Mittelirische Verslehren II

  • Middle Irish
  • verse, prose
  • Irish texts, Irish texts on language and literature
Middle Irish metrical tract which enumerates and illustrates various metrical forms to be mastered by a learned poet (file). The main body of the text is structured around the curriculum of a file in training, for whose benefit the textbook appears to have been compiled.
According to Thurneysen et al., three stages in the development of the text can be discerned:
  1. The original text (lost), which may have belonged to the tenth century, would have covered seven years of a fili’s training (by analogy with the seven grades of filid).
  2. When the text was first expanded, three more years were added between the sixth year (anruth) and seventh year (ollam). § 112 may recall this stage of the text when it refers to deich cerda comdire. The most substantial addition is the inclusion of MV I, which occupies §§ 32-90 in the modern edition.
  3. The extant text, such as it survives in the manuscripts, represents a further redaction referring to twelve years of study. This augmented version has been dated to the eleventh century (Thurneysen). The added material now occurs for the 8th and 12th year of the curriculum.
Other material, besides the core of the text, includes a preliminary section, §§ 110-112, and the concluding notes of §§ 131-137.
Mittelirische Verslehren II
This is the second Middle Irish Verslehre edited by Thurneysen. The main body of the text, sans the preliminary tract, is also known as Duodecim partes poeticae, after the title heading in Laud Misc. 610.
  • Middle Irish
10th century?
verse, prose (primary)
Contains poems
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Irish texts Irish texts on language and literature
Work in progress

Preliminary on the 16 parts of filidecht » entry

Duodecim partes poeticae

§ 1. » entry

§§ 2-8. Year 1. » entry

§§ 9-11. Year 2. » entry

§§ 12-17. Year 3. » entry

§§ 18-20. Year 4. » entry

§§ 21-24. Year 5. » entry

§§ 25-31. Year 6. » entry

§§ 32-90. Year 7 (version of MV I) » entry

§§ 91-94. Year 8. » entry

§§ 95-98. Year 9. » entry

§§ 99-109. Year 10. + §§ 110-112 » entry

§§ 113-120. Year 11. » entry

§§ 121-130. Year 12. » entry


§ 131 » entry

§§ 132-137 » entry



This table is intended as a visual aid to Thurneysen's outline of the development of the text. The first column shows the traditional graded scheme, in which every grade of poet, from fochloc up to ollam, is associated with a particular metrical form proper to each. It is here used to represent the scheme thought to underlie the original, tenth-century textbook. The second column then gives the ten curricular divisions as they would have appeared in the first redaction of MV II, with the names of the forms (plural) adopted from § 112. Finally, the third column represents the extant redaction, with two more years added to arrive at a total of 12 years.

7 grades/years 10 years 12 years
(1) dían (fochloc) (1) díana (1) díana
(2) setrad/-nad / sainemain (macfuirmid) (2) setrotha (2) setrotha
(3) laíd (dos) (3) laída (3) laída
(4) emain (cano) (4) emna (4) emna
(5) anair (clí) (5) anairi (5) anairi
(6) nath (ánruth) (6) natha anruith (6) natha anruith
  (7) brosnacha suad (MV I) (7*) brosnacha suad (MV I)
    (8**) feschomarca filed
  (8) fochairich admolta (9*) fochairich admolta
  (9) setnatha suad (10*) setnatha suad
(7) anamain (ollam) (10) anamna ollaman (11) anamna ollaman
    (12**) rochetla


Primary sources Text editions and/or modern translations – in whole or in part – along with publications containing additions and corrections, if known. Diplomatic editions, facsimiles and digital image reproductions of the manuscripts are not always listed here but may be found in entries for the relevant manuscripts. For historical purposes, early editions, transcriptions and translations are not excluded, even if their reliability does not meet modern standards.

[ed.] Thurneysen, Rudolf [ed.], “Mittelirische Verslehren”, in: Windisch, Ernst, and Whitley Stokes (eds.), Irische Texte mit Wörterbuch, 4 vols, vol. 3:1, Leipzig, 1891. 1–182.
Internet Archive: <link>
29–66 direct link

Secondary sources (select)

Breatnach, Pádraig A., “The metres of citations in the Irish grammatical tracts”, Éigse 32 (2000): 7–22.
Campanile, Enrico, “Mittelirische Verslehren II, 96-98”, Studi e Saggi Linguistici 6 (1966): 160–165.
Ó hAodha, Donncha, “The first Middle Irish metrical tract”, in: Tristram, Hildegard L. C. [ed.], Metrik und Medienwechsel / Metrics and media, ScriptOralia 35, Tübingen: Narr, 1991. 207–244.
Thurneysen, Rudolf [ed.], “Mittelirische Verslehren”, in: Windisch, Ernst, and Whitley Stokes (eds.), Irische Texte mit Wörterbuch, 4 vols, vol. 3:1, Leipzig, 1891. 1–182.
Internet Archive: <link>
110–123; 161–166 direct link direct link
Tranter, Stephen N., Clavis metrica: Háttatal, Háttalykill and the Irish metrical tracts, Beiträge zur nordischen Philologie 25, Basel: Helbing and Lichtenhahn, 1997.
Dennis Groenewegen
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