Nothing free is ever appreciated.

Note: Thanks and a Daltaí tip of the cap to Ciarán Ó Duibhín for this week’s proverb. It is a good example of Irish idiom. The first idiom is the common expression “a dhath,” which literally means “its color.” However, it translates into English as “any,” “anything,” or, with the negative — “nothing.” So “Niorbh fhiú a dhath” could be translated as “Nothing would be [of] worth.”

The word ‘ariamh’ is an older form of the word ‘riamh’ which means ‘ever’ in this context. “Niorbh fhiú a dhath ariamh” = “Nothing would ever be [of] worth.”.

Next follows an indirect relative clause, “a bhfuarthas in aisgidh.” It is indirect because it is in a genitive relation to the subject of this proverb, ‘nothing.’ “Fuarthas” is the past impersonal (or autonomous) form of the verb ‘faigh.’ The relative article, ‘a,’ causes the eclipsis, “a bhfuarthas.” It means “which one got.”

Finally, the last idiom is given here in a petrified form, “in aisgidh.” The modern form is ‘in aisce.’ ‘Asice’ usually means a ‘favor,’ a ‘request,’ or a ‘gift.’ However, ‘in aisce’ means ‘for nothing’ or ‘gratis.’ So we have the following more literal translation, “Nothing which one got for nothing would ever be [of] worth .”