CELT document E840000-010

The Testament of Cathaeir Mor

James Clarence Mangan

Edited by D. J. O'Donoghue

Whole text


    The Testament of Cathaeir Mor 1

  1. Here is the Will of Cathaeir Mor.
    God rest him.
    Among his heirs he divided his store,
    His treasures and lands,
    And, first, laying hands
    On his son Ross Faly, he blessed him.
  2. 'My Sovereign Power, my nobleness,
    My wealth, my strength to curse and bless,
    My royal privilege of protection,
    I leave to the son of my best affection,
    Ross Faly, Ross of the Rings,
    Worthy descendant of Ireland's Kings!
    To serve as memorials of succession
    For all who yet shall claim their possession
    In after ages.
    Clement and noble and bold
    Is Ross, my son.'
  3. 'Then let him not hoard up silver and gold,
    But give unto all fair measure of wages.
    Victorious in battle he ever hath been;
    He therefore shall yield the green p.30
    And glorious plains of Tara to none,
    No, not to his brothers!
    Yet these shall he aid
    When attacked or betrayed.
    This blessing of mine shall outlast the tomb,
    And live till the Day of Doom,
    Telling and telling daily,
    That a prosperous man, beyond all others,
    Shall prove Ross Faly!'
  4. Then he gave him ten shields, and ten rings, and ten swords,
    And ten drinking-horns; and he spake him those words:
    'Brightly shall shine the glory,
    O Ross, of my sons and heirs
    Never shall flourish in story
    Such heroes as they and theirs!'
  5. Then, laying his royal hand on the head
    Of his good son, Darry, he blessed him and said:—
    'My Valour, my daring, my martial courage,
    My skill in the field I leave to Darry,
    That he be a guiding torch and starry
    Light and Lamp to the hosts of our age.
    A hero to sway, to lead and command,
    Shall be every son of his tribes in the land!
    O Darry, with boldness and power
    Sit thou on the frontier of Tuath Lann. 2
    And ravage the lands of Deas Ghower. 3
    Accept no gifts for thy protection
    From woman or man, p.31
    So shall Heaven assuredly bless
    Thy many daughters with fruitfulness,
    And none shall stand above thee—
    For I, thy sire, who love thee
    With deep and warm affection,
    I prophesy unto thee all success
    Over the green battalions
    Of the redoubtable Galions.' 4
  6. And he gave him, thereon, as memorials and needs,
    Eight bondsmen, eight handmaids, eight cups, and eight steeds.
  7. The noble Monarch of Erin's men
    Spake thus to the young Prince Brassal, then:—
    'My Sea, with all its wealth of streams,
    I leave to my sweetly-speaking Brassal
    To serve and to succour him as a vassal,
    And the land whereon the bright sun beams
    Around the waves of Amergin's Bay 5
    As parcelled out in the ancient day:
    By free men through a long, long time
    Shall this thy heritage be enjoyed—
    But the chieftaincy shall at last be destroyed
    Because of a Prince's crime,
    And though others again shall regain it,
    Yet Heaven shall not bless it,
    For Power shall oppress it,
    And Weakness and Baseness shall stain it!'
  8.  p.32
  9. And he gave him six ships, and six steeds, and six shields,
    Six mantles and six coats of steel—
    And the six royal oxen that wrought in his fields,
    These gave he to Brassal the Prince for his weal.
  10. Then to Catach, he spake:—
    'My border lands
    Thou, Catach, shalt take,
    But ere long they shall pass from thy hands,
    And by thee shall none
    Be ever begotten, daughter or son!'
  11. To Fearghus Luascan spake he thus:—
    'Thou Fearghus, also, art one of us,
    But over-simple in all thy ways,
    And babblest much of thy childish days,
    For thee have I nought, but if lands may be bought
