CELT document T250001-001

Song of Dermot and the Earl



To trace the small beginnings of a movement big with consequences has always had a peculiar fascination for the human mind. Not since the day when St. Patrick preached his first sermon in Dichu's barn has there been any event of greater importance to Ireland than the coming of the Normans to her shores. The importance of this event was not duly recognised at the time by the Irish annalists any more than it was perceived by the Irish chieftains. The notices in relation to it in the Irish Annals are consequently few and meagre in the extreme. Hence modern historians in telling the story of how the English first got a foothold in Ireland have had to rely almost exclusively on the writings of Giraldus Cambrensis, and on the few scattered notices of the general chroniclers of English affairs. Giraldus, though not an eye-witness of the events, had, no doubt, exceptional opportunities of learning the facts, and he has left us an account which, though not free from prejudices and partialities, will compare favourably in its scope and character with any similar recital of the age. Still Giraldus was not an  p.vi Irishman; he did not know the country well, and had to take a great deal on not very trustworthy hearsay. There was, however, an Irishman who was a participator in the events, and though his account has not come down to us at first hand, there is every reason to believe that it is faithfully retailed to us by the writer of the old French rhymes contained in this volume. This Irishman was Morice Regan, Dermot McMurrough's latimer or secretary, and he was no doubt an eye-witness of much that the Anglo-Norman rhymer tells on his authority. The first leaf of the MS. in which these rhymes are preserved is unfortunately wanting, and no original or early title for the poem has come down to us. To judge by the contents of the existing fragment, however, the poem may possibly have been called “La Chanson Dermot” or “La Chanson Dermot e le Conte”, and, for the sake of having a distinctive title and one suitable for reference, I have ventured to call it “The Song of Dermot and the Earl.”

Though the existence of this MS. has long been known and an edition of the French text was published in 1837, it has never been translated, nor annotated in any useful way. Writers in general have been acquainted with its contents only through the medium of a very inaccurate Summary or Abstract in English made by Sir George Carew in the time of James I, or rather through a still more inaccurate reproduction of this Summary printed in the eighteenth century, and consequently they have never had a fair opportunity of  p.vii estimating the historical value of the MS. or of properly utilizing its contents. Mr. Freeman, in writing his history of the Norman Conquest of England, has shown to what valuable use as authorities the rhymed Chronicles of Wace and Benoit de St. Maur may be put in skilful hands. The future historian of the Norman Invasion of Ireland may perhaps be able to utilize this little poem in an analogous way.

Apart from its value as a material of history, an Anglo-Norman text written in Ireland, as there is every reason to suppose this was, is sufficiently rare to justify its study from the point of view of language alone. In England at one time it seemed as if the French language was about to gain the upper hand, at any rate as the language of literature and of the educated classes, but this can never have been the case in Ireland, where French was spoken only by some of the leaders and early settlers in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and by a few friars and monks educated in France. All the more precious then is one of the very few Irish examples of Anglo-Norman rhymes saved from the wreck of the past.

I have to express my obligations to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury for permission to transcribe the manuscript and to have a reproduction made of one of its pages, and to Mr. S. W. Kershaw, F.S.A., the Librarian at Lambeth Palace, for his courtesy to me during my frequent visits to the library. I also desire to thank Mr. F. York Powell of Christ Church, Oxford,  p.viii for suggestions and advice readily given throughout the preparation of this little book, and to express the hope that, whatever may be amiss in any of its departments—historical, topographical or linguistic— the student of this eventful period of Irish history, for whom especially the book is written, may find in it—in O'Huidhrin's phrase—“an addition of knowledge on sacred Erin.”

December 1891.



Description of the MS. There is only one MS. copy of this poem or chronicle known to exist. It is preserved among the Carew MSS. at Lambeth Palace Library, where it is numbered 596. It is unfortunately only a fragment. Some lines, probably not very many, are wanting at its commencement, which is in the nature of an exordium, but as the narrative closes abruptly it is impossible to say how much is lost at the end. The present copy is undoubtedly a transcript, and, according to M. Francisque Michel, is in a fourteenth-century hand. According to the best opinion I can form, however, the handwriting might with more likelihood be placed in the last quarter of the thirteenth century. As a collotype reproduction of a page of the MS. is published with this text, palaeographers can judge of its date for themselves. At least one line has been omitted in this transcript after lines 424, 487, 1802, and 2863, and there is reason to believe that a still larger omission occurs after line 2993 (see Notes). The MS. is written on vellum in double columns of 37 or 38 lines to the column, and 46 pages remain. The double columns are 8.5 inches in height by 6.5 inches in width. Lines 1940–1978 are by a different hand from that by which the rest was written. The lines are normally octosyllabic rhymed couplets with an additional post-tonic syllable in the feminine endings, but the atonic syllable of the first foot is often wanting, and many of the lines, in their present form at least, show other irregularities. The separate paragraphs into which the poem is divided are headed by  p.xii large capitals (sometimes omitted) in red or green paint, and after the first page a space is left between the initial letters and the rest of the lines. These initial letters themselves are ornamented with a dash of red paint. At the top of the first page have been added the words “Fragmentum Historiae Hiberniae Gal. carmine.” At the foot of page i there is the letter T, at the foot of page 17 the letter V, and at the foot of page 39 the letter W. These letters appear to correspond with the 'gatherings,' or bundles of the skins as arranged for binding, and perhaps indicate that our MS. was at one time bound up with others. They are, however, subsequent in date to the MS., though, I think, older than the pagination, which was probably added in Sir George Carew's time. The existing leaves appear to be arranged as follows:—the first 16 pages form 4 double leaves, sewn in the middle between pp. 8 and 9. The 9th leaf (pp. 17–18) is a single one, and the short end turns up between pp. 38 and 39, where, however, there is no lacuna in the MS. It may originally have been a double leaf turning up at the commencement and containing the opening lines, with perhaps an illuminated letter or picture. The fact that this leaf contains the subscribed letter V on p. 17, seems, no doubt, to indicate that it was the first, and not the last, leaf of a gathering; but, as before remarked, this lettering is not coeval with the MS., and may have been added after the opening leaf had been cut off and when the single leaf, as at present, formed the first leaf of the next gathering. In fact the lettering was very probably coeval with the heading “Fragmentum Historiae”, &c. already mentioned. The next 20 pages (19–38) are formed by 5 double leaves, sewn in the middle between pp. 28 and 29, and the last 8 pages (39–46) appear to be single leaves. From this it seems probable, (1) that the gatherings consisted normally of 5 double leaves each; (2) that one single leaf, originally forming with pp. 17–18 a double leaf, has been lost at the commencement; (3) that at  p.xiii least 4 leaves completing the present single leaves have been lost at the end.

Bound up at present with the vellum MS. and following it on paper are certain fragments of Anglo-Irish Annals in Latin, an Abstract in English of the French text made by or under the direction of Sir George Carew, and certain lists of names mentioned in the text and in other documents contained in the volume or in the Expugnatio Hibernica of Giraldus, all of which are described in the Calendar of Carew MSS. Another copy of Carew's Abstract is preserved in the Clarendon Collection in the British Museum (Ayscough 4792). It has on the outer skin the signature 'Mathew Plunckett.' There is also a copy in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.

Previous works in relation to the MS. Carew's Abstract of the Chronicle was printed in 1747 by Walter Harris in his Hibernica, and again in 1770; but it is only fair to say that many of the blunders and absurdities which disfigure this production are due to the editor or printer and are not to be found in the original Abstract, though it, too, shows a misunderstanding of many passages and contains several imperfections and blemishes. For many years Irish historians had before them nothing but Harris's blundering production, and consequently the Chronicle did not receive the attention at their hands that it deserved. In 1837, however, the French text, edited by M. Francisque Michel, was published by William Pickering, and this edition, though by no means free from errors, was a great boon to those who could read the language in which the poem is written. A few glossarial notes were added, but no translation was attempted. There is indeed an introduction to Michel's text, written by Mr. Thomas Wright, which purports to incorporate the substance of the story told here with the materials supplied by Giraldus and other authorities; but owing to the writer's ignorance on the subject of Irish topography and nomenclature, as well as to an occasional misunderstanding  p.xiv of the text with which he was dealing, very little was really added to what was already known on the subject.

Use to which the MS. has been put. I can find no mention of this MS. earlier than Carew's time, nor do I think that it was used in any of the earlier accounts of 'the conquest,' to which, as Campion says of his own Chronicle, Gerald of Wales was “the onely Author that ministred some indifferent furniture.” “Mauritus Regan” is noticed by Ware among the writers of Ireland in the 12th century. This book of Ware's, De Scriptoribus Hiberniae, was published in 1639, and in his De Hibernia et Antiquitatibus ejus Disquisitiones, first published in 1654, he made some use of Carew's Abstract of this poem, especially in the passage on the distribution of the lands granted by Henry II to Earl Richard and to Hugh de Lacy (pp. 233–237). A similar passage occurs in Ware's note to Spenser's View of the State of Ireland (Reprint 1809), where he says that Carew's “Translation” was communicated to him by Archbishop Ussher. This book was first published in 1633, but I cannot find the note in that edition. Sir Richard Cox collected materials for his Hibernia Anglicana, published in 1689, from the Lambeth Library, and made considerable use of this poem as represented by Carew's Abstract, the mistakes of which he reproduces; and so with subsequent writers, such as Lyttelton, Leland, O'Halloran, Gordon, Moore, &c.; they seem to have known “Regan,” as they call their authority, only through Harris's incorrect reproduction thereof; and similarly, even long after the appearance of Michel's text, writers, such as Gerald Supple, Martin Haverty and others, have known only the English version, until Miss Katherine Norgate, in her Angevin Kings, and Professor G. T. Stokes, in his Lectures on Ireland and the Anglo-Norman Church, made a more critical use of portions of the text, though not without occasionally misunderstanding it.


The present Edition. In the present edition, I have aimed, in the first place, at producing a thoroughly trustworthy transcript of the MS. With this object I have carefully collated Michel's text with the MS. at Lambeth, and have found and corrected a considerable number of positive misreadings. I have also adhered to the original more closely than M. Michel aimed at doing. The text is, in fact, printed as nearly as possible as it has come down to us, except that the contractions have been expanded—the letters supplied being, however, printed in italics—and marks of punctuation have been added. In many cases a single word is divided in the MS., generally, but not always, according to its component parts; and, on the other hand, two or more words are often run into one. These peculiar word-divisions, where clearly marked, have been reproduced, and, where likely to deceive, noted. In some cases, as, for instance, in ll. 15, 2321, and 2860, they have been unintentionally reproduced by M. Michel and have misled commentators. Even the apparently arbitrary use of u and v has been followed. This may be thought to have been a superfluous labour, but graphic peculiarities of this kind are among the data which may enable palaeographers to fix the date and even the place of composition of a MS., and as this chronicle is preserved in a single MS. it is all the more important to have a transcript of it which, short of a facsimile, will as nearly as possible supply the place of the original should any accident happen to it. A literal line for line translation is printed side by side with the text, and this, together with the footnotes, will, it is hoped, obviate any difficulty to which the reproduction of the faults and peculiarities of the MS. might otherwise give rise. This method of translation gives no scope for reproducing the swing and spirit of the original, but in all translations something must be sacrificed, and I have thought that for students of history and of language it is impossible to adhere too closely to the text at whatever  p.xvi sacrifice of form. I should add that the MS. has no accents (except where noted), but the letter i (which also stands for j) is marked by a fine stroke like an acute accent. These marks seem to have been added after the text was written—at least they are in a somewhat lighter ink—and in several cases they have been omitted. It is noteworthy, too, that the letter z seems, in many cases at least, to have been an addition, for which however space was left. The Notes which follow the text in the present edition are mainly concerned with the identification of places, territories, tribes, and persons mentioned in the poem, and with references to the statements of Giraldus and of the Irish annalists and English chroniclers which corroborate, supplement, or are at variance with, the statements contained in the poem. At the end are added Indexes of the names of the persons and of the places mentioned in the poem, and a Glossary of the more unusual words and forms found in the text. I have also constructed a Map of Leinster and Meath, showing the positions of the principal territories and places, so far as they have been ascertained, at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion. With a few exceptions drawn from other sources, these names are all to be found in the topographical poems of O'Dubhagain and O'Huidhrin, which are believed to have been written in the years 1372 and 1420 respectively, and which give an account of the tribes and territories of Ireland prior to the English occupation. With regard to those names which appear in the text I have, where it seemed necessary, placed them in brackets underneath the corresponding Irish names. In locating the places mentioned in the topographical poems I must express my great obligations to the writings of the late Dr. John O'Donovan, without whose masterly elucidations of Irish topography I should never have attempted to construct this map. Frequent references throughout the notes will also be found to the Journal of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society, now the Royal Society of Antiquaries  p.xvii of Ireland, a publication which only requires a good comprehensive Index to make it extremely useful to writers on Irish history and antiquities.

Author of the Poem. As to the author of the poem and the date of its composition nothing is known beyond what can be gleaned from the poem itself. It is not even known where Carew got the MS. It has been much too broadly ascribed to Morice Regan. Carew himself appears to have been the first to give currency to this misconception. The MS. is bound up with a couple of outer plies of vellum, added to protect it, and one of these contains, in Carew's handwriting, on the upper left-hand comer, the signature, “G. Carew”, and the date “1617.” Underneath is the following title and description:—

An Historie of Irland

This old frenche ffragment wants bothe beginninge and endinge. Neverthelesse in the first tenne Lynes it appears that this storie was written by one called Maurice Regan (sometymes mentioned in this discourse) who was servant and interpreter unto Dermond M'Moroghe kinge of Leinster and put into frenche meeter by one of his familiar acquaintance. It endeth abruptlie at the winninge of Limericke which was not full 3 yeares after Robert fitz Stephen his first arrivall in Irland. 1

A note to the same effect heads Carew's abstract of the poem, on the margin of which, opposite the name Maurice Regan, is written “this Maurice Regan was the author of this Historie.”

Carew evidently drew this conclusion from the opening lines of the poem, which must be examined with some care. Now these opening lines have been repeatedly wrongly transcribed and wrongly interpreted. As printed in Harris's Hibernica they are pure gibberish, and the translation is  p.xviii of course wrong. These mistakes are, in the main, due to Harris and not to Carew, who does not translate the passage, nor in the Lambeth copy of Carew's Abstract is it transcribed. Lines 4–8 run thus in Harris's version:—

  1. Maurice Regan was the man,
    Who face to face indited to me
    These actions of the king,
    And of himself showed me this history.

Wright, in his introductory essay to Michel's edition, prints the correct text of the first eleven lines (except that he puts latinier for latimer) side by side with Harris's gibberish, which he wrongly attributes to Carew, and then gives his own literal translation; but, curiously enough, he seems to fall into precisely the same error as that which he attributes to Harris, namely, “that Regan had written the history.” Wright's version of these four lines is as follows:—

  1. Maurice Regan was he,
    I spoke mouth to mouth with him,
    Who endited this history,
    [Who] shewed me the history of him.

Now Wright has mistaken parla (the 3rd person) for parlai (the 1st), thus apparently making Regan the subject of endita and by rendering this latter word “endited” he has certainly done little to correct Harris's error. 2

The translation now offered, which makes Regan the subject of parla, and takes the words lui ki cest(e) iest(e) endita as referring to the anonymous writer of the geste, with whom Regan spake face to face, still leaves room for  p.xix a certain amount of doubt as to the making of the poem that has come down to us and as to Regan's exact contribution thereto. Apart for the moment from ll. 5 and 6, it seems clear from ll. 2 and 7 that the writer who speaks of himself in the 1st person derived his account directly from Morice Regan. Standing by itself l. 7 might mean no more than l. 2, but there are repeated references throughout the poem to la chanson, la geste, lestorie, and lescrit, as the authority for particular statements 3, and from these references taken in connection with the opening lines we must, I think, conclude that Morice Regan supplied the writer with a written chronicle of the events which had already been put into metre, so to deserve the name of a chanson. Morice Regan, Dermot's faithful latimer, may have himself kept such a chronicle, and our rhymer appears not to have been the first to translate and versify the materials. In dealing with a fragmentary passage such as that before us, there is an inevitable risk of misapprehension; but I am inclined to think that the words lui ki cest(e) iest(e) endita (ll. 5 and 6) refer, not to the person intended by the words moi and me in ll. 2 and 7, but to the writer of this pre-existing geste, chanson, or estorie. This supposition will, at any rate, account for the change from the 1st to the 3rd person. That our writer did not rely solely on the written materials  p.xx supplied to him may be inferred from the fact that he repeatedly quotes as his authority common report, or the statement of old people 4 while such phrases as cum il me fud endite l. 177, solum le dist de mun cuntur l. 407, cum il me fud cunte l. 2241, seem to point to some particular informant, perhaps Morice Regan himself.

