This is just a little foretaste of one of my most treasured books—Iona: The Earliest Poetry of a Celtic Monastery, by Thomas Owen Clancy and Gilbert Márkus, OP (Edinburgh: Edinburgh U, 1995), a serendipitous find at a local used bookshop for $6.95. It is a bilingual anthology of Latin and Gaelic poems written at Iona Monastery between the years 563 and 704. Aside from the primary source content, the book is also to be commended for the various introductions and notes, wherein one finds some sound scholarship cutting through all of the nonsense that has become synonymous with 'Celtic Christianity', or, even worse, 'Celtic spirituality'.
The following is a Responsio from the first poem in the anthology—the 'Altus prosator', commonly accepted as the work of St Columba (Colum Cille) himself, and notable for its 'foreign and exotic vocabulary' (p. 43) as well as its heavy dependence on St John Cassian. The Latin text of these lines is found on p. 52, with the translation on p. 53.
Quis potest Deo placere novissimo in tempore,variatis insignibus veritatis ordinibus,exceptis contemptoribus mundi praesentis istius?Who can please God in the last time,the noble ordinances of truth being changed,except the despisers of this present world?
If you are intrigued, don't worry, there will be plenty more about this book in the future!