Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Voyage of the Hui Corra (Author: Unknown)

List of witnesses


An abstract of the following story may be found in O'Curry's Lectures on the Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History, pp. 289–293, and two short passages of it are translated in p. dclxii of the third volume of his Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish. An abridged and not very accurate German translation of sections 1–76 has been printed by Zimmer in the Zeitschrift für deutsches Alterthum, XXXIV, 183–197. But no part of the text has been published except section 77, which is given by Zimmer, without a translation, at the end of his version, and the first quatrain of which is printed, rather incorrectly, in p. 593 of O'Curry's Lectures. The bulk of the following text is taken from the Book of Fermoy, a fifteenth-century vellum now in the library of the Royal Irish Academy. The tale begins in this MS. at p. 169 and ends on p. 177. But as p. 169 is in many places illegible, the first twelve paragraphs are here printed from a paper copy in the same library, written at Carrignavar in 1744, and marked 23. M. 50. This MS, which is often very corrupt, and omits sections 68–71, will be denoted by M.

The first ten lines of the Book of Fermoy copy (hereafter called F) are tolerably legible. They run thus:

{F page 169}In nomine trino.

Flathbrughaidh cétach comrumach rochineastar do cuigid Connacht .i. Conall Dercc ua Corra Fhind. Is amlaid boi in


brugaid sin .i. fear sona saidbir sarconaigh, ocus ni frith a thech riamh gan tri gairi ann .i. gair na sgagadoiri ac sgagadh lenna, & gair na n-aitheach os na coiribh ac luchtairecht dona sluaghaibh, & gair na n-oclach oc imbirt fhithcheall ac breith cluichi for a chele. Ni frith dano a theach gan na tri
(miach) mine.

Of the next five lines only the words rofrithailed
mine and chele are legible. In lines 16–21 we can read:

... a mbeith gan cloinn dingmala acu, & ni gan cloinn no-bitis ar (ní mard)is doibh, acht (a n-éc) uathaib (fochétóir) iarna mbreith. Asbert) an brugaid fria mhnai (adaig ina imdai:) ‘is olc atam,’ ar se, ‘ga(n mac againn do beith co)marba dingmala (inar n-inad dar ndeis.’ ‘Cid as áil let-)sa de sidhe?’ ar in (ben).

In lines 22 and 23 we can only read with certainty den(num) and comarba. Lines 25–33 are for the most part legible:

(dogé)budh ar n-inadh dar n-eis. ‘Dentar amlaid,’ ar (in ben. Do)ronsat iarum troscadh fri Demun, & ba torrach (in) ben acétair, & robi cu cenn noe mis torrach. (iarsin) tancatar bresa briga & alla idan cu(ci, co) ruc tri maca d'oentairbirt .i. má i tosach (na haid)ce & mac ina medhon & mac ina deredh. Robaisteadh isin baisdedh gentlidi iat, & ba hi(at)sa a n-anmanna .i. Lochan & Enne & Sil(ue)ster. Rohoiled & rolesaiged iat iarsin.

Of the next three lines I could read only these words:

... buadha muighi & tighi & cocind(is) ara com)aesaibh

... ar colbha tighi a n-athar & a mathar


Then for the first nine lines the second column goes on continuously thus:

ar sgis amhsa & imana, adubrudar lucht an tighi: ‘Ní fagmuid locht don triur ut,’ ar siad, ‘acht ar mbeith ar selbh Diabuil.’ ‘Is doiligh duin amlaid,’ ar siat ‘gan foghail & dimferg & ingreim ar naimhdidh Diabuil mas e is tigerna duin, .i. cleirigh do mharbad & cealla do loscud & d'argain.’ Is annsin ro eirgidur & rogabsat a n-arma, & t(angadar) co Tuaim da Gualann, & roairg(set) & roloi(scset)

Of the rest of the column I could only read: foghail, and then,
don baili. Ise cog...sat ua Corra gan in clerech do marbad na in baili do loscud..... tistais ba in baili
Then after some scattered words:
(t)ucadh linn & bi(adh doibh) corbo measc medharcain iat. (Ro)dergad .....doib

A Voyage of the Húi Corra (Imrom hua Corra) is mentioned as a tale in the Book of Leinster, p. 189c 30, and ‘Three Húi Corra with their seven’, ‘Tri hui Corra cona morfeisiur per [Iesum]’ are mentioned in the same MS, p. 373d 58 (=Lebar Brecc, p. 23d 63) in a litany which has been ascribed, without a particle of evidence, to Oengus the Culdee, who is supposed to have flourished in the eighth and ninth centuries. There is nothing to show that the story mentioned in the Book of Leinster was the same as the story now published, and the number (seven) of the Húi Corra's companions in the litany differs from the number (six) in our story. All, therefore, that can be said about the date of our story, must be inferred from the text itself. And from this it is clear, first, that our tale was composed after the Voyage of Mael Duin, which is referred to, or imitated, in sections 44, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 62: secondly, that it was composed while the


practice of infixing personal pronouns was still in force;1 and, thirdly, that it was composed before the so-called consuetudinal forms in -ann, -enn became current in Middle Irish.2 These criteria point to the eleventh century, and the numerous corruptions in spelling or grammar may reasonably be ascribed to the fifteenth century scribe and his predecessors.

As to the contents of our tale, the first forty-three paragraphs tell an interesting and imaginative story, and here the author attains to a certain standard of literary exxcellence. But the remainder of the tale is disconnected patchwork, lacking originality, and chiefly remarkable for its illustrations (sections 61, 63, 65) of the doctrine that in hell the nature of the punishment is determined by the nature of the sin.3 However, the parallel to the Divina Commedia in section 66 is worthy of notice, and the stories of the repentant wife (sections56–59), and the community of Ailbhe (sections68, 69) are not wanting in simplicity and pathos.

The metre of the poem with which our tale ends is explained in p. 62.

The various readings of M which seemed of any importance are given as footnotes, and the rarer words are collected in the glossary.