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    A Harmony of the Four Lives of Saint Ciaran

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    To the incidents of Ciaran's life VG prefixes--

    I. The Homiletic Introduction (VG I)

    not found in any of the Latin Lives.

    =A.= Ciaran was born A.D. 515. The first section of his life, his Childhood and Boyhood, may have covered the first ten or twelve years of his life--say in round numbers 515-530. Fifteen incidents of this period are recorded, which are found in the Lives as under--


    II. The origin and birth of Ciaran; the wizard's prophecies 1 1 1 2 III. How Ciaran raised the steed of Oengus from death 2 2 2 3 IV. How Ciaran turned water into honey 3 3 3 4 V. How Ciaran was delivered from a hound 6 9 4 5 VI. How Ciaran and his instructor conversed, though distant from one another 4 - - 6 VII. Ciaran and the fox - - - 7 VIII. How Ciaran spoiled his mother's dye-stuff - - - 8 IX. How Ciaran restored a calf which a wolf had devoured 5 8 5 9 X. How Ciaran was delivered from robbers 7 - 6 10 XI. How Ciaran gave a gift of cattle 8 - - - XII. How Ciaran gave a gift of a plough-coulter 9 - - - XIII. How Ciaran gave a gift of an ox 10 - - - XIV. How Ciaran gave the king's cauldron to beggars and was enslaved 11 - 7 11 XV. How Ciaran reproved his mother 13 - 9 - XVI. The breaking of the carriage-axle 14 - 10 -

    The boyhood legend probably consisted originally of the five incidents common to all, II-V, IX. It is noteworthy, however, that LB transfers V, IX, to a position after the second phase of the Life. This is possibly due to a misplaced leaf in the exemplar from which our copies of LB are derived. X-XIII, variants on the theme of XIV, are probably interpolations in LA, and VIII, a valuable fragment of folk-lore, is an interpolation in VG. VI and VII are conflations of two varieties of one incident, as is pointed out in the Annotations. These observations will show how complex is the criticism of the Ciaran tradition.

    =B.= The second phase of the life is the Schooling of Ciaran at Clonard; perhaps about 530-535, still using round numbers. This part of the life is most fully told in VG; it is very fragmentary in all the Latin Lives. There are thirteen incidents--


    XVII. How Ciaran went with his cow to the school of Findian 15 4 11 12 XVIII. The angels grind for Ciaran 16 - 12 13 XIX. Ciaran and the king's daughter 17 - - 14 XX. How Ciaran healed the lepers - - - 15 XXI. Ciaran and the stag - - - 16 XXII. The story of Ciaran's gospel 18 - - 17 XXIII. The blessing of Ciaran's food 19 - 8 - XXIV. The story of the mill and the bailiff's daughter - 6 - 18 XXV. The story of Cluain - - - 19 XXVI. How Ciaran freed a woman from servitude 20 5 - 21 XXVII. How Ciaran freed another woman from servitude 21 - - 22 XXVIII. Anecdotes of Clonard - - - 20 XXIX. The parting of Ciaran and Findian - - - 23

    =C.= The third phase may be called the Wanderings of Ciaran. From Clonard he made his way to the monastery of Ninnedh on the island in Loch Erne now called Inismacsaint (it is to be noted that VG knows nothing of this visit). From Loch Erne he went to Aran, thence (after a visit to Saint Senan on Scattery Island) to his brother's monastery at Isel, a place not certainly identified. After this he removes to Inis Aingin, now Hare Island in Loch Ree, which is his last halting-place before reaching his goal at Clonmacnois. There are twelve incidents. The first forms incident 13 of LC, which then breaks off; this text therefore no longer requires a special column. The wander-years end with 548, the year of the saint's arrival at Clonmacnois.

    LA LB VG

    XXX. The adventure of the robbers of Loch Erne -- 7 -- XXXI. How Ciaran floated a firebrand on the lake -- 10 -- XXXII. Ciaran in Aran 22 11 24 XXXIII. How a prophecy was fulfilled 12 -- 25 XXXIV. How Ciaran visited Senan 23 12 26 XXXV. Ciaran in Isel 24 13 28 XXXVI. The removal of the lake 25 14 29 XXXVII. Ciaran departs from Isel 26 -- 30 XXXVIII. Ciaran in Inis Aingin 27 15 31 XXXIX. The coming of Oenna 28 16 32 XL. How Ciaran recovered his gospel 29 -- 33 XLI. How Ciaran went from Inis Aingin to Clonmacnois 30 17 34

    The difference of opinion as to the setting of incident XXXIII is to be noted. Also noteworthy is the absence of any reference to a second visit to Senan, though such is postulated in the lives of the latter saint.

    =D.= The fourth phase covers the time--according to all our texts a few months, according to other authorities some years--intervening between the foundation of Clonmacnois and the death of Ciaran. The traditions of LA and VG here run along the same lines; LB is curiously diverse. There are in all twelve incidents, namely--

    LA LB VG

    XLII. The foundation of the church 31 -- 35 XLIII. How Ciaran sent a cloak to Senan 32 -- 27 XLIV. Ciaran and the wine 34 18 36 XLV. The story of Crithir 33 -- 37 XLVI. How an insult to Ciaran was averted -- 19 -- XLVII. How Ciaran was saved from shame -- 20 -- XLVIII. How a man was saved from robbers -- 21 -- XLIX. The death of Ciaran 35 22 38 L. The visit of Coemgen 36 -- 39 LI. The earth of Ciaran's tomb delivers Colum Cille from a whirlpool 37 23 -- LII. The envy of the saints -- -- 40 LIII. Panegyrics of Ciaran 38 24 41
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