Date of the Poem. As to the date of the poem we have first of all the statement that our author met Morice Regan in the flesh, and as the latter was employed on an important embassy to Wales in 1168, and was sent to summon Dublin to surrender in 1170, we can hardly place his birth later than about 1147. Supposing he was eighty years of age when he told the story to the writer we get 1227 as an outside date. Looking at the contents of the Chronicle we find that the narrative is brought regularly down in this fragment only to 1175 or 1176, but there are two allusions pointing to a much later date. First with regard to archbishop Laurence O'Toole, it is stated in l. 1844 Que Seint Laurence pus ert clame. Now, though he died on the 14th November 1180, he was not canonized until the 11th December 1225, and prior to his canonization he could hardly have been called Saint Laurence. 5 Lines  p.xxi 1843–4 have, however, the appearance of being a subsequent addition or interpolation, and there are not wanting indications that the original text has been altered in this passage (see foot-note to text, ll. 1837–42); but, however this may be, from another allusion we cannot place the composition of the poem, in its present form at least, earlier than the beginning of the 13th century. I refer to the passage (ll. 3040–3057) where Philip de Prendergast, the son of Maurice, is described and is stated to have married the daughter (Maud) of Robert de Quency, and to have long held the constableship of Leinster (cf. ll. 2823–6). The sketch of Philip's character, I may remark, is very graphic and reads like a description from personal observation. 6 Now we know from this poem that Maud de Quency was born in 1172 or 1173 (cf. ll. 2744, 2807, 2819), and therefore she could hardly have been married to Philip de Prendergast before 1190. In another way we get an outside limit to the date of this marriage. On an inquisition in A. D. 1251 as to the lands and heirs of Gerald or Gerard de Prendergast, son of Philip by Maud de Quency, it was found that by his first wife, sister to Theobald Pincerna, Gerald left one surviving daughter who married John de Cogan and left an only son then aged eight years. 7 This grandson of Gerald was therefore born in 1243. His mother, Gerald's daughter, must have been born not later than about 1223, and Gerald himself not later than about 1200. So Philip de Prendergast must have married Maud de Quency between 1190 and 1199, probably near the earlier date. Now he apparently obtained the constableship in right of his wife, and the poem says he held it for a long time. We can fix Philip's death as having  p.xxii occurred between 1227 and 1231 8 and though the poem does not speak of him as having been dead, the statement that he held the constableship plus longement (or mult longement, which is, perhaps, the correct reading) could not have been made very much before 1225, or, at any rate, not until after the commencement of the 13th century. On the other hand, if we are to suppose that Morice Regan supplied the writer with materials shortly before the poem was written, we cannot place its date very long after 1225. Accordingly we must fix upon some time very soon after 1225, or assuming the allusion to St. Laurence to be an interpolation, some time earlier in the 13th century, as the probable date of the poem in its present form. So much for the immediate original of the transcript which has come down to us. Can we determine anything about the pre-existing geste or estorie with which Morice Regan supplied our author? Now it is a remarkable fact that, with the exception of these two allusions to the canonized Laurence O'Toole and to Philip de Prendergast, the former of which was probably an interpolation, there is nothing in the poem, so far as I have observed, pointing to a later date than 1177, unless, perhaps, the commonplace expressions referring to the statements of old people. Indeed even the reference to Miles de Cogan as “afterwards lord of Mount Brandon” (ll. 1652–5)—a place included in the grant to him made at the Council of Oxford in 1177—is introduced in a somewhat forced manner suggestive of subsequent interpolation. The grant to Miles de Cogan and Robert Fitz-Stephen of the kingdom of Cork would more  p.xxiii naturally have been mentioned, had it already taken place, along with the elaborate account of the subinfeudation of Leinster and Meath. At any rate, we might have expected that changes in the grants there mentioned, as for instance the substitution in 1181 of lands in Leix for the lands in Kildare given to Meiler, would have been noticed had they already taken place. The account of the attack on Slane Castle (ll. 3184–3201), which is mentioned out of the chronological order, seems also to have been an afterthought. Certainly ll. 3202–7 read as if they were written to follow immediately after the account of the subinfeudation of Leinster and Meath. A similar inference may be drawn from l. 2341, where it is said that Richard de Cogan made his famous sortie from Dublin “par la dute del Occident”. The word “dute” is obscure, but it is sufficiently clear that the western gate is intended. Now the “porta occidentalis” is mentioned in a grant made by the citizens of Dublin in 1185 when John de Curci was Justiciar and preserved in the Register of the Abbey of St. Thomas, Dublin; and from a subsequent grant it appears that this gate, or more probably a new gate erected on its site, was afterwards known as the “Porta Nova” 9. Mr. J. T. Gilbert, in his History of Dublin (vol. 1, p. 237), says, “the date of the erection of the New-gate has not been ascertained, but from the charter of the Hospital of St. John it appears to have been standing in 1188.” If I am right then in supposing that it replaced the Porta Occidentalis, it must have been erected between 1185 and 1188. Now had this New Gate been in existence at the time when this account of the Norwegian attack was written it would in all probability have been mentioned. No certain conclusion can be drawn from negative evidence of this kind; still it bears out the impression gained from reading the whole  p.xxiv poem, viz. that the writer whose date we have approximately fixed as soon afler the year 1225, or perhaps a little earlier in the 13th century, did not add much to the pre-existing geste or chanson supplied to him by Morice Regan; that this pre-existing poem was written long before 1225 and probably soon after Strongbow's death in 1176, with which event it may well have ended; and consequently that the account we have before us, whenever it was written, is substantially a reproduction of the account of a contemporary writer. There is yet another important consideration which seems to support the above view. It is difficult to suppose that anybody writing in the first half of the 13th century on the subject of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland should have been unacquainted with the works of Giraldus on the same subject; and yet while in the main our author and Giraldus corroborate one another, they do not always narrate the same events, and even when they do there is just such difference of treatment and divergence in details as might have been expected in writers who derived their information from distinct sources. The fact that both writers connect the rape of Dervorgil with Dermot's expulsion and ignore or slur over the lapse of fourteen years between the two events might at first sight seem to show that the later writer borrowed from the earlier; but the Annals of Clonmacnoise, under the year 1166, also affirm this connection, Which was evidently the popular view of the matter, and, as pointed out in the note to line 27, the popular view was not far wrong. On the whole I think there is no ground for concluding that this poem was in any respect derived from the Expugnatio. It seems to me to be an entirely independent authority for the facts it records, while the absence of any distinct reliance on the Expugnatio confirms the view that our poem is in substance the work of a writer who wrote before the Expugnatio was published.

History of the MS. As I have said, it is not known where  p.xxv Carew got the MS. The following considerations seem, however, to point to a probable answer to this question. As already mentioned, the covering skin of the MS. has upon it under Carew's autograph the date 1617. At first sight it seems natural to conclude that this was the date of Carew's acquisition of the MS., but an examination of all the Carew MSS. at Lambeth will show that this date appears on fourteen of them, and as it also appears on the first volume of the original Catalogue made by Carew and now preserved at Lambeth, the hypothesis suggests itself that this date merely denotes the period when the MSS. bearing it were catalogued. But this hypothesis will not account for all the facts, as some, at any rate, of the volumes apparently catalogued in 1617 are expressly stated to have been compiled at an earlier date. 10 On the other hand, of the books dated 1617, No. 597, Pelham's Letter Book, is stated by Mr. Brewer to have been acquired in this year, 11 and No. 599, the Book of Pedigrees, is stated in the heading to have been copied in the year 1617. On the whole I think it probable that Carew did receive a considerable accession of MSS. in this year, comprising, besides those already mentioned, the following vellum MSS., viz. Bray's Conquest of Ireland and perhaps the Old French Poem on the Deposition of Richard II now bound up with the former (No. 598), the works of Giraldus relating to Ireland (No. 622), and the Essay, to be presently described, by James Yonge (No. 633). This accession of MSS. may have induced Carew to commence his catalogue and to group his papers then existing in a loose state into the other volumes bearing the date in question. The mere fact that he has placed our MS. in the forefront of his catalogue, marking it A, suggests that its acquisition was the immediate cause of the making of the catalogue. Mr. Brewer, the able editor of the Calendar of the Carew MSS.,  p.xxvi has made no attempt to trace the history of the MSS., nor even to set forth the order in which the volumes were obtained or compiled. He gives however, as an Appendix to the Introduction to vol. 2 of the Calendar, a list of all the Carew MSS., equating the old letter marks, consisting of the single, double, and triple alphabets, affixed by Carew, with the present numbering; and a comparison of this list with the contents of the MSS. themselves will show that all the MSS. dated 1617 are included in the single letter notation and in the first two volumes of the double letter notation, whereas those volumes, which, from their containing documents of later date, can be shown to have been compiled after 1617, are all, except XX, now No. 635, included in the triple letter notation. I conclude that in 1617, when the catalogue was commenced, the library consisted of all those books marked with a single letter and all those marked with a double letter up to TT, which was compiled in 1611. The volume marked VV, now No. 632, contains documents relating to Waterford, which, as will be presently shown, were probably copied in this year, but the volume may not have been completed until subsequently. Vol. WW is missing. Vol. XX, now No. 635, contains documents of date subsequent to 1617, as do nearly all of those marked with a triple letter which are still to be found. It therefore seems probable that our first impression was correct, and that the date 1617 on our MS. indicates the date of its acquisition by Carew. Now on the 21st February in this year, 1617, instructions were sent to the Earl of Thomond, Lord President of Munster, and Sir William Jones, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, to seize into the king's hands the liberties of the city of Waterford and to demand all the charters and evidences belonging to the corporation, and among other things “such plate, jewells, and other treasure as remayneth in the custoddie of any of them for the publique use and behoofe of that toune.” On the 5th March following, these commissioners  p.xxvii report that they had carried out their instructions and had received thirteen of the city charters and had locked them up together with other things “in a chest of theires [i.e. the corporation's] in the Arundell Towre where all theire writinges are.” 12 Now in vol. 632 of the Carew MSS. 13 there are copies of a number of charters, grants and other documents touching Waterford, including some letters from Henry VII to the mayor and citizens about Perkin Warbeck, and it seems clear that these were among the documents seized in March 1617, and that Carew was enabled to take copies of them. If the four vellum MSS. bearing the date 1617 had been among the writings in that chest in the Arundell Tower it is certain that Carew, who was an ardent collector of historical documents relating to Ireland, would have made every effort to retain them, and the date 1617, affixed to each of them by Carew beneath his autograph, suggests that this was the occasion of their acquisition.

There is, however, some further evidence indicating the person through whom Carew may have got the MSS. Donough O'Brian, Earl of Thomond, who, as already mentioned, was chief of the Commission appointed to seize the liberties of Waterford, was a friend of Carew, who describes him in the year 1611 (Car. Cal. p. 147) as “an extraordinary well-deserving lord”, and in 1617 he occupied Carew's former position of Lord President of Munster. Now it appears from the heading to the Book of Pedigrees,  p.xxviii Car. MS. 599, that this book, containing the “descentes of ye meere Irishe families” and “formed by sondry collections of ye Earl of Thomond”, was copied for Carew in the year 1617. 14 Here we have direct evidence of one MS. coming from the Earl of Thomond in the year 1617, and, taken in connection with what has been already stated, this fact strengthens the supposition that this Commissioner, having seized a number of charters and other writings at Waterford in this year, gave Carew the opportunity of copying the former and of acquiring the vellum MSS. dated by him 1617, including our Old French Poem. That the corporation of Waterford should have had the custody of this MS. at this time is not improbable or without parallel. The Harleian MS. 913, which was in part at any rate the work of Frere Michel Kyldare, and which contains the Anglo-Norman poem on the building of the walls of Ross, written in the year 1265, was at one time in the possession of George Wyse, bailiff of Waterford in 1566 and mayor in 1571, and appears to have been known in 1608 as the Book of Rosse or Waterford. 15 It has been suggested that this book had previously been preserved in the Benedictine Abbey of St. John near Waterford, as a grant of this Abbey was made to William Wyse, possibly the father of George Wyse, in the year 1536. With regard to our MS., however, I am more inclined to associate it with the Dominican Friary of St. Saviour, known as the Blackfriars, afterwards the Courthouse, at Waterford. This friary was founded by the citizens in 1226, and at its dissolution on the 2nd April, 1541, it is said to have contained among other things “a library” 16. It was granted to James White in 1542, probably the James White who was  p.xxix mayor of Waterford in that year. This James White had a special commission as Justice of Wexford in 1538, and from letters of his to Crumwell 17 it is evident that he was an ardent reformer and upholder of Henry's claims.

Now in the 13th century there was a distinguished alumnus of this coenobium known as Gotofrid, or, as he calls himself, “Jofroi de Watreford de I'ordene az freres precheors le mendre.” From his writings, three of which at least have come down to us, it is inferred that he was acquainted with Greek, Latin, Arabic and French, and that he had travelled in the East and lived for a long period in France. He is mentioned among the Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum18 but the best account of his works is to be found in an article by M. Victor le Clerc, in the Histoire Litteraire de la France19. He translated into French, (i) the book of the Trojan war by the pseudonymous Dares the Phrygian, (2) the History of the Romans by Eutropius, and (3) the Secretum Secretorum, an apocryphal treatise of Aristotle. 20 This last work is  p.xxx addressed to a patron, “a nobles bers prouz et sages”, whose name unfortunately does not appear. It is far from being a literal translation, but contains “many good words, not less profitable, borrowed from other works of authority.” It ends quite in the Irish manner:—“ceus qui cest liure liront prient por frere Iofroi de Watreford et por seruais copale qui cest trauail empristrent & par layde dedeu lont achief menei. & ausi le liure dares le frigien de la gerre detroi. & ausi le liure de” [word erased, read etropius] “du regne des romains. Cest liure est fini.” 21 The MS. containing these three works along with other writings is ascribed to the 13th century. It formerly belonged to the Bibliothèque de Colbert, and passed from it to the Bibliothèque Royale, and is now in the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris, where it is numbered 1822.

It would certainly be rash to conclude that Jofroi was the writer of our Poem. Indeed, judging from the excerpts from his writings printed in the above-mentioned works, his language is much purer French than that of our text, and is free from some of its dialectical peculiarities. As, however, both MSS. are probably transcripts, and our text has certainly been corrupted, no conclusive argument can be drawn from the exact forms of words used. At any rate, the fact that a monk of the Blackfriars of Waterford in the 13th century could write so freely in French as Jofroi did, and was ready to apply his pen to translating purely secular works, shows at least that there were Dominicans there who understood and valued books of the class to which our MS. belongs, and that there is nothing improbable in the supposition that the transcript which has come down to us was made for them and was preserved for three centuries in their  p.xxxi library, and indeed never left Waterford until the year 1617. Furthermore, from a doggerel couplet scribbled in an early hand at the end of James Yonge's Essay, Car. MS. 633, which we have already seen reason to suppose was obtained at the same time and place as our MS., there are express grounds for associating that MS. with the Dominicans. This couplet, written three times in a small professional hand, runs as follows:—

  1. Gratia nulla perit nisi gratia blakmonachorum
    Est et semper erit litill thanke in fine laborum.
A somewhat similar sentiment is expressed on the preceding page under the roughly drawn figure of a man in an early Tudor dress:—
  1. Farewell adue I must nedes goo hens
    My labour is lost I gett no pens.

This MS. is also remarkable from another point of view, for it proves that Jofroi's translation of the Secreta Secretorum was known in Waterford in the beginning of the 15th century. Like Jofroi's work, it purports to be a translation of this apocryphal treatise of Aristotle, though this fact is not noted in the Calendar of Carew Papers. Another and perhaps earlier version of the same work is preserved in the Bodleian Library, and is stated by Mr. J. T. Gilbert to be “the earliest known composition of any length written in English by an Anglo-Irish author.” It is dedicated to “Yow nobyll and gracious lorde Jamys de Botiller, Erle of Ormonde, lieutenant of our lege lorde kynge henry the fyfte in Irlande,” (A. D. 1419–22); and a comparison of its preface with that of Jofroi will alone show that Yonge had Jofroi's translation before him. 22


Historical value of the Chronicle. Though, owing to the want of a good working edition of this poem or chronicle, historians have not fully availed themselves of its materials, yet its historical importance has often been noted. Thus Harris in his preface to Hibernica says:—“Whoever writes the History of Ireland during the English Period must make this Piece the main Basis of his Account; and the Defects of our Author must be supplied from Cambrensis.” Again, Mr. Dimock, the editor of the Topographia and Expugnatio Hibernica of Giraldus in the Rolls Series, speaking of this poem, which he frequently cites, says:—“There is every reason to accept it as simple prosaic truth, according to the writer's best belief and information, put into simple rhyme; and in rhyme though it be, its history, I have not a doubt, is far more accurately true than Giraldus's poetical prose. Sometimes it gives a strong general confirmation to Giraldus's narration, but the particulars often are very different. Its heroes are not always the same as the heroes of Giraldus; and while it has nothing of some events related by him, it dwells, on the other hand, on other events and persons passed over by him in silence.” 23


The Rev. G. T. Stokes, Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the University of Dublin, has, indeed, drawn on some of the materials supplied by this chronicle in his earlier Lectures on “Ireland and the Anglo-Norman Church”, and has ably shown to what valuable use they may be put. He too bears witness to the accuracy and truth of the poem, and says (p. 72):—“The more carefully you study this Anglo-Norman poem, the more thoroughly you will trust it. It is evidently based on original documents. It fixes dates, Church festivals, mentions the precise periods during which the armies reposed, the roads they took, the rivers they crossed, and many other topographical details which have escaped the notice of the editor, Mr. Wright.”

The critical judgment as to the value of our poem by such writers as Mr. Dimock and Professor Stokes, who have studied the original text, far outweighs the adverse opinions of Lord Lyttelton, Mr. Moore, and even of Dr. O' Donovan, who were acquainted only with the inaccurate printed copy of Carew's faulty Abstract.

The chronicle is written from the point of view of Dermot and his allies. Indeed had the writer not told us so himself we should have concluded that his information was mainly derived from a devoted follower of Dermot. The very absence, however, of any sort of moral condemnation for anything done, except for treachery towards Dermot which is always committed à tort and the simplicity and directness of the narrative render it probable that it is a truthful account of what came within the writer's sources of information. His knowledge of Irish topography and Irish nomenclature  p.xxxiv compares favourably with that of Giraldus. The orthographic rather than phonetic forms adopted for some of the Irish names, such as Hathcleyth (l. 2210) for Ath-Cliath, Hachedur (l. 1012) for Achadh-ur, Kinelogin (l. 3258) for Cinel-eoghan, together with the use of the word “langport” (Ir. longphort) for camp, seem to show that the writer had an Irishman at his elbow; while the frequent employment of the tags and commonplaces of the trouvères proves his acquaintance with the rhymed chronicles and chansons de geste of the time. I have already remarked that the narrative appears to be quite independent of the works of Giraldus. The writer's freedom from the family bias of the Geraldine has probably enabled him to make a juster estimate of the relative merits of the invaders. We hear at least as much of the prowess of Earl Richard and of the de Cogans as we do of that of the Geraldines, and much is said in these pages of the probity and valour of Maurice de Prendergast, while Giraldus merely records his landing. Incidental allusions the accuracy of which can be verified—such as the mention of Robert Harding of Bristol and his monastery of St. Austin's (ll. 232, 302), the references to the Steine and Howe at Dublin (ll. 2269 and 2321) and to the names of the city gates (ll. 2333 and 2341), the mention of Henry's place of embarkation in Wales, La Croiz (2590), and of Raymond's home, Karreu, (l. 2860)—prove the correctness and the independence of our author's information.

Language and versification. With reference to language and versification, the poem, as M. Michel says, is faulty in style and very corrupt in its language. At the same time there are many indications that the poem as originally written was much freer from blemishes than the transcript that has come down to us. Again and again it will be found that a line, the metre of which is faulty, can be set right by some obvious grammatical correction. I have not in general thought it necessary to suggest such changes in the footnotes.


While in many cases to make the requisite alteration is sufficiently easy, to do this exhaustively, so as to make all the lines metrically and grammatically correct, would involve a reconstruction of the text which, with only a single MS. to go upon, would often be extremely problematical. In the case of Anglo-Norman texts written in England (or Ireland) it cannot be assumed that the lines were originally either faultless in metre or strictly grammatical in form, and it is well known that in England by the beginning of the 13th century the old rules of declension were rapidly falling into decay. Where, however, the reading of the MS. leaves the sense obscure, and in some other cases where it seemed useful, I have suggested corrections in the footnotes and adopted them in the translation.

With respect to the rhymes, which in general, with a few obvious corrections, seem accurate enough, it may be useful to make the following remarks:—
In apparent derogation of the rule that e proceeding from the Latin a only rhymes with an e of similar origin, we have the rhymes pe (pedem): naufre 1953: meyne 2385: lesse 2876, and pes: heistez 1096; muiller: per (parem) 2833: guerrer (guerrier) 3062; fer (ferum): herberger 2941: lesser 2986, &c. These examples, however, all come within the recognised exception that when the Latin e open, tonic, free (to adapt the convenient terminology of French phonetics) does not become the diphthong ie it rhymes with e=a. The rhymes fiez: fublez 596–7, feiz: turnez 2673–4, and feez: citez 3010–11 are explained by treating fiez (which we should read in each case) as proceeding from vicem + the suffix -atam.

Instances of silent consonants before s or z are—poestifz (elsewhere written poestis): Henriz 242–3; nefs: arives 469; gentilz (elsewhere gentis): pris 1003; detrefs (elsewhere detres): escriez 2363; Mechins: tramis 2162: amis 3355; meins (mensem elsewhere meis): reis 309: conqueis 2972; pirs (pejus perhaps read pis): pais 2530: enemis 3183; volt (elsewhere  p.xxxvi vout: out 319. Careless rhymes are:—souders: armez 1897: aprestez 3380, but: poigners 3366; Dermod usually rhymes with vout, out, and the impfs. in -out of the 1st conj., but: Weyseford 1392; trestute: buche 3268–9 is a suspicious rhyme. In the following there is neither rhyme nor assonance:—demure (or demore): Leynistere 74–5; paumer: traitur 182–3, unless we suppose a form palmor; chevaler: partir 392–3, unless we suppose the verb assimilated to the first conjugation.