    Or won hereafter by sword or lance,
    Of those, perchance,
    I may leave thee a part
    All simple babbler and boy as thou art!'
  12. Young Fearghus, therefore, was left bereaven,
    And thus the Monarch spake to Creeven:—
  13. 'To my boyish Hero, my gentle Creeven,
    Who loveth in Summer, at morn and even,
    To snare the songful birds of the field,
    But shunneth to look on spear and shield,
    I have little to give of all that I share.
    His fame shall fail, his battles be rare.
    And of all the Kings that wear his crown,
    But one alone shall win renown.' 6
  14.  p.33
  15. And he gave him six cloaks, and six cups, and seven steeds,
    And six harnessed oxen, all fresh from the meads.
  16. But on Aenghus Nic, a younger child,
    Begotten in crime and born in woe,
    The father frowned, as on one defiled,
    And with lowering brow he spake him so:—
    'To Nic, my son, that base-born youth,
    Shall nought be given of land or gold;
    He may be great and good and bold,
    But his birth is an agony all untold,
    Which gnaweth him like a serpent's tooth.
    I am no donor
    To him or his race—
    His birth was dishonour;
    His life is disgrace!'
  17. And thus he spake to Eochy Timin,
    Deeming him fit but to herd with women:—
  18. 'Weak son of mine, thou shalt not gain
    Waste or water, valley or plain.
    From thee shall none descend save cravens,
    Sons of sluggish sire and mothers,
    Who shall live and die,
    But give no corpses to the ravens,
    Mine ill thought and mine evil eye 7
    On thee beyond thy brothers
    Shall ever, ever lie!'
  19. And to Oilioll Cadach his words were those:— p.34
    'O Oilioll, great in coming years
    Shall be thy fame among friends and foes
    As the first of Brughaidhs8 and Hospitaliers!
    But neither noble nor warlike
    Shall show thy renownless dwelling;
    Thou shalt dazzle at chess,
    Therein supremely excelling
    And shining as something starlike!'
  20. And his chess-board, therefore, and chessmen eke
    He gave to Oilioll Cadach the Meek.
  21. Now Fiacha—youngest son was he,
    Stood up by the bed … of his father, who said,
    The while, caressing
    Him tenderly:—
    'My son! I have only for thee my blessing,
    And naught beside—
    Hadst best abide
    With thy brothers a time, as thy years are green.'
  22. Then Fiacha wept, with a sorrowful mien:
    So Cathaeir spake, to encourage him, gaily,
    With cheerful speech—
    'Abide one month with thy brethren each,
    And seven years long with my son, Ross Faly;
    Do this, and thy sire in sincerity,
    Prophesies unto thee fame and prosperity.'
  23. And further he spake, as one inspired:—
    'A Chieftain flourishing, feared, and admired
    Shall Fiacha prove!
    The gifted Man from the boiling Berve, 9 p.35
    Him shall his brothers' clansmen serve.
    His forts shall be Aillin and proud Almain,
    He shall reign in Carman and Allen; 10
    The highest renown shall his palaces gain
    When others have crumbled and fallen,
    His powers shall broaden and lengthen,
    And never know damage or loss;
    The impregnable Naas he shall strengthen,
    And govern Ailbhe and Arriged Ross.
    Yes! O Fiacha, Foe of strangers,
    This shall be thy lot!
    And thou shalt pilot
    Ladhrann and Leeven 11 with steady and even
    Heart and arm through storm and dangers!
    Overthrown by thy mighty hand
    Shall the Lords of Tara lie.
    And Taillte 12's fair, the first in the land,
    Thou, son, shall magnify;
    And many a country thou yet shalt bring
    To own thy rule as Ceann and King.
    The blessing I give thee shall rest
    On thee and thy seed
    While Time shall endure,
    Thou grandson of Fiacha the blest!
    It is barely thy meed,
    For thy soul is childlike and pure!'

