According to the author, the wording is “In Principio Erat Verbum et Verbum …“, which indicates that the celts would leave the initial sentence incomplete, and misspell the second “verbum”, messing up the first page of John’s gospel. Such incompetence would be unheard of; although there are minor errors in the scroll work, there are no known grammatical errors in the Book of Kells.
In “Celtic Art and The Methods Of Construction“, George Bain points out that the sentence actually reads “In Principio Erat Verbum Verum” – In The Begining Was The True Word, which is much more typical of the diligence of the Celtic scribes.
This also directs us to the conclusion that the Celtic abbeys produced their own translation of the gospels directly from the Hebrew.
The text is strangely missing from later reprints of George Bains book, and is only present in the original version.
Come listen awhile and I’ll sing you a song
Of three merry gentlemen riding along.
They met a fair maid, unto her did say,
“We’ll afraid this cold morning will do you some harm.”
“Oh no, kind sir,“ said the maid, “You’re mistaken
To think this cold morning will do me some harm.
There’s one thing I crave that lies twixt your legs;
If you give me that, it will keep me warm.”
“Then since you do crave it, my dear, you shall have it,
If you’ll come with me to yonder green tree.
Then since you do crave it, my dear, you shall have it,
I’ll make these two gentlemen witness to be.”
So the gentlemen lighted and straightway she mounted,
And looking the gentlemen hard in the face,
Saying, “You knew not my meaning, you wrong understood me.”
And along she went galloping down the long lane.
“Oh gentlemen, lend me one of your horses,
That I may ride after her down the long lane.
If I overtake her, I’ll warrant I’ll make her
Return unto me my own horse again.”
But soon as this fair maid she saw him a-coming,
She instantly then took a pistol in hand,
Saying, “Doubt not my skill but you I would kill,
I’ll have you stand back or you were a dead man.”
“Oh, why do you spend your time here in talking?
Oh, why do you spend your time here in vain?
Come give her a guinea it’s what she deserves
And I’ll warrant they’ll give you your horse back again.”
“Oh no, kind sir, you’re vastly mistaken,
If it is his loss, well, it is my gain.
And your were a witness that he give it to me.“
And away she went galloping over the plain.