It may also be noted that the nasal -um=-ons: un (on) e.g. accomplerum: reisun 144–5, lisum: barun 1064–5. Similarly champ: garant 674–5, champ(e): blanc 2447–8. The rhyme meins (minus): anciens 2677–8, might seem to point to a form, ancieins but we have elsewhere anciens: quens. The diphthong ui is sometimes reduced to u:—thus we have not only nuit: brut 1312–13, and: dedut 808–9, where we might read bruit and deduit but also nuiz: venuz 1981–2, and nuit: jut 2137–8.

As in Norman texts, generally, we have ei usually retained for oi. Again, ie is generally reduced to e, and the past part, fern, in ee has lost the post-tonic e.

The impfs. of the 1st conj. are regularly in -out, but we have exceptionally ameit 53, and pleideit 2104; but this last is perhaps from the form pleidir, cf. Bozon, Société des Anciens Textes Français. Gloss. Conversely we have se pleniout 100 from se pleindre. There are indeed some instances of verbs in -eir, -re and -ir having been assimilated, at least in the infinitive, to the first conj.

Thus we have saver 622, aver (:feffer 435: mester 2731), poer as a verbal subst. 44; tener 776, 2838; ver=veeir 476; assente (for assenti 2371, cf. Bozon Société des Anciens Textes Français where the verb is assimilated to the 1st conj.; tollet 218, but elsewhere tolir 2708. There are however indications that this assimilation had proceeded much further when the present transcript was made than at the date of the original composition. Thus the rhymes asailler: mentir 1032–3, asailer: partir 1574–5;  p.xxxvii asaillerent: defendirent 3192–3, show that the occasional reduction of asaillir to the 1st conjugation was the work of the copyist. The same may, I think, be said of the rhymes adurez: tapez 714–15, as elsewhere we have the form aduriz in rhyme, and syverent: virent 546–7.

Literary Qualities. As to the literary qualities of our poem, great allowances have to be made for the corrupt form in which the text has come down to us, and of course poetry in the sense of imaginative art is not to be looked for. Still this fragment seems to stand somewhere between the chanson de geste proper and the mere rhymed chronicle. It deals with heroes, though the heroes were real and, perhaps, contemporary men, and the cause for which they fought was not a noble one. We have constantly presented to our view the handful of mail-clad Norman knights and well-armed followers pitted against hordes of undisciplined and ill-armed “traitors”, and the conflicts between them form so many graphic battle-pictures. The repulse of the attack on Raymond's camp with the remorseless executions that follow; the desperate sortie of the 600 from the siege of Dublin, and the dispersion of O'Conor's enormous host, “like wandering cattle”, the furious attempt by John the Wode and the Northmen to recover their city, and their final discomfiture, are all told with simplicity and vigour. There is a touch of real chivalry in the conduct of Maurice de Prendergast when he braves the wrath of his comrades and crosses swords with his allies rather than permit an act of base treachery to a foe whom he has sworn to protect; and there is a stroke of something like humour in the advice of Miles de Cogan to the Irish chieftain to watch the battle from afar and join in with the victors.