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Title (uniform): The Testament of Cathaeir Mor

Author: James Clarence Mangan

Editor: D. J. O'Donoghue

Responsibility statement

Electronic edition compiled by: Beatrix Färber and Ruth Murphy

Proof corrections by: Ruth Murphy

Edition statement

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 4270 words

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Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2008

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: E840000-010

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Source description

Mangan's Works

  1. James Clarence Mangan, Ballad-Poetry of Ireland (Dublin: Duffy 1845).
  2. James Clarence Mangan, Specimens of the early native poetry of Ireland: in English metrical translations by Miss Brooke, Dr. Drummond, Samuel Ferguson, J. C. Mangan, T. Furlong, H. Grattan Curran, E. Walsh, J. D'Alton and J. Anster, with historical and biographical notices by Henry R. Montgomery (Dublin: James McGlashan; London: W.S. Orr and Co. 1846).
  3. James Clarence Mangan, The Book of Irish Ballads, ed. Denis Florence McCarthy (Dublin: J. Duffy 1846).
  4. James Clarence Mangan, Miscellany (Dublin: Celtic Society 1849).
  5. James Clarence Mangan, The poets and poetry of Munster: A selection of Irish songs by poets of the last century, with poetical translations by the late James Clarence Mangan, now for the first time published with the original music and biographical sketches of the authors 1st ed. (Dublin:John O'Daly 1849; Poole, England: Woodstock Books 1997).
  6. James Clarence Mangan, Romances and Ballads of Ireland, ed. Hercules Ellis (Dublin: J. Duffy 1850).
  7. James Clarence Mangan, The tribes of Ireland: a satire by Aenghus O'Daly; with poetical translation by the late James Clarence Mangan; together with an historical account of the family of O'Daly; and an introduction to the history of satire in Ireland by John O'Donovan (Dublin: John O'Daly 1852; Reprint Cork: Tower Books 1976).
  8. James Clarence Mangan, Poems by James Clarence Mangan, with biographical introduction by John Mitchel (New York: Haverty 1859).
  9. James Clarence Mangan, Anthologia Germanica; or a garland from the German poets and miscellaneous poems, 2 vols (Dublin: Duffy 1884).
  10. James Clarence Mangan, Essays in prose and verse by J. Clarence Mangan, ed. Charles P. Meehan. (Dublin: Duffy 1884).
  11. James Clarence Mangan, Irish and Other Poems: With a selection from his translations [The O'Connell Press Popular Library] (Dublin: O'Connell Press 1886).
  12. James Clarence Mangan, James Clarence Mangan, his selected poems; with a study by the editor, ed. Louise Imogen Guiney (London: Lamson, Wolffe & Co. 1897; Montana: Kessinger Publishing Co. 2007).
  13. James Clarence Mangan, Poems of James Clarence Mangan (many hitherto uncollected), ed. with preface and notes by D.J. O'Donoghue; introduction by John Mitchel (Dublin: O'Donoghue, 1903; Reprint New York: Johnson 1972).
  14. James Clarence Mangan, The prose writing of James Clarence Mangan, ed. D.J. O'Donoghue. (Dublin: O'Donoghue 1904).
  15. James Clarence Mangan, Autobiography edited from the manuscript by James Kilroy [Chapel Books Series] (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1968).
  16. James Clarence Mangan, Selected Poems of James Clarence Mangan, ed. Michael Smith with a foreword by Anthony Cronin (Dublin: Gallery Press 1973).
  17. James Clarence Mangan, The collected works of James Clarence Mangan: Poems Vol. 1 1818–1837, ed. Jacques Chuto et al. (Dublin: Irish Academic Press 1996).
  18. James Clarence Mangan, The collected works of James Clarence Mangan: Poems Vol. 2 1838–1844, ed. Jacques Chuto et al. (Dublin: Irish Academic Press 1996).
  19. James Clarence Mangan, The collected works of James Clarence Mangan: Poems Vol. 3 1845–1847, ed. Jacques Chuto et al. (Dublin: Irish Academic Press 1997).
  20. James Clarence Mangan, The collected works of James Clarence Mangan: Poems Vol. 4 1848–1912, ed. Jacques Chuto et al. (Dublin: Irish Academic Press 1997).
  21. James Clarence Mangan, Anthologia Germanica: Selection on a German Theme from the Verse of the Poet of Young Ireland (Ireland & Germany), ed. with an introduction by Brendan Clifford (London: Athol Books 2001).
  22. James Clarence Mangan, The collected works of James Clarence Mangan: Prose Vol. 1 1832–1839, ed. Jacques Chuto et al. (Dublin: Irish Academic Press 2002).
  23. James Clarence Mangan, The collected works of James Clarence Mangan: Prose Vol. 2 1840–1882: correspondence, ed. Jacques Chuto et al. (Dublin: Irish Academic Press 2002).
  24. James Clarence Mangan, Selected Poems of James Clarence Mangan, foreword by Terence Brown, ed. Jacques Chuto et al. (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, bicentenary ed. 2003).
  25. James Clarence Mangan, Poems, ed. with an introduction by David Wheatley (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2003).
  26. James Clarence Mangan, Selected Prose of James Clarence Mangan. ed. Jacques Chuto, Peter van de Kamp (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, vicentenary ed. 2004).
  27. James Clarence Mangan, James Clarence Mangan: Selected writings, ed. with an introduction by Sean Ryder (Dublin: University College 2004).

