MEDITATIONES VITAE CHRISTI
Late 16th cent. Vellum. 76 ff. 21 X 13 cms.
There are three scribes, only one of whom is identified. He is Muiris 0 hEoghusa, scribe of pp. 9-107bII including the colophons on pp. 19b, 46a, 49a, 71b, 77a (see below).
BM Eg. 136, f. 131b (written 1630) contains a poem (36 qq) on Christ's birth and crucifixion by a Muiris Ó hEódhusa, presumably our scribe and a member of the famous Ó hEódhusa family, the literary men of the Maguires of Fermanagh. In the 'Mag Uidhir duanaire' (Copenhagen MS., see ZCP ii 349) there is a poem beg. 'Díon Ulltach na n-urriogh adh' by Muiris Ó hEódhusa to Cúchonnacht Mhág Uidhir (1589). 'This may be the poet Muirghius mentioned by Meyer, Primer of Irish Metrics, p. 49 as having flourished in the sixteenth century' (Cuthbert Magrath, O.F.M., Clogher Record II i 12).
The other two scribes wrote respectively pp. I07b12-137b25 and pp. I37b20-161. A colophon on p. 161, partly obliterated, gives the place of writing as baile Meguidhir and the date 1574.
It would appear from the following entries that the manuscript was in the hands of various members of the family of Mac Pharthaláin of Co. Cavan during the late 17th and early 18th cent. : p. 94 Aódh mac Paraláin is the true possessor of this Booke (his signature is also on p. 143), p. 73 <Mait> Pharlan ro scriobh, and in English (p. 87) Matty Pharlan his hand and God send h<. . . >, p. 128 Phelem mac Parlane (who probably is responsible for the drawing on p. 76 lower margin). A Cormac mac Pharthaláin was owner of Eg. 136 in the 17th cent. For a list of manuscripts written by members of this family see BM ii 554.
Amongst other names, perhaps of owners, occurring in this manuscript are Phellem ma Gauran, p. 84 and Edmond mc ffarell, p. 37. As the hand of Mac Farell appears to be late 18th cent. these names suggest that the manuscript remained in the near vicinity of its place of origin for some 200 years. Two other entries containing names, perhaps of 19th cent. owners are : Cormack Mor his hand, p. 95 and John Humbers his hand and his seal, p. 106 inter-column.
In the pagination 9-161, which seems to be late 17th or early 18th cent., p. 49 follows 47 thus omitting 48. Seven leaves are now missing from the text, four (pp. 1-8) of which were lost some time after the manuscript was paginated while the other three (for their position in the text see note on lacunae below) were apparently missing before the pagination of the manuscript. Pp. 25-26 are mutilated leaving the following fragments of entries in two unidentified hands on the lower margins : p. 25 Beannacht cugad [. . .] gan nde<. . .> [. . .] féin leis [. . .], p. 26 [. . .b] eagain so. A more recent hand inserted running titles on the upper margins of the recto of the leaves as far as p. 136, another hand supplied catch-words at the end of many of the columns and wrote a passage from p. 58a on p. 57 lower margin.
Muiris Ó hEódhusa and the scribe of pp. 107b12-137b25 write in double column leaving spaces presumably for ornamental capitals. In several cases a small letter was later inserted by another hand. The scribe of pp. I37b26-161 writes mainly in single column and has supplied ornamental capitals except in a few spaces near the end. The ruling where visible is by dry point and occasionally in brown. The composition of the gatherings is : 9-24, 25-40, 41-57 (the error in the pagination, noted above, occurs in this gathering), 58-73, 74-89, 90-105, 106-117, 118-133, 134-149, 150-161. The average number of lines to the page is 30.
The vellum, which is strong but naturally defective, is now torn in a few places causing an occasional loss of letter in the text. P. 9, badly discoloured and for the most part illegible, was presumably at one time an outer unprotected leaf. There is also considerable staining throughout the manuscript. The original back cover of roughly carved board has been preserved and the initials H P (? Hugh Pharlane), two circles and P 2 are carved on it. Bound in red russian with marbled end-papers, MS. Vita Christi Lingua Hibernica is gilt-lettered on the spine and Phillipps MS. 21756 written on the verso of the front end-paper. The manuscript is listed under 'Miscellaneous MSS. 1868' in Phillipps’s Catalogus ; where Phillipps acquired it has not been ascertained.
9 MEDITATIONES VITAE CHRISTI. Acephalous owing to loss of four leaves. Beg. [De Nativitate Christi] <.i. gach ain> do dhol ina ath<ardha dhuthchais fein do icc> in ciosa Cesar da fris corresponding to I.556 in Smaointe Beatha Chríost ed. Cainneach Ó Maonaigh, O.F.M., Dublin Institute for Advanced Studied, 1944. Ends gac[h] ní da noibrighe (= end of edition) followed by Bearnard naom do thogail cind . . . .i. Bearnard fen 7 rl. The printed text is from RIA 23B3, but all extant copies, including the present one, were examined by Ó Maonaigh in his edition (op. cit. xxiv-xxiii, xliii-xliv).
The first page here, p. 9 , is badly discoloured leaving the second column almost entirely illegible. The following lacunae, owing to loss of leaves, occur in the body of the text ; one leaf missing between pp. 105-6, the missing portion corresponding to ed. II.3591-3628 ; one leaf between pp. 117-8, corresponding to ed. II.4069-4138 ; one leaf between pp. 149-150 corresponding to ed. II.5522-5607 ; the first two of these missing leaves formed a bifolium and the outer leaves of a gathering. Another chasm in the text is caused by the mutilation of pp. 25-26 corresponding to ed. 11.1035-1089.
The following scribal entries occur in the manuscript :
19 b12 misi Muiris (the 'is' of 'Muiris' is in a later hand) o hEoghusa. 46a (end of column) misi Muiris
49 a (end of column) Meisi Muiris do sgribh so le droc[h]
71 b (end of column) Meisi Muiris o hEogosa
77 a (end of column) Meisi Muiris o hEoghusa
161 <...>a<...> e<an . . .> m<e annaid>. Et a mbaile Meguidhir do sgribhus an Eseirghe. Aprilis Mile bliadan 7 cuig ced 7 ceithre bliadna deag 7 tri fichit aois an Tigearna an tan sin.