Mittelirische Verslehren III

  • Middle Irish
  • prose, verse
  • Irish texts, Irish texts on language and literature, Tract on metrics
A Middle Irish metrical tract intended to enumerate and illustrate various metrical types, both common and uncommon.
Mittelirische Verslehren III
This is the third Verslehre edited by Thurneysen in his edition of four Mittelirische Verslehren .
  • Middle Irish
c. 1016.(1)n. 1 Rudolf Thurneysen, Zu irischen Handschriften und Litteraturdenkmälern [I] (1912): 86–89.
prose, verse (primary)


Irish texts Irish texts on language and literature
Work in progress

Contents will be given in separate entries. The classification into four grades of metrical forms, ranging from common to obscure, follows that discussed by Roisin McLaughlin, ‘Metres in Mittelirische Verslehren III’, Ériu 55 (2005).

1. gnáthaisti (§§ 2-127)

common metres

2. gnátha medónda (§§ 128-147)

known metres

3. anaichinti (§§ 148-166)

unfamiliar metrical forms

4. écoitchenna (§§ 167-210)

uncommon metrical forms



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.] [tr.] McLaughlin, Roisín, “A critical edition of Mittelirische Verslehren III”, unpublished ph.D. thesis: Trinity College, Dublin, 2007.  
This thesis consists of a critical edition and translation of a Middle Irish metrical tract known as Mittelirische Verslehren III (hereafter MV III). The tract is an important source of information on rhyming syllabic verse in the Middle Irish period. It consists of two hundred and nine stanzas which illustrate various types of metres, ranging from common metres to more complex metrical forms, many of which are not represented in the standard works of reference. The metres are classified into four sections as gnáthaisti ‘common metres’ (§§2-127), gnátha medónda ‘moderately well-known’ (§§128-47), anaichinti ‘unfamiliar’ (§§148-66) and écoitchenna ‘uncommon’ (§§167-210). The stanzas cited as illustrations cover a wide range of subject matter, including panegyric, satiric, religious and topographical material. At present, the text is available only in a diplomatic edition by Rudolf Thurneysen (1891, 1-182). This is based on two manuscripts: Royal Irish Academy MS 23 P 12 (the Book of Ballymote) and TCD MS H.2.12. He subsequently published (1912, 60- 72) a selection of readings from RIA MS D ii 1 (the Book of Uí Maine). Two further manuscript witnesses of the text were not available to Thurneysen. These are National Library of Scotland Gaelic MS 1 (Advocates 72.1.1) and National Library of Ireland MS G 3, both of which contain important variant readings.
Tara.tcd.ie – PDF: <link>
[ed.] [tr.] McLaughlin, Roisin, Early Irish satire, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 2008. 300 pp.
An edition and translation of the satires in the text, with manuscript readings and critical apparatus.
[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.  
comments: An index of verse metries and initial lines of verse is provided at the end of this contribution.
Internet Archive: <link>
Edition wanted.
A new edition by Roisin McLaughlin is forthcoming.

Secondary sources (select)

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.
McLaughlin, Roisin, “Metres in Mittelirische Verslehren III”, Ériu 55 (2005): 119–136.
McLaughlin, Roisin, Early Irish satire, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 2008. 300 pp.
C. A.,Dennis Groenewegen