Unknown author

English translation

    The song of Dermot and the Earl


    An Old French Poem

  1. {}By his own interpreter
    Who told to me the history of him,
    Of which I here make record.
    This man was Morice Regan,
    Face to face he spake to him
    Who related this geste:
    The history of him he showed me.
    This Morice was interpreter
    To King Dermot, who loved him much.
    Here I shall leave off about the bachelor,
    About King Dermot I will tell you.
  2. In Ireland, at this day,
    There was no more worthy king:
    Very rich and powerful he was;
    He loved the generous, he hated the mean. p.5
    He by his power
    Had taken and conquered
    O'Neil and Meath in his war;
    Hostages he brought to Leinster:
    He brought with him O'Carroll,
    The son of the king of Uriel.
  3. Now in Leath-Cuinn there was a king,
    O'Rourke he was called in Irish,
    In Tirbrun, the barren, he dwelt,
    A waste and woody land.
    But O'Rourke, the rich king,
    Had a beautiful wife at this time,
    The daughter of King Melaghlin
    To whom Meath was suject.
    Melaghlin was lord of Meath;
    Whoever would tell you the truth,
    She was of the stock
    Of the good old Melaghlin;
    He was sprung from the lineage
    Of Melaghlin of the bold heart,
    The son of Coleman, the rich king,
    Who was so well-bred and courteous.
    About Melaghlin I will leave off,
    About King Dermot I will tell.
  4. Dermot, king of Leinster,
    Whom this lady loved so much,
    Made pretence to her of loving, p.7
    While he did not love her at all,
    But only wished to the utmost of his power
    To avenge, if he could, the great shame
    Which the men of Leath-Cuinn wrought of old
    On the men of Leath-Mogha in his territory.
    King Dermot often sent word
    To the lady whom he so loved—
    By letter and by messenger,
    Often did the king send word
    That she was altogether, in truth,
    The thing in the world that he most loved;
    Thus he besought her very often
    For her true love covertly.
    And the lady sent him word
    By a secret messenger
    That she would do all his will:
    To the king who is so renowned
    She returns answer again,
    Both by word of mouth and by letter,
    That he should come for her in such manner
    With all the host of Leinster
    And by force and by war
    Should carry her away with him from the land;
    That she would let King Dermot know
    In what place he should take her
    Where she should be in concealment,
    That he might freely carry her off: p.9
    In what place, in short, she should be
    Where he might freely carry her off.
  5. The king summoned speedily
    All his men throughout Leinster,
    To come to him without delay
    From Ossory and from Leinster;
    And he let them all know
    That he wished to go against Leath-Cuinn,
    To avenge, if he could, the shame
    Which these men wrought of yore;
    The shame which they had wrought of yore
    In Leath-Mogha, in his territory.
  6. Promptly they came
    At the king's command.
    When all were assembled,
    Against Leath-Cuinn they turned straightway;
    Night and day they marched forward
    Rich and poor, small and great.
    Why should I go on telling you more?
    Into Tirbrun came the valiant king.
    Now the lady had sent word
    To King Dermot where she was,
    That he should come with his men
    And promptly carry her off
    King Dermot immediately
    Came marching to the place
    Where the lady had sent word.
    That she would be ready. p.11
    In this way Dermot the king
    Carried off the lady at this time.
  7. O Rourke bitterly complained
    For his wife whom he had lost;
    While he offered very fierce battle
    To the men of Leinster.
    But, my lords, King Dermot
    Then brought the lady away with him,
    Nor ever ceased marching
    From thence to the midst of Hy Kinsellagh.
    And the lady for a good long time
    Was there, as people say:
    At Ferns she was placed for her abode,
    As people say, in this manner.
  8. O Rourke, much grieving,
    To Connaught went in all haste.
    To the king of Connaught he relates all;
    Bitterly he complains of the shame,
    How the king of Leinster
    Came upon him in such manner,
    Took his wife by force from him,
    And placed her at Ferns for her abode.
    To the king of Connaught of the outrage
    Bitterly he complains, and of the injury;
    Very earnestly he besought him
    To make ready for him
    Some of his household and of his men
    So that he could avenge his shame.
  9.  p.13
  10. The king of Connaught sent word
    To the king of Ossory, in the first place,
    That he should not fail their king
    But should come to their aid.
    And these men fully promised him
    That they would make him king in that territory
    If they could cast out of it
    King Dermot who was so bold.
    And this man immediately revolted
    Against his lord, King Dermot;
    And Melaghlin, the traitor,
    Abandoned his lord;
    And Mac Torkil of Dublin
    Abandoned his lord at this moment.
    There joined in the treason
    Murrough O'Brien, an evil rebel,
    Whom the dogs devoured,
    As the song will tell you
    As soon as we shall complete it for you
    Further on in your story.
  11. When Dermot the noble king,
    Who was of so much worth,
    Saw that they had failed him
    Gossips, kinsmen, and friends,
    One day King Dermot took horse
    And brought with him some of his men,
    And went to seek the rebel O'Brien; p.15
    He wished to parley with him in secret.
    O'Brien, however, kept avoiding the king:
    With him he would not, either much or little,
    Parley or counsel aught
    Nor assistance give his lord.
  12. When king Dermot saw this
    That he could not parley with the rebel,
    The king immediately turned back
    Straight to the city of Ferns.
    At Ferns the king abode
    At an abbey that was there
    Of Saint Mary the Queen,
    Glorious lady and Virgin.
  13. Then the king devised
    A trick that he would play;
    How he might find the rebel
    And by cunning speak to him.
    To the Abbot the king sent word,
    That he should lend him a cope,
    A cope for a canon
    Or for a priest or for a monk.
  14. To Knoth then the king goes
    This time with the cope.
    At a dun of his he found him,
    As it was related to me.
    The king put on the cope
    Which trailed down to his feet, p.17
    So that one could not but take him
    For a Monk Regular.
  15. When the Palmer had come
    Before the traitor's house,
    The rebel, when he saw the king, straightway
    Hurried off towards the forest;
    For the wicked traitor
    Did not wish to recognise him as his lord.
    The rebel then shouts
    In a loud and strong voice:—
    'Wicked king, what do you seek?
    Be off with you at my bidding;
    And if you do not do so speedily
    I shall have you strung up to the wind.'
  16. When the king heard him,
    He was full of grief and wrath.
    The king was in great distress
    For the saying of the traitor
    Who had so menaced him
    And would string him up to the wind.
    The rich king returned
    Who was so liberal and courteous,
    Since the traitor revolted
    Against his rightful lord.
    All his men failed him
    Both of Leinster and of Ossory.
  17.  p.19
  18. When Dermot the king perceived
    That he was betrayed at this time:—
    His own men failed him
    So completely was he betrayed—
    And that they wished to take him
    To hand him over and sell him to O'Rourke,
    While the king of Connaught on the other hand
    Should make a great destruction of him—
    Why should I delay you
    From your geste at all?
  19. His people by the strong hand
    Have cast out King Dermot,
    Have wrested the whole kingdom from him
    And have driven him from Ireland.
    When the king was exiled
    He took ship at Corkeran;
    When the king was abandoned
    At Corkeran he took ship;
    At Corkeran he put to sea,
    Auliffe O'Kinad he brought with him,
    With him the rich king brought
    And more than sixty three.
  20. The rich king had the wind
    Fine and fair to his desire:
    His ships had a very fair breeze;
    At Bristol they take the shore.
    At the house of Robert Harding, p.21
    Near to St Austin's,
    King Dermot abode
    With as many men as he had.
    According to common report,
    The queen was there also.
  21. When the king had stayed
    At Bristol as long as he pleased,
    He had his knights summoned,
    He resolved to go to Normandy
    To hold parley with King Henry
    Of England, the powerful.
    For the king of England
    Was, my lords, at that time
    In Normandy on account of his war,
    On account of the war with the French.
    So much did Dermot accomplish
    By his journeyings and so far go
    That he landed in Normandy,
    According to the old people.
    It is well, my lords, that I should tell you
    How Dermot goes through Normandy:
    To seek King Henry then he goes
    Up and down, forwards and back;
    He sent messages and made enquiries
    Until he found King Henry;
    At a city he found him
    Of which he was called lord. p.23
    King Dermot, as soon as he could,
    Went indeed towards the court:
    Towards the court step by step
    He went away very quickly
    To hold parley with the English king,
    Who was so rich and so bold.
  22. When Dermot, the valiant king,
    Before King Henry
    Had come at this time,
    Before the English king,
    Very courteously he saluted him
    Fairly and finely before his men:
    'May God who dwells on high
    Guard and save you, King Henry,
    And give you also
    Heart and courage and will
    To avenge my shame and my misfortune
    That my own people have brought upon me!>
    Hear, noble king Henry,
    Whence I was born, of what country.
    Of Ireland I was born a lord,
    In Ireland acknowledged king;
    But wrongfully my own people
    Have cast me out of my kingdom.
    To you I come to make plaint, good sire,
    In the presence of the barons of your empire.
    Your liege-man I shall become
    Henceforth all the days of my life, p.25
    On condition that you be my helper
    So that I do not lose at all
    You I shall acknowledge as sire and lord,
    In the presence of your barons and earls.'
    Then the king promised him,
    The powerful king of England,
    That willingly would he help him
    As soon as he should be able.
  23. King Henry said, in the first place,
    That he should set about returning home.
    He crossed the sea to England,
    And went to stay at Bristol.
    Then King Henry sent word
    By letter and by messenger
    To Robert Harding, as he held him dear,
    That he should provide for the king whatever he might need,
    For him and for all his men,
    In every respect according to his wish.
    Honourably he executed for him
    All his commands.
    At Bristol the king abode
    A fortnight or a month, I know not which.
    Whatever the king would order
    Robert supplied to him in plenty.
    But the king of England
    For Dermot, according to the lay,
    Did nothing in truth
    Beyond the promise, as people say. p.27
    When King Dermot saw
    That he could get no aid
    From King Henry as he had promised him,
    He would not stay there any longer.
    King Dermot then, you must know,
    Goes everywhere seeking aid:
    Aid everywhere he seeks
    In Wales and in England.
    So far did he ask for aid
    Up and down in this kingdom
    That he had an interview,
    So says the geste, with Earl Richard.
    He was a brave earl,
    Courteous, generous, and lavish.
    Very earnestly the king.
    Besought him, very courteously,
    To give him some succour,
    Or that he himself should come
    To conquer his kingdom,
    From which he had been wrongfully cast out.
    To the earl he told plainly
    How he had been betrayed by his people:
    How his people had betrayed him
    And driven him out and put him to flight.
    His daughter he offered him to wife,
    The thing in the world that he most loved:
    That he would let him lave her to wife,
    And would give Leinster to him,
    On condition that he would aid him
    So that he should he able to subdue it.
  24.  p.29
  25. The earl at this time was a bachelor,
    He had neither spouse nor wife.
    When he hears from King Dermot
    That he was willing to give him his daughter
    On condition that he would come with him
    And subdue his land for him,
    The earl replies before his men:—
    'Rich king, hearken unto me.
    Here I assure you loyally
    That I shall assuredly come to you;
    But I should wish in these matters
    To crave licence of the English king,
    For he is the lord
    Of my landed estate;
    Wherefore I cannot go from his territory
    Without obtaining licence in this way.'
    The king assured the earl
    That lie would give him his daughter
    When he should come to his aid
    To Ireland with his barons.
    When they had concluded this accord,
    The king turned straight towards Wales,
    And never ceased journeying there
    Until he came to St. Davids.
  26. There the king abode
    Two or three days, I know not which,
    In order to equip his ships,
    for he wished to cross over to Ireland. p.31
    But before King Dermot
    Crossed over the salt sea,
    He spake to a king in Wales
    Who was very brave and courteous.
    This man was called Rhys,
    And was acknowledged King of Wales.
    At this time King Rhys
    Had a knight of great renown.
    The king kept him in prison,
    Robert the son of Stephen was his name.
    In his prison he was keeping him,
    He wished him to submit.
    I know not how the king took him.
    In a castle in his country.
    Concerning him I will not here relate
    How he was taken nor in what way;
    But the rich King Dermot
    Then besought King Rhys
    As much as he could on behalf of the knight
    That he might be able to depart freely.
    Not to tell you an untruth
    I know not if he was liberated then:
    At the request of the rich king,
    If he was liberated at that time;
    But afterwards the knight
    To Ireland came to aid the king.
    Then King Dermot returns.
    To St. Davids as soon as he could.
    To Ireland then he crossed p.33
    With as many men as he had.
    But Dermot, the noble king,
    Did not bring with his warriors.
    Any Englishmen on this occasion,
    According to the account of my informant,
    Except one Richard, as I have heard say,
    A knight of Pembrokeshire,
    Richard the son of Godibert,
    A knight he was of good parts,
    Together with knights, archers and serjeants,
    But I know not up to what number.
    For they were not long
    In Ireland, these men;
    For they were hardly able to do any good there
    To the king in the land,
    Because they were only a few men
    Who crossed over in haste.
  27. King Dermot then sent word
    By letter and by messenger,
    He sent over Morice Regan,
    His own interpreter.
    To Wales this man crossed over—
    The letters of King Dermot
    Which the king sent in all directions.
    To earls, barons, knights,
    Squires, serjeants, common soldiers,
    Horse-men and foot,
    In all directions the king sent word:— p.35
    'Whoever shall wish for land or pence,
    Horses, armour, or chargers,
    Gold and silver, I shall give them
    Very ample pay;
    Whoever shall wish for soil or sod
    Richly shall I enfeoff them.'
    He would also give them sufficient
    Farm-stock and a handsome fief.
    When the letters were read,
    And the people understood them,
    Then Robert the son of Stephen
    Got himself ready the first;
    He wished to cross over to Ireland
    In order to aid King Dermot.
    Brave knights of great renown
    He brought with him, nine or ten.
    One was Meiler the son of Henry,
    Who was very powerful;
    And Miles came there also
    The son of the bishop of St. Davids.
    Knights came there and barons
    Whose names for the most part I do not know.
    There crossed over a baron
    With seven companions,
    Maurice de Prendergast was his name,
    As the song tells us.
    Hervey too, in truth, crossed over,
    He was of Mount-Maurice.
    About three hundred crossed over p.37
    Knights and common folk besides.
    At Bannow they landed
    With all their men.
    When they had landed
    And had all disembarked,
    They made their men encamp
    On the sea-shore.
    The English folk sent word
    To King Dermot by messenger
    That at Bannow with three ships
    They had at that time landed,
    And that the king should speedily
    Come there without delay.
    King Dermot by the direct road
    Towards Bannow, next morning,
    Set out very joyfully
    To see the English folk.
    When the king had come
    To Bannow to his liegemen,
    One by one he kissed them
    And courteously saluted them.
    That night they tarried
    On the shore where they were;
    But the king on the morrow
    Towards Wexford directly
    Went immediately, i'faith,
    To attack the town. p.39
    In full force he attacked the city.
    The enemy in order to protect themselves
    Defended themselves from without.
    At this attack the rich king
    Lost eighteen of his English;
    While the traitors at this time
    Lost of their men only three.
    All day while it was light
    The attack thus lasted
    Until it became late
    And the men departed.
    The men of Dermot the renowned
    To their tents returned.
  28. But next day, the first thing,
    To King Dermot by messenger
    The traitors announced
    That they would give him hostages,
    Would do him homage and fealty
    In the presence of his baronage,
    That with him they would be night and day
    As with their lawful lord.
    The king graciously accepted
    This offer in the presence of his men.
    By the advice of his English,
    The noble king accepted the offer.
    Thence King Dermot set out
    Towards Ferns, as soon as he could, p.41
    In order to heal his wounded
    And to rest his barons.
    Three weeks King Dermot
    Abode in the city:
    Three weeks he abode
    Close by the city of Ferns.
    Then the king summoned
    Robert and Maurice, first of all,
    To come at once to confer with him
    Speedily, without delay.
    When the barons were come
    And Dermot had greeted them
    And brought them to the council,
    He related all to them
    How the Irish of Ossory
    Greatly dreaded the English:
  29. 'Lords Barons,' so said the king,
    'The Irish greatly dread you;
    Wherefore, brave Knights,
    With your advice in the first place,
    I wish to go to Ossory
    To defeat my enemies.'
    The barons replied to him
    That never would they be left behind,
    Nor would they in any way leave
    The traitors nor cease to seek for them
    Until they had found them p.43
    And defeated them in open field.
    Before the host advanced,
    Three thousand fighting men
    Made peace with King Dermot
    Through dread of the English.
  30. When the barons saw this
    That so many men followed theirs,
    Against the king of Ossory
    They marched with the assembled host.
    Consider it not, my lords, as trivial:
    Bear with me a little while I tell you
    How the king of Leinster
    With the men whom he had so bold
    Wished to enter the country
    Where all his enemies were.
    His enemies are in front,
    Full five thousand fighting men,
    Whom the king of Ossory
    Had in his company.
    Mac Donnchadh, the traitor,
    Who was lord of Ossory,
    Had thrown up before him
    Three trenches wide and deep:
    Before hint, within a pass,
    Three trenches rapidly
    Had the rebel thrown up p.45
    And erected a stockade on top.
    There he offered battle
    To King Dermot, without fail, that day.
    There the fight took place
    From morning until eventide
    Between the rebel king of Ossory
    And the English with great animosity.
    But the English in the end
    By force and by energy
    Hurled the traitors thence,
    By force and by strength.
    But many men were wounded there,
    Both killed and disabled,
    Ere the stockade was won
    Or forcibly wrested from them.
  31. When King Dermot saw this
    That by the might of the English
    The pass was won in this way
    With his men of Leinster,
    He was full of confidence.
    The rich King Dermot at that time
    Wasted the land with fire
    In order to destroy the rebel;
    He sought for spoil everywhere
    Up and down throughout the territory;
    As much as he could find
    Of the spoil he brought away with him.
    Then the king marched in a different way p.47
    In order to seek the rebel Mac Donnchadh
    Than he did at that time
    When he put on the cope,
    When he wished to parley and advise
    With the rebel O'Brien, the evil one.
  32. When the noble King Dermot
    Wished to return to his own country,
    Then the king called
    The three renowned barons:
    Robert he called by name
    And Maurice, the baron,
    And Hervey de Mont-Maurice
    He caused also to be called.
    These were at that time
    Chieftains of the English.
  33. 'Lords,' quoth he, 'listen to me
    For the love of God and hearken:
    Draw up your men in ranks,
    For well you know how to advise them.'
    The barons thereupon carried out
    For the king all his command:
    Speedily they carried out
    All the king's command.
    All the men of Hy Kinsellagh
    They entrusted to Donnell Kavanagh. p.49
    He was son of the King
    Of Leinster, as I trow.
    Whoever would wish to know the truth,
    He was the foremost in the van;
    While King Dermot himself
    Remained with the English;
    For in them King Dermot
    Trusted absolutely.
    Well armed were they, without doubt,
    And well skilled in battle.
    Now Donnell Kavanagh, in the first place,
    Was about to cross through a pass
    Where Dermot had formerly been
    On three occasions defeated.
    Wherefore the Irish dreaded
    Lest they should be for the fourth time
    Discomfited and defeated.
    They therefore turned to flight,
    So that with Donnell, the king's son,
    There remained but forty-three.
    Mac Donnchadh of Ossory
    Soon rallies towards him his men:
    He rallies his men speedily
    To discomfit the Englishmen.
  34. Know, Lords Barons,
    That the English at this time
    Had descended into a valley,
    Both horse and foot soldiers. p.51
    For it happened that they were obliged
    To pass through the middle of this valley.
    Wherefore the English dreaded
    The Irishmen at this time
    Lest they should rush upon them
    Without delay, at this moment.
    For the English, as I hear,
    Were hardly more than three hundred
    At that time with the king,
    And of the Irish, forty-three;
    While their opponents, of a truth,
    Were one thousand seven hundred.
    Wherefore it is not to be wondered at
    If the brave knights
    Dreaded these people
    Who were swift as the wind.
  35. Then spake a baron:—
    Maurice de Prendergast was his name—
    'Lords Barons all,
    Let us pass through this valley promptly
    So that we may be on the mountain
    On the hard field, and on the open ground.
    For most of us are well armed,
    Bold vassals and combatants,
    While the traitors are quite naked,
    They wear neither hauberks nor breast-plates;
    Wherefore if we turn to hard ground p.53
    They shall have no protection from death.
    We shall strike manfully,
    And each together
    And all united shall strike,
    Footmen and horse,
    Against the men of Ossory
    Who will be opposed to us.
    Because if they are overthrown
    We shall be for ever dreaded,
    And because there is no escaping
    Either life or death here.'
    This was the first pitched battle
    That was fought, without doubt,
    Between the English barons
    And the Irish of Ossory.
    And the Irish with great impetuosity
    Followed the Englishmen.
  36. Then Maurice exclaimed:—
    'Robert Smith, come forward.
    I shall tell you what to do, friend:
    You shall have fifty archers;
    In this thicket, of a truth,
    You shall make an ambuscade for them,
    Until you shall be passed.
    The Irish who are behind,
    When these men shall have passed, p.55
    If they dash on boldly,
    You shall make an attack on them behind,
    And we shall come to your aid.'
    And Robert replies to the baron:—
    'Sire, with the blessing of God!'
    Then they went into ambush,
    The forty men well armed.
  37. Lo! with great animosity
    All the pride of Ossory
    Came pursuing them
    And eager for the battle.
    So much did these men exert themselves
    That they passed the ambuscade
    Where the forty veterans
    Were concealed in the thicket.
  38. When the former had passed
    By estimation they were two thousand,
    And the forty archers
    Did not dare to show themselves;
    Because they were so few men
    They lay hid without stirring.
  39. Then had Dermot, the rich king,
    Great fear for the English
    Lest they should be overthrown
    And brought to shame by the Irish. p.57
    And the rich King Dermot
    Called Maurice to him,
    Very courteouslyhe besought him
    To take care of these men:
    To take care of his friends
    Who were left behind.
    Then the baron replied:—
    'Sire, at your command.
    Willingly shall I aid them
    And direct all my efforts thereto.'
  40. Maurice turns aside here
    Draws the rein of Blanchard;
    And the Irish of Ossory
    Followed the English men
    Until they came into the plain,
    To the hard open country.
    Then they drew up their men in ranks
    And very skilfully marshalled them.
    Then Maurice shouted
    And invoked Saint David.
    The son of Stephen turned,
    And Meiler, the renowned,
    And Miles the son of David,
    And Hervey de Mont Maurice,
    And the barons, knights,
    Squires, serjeants, and youths,
    Against the Irish turned
    And invoked St David.
    And the traitors on their knees p.59
    Awaited the barons
    Thus in such a way
    That there was not at that time
    A lance-length of ground
    Between Dermot and the Irish.
    When the English by their valour
    Had grappled with the enemy
    The Irish went away discomfited
    On that day from bad to worse.
    As I heard it, the truth can be told.
    One of the best was Meiler;
    In the battle that day
    There was none better than he.
  41. When the Irish saw this
    Whom King Dermot brought
    And who had earlier in the day
    Fled in fear to the woods,
    They returned speedily
    To their lord, these men:
    They joined in the combat
    At the command of their lord.
    You must not regard it as folly:
    Eleven score of heads that day
    Were brought to the king in the night,
    On the Barrow where he lay, p.61
    Of his mortal enemies
    Who were slain on the battle-field,
    Besides the killed and wounded
    Who were borne away from the field.
  42. When these were discomfited
    On the field they were left.
    To Dermot, the rich king,
    And to the English knights
    Then spake a baron,
    Robert the son of Stephen was his name:—
    'Hearken unto me, valiant king,
    What I counsel with the will of God:
    That to-night you remain in this place,
    Since God has given you the grace
    That you have, Sire, by the grace of God,
    Discomfited your enemies.
    As soon as day shall appear
    We shall go to seek the traitor,
    Nor shall I ever stop before
    That we go pursuing him.'
  43. The king replies plainly
    That this is not at all his pleasure:
    'Rather we shall go to Leighlin
    At our ease along the direct road;
    Thus we shall carry our wounded
    Who lie hurt on the battle-field.'
    He turned to the city p.63
    Which was called Leighlin.
    There they tarried for the night
    To their great joy and pleasure:
    By the Barrow they tarried
    And lodged for the night.
  44. On the morrow the rich king
    Departed with his liege-men:
    Towards Ferns they turned;
    With them they carry their wounded.
    When they came to the city,
    Then they severally went their ways.
    To their hostels to lodge
    The knights returned.
    They sent everywhere for physicians
    To heal the sick:
    To heal their wounded
    They sent everywhere for physicians.
  45. While the noble King Dermot
    Abode in the city,
    From all the country round about
    His enemies cane to him
    To crave mercy of the king
    For having before completely betrayed him.
    And through the dread they had
    Of the English who were with him
    They gave many hostages
    To King Dermot, who was so bold. p.65
    And very many made peace
    Through dread of the English.
    The greater part of Leinster
    Made peace in this manner,
    Mac Donnchadh did not come in,
    Who was king of Ossory;
    Nor the traitor Mac Kelan,
    Who was king of Offelan;
    Nor Mac Torkil the traitor,
    Who was lord of Dublin;
    For they were in such dread of the king
    That they did not dare to make peace.
    Then the king speedily
    Summoned his men front all sides;
    Against Mac Kelan he wished to go
    To shame and disgrace him.
    Then the king summoned
    The three noble barons
    To come at once to speak to him,
    Speedily, without delay.
    Robert Maurice and Hervey
    Promptly came to him.
    The king then told them
    And by word of mouth described to them
    That he would go to Offelan
