him observe him, the driver of an old chariot.
For the driver of an old wheel-rim (= chariot) does not sleep:
He looks ahead, he looks behind, in front and to the right and to the left;
he looks out, he defends, he protects, so that he may not break
with neglect or violence the wheel-rims which run under him. [...]
It is through the justice of the ruler that each great man of art attains the summit of knowledge. [...]
Say to him that he may not redden a great number of fore-courts, for bloodshed is the vain destruction of all rule and of the protection from the kin for the ruler. [...]
Let him estimate iron by its properties at disputes of tribes.
Let him estimate copper by its firmness, [i.e.] strength in solid artefacts.
Let him estimate silver by its durability, [and] strength in shiny artefacts.
Let him estimate gold by its very wonderful foreign ornaments. [...]
Darkness yields to light,
Sorrow yields to joy.
An oaf yields to a sage, [...]
A serf yields to a freeman.
Niggardliness yields to generosity, [...].
Anarchy yields to proper rule,
Conflict yields to peace,
Falsehood yields to truth. [...]
The true ruler, in the first place,
He is moved, this one, toward every good thing:
He smiles on the truth when he hears it,
He truly exalts it when he sees it.
The ruler of occupation with hosts from outside:
His own hosts turn away,
They put off his needs,
For a prosperous man does not turn outside.