Secondary Literature

  1. W. B. Yeats, 'Clarence Mangan, 1803–1849' [Irish Authors and Poets series]. In: Irish Fireside 12 March 1877; reprinted in John Frayne, Uncollected Prose of W. B Yeats, Vol. 1 (London: Macmillan 1970).
  2. W. B. Yeats, 'Clarence Mangan's Love Affair'. In: United Ireland 22 August 1891.
  3. D. J. O'Donoghue, Life and Writings of James Clarence Mangan (Edinburgh: Geddis; Dublin: M. H. Gill 1897).
  4. Ellen Shannon-Mangan, James Clarence Mangan: a biography (Dublin: Irish Academic Press 1996).
  5. Henry Edward Cain, James Clarence Mangan and the Poe-Mangan question, A dissertation (Washington: Catholic University Press 1929).
  6. James Joyce, James Clarence Mangan: from St. Stephen's, Dublin, May, 1902 (Dublin: Ulysses Bookshop 1930).
  7. John D. Sheridan, Famous Irish lives: James Clarence Mangan (Dublin: Phoenix Publishing 1937).
  8. P. S. O'Hegarty, 'A bibliography of James Clarence Mangan'. In: Dublin Magazine 16 (1941) 56–61.
  9. Séamus Ó Casaide, 'James Clarence Mangan and his Meath relatives: new light on the poet's circumstances'. In: Father Matthew Record 35:6 (1941) 4–5.
  10. Roibeárd Ó Faracháin, 'James Clarence Mangan'. In: Thomas Davis and Young Ireland, ed. M. J. MacManus (Dublin: The Stationery Office 1945), 61–67.
  11. Marvin Magalaner, 'James Mangan and Joyce's Dedalus family'. In: Philological Quarterly (1952).
  12. Patrick Diskin, 'The poetry of James Clarence Mangan'. In: University Review: A Journal of Irish Studies 2:1 (1960) 21–30.
  13. Rudolf Patrick Holzapfel, James Clarence Mangan: A Check-List Of Printed And Other Sources (Dublin: Scepter Publishing 1969).
  14. Jacques Chuto, 'Mangan's "Antique Deposit" in TCD Library'. In: Long Room 2 (1970) 38–39.
  15. James Kilroy, James Clarence Mangan (Lewisburg, N.J.: Bucknell University Press 1970).
  16. Jacques Chuto, 'Mangan and the "Irus Herfner" articles in the Dublin University Magazine'. In: Hermathena 106 (1971) 55–57.
  17. Henry J. Donaghy, James Clarence Mangan. [English Authors Series] (Macmillan Library Reference, 1974). James Liddy, 'An Introduction to the Poetry of James Mangan'. In: Lace Curtain 5 (1974) 55–56.
  18. John McCall, The life of James Clarence Mangan. (Dublin; T. D. Sullivan 1887; Blackrock: Carraig Books 1975).
  19. Jacques Chuto, 'Mangan, Petrie, O'Donovan and a few others: the poet and the scholars'. In: Irish University Review 6:2 (1976) 169–187.
  20. James Kilroy, 'Bibliography of Mangan'. In: Anglo-Irish Literature: A Review of Research, ed. Richard J. Finneran (New York: Modern Language Association 1976) 43–44.
  21. Robert Welch, ''In wreathed swell': James Clarence Mangan, translator from the Irish'. In: Éire-Ireland 11:2 (1976) 36–56.
  22. Peter MacMahon, 'James Clarence Mangan: the Irish language and the strange case of the tribes of Ireland'. In: Irish University Review 8:2 (1978) 209–222.
  23. Anthony Cronin, 'James Clarence Mangan: The Necessary Maudit'. In: Heritage Now: Irish Literature in the English Language (Dingle: Brandon 1982), 47–50.
  24. David Lloyd, 'Great gaps in Irish song: James Clarence Mangan and the ideology of the nationalist ballad'. In: Irish University Review 14 (1984) 178–190.
  25. Patrick Smith, James Clarence Mangan: the conscious victim. [Unpublished M.A. Thesis, Dept. of English, UCC, 1986].
  26. David Lloyd, Nationalism and minor literature: James Clarence Mangan and the emergence of Irish cultural nationalism [The new historicism: studies in cultural poetics, 3]. (Berkeley: California University Press 1987).
  27. Brendan Clifford, The Dubliner: the lives, times and writings of James Clarence Mangan (Belfast: Athol Books 1988).
  28. Ellen Shannon-Mangan, 'New letters from James Clarence Mangan to John O'Donovan'. In: Irish University Review 18 (1988) 207–214.
  29. Sean Ryder, 'Male autobiography and Irish cultural nationalism: John Mitchel and James Clarence Mangan'. In: The Irish Review 13 (1992-93) 70–77.
  30. Jacques Chuto, 'James Clarence Mangan and the Beauty of Hate'. In: Éire-Ireland 30: 2 (1995) 173–81.
  31. Heyward Ehrlich, 'Inventing patrimony: Joyce, Mangan, and the self-inventing self'. In: Joyce through the ages: a nonlinear view, ed. Michael Patrick Gillespie (Gainesville: University Press of Florida 1999).
  32. Jacques Chuto, James Clarence Mangan: a bibliography (Dublin: Irish Academic Press 1999).
  33. Anne MacCarthy, James Clarence Mangan, Edward Walsh and Nineteenth-century Irish literature in English [Studies in Irish Literature] (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2000).
  34. David Lloyd, 'James Clarence Mangan's Oriental Translations and the Question of Origins'. In: Comparative Literature 38:1 (1986), 20–55.
  35. Dr. Elie Bouhereau, 'Mangan and the worst of woes'. In: Borderlands: essays on literature and medicine in honour of J.B. Lyons, ed. Davis Coakley and Mary O'Doherty (Dublin: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 2002).
  36. Peter van de Kamp, 'Hands off! Joyce and the Mangan in the Mac'. In: Costerus 147 (2003) 183–214.