    Against the traitor Mac Kelan,
    And that they should equip themselves
    To guard the person of the king.
    They replied courteously:
    'Sire, at your command.'
  46.  p.67
  47. When they were ready
    And had drawn up their men in ranks,
    As King Dermot himself was unwilling
    To separate from the English,
    Donnell Kavanagh in close array
    Led the van.
    So much did they exert themselves
    That they entered Offelan,
    Plundered the whole country,
    And defeated Mac Kelan;
    The spoil they carried off,
    And conquered and harried the people.
  48. To Ferns then they turned
    In pride and power:
    Towards Ferns the king turned
    With great pride and pomp.
    At Ferns the noble king
    Stayed for eight whole days,
    And the brave English barons
    Were all the time with the king.
  49. When the eighth day was passed
    Then the king summoned
    His men throughout Hy Kinsellagh;
    He wished to march to Glendalough,
    He would plunder O'Toole
    For having disdained to parley with him. p.69
    When the host was assembled,
    Towards Glendalough they marched;
    And the king commanded
    Barons, knights and followers
    That all should be ready
    And equipped for battle.
    Then they exclaimed:
    'Noble king, march forward!
    Avenge yourself, puissant king,
    On your mortal enemies.
    Noble king, march forward!
    You shall be well avenged;
    For never shall we fail you
    So long as we shall live.'
  50. Then King Dermot marches
    Towards Glendalough as fast as he could.
    When the king had come
    With his friends and comrades,
    Then he had the spoil taken
    Without receiving or giving a blow.
    He set about returning home,
    Safe and sound, without hindrance;
    And the English also
    Returned quite safely.
    The king returned home
    With his men full of joy,
    To Ferns came the barons
    With all their companions.
  51.  p.71
  52. At Ferns the king abode
    As long as he pleased at that time.
    His men he summoned from all sides
    To come to Ferns to parley with him:
    Rich and poor, in the same way,
    All to come together.
    The men of Wexford came
    At the king's command.
    At Ferns was the host assembled
    With arms furnished and prepared.
    Then the king summoned
    Robert and Maurice, first of all,
    Hervey and the baron Meiler,
    And all the other knights.
    The king took them into counsel:
    'Hear, Sir knights,
    Wherefore I summoned you here.
    To Ossory I wish to go
    To confound the rebel
    Who has already done me high treason,
    To protect my land from the traitor
    That lie may never reign over it,
    If I cannot avenge myself on him
    I shall have nothing but grief.'
    Then the barons said to him:
    'Sire, with God's blessing!'
  53. Then the king summoned
    Donnell Kavanagh, first of all—
    That he should place himself at the head in the van
    With five thousand fighting men, p.73
    And then immediately afterwards
    These men of Wexford;
    While the rich king himself
    Remained with his English.
    Through the midst of the land in this order
    Marched the king of Leinster.
    Into Forth he came
    And descended to a river.
    That night they took their hostels
    Upon Mac Burtin up and down.
    The men of Wexford, you must know,
    Wrongfully hated the king.
    Owing to their own treachery
    Which they did of yore to their lord,
    The traitors dreaded
    The noble king night and day;
    Wherefore they lodged by themselves
    And night and day dreaded the king.
    In this way the noble king,
    Who was so gallant and courageous,
    Lay by the river of Mac Burtin,
    And all his host was there too.
  54. A Phantasm came upon them in the night,
    Which each one took for true.
    A vast and marvellous host
    Through the midst of the huts suddenly
    Came upon then, well armed
    With hauberks and with banded bucklers.
    Those in the huts then sallied forth p.75
    To defend themselves.
    A knight of the English host,
    Randolf Fitz Ralph I heard hint named—
    That night to keep armed watch
    Randolf the barn stood outside.
    The knight began greatly
    To wonder at this host;
    They thought that they were betrayed
    By their mortal enemies.
  55. This man shouted loud and clear:—
    'St. David! Barons, Knights!'
    Then he drew his brand of steel.
    First of all, one of his companions,
    By a blow on the helmet,
    By force, he brought him to his knees;
    For he thought quite certainly
    That he belonged to the other side.
    Most of them thought
    That they were the traitors
    Of the city of Wexford,
    Who were really far off.
    This phantasm then departed,
    As I tell you;
    It passed by the camp
    To the men of Wexford. p.77
    These thought that they were being entrapped
    By Dermot, the noble king.
    But on the morrow they speedily
    Drew up their men in ranks,
    By the rich king's command,
    As they were the day before.
    Against the king of Ossory
    Went the king with great eagerness.
    Mac Donnchadh quietly
    Summoned all his men
    To the pass of Achadh-ur
    To come without gainsaying.
    A trench he then bade them throw up
    High and wide, steep and deep;
    And then at the back strengthen it with stakes,
    And in front with hurdles,
    In order to dispute the passage
    With King Dermot of the bold heart.
  56. The king marched night and day
    Until he came near to Achadh-ur.
    By a river of great vehemence
    The warriors encamped,
    And the English of great worth
    Encamped round about.
    On the morrow they crossed the river
    Without a battle and without a contest:
    On the morrow they cross, beyond a doubt,
    Without a contest and without a battle.
  57.  p.79
  58. These men of Wexford
    Commenced the attack:
    They began to attack the stockade.
    For three whole days, i' faith,
    Somewhat half-heartedly these men
    Attacked the traitors.
    The stockade could not be carried
    By their attack in any way,
    Until the English men
    On the third day, as I hear,
    Carried the stockade against them
    And put these men to flight.
    They fled as far as Tubbrid
    Through the midst of the territory of Wenenath,
    And from thence as far as 'Bertun'
    Fled the rebel king.
    But Dermot, the puissant king,
    Went so far following the traitor—
    So far did he pursue the traitor
    That he sent him on this wandering,
    Since he could not make a stand
    Against King Dermot.
    Then Dermot, the renowned king,
    Laid waste the rebel's land,
    And carried off a great spoil with him
    To the city of Ferns.
  59.  p.81
  60. Dermot, the potent king,
    Had subdued his country,
    Had defeated and discomfited
    Most of his enemies;
    Through the English he was exalted
    With great pride and haughtiness.
    By the advice of his people
    He wished to retain, as I hear,
    The soldiers of Maurice, the baron,
    According to the geste that we are reading.
  61. This man departed from King Dermot;
    Full two hundred he brought away with him:
    Of the English, in truth,
    Maurice brought away full two hundred.
    Towards Wexford he set out,
    He wished to cross the sea to Wales.
    Then the king sent word
    To Wexford by messenger:
    All the master mariners
    He made obstruct Maurice
    So that he could not cross the sea
    Nor return to his own country.
  62. When Maurice learnt the news,
    He was in great trouble.
    He feared at this time
    That the traitors of Wexford
    Would fall upon him p.83
    By the counsel of the king, wrongfully.
    But Maurice speedily
    So parleyed with these men
    Of Wexford city
    That they turned against the king.
    Maurice did not delay at all:
    He sent word to the king of Ossory
    That he would come to him, without deceit,
    To serve him, if he wished it;
    For he had parted on bad terms
    From King Dermot whom he had served.
    When MacDonnchadh heard
    That Maurice would come to him,
    He was rejoiced at the news
    And leaped to his feet with joy.
    To the baron he straightway sent word
    That he should certainly come to him;
    Pay he would give him
    Very rich and ample.
    Then the baron departed,
    He and all his companions;
    Towards the town of Timolin
    They took the direct road.
    But King Dermot's son,
    Donnell Kavanagh, to the best of his power,
    Attacked the baron on that day
    With full five hundred companions.
    A great conflict they had
    Maurice's men on that day; p.85
    But by force and by valour
    They came to Timolin.
    For three days accordingly
    Maurice abode there with his followers.
    Often did the king of Ossory
    Send a message to these men
    That he would come on the third day
    Without any further gainsaying.
    The king came there, of a truth,
    The third day without delay:
    Thither came the king of Ossory,
    Mac Donnchadh, with his company;
    And thereupon the king
    Assumed a friendly manner towards Maurice.
    Maurice and all his men
    Saluted the king courteously.
    The king and his chief men
    Made oath to the English:
    To the English they swore, in short,
    On altar and on shrine,
    That they would never betray them
    As long as they should be with them.
  63. Donnchadh accordingly brought away
    Maurice and all his followers:
    Into Ossory the king brought
    Maurice and his company;
    While Robert remained with Dermot
    With as many men as he had,
    And Hervey just in the same way
    With his force and his men.
  64.  p.87
  65. Mac Donnchadh day and night
    Harried Dermot's territory:
    With the aid of Maurice and his followers
    He then laid waste the territory of the king.
    There the baron received
    The name of Maurice of Ossory:
    Thus the Irish of this country
    Always called him,
    In that he had come to Ossory
    And remained with the king.
  66. About Maurice I shall here stop;
    About a baron I wish to tell,
    The son of Gerald: Maurice was his name.
    The baron had landed:
    He landed at Wexford
    With a goodly force and many followers;
    In order to aid King Dermot
    He had landed at Wexford.
  67. Then the baron sent word
    To the king that he had landed.
    Dermot heard the news,
    For a long time none so good had come to him.
    The king, with prick of spur,
    To meet the baron
    Set out straight to the harbour,
    To the coast of Wexford. p.89
    When the rich king saw him,
    He straightway said to him:—
    'Be very welcome, baron,
    Son of Gerald, Maurice by name.'
    The latter then replies:—
    'God bless you, valiant king!'
    To Ferns they depart joyfully
    The king and Maurice as well.
  68. Now the king of Ossory
    At this time had gone to Leix
    Against the lord of that territory
    To prevent his making war on him.
    O'More was the name of the lord
    Who held Leix at that day.
    Mac Donnchadh with his English
    Was about to harry all Leix,
    When O'More, its lord,
    With Mac Donnchadh fixed a day:
    A day he fixed for him there,
    He would give hostages of his country.
    Not more than three or four days
    Would be delay the king there.
    He would give five or six hostages
    The noblest of his territory.
    The king granted this to him,
    And abode there for three days. p.91
    O'More speedily sent word
    To King Dermot that these men
    By force and by war
    Had entered into his territory,
    And that he should come there promptly
    To give him speedy succour.
  69. Dermot, king of Leinster,
    To Robert and to Fitz Gerald
    All that O'More had announced
    Told to the two barons;
    And they then said to the king:—
    'Speedily and without any respite
    Get your men equipped.
    There is reason, Sire, for no delay.'
    The king then had it proclaimed aloud
    That all who could bear arms
    Should follow him at once.
    The king then mounts horse.
    The three barons likewise
    Followed the king with their men,
    Nor did they stop from there to Leix,
    Where the king of Ossory was.
    Now the king of Ossory
    Lay in a flowery moor,
    While King Dermot
    Came against him, and the son of Gerald;
    But he knew not, of a truth, p.93
    That men were coming against him.
    So while the King Mac Donnchadh
    And Maurice of Ossory
    Lay in a moor
    Which was very beautiful and extensive,
    Maurice de Prendergast, at length,
    Thought one morning
    That O'More, the lord of Leix,
    Was going to betray King Mac Donnchadh,
    If he could in any way
    Obtain a force out of Leinster.
  70. Then lo! there comes a scout
    To the king of Ossory;
    He told him that King Dermot
    With as large a force as he could
    Was bringing the son of Stephen with him
    And Maurice the son of Gerald,
    And that full three hundred English
    Had come with him to Leix,
    Besides all the other men
    Who came by tenure.
    Then commenced to speak
    Maurice de Prendergast first:—
    'Let us go, lord king.
    Too many Englishmen follow us,
    And we have only a few men;
    Wherefore let us go in close array.
    If they approach us at all,
    Well shall we be able to defend ourselves.'
  71.  p.95
  72. Then the king went away
    From the territory of O'More of Leix
    By the advice of his friend
    Maurice, of whom you have heard.
  73. Speedily King Dermot,
    To whom Leinster belongs,
    Together with Robert and Maurice
    Followed then these men;
    But they did not come up with them;
    For they had crossed the pass,
    Mac Donnchadh of Ossory
    And Maurice in whom he trusts.
    Then Dermot, the puissant king,
    To Ferns went in all haste:
    To Ferns he returned;
    Hostages he brought with him:
    Hostages he brought at this time
    From O'More the lord of Leix.
  74. Mac Donnchadh with his company
    Returned to Ossory.
    Then they separated
    Safe and sound in their country.
    And the men of Ossory
    Were much discontented
    That they had to hire soldiers
    And to give their pay to the English.
    The traitors accordingly began to plot,
    One behind, another in front; p.97
    They resolve to betray Maurice
    And to part his treasure among them:
    For their gold and silver
    They resolved to murder these men.
    Thus they had plotted
    Treachery all in secret.
  75. Accordingly they came before the king,
    Young and old, bald and hairy:
    'Hear us, king, good lord!
    Maurice we wish, at length, to put to death;
    We have a sufficiently good peace;
    Of them we have no further need.'
    And the king replied:—
    'Please God and his might
    That they may never be betrayed by me,
    Murdered, killed, disgraced, or taken!'
  76. To the king came the baron,
    Knowing nothing of the treachery
    Then indeed he demanded
    Of the king free licence
    That he might return home to his country.
    The king, be sure, with much regret
    Gave leave to the knight
    To return to his country;
    But the king besought him much p.99
    To remain with him still.
    Maurice replied to the king:—
    'The English wish to cross over:
    They wish to cross the high sea
    To visit their friends.'
    Then the king departed,
    According to the geste which you now hear;
    To Fertakerach he went, I think,
    While the English at Kilkenny
    Remained that night
    With great joy and in great commotion;
    While all the wicked traitors
    Of that territory round about
    Went to plash the passes
    Through which they had to pass.
    But as God willed it
    That Maurice should be forewarned
    Of the great crime
    That these men of Ossory did,
    The baron caused to be summoned
    All his companions to him.
  77. When they were assembled,
    And Maurice told them
    How the men of Ossory
    By their great treachery
    Had contrived an ambuscade for them
    With two thousand men well armed:
    How the Irish are in front of them p.101
    With two thousand fighting men
    'In a strong place in order to obstruct us
    That we cannot pass that way.
    Take counsel, Sir barons,
    Concerning this affair how we shall act.'
    They all replied:—
    'Let the counsel rest with you.'
    To their hostels they returned
    Where they were before lodged.
    Very quietly they kept themselves,
    As though they knew nothing about it.
    Then Maurice of Ossory
    To the Seneschal of Mac Donnchadh—
    To the Seneschal sent word
    That for half a year or a quarter
    He was willing to remain with the king,
    As they had previously been.
    Speedily the king sent word
    That he would come to parley with the English.
    When was spread and published
    The news throughout the country,
    That Maurice had remained
    With the king of that country,
    The traitors returned home
    From the pass where they were in ambush.
  78. In the night when they were asleep
    Maurice then sent word
    By a private page
    That all the barons should take horse, p.103
    Archers, squires, and sergeants,
    Both small and great.
    Those who wished to cross over
    Soon equipped themselves:
    They got themselves ready
    Nor would they delay any longer.
    Towards the sea they turned
    To cross to their own countries.
    To the city of Waterford,
    As fate led them,
    The knights came
    Safe and sound and none missing.
    There the barons stayed
    With all their companions.
    But there they were hindered
    Through a man who was wounded:—
    For a foot-soldier
    Had wounded a citizen,
    Who afterwards died of the wound.
    Nor did they consider it as sport
    The citizens of the city
    Of Waterford, as I have mentioned.
    There they were arrested
    All the illustrious barons;
    But by the counsel of their lord
    Maurice, who was their pleader,
    And by his good sense and tact,
    Maurice enabled them all to cross over.
    In Wales they all landed
    Safe and sound, joyous and glad. p.105
    About these men we shall here leave off,
    About King Dermot we shall tell you.
  79. I wish to tell of King Dermot
    How he delivered Wexford
    To a noble baron,
    The son of Stephen, Robert the baron.
    And Maurice the son of Gerald
    Fortified himself at Carrick,
    By the permission and by the desire
    Of Dermot, the potent king.
    Then soon afterwards
    Earl Richard sent over
    Some of his men to Ireland,
    With nine or ten of his barons.
    The first was Raymond le Gros,
    A bold and daring knight.
    At Dundonuil they landed
    Where they then constructed a fort
    By the permission of the rich king
    Dermot, who was so courteous.
    There Raymond le Gros remained
    With his knights and barons.
    Then he plundered the territory,
    Took and killed the cows.
    But the men of Waterford
    And of Ossory likewise
    Assembled their hosts; p.107
    Against Dundonuil they resolved to go
    In order to attack the fort.
    They think surely to shame the English.
    Donnell O'Phelan of the Decies,
    And O'Ryan of Odrone,
    And all the Irish of the country
    Surrounded the fort.
    By estimation the Irish were
    As many as three or four thousand;
    Raymond and his men
    Were not more than a hundred.
    They drove the cows into the fort
    By the counsel of Raymond.
    The men of Waterford
    Came very fiercely
    To demolish the fort;
    They think to disgrace the English.
  80. Raymond speaks to his men:—
    'Sir barons, hearken to me.
    You see your enemies coming
    Who have resolved to attack you.
    It is more honourable for you here
    Than within to be killed or taken.
    Come now, do you all arm yourselves,
    Knights, sergeants, and archers;
    Thus shall we place ourselves in open field
    In the name of the Almighty Father.'
    The knights and the barons, p.109
    By the advice of Raymond le Gros,
    Resolved to sally from the gates
    In order to charge the Irish.
    The cows were scared
    At the men who were armed;
    And owing to the tumult that they made
    The cows all in front
    By force and by strength
    Sallied forth at the gate.
    This was the first company
    That sallied from the fort, I trow.
    Upon the Irish they rushed
    In a short space, in a few moments.
    The Irish could not stand against them:
    They were forced to separate;
    And Raymond with his English
    Threw himself amid the Irish.
    Wherefore they were divided,
    The Irish were discomfited,
    So that the last company
    Fled away through this fright.
    There they were discomfited
    All the Irish of this district.
    On the field a thousand were left
    Vanquished, killed, wounded, or taken.
    By the force and by the strength
    That the good Jesus created against them
    And through dread and through fear
    They were enfeebled that day. p.111
    Of the Irish there were taken
    Quite as many as seventy.
    But the noble knights
    Had them beheaded.
    To a wench they gave
    An axe of tempered steel,
    And she beheaded them all
    And then threw their bodies over the cliff,
    Because she had that day
    Lost her lover in the combat.
    Alice of Abervenny was her name
    Who served the Irish thus.
    In order to disgrace the Irish
    The knights did this.
    And the Irish of the district
    Were discomfited in this way.
    To their country they returned
    Outdone and discomfited:
    To their country they returned
    Discomfited and outdone.
  81. At Dundonuil remained Raymond
    He and all his companions,
    And Hervey de Mont Maurice
    And Walter Bluet likewise.
    They kept very much to themselves,
    As against these lrishmen.
  82.  p.113
  83. According to the statement of the old people,
    Very soon afterwards Earl Richard
    Landed at Waterford.
    Full fifteen hundred men he brought with him.
    On the eve of St. Bartholomew
    Did the earl land.
    The most powerful persons in the city
    Were called Ragnald and Sidroc.
    On St. Bartholomew's day,
    Earl Richard, the prudent,
    Took by assault and won
    The city of Waterford.
    But there were many killed there
    Of the citizens of Waterford
    Before that it was won
    Or taken by assault against them.
  84. When the earl by his power
    Had taken the city,
    The earl immediately sent word
    To King Dermot by messenger
    That he had come to Waterford
    And had won the city,
    That the rich king should come to him
    And should bring his English.
    King Dermot speedily
    Came there, be sure, right royally.
    The king in his company
    Brought there many of his barons,
    And his daughter he brought there; p.115
    To the noble earl he gave her.
    The earl honourably
    Wedded her in the presence of the people.
    King Dermot then gave
    To the earl, who was so renowned—
    Leinster he gave to him
    With his daughter, whom he so much loved,
    Provided only that he should have the lordship
    Of Leinster during his life.
    And the earl granted
    To the king all his desire.
    Then they turned aside
    The king and Earl Richard.
    Raymond le Gros joined them.
    A bold and daring knight,
    And Maurice de Prendergast
    Likewise, as I hear;
    For with the earl, of a truth,
    He had returned, as people say.
    By the advice of the earl
    The warrior had returned.
    At this council in sooth
    Was Meiler the son of Henry,
    And many a brave knight
    Whose names I cannot mention.
    There all the brave knights
    Proceeded to advise
    That they should go straight to Dublin
    And should assault the city.
    Then the king departed p.117
    Towards Ferns with his English.
    He caused his men to be summoned
    Everywhere and in great force.
    When they were all assembled,
    Towards Waterford they set out directly.
    Earl Richard then gave
    The city in charge of his men:
    In Waterford he then left
    A portion of his followers.
    Then they turned towards Dublin
    The king and the renowned earl.
  85. Now all the pride of Ireland
    Was at Clondalkin in a moor,
    And the king of Connaught
    Was at Clondalkin at this time.
    In order to attack the English
    He divided his troops.
    They plashed the passes everywhere
    In order to obstruct the English,
    So that in fact they should not come
    To Dublin without hostility.
    And king Dermot was warned
    By a scout whom he had sent
    That the Irish were in front
    About 30,000 strong.
    King Dermot sent to ask
    The earl to come to parley with him.
    The earl speedily
    Came promptly to the king.
  86.  p.119
  87. 'Sir Earl,' thus spake the king,
    'Hearken to me at this time:
    Draw up your men in ranks
    And marshal your sergeants.
    We shall now go by the mountain
    On the hard field and on the open ground;
    For the woods are plashed
    And the roads trenched across,
    And all our enemies of Ireland
    Are before us in a moor.'
  88. The earl then summoned
    All the brave knights.
    Miles came to him, first of all,
    A noble and brave warrior:
    Miles had the name de Cogan
    And his body was bold and burly.
    He was at the head in front
    With seven hundred English soldiers;
    And Donnell Kavanagh likewise
    Remained with these men.
    And then afterwards Raymond le Gros
    With about eight hundred companions.
    In the third company the rich king
    With about a thousand Irish.
    And Richard, the courteous earl,
    Had with him three thousand English.
    In this company there were about
    Four thousand vassals, I trow. p.121
    In the rear-guard the king
    Had the Irish drawn up in ranks.
    They were all well armed,
    The renowned English barons.
    By the mountain did the king
    Guide the English host that day.
    Without a battle and without a contest
    They arrived at the city.
    Moreover the city was that day
    Taken beyond gainsaying:
    The day of St. Matthew the Apostle
    The city of Dublin was burning.
  89. When the Irish saw this
    That King Dermot was come
    And the earl also
    With all his English troops,
    And that the illustrious liege barons
    Had surrounded the city,
    The king of Connaught went away
    Without a word at this time,
    And the Irish from this district
    To their country departed.
    Hasculf MacTorkil, the deceiver,
    Remained in the city that day,
    In order to defend the city
    Of which he was acknowledged
    Sire, lord, and defender,
    Through all the country. p.123
    Outside the walls of the city
    Was the king encamped;
    While Richard, the good earl,
    Who was lord of the English,
    Remained with his English
    And with King Dermot himself.
    Nearest to the city
    Was Miles encamped,
    The good Miles de Cogan
    Who was afterwards lord of Mount Brandon,
    Which is the wildest spot,
    Mountain or plain, in the world.
    Now Dermot, the noble king,
    Despatched Morice Regan,
    And by Morice proclaimed
    To the citizens of the city
    That without delay, without any respite,
    They should surrender without gainsaying:
    Without any further gainsaying
    They should surrender themselves to their lord.
    Thirty hostages demanded
    King Dermot of the city.
    But those within, i'faith,
    Could not separate among themselves
    The hostages of the city
    Who should be delivered to the king.
    Hasculf accordingly made answer
    To Dermot, the renowned king,
    That on the morrow speedily
    He would perform all his command.
  90.  p.125
  91. It greatly vexed the baron,
    The good Miles de Cogan,
    That the parley lasted so long
    Between the king and all his people.
    Miles shouted all at once
    'Barons, knights, A Cogan!'
    Without the king's command
    And without the earl's either,
    He attacked the city.
    The baron Miles with his followers
    With audacity and with great fury
    Then set upon the city.
    The baron Miles, the renowned,
    By main force took the city.
    Before that Dermot knew it that day
    Or Richard the good earl,
    Had Miles, the strong-limbed baron,
    Actually entered into Dublin,
    Had already conquered the city,
    And put MacTorkil to flight.
    And the men of Dublin
    Fled away by the sea;
    But many remained there
    Who were killed in the city.
    Much renown acquired that day
    Miles who was of such worth;
    And the renowned barons
    Found much wealth:
    In the city they found p.127
    Much treasure and other wealth.
    Thereupon there came
    The king and the earl riding quickly:
    To the city they came
    The king and the earl together.
    And Miles, the renowned baron,
    To the earl gave up the city:
    The city Miles gave up,
    And the earl thereupon received it.
    Much provision they found
    And good victuals in great plenty.
    The earl then abode
    While he pleased in the city;
    And the king returned
    To Ferns in his own country.
    But on the festival of St. Remy,
    When August was over,
    Soon after Michaelmas,
    Richard, the noble earl,
    To Miles delivered, you must know,
    The wardship of the city.
    To Waterford he set out
    The earl and his ample suite.
    There the earl abode
    So long as it pleased him.
    At Ferns then tarried
    King Dermot during this winter.
    The king, who was so noble,
    Lies buried at Ferns.
  92.  p.129
  93. All the Irish of the country
    Revolted against the earl.
    Of the Irish at this time
    There remained with him only three:
    Donnell Kavanagh, in the first place,
    Who was brother to his wife,
    O'Reilly of Tirbrun,
    And thirdly Auliffe O'Garvy;
    While the Irish of Hy Kinsellagh,
    Who were with King Murtough,
    They then stirred up a great war
    Against the earl of Leinster.
    And the rich king of Connaught
    Summoned to him
    The Irish of all Ireland
    In order to lay siege to Dublin.
    They came on the day
    That their lord had appointed for them.
    When they were assembled
    They were sixty thousand strong.
    At Castleknock, at this time,
    Was the rich king of Connaught;
    And MacDunlevy of Ulster
    Planted his standard at Clontarf;
    And O'Brien of Munster
    Was at Kilmainham with his brave men; p.131
    And Murtough, as I hear,
    Was near Dalkey with his men.
  94. The earl, you must know, at this time
    Was within the city, of a truth.
    The son of Stephen promptly sent
    Some of his men to the earl:
    In order to aid and succour him
    He sent men to him at this crisis.
  95. When Robert had sent
    About thirty-six of his men
    To aid the earl Richard,
    Who was the subject of such anxiety,
    The traitors without any delay
    Fell upon Robert.
    In the town of Wexford
    They wrongfully slew his men:
    His men they utterly betrayed,
    Killed, cut to pieces, and brought to shame.
    Within a castle on the Slaney,
    According to what the geste here tells,
    The traitors took Robert
    And put him in prison at Begerin:
    Five knights, in short,
    They imprisoned in Begerin.
    And there came Donnell Kavanagh
    And the Irish of Hy Kinsellagh:
    To Dublin he came p.133
    To the noble earl at this juncture.
    With him came O'Reilly,
    And Auliffe also.
    To the earl they told all,
    How Robert was imprisoned,
    And how his men were slain,
    Discomfited, and treacherously killed.
    The earl thereupon replies:—
    'Donnell, let it not appear,
    Let it not appear, my friend,
    That our men are brought to shame.'
  96. The earl then summoned
    The the lord councillors
    To come to him at once to advise
    Speedily, without delaying.
    There came Robert de Quency,
    And Walter de Riddlesford came,
    A brave and noble warrior;
    Maurice de Prendergast also
    Came, as I hear;
    And there came the good Miles,
    Under heaven there was no better baron;
    And Meiler the son of Henry,
    And Miles the son of David,
    And Richard de Marreis came there,
    Noble and courteous knights;
    And Walter Bluet came there; p.135
    Knights barons as many as twenty:
    All the barons of great worth
    Came to their lord.
    When the renowned barons
    Were assembled in council,
    The earl sought counsel
    Of all his kinsfolk and friends.
  97. 'My lords,' thus spake the valiant earl,
    'May God of Heaven protect us!
    You see, my lords, your enemies
    Who have now besieged you here.
    We shall have hardly anything to eat
    Before the fortnight is out:
    (For the measure of corn
    Was sold for a silver mark,
    And for a measure of barley
    One got at that time half a mark:)
    Wherefore, Sir Knights,
    Let us send a message to the king.'
    Then the renowned earl
    Sent a message to the king
    That he would become his man
    And would hold Leinster of him.
  98. 'Come now, free-born lords,
    To the king of Connaught two vassals
    By your counsel we shall despatch,
    And we shall send the archbishop, p.137
    That I shall be willing to do fealty to him,
    And will hold Leinster of him.'
    An archbishop they sent,
    Who was afterwards called St. Laurence.
    The archbishop they then sent
    And Maurice de Prendergast with him.
    To the king they accordingly announced
    The message of the earl.
  99. Thereupon the king said to them
    Without taking time or respite:
    He answered to the messenger
    That he would by no means do this;
    No more than Waterford
    Dublin and Wexford alone
    Would he leave to Earl Richard
    Of all Ireland as his share;
    Not a whit more would he give
    To the earl or to his followers.
    The messengers turned back
    To the city of Dublin:
    The messengers returned
    Speedily without delaying.
    Aloud they tell their message
    In the hearing of all the barons:
    To the earl they told completely
    The reply of the haughty king:—
    That he would not give him more land
    In the whole of Leinster, p.139
    Except only the three cities
    Which I have already named to you;
    And if this did not meet his pleasure
    They would attack the city;
    If he would not accept this offer
    The king would hear no more,
    For on the morrow, so said the king,
    The English would be attacked.
  100. When the earl had heard
    What the archbishop related,
    Then the earl caused to be summoned
    Miles de Cogan the light of limb:
    'Make all your men arm, barons,
    Sally forth in the foremost van;
    In the name of the Almighty Father
    In the foremost van sally forth.'
    About forty horsemen
    Are with Miles before in the front,
    Sixty archers and one hundred sergeants
    Had Miles under his orders.
    And then next, Raymond le Gros
    With forty companions,
    And he had one hundred fighting-men
    And three-score archers.
    And then next, the good earl
    With forty fighting-men
    With one hundred hardy sergeants
    And three-score archers.
    Very well armed they were p.141
    Horsemen, sergeants, and hired soldiers.
    When the earl had sallied forth
    With his friends and his comrades,
    Miles placed himself at the head in the van
    With two hundred fighting vassals;
    And then next Raymond le Gros
    With about two hundred companions;
    In the third company the noble earl
    With two hundred hardy vassals.
    Donnell Kavanagh, of a truth,
    Auliffe O'Garvy likewise,
    And O'Reilly of Tirbrun,
    Of whom you have already heard,
    Were in the van with Miles,
    As the Song tells us.
    But the Irish of the district
    Knew nought of this affair:
    Of the barons thus armed,
    And equipped for battle.
  101. Miles de Cogan very quickly
    By the direct road towards Finglas
    Towards their stockades thereupon
    Set out at a rapid pace.
    When Miles had drawn near
    To where the Irish were encamped,
    'A Cogan!' he shouted aloud,
    'Strike, in the name of the Cross!
    Strike, barons, nor delay at all, p.143
    In the name of Jesus the son of Mary!
    Strike, noble knights,
    At your mortal enemies!'
    The renowned liege barons
    At their huts and cabins
    Attacked the Irish
    And fell upon their tents;
    And the Irish unarmed
    Fled through the moors:
    Throughout the country they fled away
    Like scattered cattle.
  102. Raymond le Gros also
    Oft invoked St. David,
    And went pursuing the Irish
    To work his will upon them;
    And Richard the good earl
    Did so well that day,
    So well did the earl do,
    That all were astonished;
    And Meiler the son of Henry,
    Who was of such renown,
    Bore himself so bravely
    That men wondered.
    A hundred and more were slain
    While bathing where they were beset,
    And more than one thousand five hundred
    Of these men were slain,
    While of the English there was wounded
    Only one foot-sergeant. p.145
    The field remained that day
    With Richard, the good earl,
    And the Irish departed
    Discomfited and outdone:
    As God willed, at that time,
    The field remained with our English.
    So much provision did they find,
    Corn, meal, and bacon,
    That for a year in the city
    They had victuals in abundance,
    To the city with his men
    The earl went very joyfully.
  103. Earl Richard, light of limb,
    Makes preparations for his journey.
    To Wexford he resolved to go
    To set free the baron.
    The baron the son of Stephen
    The traitors hold in prison:
    The traitors of Wexford hold him, in short,
    Imprisoned in Begerin.
    The wardship of Dublin he gave
    To the good Miles the warrior.
    Then the earl proceeded
    Towards Wexford night and day.
    So much did the earl accomplish p.147
    By his day's marches, and so far go,
    For so many nights and so many days
    That he tame to Odrone.
    Now the Irish of the district
    Were assembled at the pass:
    To meet the earl Richard
    At one side they were assembled:
    To attack the English
    Were the Irish assembled.
    The earl Richard with his men
    Through the midst of the pass in safety
    Thought surely to advance,
    When an obstacle met him.
    The rebel king of Odrone,
    O'Ryan was his name,
    Shouted out loudly:
    'To your destruction, Englishmen, have you come!'
    He rallied his men to him,
    And attacked the English sharply;
    And the English, of a truth,
    Manfully defended themselves.
    But Meiler, the son of Henry
    Carried the prize that day:
    In the battle, knew in sooth,
    There was no better than the son of Henry.
    And much renowned that day
    Was Nichol, a cowled monk;
    For with an arrow he slew that day
    The lord of Odrone:
    By an arrow, as I tell you,
    Was O'Ryan slain that day. p.149
    And Meiler, the strong-limbed baron,
    Was stunned by a blow
    Of a stone in this fight,
    So that he reeled to the ground.
    But when O'Ryan was slain
    The Irish separated.
    This wood was afterwards named
    And called the earl's pass,
    Because the earl was attacked there
    By his enemies.
  104. Thence the earl turned
    Towards Wexford city
    To liberate the imprisoned Robert,
    Of whom I have before told you.
    But the perfidious traitors
    Would not deliver him up to the earl.
    To Begerin they fled
    And Wexford they set on fire.
    For the sea ran entirely
    All around Begerin;
    Werefore the noble earl,
    Could not, i' faith, get at them.
  105. Then the earl set out
    Towards Waterford with his followers.
    To the king of Limerick he sent word
    By his sealed letters p.151
    That he should come to Ossory
    With all his baronage
    Against MacDonnchadh the king
    Who held sway in Ossory.
    For the king of Limerick had
    A daughter of the rich king Dermot;
    A daughter of Dermot on the other hand
    Earl Richard had to wife;
    So that they had to wife two sisters
    King O'Brien and the earl.
    He came in great force
    Into Ossory with his men.
    Earl Richard, the good earl,
    Went to meet O'Brien that day
    To Idough with his brave men,
    To meet the king of Munster,
    Where there were about two thousand men
    Of the noble earl and King O'Brien.
    MacDonnchadh sent a messenger
    To the earl to tell him
    That he would of his own accord come
    To the earl, to whom he would redress
    The outrage and the wrong
    With which the barons had upraided him.
    To the earl he would come, in short, to parley,
    On condition that he could freely return,
    Provided that Maurice the baron
    Of Prendergast, as we tell in our song,
    Should take him by the hand upon his faith. p.153
    To safe-conduct the rich king,
    And Maurice at once
    To the earl speedily
    Went; the noble baron
    Obtained from the earl peace for the king.
    The earl replied to him:—
    'Maurice, you do wrong to fear;
    Make the king come to me;
    When it shall please him he can depart.'
    And Maurice, as I trow,
    From each baron individually
    Exacted an oath
    That he might bring him securely,
    And that in safety he could depart
    Whenever it should please him.
    And Maurice, the vassal,
    Then mounted his horse,
    And straightway departed
    To meet the king with all speed.
    To the court he then brought him
    Before the earl in safety.
  106. The earl then accused him—
    As did all the renowned barons,—
    MacDonnchadh of Ossory,
    Of his great treachery:
    In what manner he had betrayed
    The good Dermot, the noble king.
    King O'Brien counsels
    The noble earl, the warrior, p.155
    That he should have the traitor seized
    And should have him consigned to infamy;
    And the barons, i'faith,
    Were all willing to consent thereto.
    And King O'Brien of Munster
    Sent his men through the land:
    Made his men go everywhere
    To plunder the land,
    While MacDonnchadh was
    Before the earl and was pleading.
  107. When Maurice, the baron,
    Was warned of this treachery,
    He sent word to his men everywhere
    That they should arm themselves quickly.
    Then Maurice exclaimed:
    'Barons, what are you meditating?
    Ye have broken your oaths,
    Towards me ye are forsworn.'
    To his followers Maurice said:
    'To horse, illustrious cavaliers!'
    Maurice by his sword sware
    That there was no vassal so bold
    As on the king that day
    Should lay a hand to his dishonour
    But, right or wrong,
    Should have his head struck in two.
    And Richard, the valiant earl,
    To the baron Maurice thereupon p.157
    Gave up MacDonnchadh,
    And delivered him by the hand.
    Then the baron mounts horse,
    He and all his companions;
    The king they brought at length
    To the woods in safety.
    They met O'Brien's men
    Who had spoiled the land,
    And Maurice then slew
    Nine or ten of these men;
    And by force and by valour
    From his lord's court
    Did Maurice and his followers
    Bring the king to the wood that day.
    And Maurice de Prendergast lay
    With MacDonnchadh that night,
    But next day in the morning
    Maurice returned
    To the court of his lord
    Who was of so great worth.
    The barons blamed Maurice
    For having brought the king to the wood,
    In that he was the mortal enemy
    Of Richard the good and lawful earl;
    For this king by his war
    Cast out Dermot from Leinster.
    And Maurice folded his glove
    And gave it to his lord as a pledge p.159
    That he would redress in his court
    Whatever transgression he had committed.
    And the renowned English vassals
    Went sufficient security for him.
  108. When they had finished this pleading
    King O'Brien goes to Limerick.
    The earl then set out
    Straight to the city of Ferns.
    Eight days he abode there,
    The noble earl and his baronage.
    Then the earl sent in all directions
    Squires, sergeants, and attendants;
    Murtough O'Brien they go to seek
    Up and down throughout the land.
    So well did they seek him through the country
    That they found him, in truth, and took him.
    Straight to the city of Ferns
    They then led the rebel O'Brien
    To the earl they then delivered him,
    O'Brien the convicted traitor.
    Because the rebel had betrayed
    Dermot his rightful lord,
    The earl had him beheaded
    And his body then thrown to the hounds.
    The dogs wholly devoured him
    And ate up his flesh.
    And one of his sons Donnell Kavanagh p.161
    Had taken and brought to the earl.
    At Ferns they were both put to death
    In the presence of the people of that district.
    The Irish king of Hy Kinsellagh
    Then made peace with the earl;
    This was the rebel Murtough
    Who was then king of Hy Kinsellagh.
    The earl then granted to him
    The kingdom of Hy Kinsellagh;
    The pleas of Leinster he entrusted
    To Donnell Kavanagh, the son of Dermot.
    These two were called kings
    Of the Irish of the country.
    In Ireland there were several kings,
    As elsewhere there were earls;
    But whoever holds Meath and Leinster
    And Desmond and Munster
    And Connaught and Ulster,
    Which the six brothers formerly held,
    Those who hold these are head-kings
    Of Ireland, according to the Irish.
  109. When the earl had appeased
    The Irish of the country,
    Then the English king sent
    To the earl to announce
    That, without delay, without gainsaying,
    Without taking time or respite,
    The earl should come speedily
    To speak to him at once.
    And the earl at this juncture p.163
    To Miles gave the custody of Dublin:
    A city much renowned,
    Which was formerly called Ath-Cliath.
    And the custody of the city of Waterford,
    Which was called Port-Lairge,
    The noble Earl Richard gave :
    To Gilbert de Boisrohard.
    The earl then got ready,
    He resolved to cross over to England;
    The noble earl resolved to cross over
    To speak to King Henry:
    To King Henry Curt-Mantel,
    Who was his rightful lord,
    His ships he then equipped
    To traverse the waves.
    He resolved to cross the high seas,
    He will go to speak to the English king.
    So much did the earl hasten
    That he soon crossed the sea.
    In Wales he landed,
    The earl who was so much dreaded.
  110. Earl Richard at this time
    At Pembroke found the rich king.
    The noble earl of great worth
    Into the presence of his lord,
    With his friends and his comrades
    Into the presence of his lord came. p.165
    The noble earl saluted him
    In the name of the Son of the King of Majesty
    And the king graciously
    Made answer to Earl Richard.
    The king thereupon replied:
    'May God Almighty bless you!'
  111. Now, as it was told to me,
    The earl was somewhat embroiled:
    The noble earl of great worth
    Was embroiled with his lord.
    Through the lies of people
    And through evil instigation
    Was Richard, the noble earl,
    Somewhat embroilled with King Henry.
    Nevertheless the rich king
    Towards the earl assumed a friendly manner.
    The rich king at this time
    Made no show of anger;
    But King Henry, who was the empress' son,
    Honoured him much.
    Then while the warrior
    Remained with his lord,
    Lo! a rebel thereupon
    To Dublin came sailing.
    Below Dublin he landed,
    Hasculf MacTorkil with a hundred ships.
    He brought many men with him:
    About twenty thousand he got ready. p.167
    From the Isles they came and from Man;
    And from Norway came John.
    A brave man, John the Wode,
    MacTorkil brought with him.
    He was nephew of the rich king
    Of Norway, according to the Irish.
    At the Steine they landed,
    Hasculf and John the Wode.
    Outside Dublin city
    Were these men encamped.
    In order to attack the city
    They disembarked their men.
    The good Miles armed himself,
    He and all his companions.
    The noble man resolved to defend himself
    So long as he could have defence:
    With the aid of Almighty God
    He resolved to defend himself against these men.
    Then behold! a king
    Of this country, an Irishman,
    Gilmoholmock was his name,
    He was at peace with the good Miles;
    With Miles he came to parley,
    To ask counsel of the baron.
    For Miles of the bold heart
    Held hostages of this king,
    That he would hold with the earl
    Loyally night and day.
    The good Miles said to the king: p.169
    'Hearken, Sire, a moment.
    I shall deliver up your hostages to you
    Safe and sound and all complete:
    You shall have your hostages on condition
    That you do what I tell you,
    On condition that you aid
    Neither us nor them at all,
    But that you stand to one side of us
    And watch the battle
    From the side with your men,
    So that you may see clearly
    The contest and the battle
    Between us and them, without fail.
    And if God grants it to us
    That these men be discomfited,
    Then that you aid us with your force
    To overthrow them;
    And if we be recreant
    That you aid their men in all things
    To cut us to pieces and slay us
    And hand our men over to destruction.'
    The king granted this to him,
    Pledged his faith and sware
    That all that Miles said to him
    The king would do without any delay.
  112. Gilmoholmock thereupon
    Outside the city instantly
    Posted himself, in truth, the king p.171
    With the men of his district.
    On the summit of the Howe over the Stein,
    In a plain, outside the city,
    To watch the contest
    They were assembled:
    To watch the combat
    Gilmoholmock posted himself that day;
    In an open place, of a truth,
    He posted himself with his followers.
  113. Lo! John the Wode
    Towards Dublin with serrid ranks,
    Towards the city with his men,
    Against the eastern gate,
    Towards St. Mary's gate,
    They then attacked the city.
    Now Miles, with the undaunted mien,
    Had a brother, a brave baron.
    Richard was his name,
    Brother he was to good Miles.
    He armed himself well,
    With him about thirty horsemen.
    Through the western entrance
    They issued quite secretly,
    So that none knew of it,
    Not a single one except his brother.
    And Miles marshalled his men,
    He wished to defend the city,
    The sergeants he made go in front p.173
    To hurl their lances and shoot their arrows.
    These men close to the walls
    In order to defend the battlements
    Thereupon turned,
    Both archers and sergeants.
    And Miles, who was so daring,
    With all his knights of worth
    Were mounted on their horses
    With arms furnished and prepared.
    John's men with great fury
    Then fell upon the city,
    And the English of great worth
    Defended themselves well that day.
    And Richard came
    Before that they were perceived,
    Upon the guard that was behind;
    Loudly he shouted.
    Richard thereupon shouts:
    'Strike, valiant knights!'
    And the barons with great force
    Threw themselves into the throng.
    Very great was the contest
    And the hue and cry.
    And John then scented
    The noise of those behind and the shouting;
    From the city he departed,
    He wished to succour his friends
    Who were left behind, p.175
    Nine or ten thousand, I know not which.
    They departed from the city,
    This John and his followers,
    To succour their men behind
    That they should not be outdone.
    And Miles, the renowned,
    Made a sortie from the city:
    Made a sortie with his men,
    With about three hundred armed vassals
    Besides all his other followers,
    Archers, sergeants and foot-soldiers.
    Before Miles made his sortie
    Five hundred were laid low;
    And these five hundred were wounded
    So that they shall never be healed.
  114. When Miles came up
    And the strong-limbed English vassals,
    Miles then shouted out:
    'Strike, renowned barons!
    Strike, vassals, speedily,
    Spare not these men!'
  115. When Miles was on the field,
    He and all his companions,
    Very much emboldened were
    The hardy English vassals:
    As God Almighty willed it,
    By his power which is so great,
    According to the statement of the history, p.177
    To the English he gave the victory.
    But of the English on that day
    Was Richard the flower of all.
    A very severe punishment there was
    Of these men near the sea.
    Thereupon they fled,
    Both small and great,
    From this great hue that they had brought on,
    Hasculf and John the Wode.
  116. When Gilmoholmock, you must know, the king
    Saw the Northmen take to flight,
    Both those from the Isles and those from Man,
    The followers of Hasculf and of John,
    And the king perceived for certain
    That they were discomfited,
    To his feet the king leaped,
    And with a loud voice shouted:
    'Up now, brave sirs!
    Let us aid the free-born English
    Up now, quickly! we shall aid
    Good Richard and Miles.'
    And the Irish thereupon
    Went in all directions slaying:
    Slaying they went in all directions
    With their javelins and their darts
    These men who had come
    With Hasculf, the old hoary-head.
    And these went away discomfited p.179
    To the woods and moors and wastes.
    Why should I say more?
    Fifteen hundred to their destruction
    Were left on that day,
    Dead and miserably hacked.
    Indeed, some people say
    Two thousand brave warriors
    Were, in truth, left that day
    Who were previously slain on the battle-field.
  117. Now this John the Wode
    Was a very renowned warrior;
    For this John in the contest
    With a well-tempered axe
    Struck a knight that day
    Whose thigh he chopped off:
    With his axe of hard iron
    He chopped the thigh off to the ground.
    He slew that day about
    Nine or ten of our English.
    But the good Miles de Cogan
    Killed the aforesaid John.
    And Richard that day, without fail,
    Took Hasculf prisoner in the battle.
    And the fields and the wastes
    Were covered with the slain.
    Know all for certain, without fail,
    There was in the battle that day p.181
    Great destruction, in short,
    And ruin at the hands of the English.
  118. A goodly treasure the English gained
    Of silver and gold;
    And Miles and his followers
    Returned to Dublin.
    When they came to the city
    They then beheaded Hasculf;
    On account of his outrageous conduct
    They rightfully beheaded him:
    On account of his insolence and mad sayings,
    After Richard had taken him prisoner,
    They speedily beheaded him,
    In the presence of the sea-folk.
    The Northmen fled away
    Over mountain and plain;
    To the ships they turned their skiffs,
    They fully thought to cross the sea;
    But the English are behind them
    To dispute their ships with them.
    If you had been there on that day,
    Of the men of Hasculf the traitor
    You would have seen five hundred plunge
    Into the depths of the sea.
    Thus, of a truth, were
    The sea-folk discomfited.
    The English by the aid of God
    Had that day won the field.
    Their enemies were scattered, p.183
    Killed, wounded, and discomfited.
    To their country, of a truth,
    Of these Northmen
    There returned only two thousand
    To claim their rights.
    Here we shall leave the story
    Of the good Richard and of Miles;
    Of the English king we shall tell you,
    Of Henry with the stern aspect.
  119. As soon as the king came to the sea
    At Pembrokeshire, in order to cross over,
    Lo! then at the harbour
    Twelve traitors from Wexford
    Came to land in a boat
    At Pembroke close under the castle.
    As soon as they had landed,
    Towards the castle they turned;
    The caitiffs wanted to speak
    To king Henry Curt-Mantel.
    So far did the traitors go
    That they entered the palace
    Into the presence of King Henry,
    Who was the son of the empress,
    And they saluted him aloud
    In the name of God the Father Almighty.
    The rich king straightway
    Replied to them graciously,
    That they were welcome,
    His well wishers and his friends.
  120.  p.185
  121. 'Hold it not, lord, as folly,'
    Thus spake the traitors unto him,
    'If we shall say to you—be it known to you all—
    Why we have come to you.
    We have taken your rebellious vassal,
    Robert Fitz Stephen is his name,
    Who was guilty of perfidy towards you of yore,
    Often of great evil and treachery;
    Many times has he waged war against you.
    In Wales and in England;
    To Ireland he came with a ship,
    He wished to hand us over to destruction,
    He wished to destroy our country,
    Often did he put us from bad to worse.
    In a castle we took him,
    In a strong prison we have placed him;
    To thee we shall give him up, noble king,
    Who art lord of the English,
    And do you, noble renowned king,
    Do your pleasure in this matter.'
    The king replied to them:
    'On this condition be ye welcome,
    That you hand over this man to me
    And then ye will see what I shall do with him.'
    And they assured the king
    And promised truly and swore
    That, as soon as they had crossed the sea,
    To king Henry, who was so stern, p.187
    They would at length hand over Robert
    And all the other knights
    As many as they had in prison
    And in their possession.
  122. Now, my lords, I will tell you
    Why the king, who was so well-bred,
    Showed such great wrath
    Against the renowned baron Robert;
    For, of a truth, the king,
    To whom England belongs,
    Loved the baron much
    Whom these men held in prison;
    Wherefore the king feared
    That the perfidious traitors
    Would murder the good Robert
    Or bring him to shame and dishonour;
    Wherefore the king made pretence
    Of anger and of great wrath
    That he had for the baron,
    For fear of the treachery
    Which these knaves might do
    Against Robert, the warrior.
  123. The king accordingly thanked
    The traitors for their loyalty,
    In that they had taken his enemy
    And put him in gyves and fetters, p.189
    And in that they had promised him
    To deliver up Robert to him.
    Then the traitors took
    Their leave of King Henry
    And went away to their hostel
    The chief one in the city.
    There they waited for the wind,
    The king and they in the same way.
  124. Hear, my lords, concerning King Henry,
    Who was the son of the empress,
    How he resolved to cross the sea
    And to conquer Ireland
    Entirely through the recommendation
    Of the noble earl, according to the people.
    King Henry then crossed over
    To Ireland with his ships.
    The king then brought with him
    Four hundred armed knights.
    King Henry when he took ship
    Put to sea at the Cross:
    At Pembrokeshire at this time
    The rich king put to sea.
    With him the noble earl crossed over,
    According to the statement of the old people.
    At Waterford the noble king
    Landed with four thousand English,
    On All Hallows' Day, of a truth,
    If the geste does not deceive us; p.191
    Before the feast of St. Martin
    The king at length came to Ireland.