Mangan, James Clarence (1967). ‘The Poems of James Clarence Mangan’. In: The Poems of James Clarence Mangan (many hitherto uncollected)‍. Ed. by D.J. O’Donoghue. 31 South Anne Street, Dublin, Ireland: O’Donoghue & Co., pp. 29–35.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  author 	 = {James Clarence Mangan},
  title 	 = {The Poems of James Clarence Mangan},
  editor 	 = {D.J. O'Donoghue},
  booktitle 	 = {The Poems of James Clarence Mangan (many hitherto uncollected)},
  publisher 	 = {O'Donoghue \& Co.},
  address 	 = {31 South Anne Street, Dublin, Ireland},
  date 	 = {1967},
  pages 	 = {29–35}


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Profile description

Creation: by James Clarence Mangan

Date: 1847

Language usage

  • The text is in English. (en)
  • Some words are in Irish, however some are in anglicised spelling. (ga)
  • Some words are in Latin. (la)

Keywords: literary; poetry; 19c

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(Most recent first)

  1. 2008-06-30: SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2008-06-26: Structural markup checked and added to; file parsed. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2008-06-25: Bibliographical details compiled. (ed. Ruth Murphy)
  4. 2008-06-11: File proofed (1), structural, content markup applied and header created. (ed. Ruth Murphy)
  5. 2008-05-27: Text captured. (ed. Beatrix Färber)

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  1. From the Irish. 🢀

  2. Tuath Laighean, viz., North Leinster. 🢀

  3. Deas Ghabhair, viz., South Leinster. 🢀

  4. Gailians, an ancient designation, according to O'Donovan, of the Laighnigh or Leinstermen. 🢀

  5. Inbhear Aimherghin, originally the estuary of the Blackwater, and so called from Aimherghin, one of the sonds of Milesius, to whom it was apportioned by lot. 🢀

  6. The text adds: i.e., Colman mac Criomthainn; but O'Donovan conjectures that this is a mere scholium of some scribe. 🢀

  7. In the original—'Mo faindi, mo eascaine'; literally, 'My weakness, my curse.' 🢀

  8. Public victuallers. 🢀

  9. Bearbha, viz., the river Barrow. 🢀

  10. The localities mentioned here were chiefly residences of the ancient kings of Leinster. 🢀

  11. Forts upon the eastern coast of Ireland. 🢀

  12. Taillte, now Teltown, a village between Kells and Navan, in Meath. 🢀


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