    With the king there crossed over
    Vassals of good kindred.
    William the son of Audeline
    Came with him on this occasion,
  125. Also Humphrey de Bohun,
    And the baron Hugh de Lacy.
    With the king himself there came
    The son of Bernard, Robert, I trow;
    A renowned baron came,
    Bertram de Verdun he was called;
    Earls and barons of great worth
    Came in numbers with Henry.
  126. The earl of his own free will
    Surrendered the city to the king:
    To the king he surrendered Waterford
    Of his own will and agreement.
    Homage for Leinster
    He did to the king of England:
    The earl of great worth
    Did homage to his lord.
    The rich king granted to him
    Leinster in fee.
    King Henry, the gallant,
    To the Baron Robert the son of Bernard—
    The custody of the city of Waterford
    He then gave to the son of Bernard.
  127.  p.193
  128. When the king had landed
    At Waterford in safety,
    Lo! the traitors,
    Who were lords of Wexford,
    Brought the son of Stephen
    Into his presence in chains.
    In the city of Waterford
    To the king himself they delivered him up.
    The king received the body
    In the presence of his barons and earls.
    There the noble king accused him
    Of whatever transgression he had done
    Towards him, who was his lord,
    In the presence of the traitors.
    The son of Stephen folded his glove,
    And straightway offered it to the king:
    For whatever he should be able to accuse him of
    Robert would be willing to give redress
    In his court very willingly
    On the guaranty of all his peers.
    French, Flemmings and Normans
    Went sufficient bail for him at once.
    From Waterford King Henry
    Set out with his marquises,
    To Dublin with his men
    He went without delay.
    Richard, the noble and valiant earl,
    Straightway surrendered the city to him. p.195
    Dublin King Henry gave
    To the custody of Hugh de Lacy,
    And he afterwards guarded the city
    By the command of the king.
    And the king of England
    Thence turned towards Munster,
    To the city of Cashel
    Went the king with his splendid following,
    Where at that time was the seat
    Of the archbishopric of Munster.
    From Cashel the puissant king
    Went on to Lismore.
    King Henry Curt Mantel
    At Lismore wished to fortify
    A castle: so wished King Henry,
    Who was the empress' son.
    I know not why, but nevertheless
    At this time he put it off.
  129. Towards Leinster the English king
    Set out at this time:
    Towards Leinster, the rich,
    He went with his chivalry.
    Eighteen weeks, nor more nor less,
    According to what the old people say,
    The duke of Normandy remained
    In Ireland with his baronage. p.197
    Of Normandy at this time
    The rich king was duke;
    Of Gascony and of Brittany
    Of Poitou, of Anjou, and of Maine,
    Was King Henry called
    Lord, according to the old people.
    In Ireland was the king
    About a fortnight and four months.
    In the land up and down
    Marched the noble king.
    Victuals were very dear
    Throughout all Leinster,
    For no provisions came to them
    From any other region.
    At Dublin was King Henry,
    And at Kildare the noble earl.
    There the earl abode
    With as many men as he had.
    While the renowned king
    Was in the city of Dublin,
    Lo! a messenger in haste
    Came in haste from England.
    Lo! a messenger
    Came to announce to the king
    That Henry, his eldest son,
    Had in truth revolted against him,
    And that he sought to deprive him wholly
    Of the lordship of Normandy.
  130.  p.199
  131. Then the king summoned
    Hugh de Lacy, first of all,
    And his earls and his vassals
    And his free-born barons.
    The rich king then gave
    The custody of the city of Dublin
    And of the castle and the keep
    To the baron Hugh de Lacy,
    And Waterford, on the other hand,
    To the baron Robert the son of Bernard.
    The son of Stephen at this juncture
    Was left at Dublin,
    And Meiler the son of Henry
    And Miles the son of David;
    With Hugh these were left
    By the command of King Henry.
  132. Before that, at this juncture,
    The king left Dublin,
    To Hugh de Lacy he granted
    All Meath in fee
    Meath the warrior granted
    For fifty knights
    Whose service the baron should let him have
    Whenever he should have need of it.
    To one John he granted Ulster,
    If he could conquer it by force;
    John de Courcy was his name,
    Who afterwards suffered many a trouble there.
    Then the king went away to the port, p.201
    Towards the city of Wexford;
    He made all the master mariners
    Get ready his ships.
    But Richard the renowned earl
    Went to the city of Ferns.
    There he married his daughter;
    To Robert de Quency he gave her.
    There the marriage took place
    In the presence of all the baronage.
    To Robert de Quency he gave her,
    And all the Duffry also,
    The constableship of Leinster,
    And the standard and the banner.
    Here I shall leave off about the earl
    And return to my subject;
    I would wish, my lords,—know in sooth—
    To speak of the rich King Henry.
  133. The king tarried by the sea
    At Wexford in order to cross over.
    The noble king then crossed over
    And landed at Porth'stinian.
    With him crossed over the good Milo
    And many a vassal and many a baron.
    At half a league from St. Davids
    King Henry landed;
    And the king towards Normandy
    Went with his great nobles
    In order to make war against a son of his p.203
    Who wished to despoil him.
    War had the rich king
    With the French in Normandy.
    In Ireland remained
    The noble earl with his friends.
    At Kildare he stayed
    With all the forces he had.
    Often he entered Offaly
    In order to plunder O'Dempsey.
    O'Dempsey was then called
    Lord and defender of Offaly.
  134. The earl entered Offaly
    With all his chivalry
    In order to spoil and plunder
    O'Dempsey, who was so bold,
    In that he did not deign to parley with the earl,
    Nor would deliver hostages to him.
    O'Dempsey then, i'faith,
    Would not make peace with the earl.
    O'Dempsey with his men
    Very bravely, of a truth,
    Contended against the earl,
    To whom Leinster belongs.
  135. When the earl with his followers
    Had entered Offaly,
    He then plundered the territory
    And sought for cattle in wood and plain. p.205
    When he had collected
    The spoil from all the district,
    To Kildare returned
    The renowned English barons.
    The earl was ahead in front
    With a thousand fighting men;
    The constable remained behind
    With the rear-guard.
    Right at the exit from the pass
    He fell upon them very quickly,
    O'Dempsey fell upon them,
    And the Irish of Offaly.
    All the Irish of the district
    Attacked the rear-guard.
    That day, in short, was slain
    The noble Robert de Quency,
    Who held the standard and the pennon
    Of the region of Leinster,
    And to whom the earl had given
    The constableship in heritage.
    Greatly was he regretted, know in sooth,
    The baron Robert de Quency,
    And in very great grief
    For his death was his good lord.
  136. When this Robert was slain
    They buried him honourably.
    Robert, who was so noble,
    Had indeed a daughter p.207
    By his wife, of a truth,
    According to the old people;
    And she was afterwards given to a baron,
    Philip de Prendergast was his name,
    The son of Maurice of Ossory,
    Who afterwards lived in Hy Kinsellagh.
    Concerning this Philip I shall leave off,
    Of the noble earl I wish to speak,
    And of a brave knight,
    Raymond le Gros I heard him called,—
    How this baron of great worth
    Besought the earl for his sister,
    That he should give her to him to wife
    And as his friend and consort
    With all the constableship
    Of Leinster, the rich,
    Until the infant should be of an age
    To be able to hold her inheritance,
    The daughter of Robert de Quency,
    Of whom you have already heard,
    Or until she should be given
    And married to some man
    Who could direct the banner
    And the standard of Leinster.
  137. The noble earl replied
    That he was not advised
    To grant the petition
    Which the baron had made of him. p.209
    Then Raymond departed
    He and all his companions;
    He took leave of the earl
    Very suddenly in evil humour;
    To Wales, in short, he then crossed over
    Through the anger that he felt
    For the earl, in that he had refused
    The request he had made.
    Thus in such manner
    Raymond departed from the country.
    He crossed over the sea to Wales,
    To Carew Castle he went to dwell.
    Concerning Raymond le Gros I shall here leave off
    About the English king I shall tell you,
    How he sent by messenger—
    He announced to the earl
    In Ireland by messenger
    That he should come to his aid
    Speedily in Normandy,
    For he was in great perplexity
    To govern his territory
    And to protect his country
    Against the young king his son.
    And the earl of great worth,
    In order to aid his lord
    Crossed the sea to Normandy
    And brought a number of knights. p.211
    In Ireland he left
    Knights serjeants and foot soldiers
    In order to conquer the land,
    So that the light-footed people of that country,
    Who were all his enemies,
    Should not be able to annoy him.
  138. When the noble earl
    Had come into the presence
    Of King Henry Curt-Mantel
    Very joyful was the king.
    Then the king delivered to him
    The city of Gisors in custody;
    And the earl with great courtesy
    Replied to his lord
    That willingly, i'faith,
    As long as it should be his pleasure—
    He would, in fact, guard the city
    As long as the noble king should please.
    Such good service did the earl perform
    For his lord, King Henry,
    That the king, without pretence,
    Was well pleased with his service.
  139. The rich king, at his request
    To return to Ireland,
    Gave leave to the warrior
    To return to Ireland. p.213
    The king, quit-claimed Wexford
    To the earl at this time;
    He gave him the custody of the coast
    Both Waterford and Dublin.
    Then the king caused to be summoned
    All the noble knights,
    As many as he had at Waterford,
    At Dublin and at Wexford,
    To come to him
    Speedily at his command.
    The noble earl, know in sooth,
    In such manner departed;
    Then he put to sea
    And towards Ireland sails:
    The noble earl, the warrior,
    Sails over the high sea.
    By sea he ran
    Until he came to Dublin.
    Then earl Richard sent word
    To the baron Robert the son of Bernard,
    And to all the liege barons
    Who acknowledged themselves the king's men
    Of the city of Waterford,
    To knights, barons, and followers,
    And to each baron separately,
    That by the king's command
    All should cross the sea
    To aid the king in Normandy.
    And the earl again
    Sent to Wexford by letter, p.215
    Sent word to the barons similarly
    On the part of the king Curt-Mantel,
    That they should cross over without delay
    To succour the king in Normandy.
    The son of Stephen also
    Crossed the sea to King Henry,
    And Maurice of Ossory,
    Who afterwards lived in Hy Kinsellagh.
    And Hugh de Lacy, who was so bold,
    In order to plant his lands,
    Set out to Meath
    With many a renowned vassal.
    Of this Hugh I will say no more,
    Of the liege barons I will give you an account.
  140. When the barons had crossed over
    Straight to Druidston Chins,
    Towards London they turned direct
    With all their men.
    At this time there was, you must know, a great war
    Throughout all England;
    For the rich king of Scotland
    Was at war with the English king,
    And the earl of Leicester then,
    According to the statement of the old people,
    Had revolted against his lord
    And had brought over Flemings. p.217
    He thought by their war
    To ravage all England,
    While the son of the Empress
    Warred against his son in Normandy.
    Now the vassals and barons
    Of the region of England
    Encountered the Flemings
    At the city of St. Edmunds.
    There they were discomfited
    And the earl of Leicester taken.
    They were discomfited in this manner
    By the aid of Leinster,
    And by the might of the Irish
    The field remained with the English.
    And in his turn within that month
    The king was taken and conquered.
    And the barons of Ireland,
    Who were in this brawl,
    All passed over to Normandy
    And told the news to the king,
    How the Flemings were slain
    And the king of Scotland taken.
  141. 'Ha!' said the king, 'Praise thee, God,
    Who art Father and Creator,
    For having done me this favour
    That my traitors are taken!'
  142. Hear, my lords, valiant barons,
    May God of Heaven protect you!
    Concerning the English king I shall leave off, p.219
    Who was so very noble and brave,
    Of the noble earl I will speak
    And of his reverses treat:
    How the noble earl
    Throughout Ireland up and down
    Marched, you must know, with his bold men,
    Throughout all Leinster.
    Then the earl dispatched
    A certain interpreter of his,
    To Raymond le Gros he sent word
    That he should come at once to parley with him,
    That the noble earl
    Would give him his sister to wife.
    Then Raymond equipped himself,
    With many a brave vassal.
    At Wexford they landed,
    According to the history, with three ships.
  143. Then Raymond to Gros sent
    To the earl by a lad,
    Who told him all the facts:
    How Raymond had landed,
    And that the earl should speedily
    Declare his will to the baron.
    The noble earl at this time p.221
    Was at the city of Waterford;
    To Raymond he sent word
    That he would do all his will;
    He sent back word also
    That to the Isle of Inis-Teimhne
    To meet him in parley
    Raymond should come with his men.
    Accordingly Raymond got ready,
    He and all his companions,
    To the isle he went
    As the earl had directed;
    And the earl also
    Came there with a very fine suite.
  144. The noble earl of great worth
    Brought there his sister then.
    There they held a parley,
    The earl and the strong-limbed baron,
    About marrying his sister;
    To Raymond le Gros he will give her.
    Thence they set out straightway
    To Wexford fighting their way.
    There the earl brought his sister,
    To Raymond le Gros he then gave her,
    Together with the standard and the banner
    Of all Leinster,
    Until the infant should be of age
    To be able to hold her inheritance,
    The daughter of Robert de Quency
    Of whom you have already heard.
  145.  p.223
  146. But afterwards a vassal took her,
    Philip, a free-born baron,
    De Prendergast he was called,
    An illustrious liege baron.
    This man was such, know ye all,
    That in the morning he was peevish and irritable,
    But after eating, generous and good tempered,
    Courteous and liberal to all.
    As soon as he had put on his cloak
    He was every day swoln with anger;
    But once he had dined in the morning
    Then was not a merrier soul under heaven.
    This man for a long time
    Held the constableship, according to the people,
    Very renowned he was,
    And loved by everybody,
    Very courageous too he was,
    And of very great prowess.
    Concerning him I will not here relate,
    To my subject I will return.
    I will tell you my lords of a noble baron,
    Of Raymond le Gros I wish to speak,
    How the warrior earl
    Gave him his sister to wife,
    The Forth the earl gave him
    In marriage with his sister;
    Afterwards he gave him, you must know,
    All Odrone in fee, p.225
    And Glascarrig also
    On the sea towards the east.
    He gave Obarthy on the sea,
    To Hervey de Mont Maurice.
    To Maurice de Prendergast
    The valiant earl Richard
    Had already given Fernegenal
    And in his council confirmed it
    Before the renowned earl
    Had landed in Ireland;
    Ten fiefs he gave him on this condition
    For the service of ten knights.
    In Fernegenal he dwelt altogether
    So that Maurice had him for next neighbour.
    I know not how but Robert Fitz Godibert
    Held it afterwards, you must know.
    Carbury he gave to the good Meiler
    Who was such a noble lord.
    The earl Richard next gave
    To Maurice the son of Gerald—
    The Naas the good earl gave
    To the son of Gerald with all the honour:
    This is the land of Offelan
    Which belonged to the traitor MacKelan.
    He gave him too Wicklow,
    Between Bray and Arklow:
    This was the land of Killmantain
    Between Ath-cliath and Loch Garman
    Twenty fiefs in Omurethy
    The noble earl in the same way p.227
    Gave to the warrior
    Walter de Riddlesford;
    To John de Clahull the marshalship
    Of Leinster, the rich,
    With all the land, know in sooth,
    Between Oboy and Leighlin;
    To Robert de Birmingham
    Offaly to the west of Offelan.
    To Adam de Hereford likewise
    He gave a rich fief.
    And to Miles the son of David,
    Who was so intimate with him,
    Owerk in Ossory
    He gave him as his share.
    To Thomas the Fleming he gave
    Ardrie, in the presence of his baronage.
    Offelimy on the sea
    The earl gave to a knight:
    To Gilbert de Boisrohard
    The earl gave it as his share.
    The noble earl, who was so bold,
    Gave fifteen fiefs on the sea
    To a brave knight,
    Reinaud I heard him called.
    The Earl Richard the son of Gilbert
    Gave Narragh to one Robert.
    Who was afterwards indeed killed
    In Connaught by his enemies.
    In such manner the renowned earl p.229
    Divided and gave his land.
    Concerning the noble earl I shall here leave off,
    Of Hugh de Lacy I shall tell you,
    How he enfeoffed his barons,
    Knights, serjeants, and retainers.
  147. Castle Knock, in the first place, he gave
    To Hugh Tyrrell, whom he loved so much;
    And Castle Brack, according to the writing,
    To baron William le Petit,
    Magheradernon likewise
    And the land of Rathkenny;
    The cantred of Ardnorcher then
    To Meiler, who was of great worth,
    Gave Hugh de Lacy—
    To the good Meiler Fitz Henry;
    To Gilbert de Nangle, moreover,
    He gave the whole of Morgallion;
    To Jocelin he gave the Navan,
    And the land of Ardbraccan,
    (The one was son, the other father,
    According to the statement of the mother);
    To Richard Tuite likewise
    He gave a rich fief;
    Rathwire he gave moreover
    To the baron Robert de Lacy;
    To Richard de la Chapelle
    He gave good and fine land;
    To Geoffrey de Constantine Kilbixi (?) p.231
    Near to Rathconarty;
    And Skreen he then gave by charter:
    To Adam de Phepoe he gave it;
    To Gilbert de Nugent,
    And likewise to William de Musset,
    He gave lands and honours,
    In the presence of barons and vavassours;
    And to the baron Hugh de Hussey
    He then gave fair lands;
    To Adam Dullard likewise
    The land of 'Rathenuarthi'.
    To one Thomas de Craville
    He gave in heritage
    Emlagh Beccon in quiet enjoyment,
    At the north east of Kells,
    Laraghcalyn likewise,
    And Shanonagh, according to the people,
    Gave Hugh de Lacy,
    Know in sooth, to this Thomas.
    Crandone (?) then to a baron,
    Richard the Fleming was his name—
    Twenty fiefs he gave him of a truth,
    If the geste does not deceive you.
    A fortress this man erected
    In order to harass his enemies,
    Knights and a goodly force he kept there
    Archers, serjeants, likewise.
    In order to destroy his enemies;
    Often he brought them from bad to worse.
    But afterwards there came against him O'Carroll, p.233
    Who was king of Uriel,
    And the rebel MacDunlevy
    Of the region of Ulster;
    O'Rourke was there, also,
    And the king Melaghlin.
    Full twenty thousand at this time
    Of the Irish came upon them.
    Very fiercely they attacked them,
    And the barons defended themselves
    So long as they could have
    Defence in the fortress;
    But the Irish from all sides
    Hurled their javelins and their darts.
    The fortress indeed they destroyed
    And slew the garrison within;
    But many were previously slain
    Of the Irish of the northern districts.
    In such manner, know ye all,
    Was the country planted
    With castles and with cities,
    With keeps and with strongholds.
    Thus well rooted were
    The noble renowned vassals.
    And the earl had already conquered
    His enemies of Leinster:
    For he had with him Murtough,
    And next Donnell Kavanagh,
    Mac Donachadh and Mac Dalwy, p.235
    O'More and O'Dempsey,
    O'Duvegan the hoary old man,
    Likewise O'Brien of the Duffry,
    Gilmoholmock and MacKelan,
    And O'Lorcan of Obarthy;
    And all the hostages of renown,
    The noblest of Leinster,
    The earl, you must know, had with him,
    According to the ancient custom.
    Then Hugh de Lacy
    Fortified a house at Trim,
    And threw a trench around it,
    And then enclosed it with a stockade.
    Within the house he then placed
    Brave knights of great worth;
    Then he entrusted the castle
    To the wardenship of Hugh Tyrrel;
    To the harbour he went in order to cross
    The high seas to England.
    But when the king of Connaught heard it—
    He who was king at this epoch—
    That Hugh had fortified a castle,
    He was enraged at the tidings;
    His host he summoned to him,
    He will go to attack the castle.
  148. All at once O'Connor,
    The proud king of Connaught,
    Led with him O'Flaherty, p.237
    Mac Dermot and Mac Geraghty,
    O'Kelly, king of Hy Many,
    O'Hart (?) and O'Finaghty,(?)
    O'Carbery and O'Flannagan,
    And then next O'Monaghan,
    O'Dowd and O'Monaghan,
    O'Shaughnessy of 'Poltilethban';
    King Melaghlin went also,
    And his neighbour king O'Rourke,
    O'Malory (?) of the Kinel O'Neill,
    And likewise Mac Dunlevy;
    King O'Carroll went also,
    And Mac Tierney(?), who was so base,
    Mac Scelling and Mac Artan,
    And the rebel Mac Garaghan;
    Mackelan likewise
    Went with all his men;
    O'Neill, the king of the Kinel Owen,
    Brought with him three thousand Irish.
    The Northerners were assembled,
    And all the kings of Leath-Cuinn,
    Towards Trim they set out marching
    To demolish the castle.
    And the baron Hugh Tyrrell
    Sent to the earl
    A page at full speed
    On a very swift horse,
    And he told the earl
    All the tidings by word of mouth: p.239
    How the Northerners were assembled
    And all the kings of Leath-Cuinn
    To throw down the keep
    The castle and the stockade.
    'Through me the baron sends you word—
    Old Hugh Tyrrell of Trim—
    That you aid him in every way,
    And succour him with your force.'
    And the earl promised him
    By word of mouth that he would aid him.
  149. He caused all his men to be summoned
    Throughout Leinster speedily.
    When they were all assembled,
    Old and young, ruddy and fair,
    Towards Trim they resolved to march
    To encounter the Northerners.
    But before the noble earl
    Arrived with his men,
    Hugh had of a truth
    Utterly abandoned his charge,
    Because he was not in sufficient force
    Within the castle nor without
    To offer fight or combat
    Without the help of the earl.
    When the English were gone
    And had abandoned their house,
    The Irish arrived at Trim.
    Their numbers I shall by no means tell,
    How many they were nor what thousands, p.241
    For I should be thought to be lying.
    The rampart they threw completely down
    And levelled it even with the ground,
    But first of all they put
    The house to flames.
  150. When they had accomplished their work
    They retreated altogether:
    They made a show of returning
    To their country, the wicked tyrants.
    And the earl, who was so bold,
    To Trim resolved to hasten
    To protect the house,
    If he could arrive in time.
    To Trim the earl went with all speed
    And with him many a valiant vassal.
    But when the earl had arrived,
    By the river he then alighted;
    For he found there standing
    Neither house nor cabin, big or little,
    Within which he could take his ease
    And lodge for that night.
  151. Then the earl made proclamation
    And commanded throughout the host,
    That all should straightway mount.
    Then he threw himself on his horse
    And set off on the straight road
    Pursuing at a great pace. p.243
    So much did the earl exert himself
    That he came up with the rear;
    He charged them speedily
    Without any pause;
    And the Irish who had no armour
    Then scattered themselves
    By sevens and eights, by threes and fours,
    So that they did not hold together.
    And the earl then slew
    Of these men seven score and ten.
    Then, you must know, he made a retreat
    To Dublin with great confidence,
    And Hugh Tyrrell went to Trim
    And re-fortified his fortress;
    After that he guarded it with great honour
    Until the arrival of his lord.
    And the earl throughout Leinster
    Went marching back and forwards,
    Until he resolved
    That he would at length march
    Against King Donnell O'Brien
    With the advice of his English.
    His host he summons, all at once,
    The strongest of Leinster,
    That all should be in attendance,
    Old and young, small and great.
    At the banner and the pennon
    Of the constable Raymond le Gros.
  152.  p.245
  153. My lords, may God befriend you!
    Knights, serjeants, and attendants,
    I will tell you of a knight,
    Raymond le Gros I heard him called,
    A valiant baron he was,
    A vassal daring and victorious,
    Very rich and powerful he was,
    And the most puissant of his peers.
    Constable is Raymond
    Of the province of Leinster.
    Knights he retained and a goodly force
    By the earl's command,
    Knights he had and common soldiers,
    Archers, serjeants, and fighting-men,
    To put to shame and outlawry
    The Irish enemies of the king.
  154. Hearken, my lords and worthy folk,
    If ye would hear now plainly:
    Of a knight I will tell you,
    A baron, a noble warrior,
    Of the constable Raymond le Gros,
    How he summons his host from all quarters
    Up and down throughout the land,
    Through Meath and through Leinster,
    All the esquirehood
    Well armed and well equipped,
    Knights, serjeants, and common soldiers,
    With army equipped and ready; p.247
    To meet Raymond in Ossory
    The baronage should come,
    And he will have them guided forward
    Against King O'Brien, who was so bold.
    The Irish king of Ossory
    Will go in their company,
    And he will truly lead the host, so he said,
    And guide it against King O'Brien,
    As far as the city of Limerick
    He will guide it in safety.
    Why should I go on telling you more,
    Either more or less, little or much?
    When the host had assembled,
    Towards Munster they then turned;
    And the king of Ossory
    Guides them forward in the van:
    Towards Munster he guided them,
    Against King O'Brien he brought this host.
  155. But Raymond, according to the people,
    Did not trust him entirely
    Before that he had assured him,
    Pledged his faith and sworn,
    That he would never commit any deceit
    Nor treason nor treachery of any kind
    Against him or his men henceforward.
    And the king at once
    Said to him then in the presence of all: p.249
    'You will be wrong to doubt it;
    Nay, I will guide you quite right,
    And I shall pledge you my word.'
  156. When the king had said this,
    They march forward, without gainsaying,
    They march all night and the next day,
    Now in woods, now in the open,
    Until they came to a renowned city
    Which was named Limerick.
    This city was surrounded
    By a river, a wall, and a dyke,
    So that no man could pass over
    Without a ship or a bridge,
    Neither in winter nor in summer,
    Except by a difficult ford.
    There passed over first that day
    The baron Meiler the son of Henry.
    Wherefore it was well said:
    'We shall call it Meiler's ford';
    For when the host of Leinster
    Came to Limerick in this way,
    To the river they came
    So that they were going to return without more;
    When a knight of St. David's
    Who was brought up in this land,
    Meiler the son of Henry was his name,
    With a loud voice raises a cry:
    The son of Henry, the baron Meiler,
    Began to call aloud: p.251
    To the front he went shouting,
    'Pass over, knights: why do ye tarry?'
    Into the river he straightway threw himself,
    And his white horse bears him across.
    When the knight had crossed over
    'St. David!' he shouted loud and clear.
    For he was his lord
    Under the Lord God the Creator.
    And the knight with great affection
    Invoked St. David night and day,
    That he might aid him
    In doing deeds of valour;
    That he should give him strength, and praise, and renown
    Against all his enemies.
    Often he invoked St. David,
    That he should not leave him in forgetfulness,
    But give him might and vigour
    In the midst of his enemies that day.
  157. After him there crossed over
    Many barons and knights well armed.
    Before they had all crossed over
    Many were drowned that day.

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Title statement

Title (uniform): Song of Dermot and the Earl

Title (supplementary): English translation

Responsibility statement

translated by: Goddard Henry Orpen and Emer Purcell

Electronic edition compiled by: and Emer Purcell

Funded by: University College Cork

Edition statement

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Responsibility statement

Proof corrections by: Emer Purcell and Beatrix Färber

Extent: 37,225 words

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

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland.

Date: 2009

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

CELT document ID: T250001-001

Availability: Available for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Source description

Manuscript sources

  • London, Lambeth Palace, MS Carew 596. (This is the only MS copy of the poem. It is acephalous, has some lacunae, and ends imperfect; for a description of the MS see Orpen, 1892 (cited below) xi-xii and Conlon, 1992 (cited below) vii-xi).


  1. Denis J. Conlon, The song of Dermot and Earl Richard Fitzgilbert: Le chansun de Dermot e li quens Ricard fiz Gilbert, Studien und Dokumente zur Geschichte der romanischen Literaturen, herausgegeben von Hans-Joachim Lope, volume 24 (Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang 1992). Edition with an introduction, bibliography, chronological table, literal translation, brief notes (223-31), index locorum, index nominum, and glossary (243–54).
  2. Francisque Michel, The conquest of Ireland (London: Pickering 1837). Text without translation but with some glossatorial notes and an introduction by Thomas Wright that is of little value.
  3. Goddard Henry Orpen, The song of Dermot and the Earl: an Old French poem from the Carew manuscript no. 596 in the archiepiscopal library at Lambeth Palace (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1892). Diplomatic edition with a preface, introduction, chronological table, two genealogical tables (of Mac Murchada and the descendants of Nesta), a facsimile of folio 7ra (i.e. page 13) of the manuscript, a literal translation, an apparatus, copious historical notes (254–321), a heavily annotated coloured map of Meath and Leinster, and index locorum, an index nominum, and a glossary (339–355). Two extracts from Orpen's edition (lines 266–95, 346–69) are reprinted with Orpen's translation in Seamus Deane (ed), The Field Day anthology of Irish writing i (Derry 1991) 149–50.
  4. Evelyn Mullally, The deeds of the Normans in Ireland: La geste des Engleis en yrlande: a new edition of the chronicle formerly known as The Song of Dermot and the Earl. (Dublin: Four Courts, 2002).


  1. Denis J. Conlon (cited above).
  2. Goddard Henry Orpen (cited above).
  3. Evelyn Mullally (cited above).

Sources, comment on the text, and secondary literature

  1. Alexander Bell, 'Notes on "The Song of Dermot" 'The Modern Language Review 68.2 (Apr. 1973) 283–291.
  2. Alan Bliss and Joseph Long, Literature in Norman French and English to 1534, in Art Cosgrove (ed), A New History of Ireland ii (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1987) 708–36.
  3. Eric St John Brooks, Machtalewi, a Leinster chieftain, J Roy Soc Antiq Ire 7 (1941) 53–55.
  4. Michael J. de Courcy Dodd, Correspondence on the historical criticism of the Song of Dermot and the Earl, Ir Hist Stud 1 (1938) 294–96.
  5. Marie-Therese Flanagan, Mac Dalbaig, a Leinster chieftain, J Roy Soc Antiq Ire 111 (1981) 5–13.
  6. Marie-Therese Flanagan, Irish Society, Anglo-Norman Settlers, Angevin kingship (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1989).
  7. Felix Liebermann, 'Song of Dermot and the Earl', English Historical Review 8 (1893) 129–33.
  8. Joseph Long, Dermot and the Earl: who wrote The Song?, Proc Roy Ir Acad (C) 75 (1975) 263–72.
  9. Evelyn Mullally, 'Hiberno-Norman literature and its public'. In Bradley, John (ed.), Settlement and society in medieval Ireland: studies presented to F.X. Martin, OSA (Kilkenny: Boethius Press, 1988) 327–43.
  10. Evelyn Mullally, 'Mélanges. La colonisation de l'Irlande au xiie s. d'apres une chronique Anglo-Normande', Cahiers de civilisation médiévale 37 (1994) 365–370.
  11. Evelyn Mullally, 'The phantom army of 1169: an Anglo-Norman view', Éigse 31 (1998) 89–101.
  12. John Francis O'Doherty, Laurentius von Dublin und das irische Normannentum (Munich 1933).
  13. John Francis O'Doherty, Rome and the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland, Ir Ecclesiast Rec 42 (1933) 131–45.
  14. John Francis O'Doherty, St Laurence O'Toole and the Anglo-Norman invasion, Ir Ecclesiast Rec 50 (1937) 449–77, 600–25, 51 (1938) 131–46.
  15. John Francis O'Doherty, A historical criticism of the Song of Dermot and the Earl, Ir Hist Stud 1 (1938) 4–20.
  16. Goddard Henry Orpen, Ireland under the Normans, 1169–1333 (4 vols, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1911–20, repr. Oxford: Clarendon Press 1968).
  17. Emer Purcell, 'The expulsion of the Ostmen, 1169–71: the documentary evidence', Peritia 17–18 (2003/2004) 276–294.
  18. W. Ann, Trindade, 'Fiction and history in the song of Dermot and the Earl' Parergon: Bulletin of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Renaissance Studies 8:1 (1990) 123–130.
  19. George T. Stokes, Ireland and the Anglo-Norman Church. A History of Ireland and Irish Christianity from the Anglo-Norman Conquest to the Dawn of the Reformation (London 1889).
  20. Brendan Bradshaw, Review of reprint of G. H. Orpen, 'Ireland under the Normans', Irish Economic and Social History 23 (2006).

The edition used in the digital edition

Orpen, Goddard Henry, ed. (1892). The song of Dermot and the Earl‍. 1st ed. frontispiece (facsimile of folio 7ra) + xliii + 355pp. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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

  title 	 = {The song of Dermot and the Earl},
  editor 	 = {Goddard Henry Orpen},
  edition 	 = {1},
  note 	 = {frontispiece (facsimile of folio 7ra) + xliii + 355pp},
  publisher 	 = {Clarendon Press},
  address 	 = {Oxford},
  date 	 = {1892}


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Creation: Translation by Henry Goddard Orpen.

Date: 1891

Language usage

  • Whole text is in English. (en)
  • Some words are in Anglo-French. (fr)
  • Some words in the introduction are in Latin. (la)
  • Some place-names are in Irish. (ga)

Keywords: histor; poetry; medieval; Anglo-Norman; translation

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2011-02-24: Addition to bibliography made. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2009-10-16: File parsed; new SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2009-10-15: File proofed (2); place-names encoded; editor's preface and introduction captured & proofed (1), bringing up the wordcount by 12,000 words; structural and content encoding applied. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2009-10-13: Minor changes made to header; file parsed; lineation added. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  5. 2009-07-30: Bibliography added to header. (ed. Emer Purcell)
  6. 2009-07-20: Header constructed (based on that of the French text), structural and in-depth mark-up completed and revised. (ed. Emer Purcell)
  7. 2009-06-30: Text proofed (1); further in-depth mark-up added. (ed. Emer Purcell)
  8. 2009-05-30: Text proofed (1); structural and part of the in-depth markup entered. (ed. Emer Purcell)
  9. 2009-04-30: Text captured. (ed. Emer Purcell)

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F250001-001: Song of Dermot and the Earl (in French)

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  1. This is a mistake. The taking of Limerick was six years after Fitz-Stephen's landing. See Chronological Table. 🢀

  2. I may add that Wright translates l. 10: “Here I will read of the bachelor (i. e. the king),” apparently taking lirrai as the fut. of lire instead of as the fut. of laier=laisser. This formula of transition to a new subject occurs several times in the poem; see Glossary, sub lesser🢀

  3. This authority is called la chanson in ll. 456, 1912; la geste, ll. 337, 1065, 1309, 1779, 2598, 3177; lestorie, ll. 2403, 3003, and lescrit, l. 3134. By la chancon in l. 143, however, is meant the present poem. Similar expressions referring to pre-existing materials are to be found elsewhere, as, for instance, in L'histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal, Romania, vol. 11, p. 22 et seq. This poem, which, according to the editor M. Paul Meyer, was probably composed by a professional trouvère from materials supplied by Jean d'Erlee, contains the following references:—Si com en lestorie le truis, l. 3656; Mais nostre estorie me remembre, l. 3885; Li escriz dit ce que je di, l. 16027; Tant me fait li escris entendre, l. 15909; and see id. p. 31. 🢀

  4. See the following passages:—ll. 109, 111, 236, 251, 315, 1500, 1547, 2437, 2584. 2594, 2678, 2686, 2822, 2955, 3053, 3171, 3400. At the same time we must be careful as to the inferences we draw from these phrases. They were the common-places of the rhyming chroniclers, often used merely to complete a line or for the sake of the rhyme. M. Michel infers from the use of such phrases as solum la gent de antiquite (l. 251) and solum le dit as anscienz (l. 1500) that our author “did not live far from the epoch of which he relates the events” (Pref. p. vii); but we find Gaimar, for instance, using the phrase si com distrent lantive gent of an event which took place in the reign of Aethelwulf: Lestorie des Engles, R. S. l. 2405; cf. ll. 1682 and 1785. 🢀

  5. It may be remarked indeed that Giraldus, R. S. v. 358, in speaking of the death of archbishop Laurence, says, De quo inter varia miracula, quibus in hoc suo sancto se mirabilem usque in hodiernum Deus ostendit, &c.; but this expression means no more than the vir sanctus which follows. 🢀

  6. I attach little importance to the phrase solum la gent, which may have been added for the rhyme; cf. ll. 108–9. 🢀

  7. See Cal. Docts. Ir., A. D. 1251, No. 3203. 🢀

  8. I gather this from the ancient deed enrolled at the instance of Sir Henry Wallop (Patent Rolls of Chancery, 37th Eliz. m. 9, and see Journal of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society 1864–6, p. 143 n.), from which it appears that Philip de Prendergast was alive in the 11th year of Henry III, the date of his agreement with the bishop of Ferns, and dead in the 15th year of the same king, the date of the confirmation of the said agreement by Gerald de Prendergast🢀

  9. Reg. St. Thomas, Dub., R. S. p. 404, and see Hist, and Mun. Docts. Ir., R. S. p. 56, where the two grants are set out in full. 🢀

  10. Volumes 699 and 630 are stated to have been compiled in 1611. 🢀

  11. Car. Cal. II, p. 296, note. 🢀

  12. Car. MSS. 607, p. 187; Car. Cal. ao 1617, Nos. 176, 179. Arundell's Castle was close to the Dominican Abbey. See map in Ryland's Hist. of Waterford. 🢀

  13. Car. Cal. Miscellaneous, pp. 466–477. The Latin charters are copied in a neat professional hand and headed by Carew. No. 27, p. 476 of the Car. Cal., is headed in the MS. “From the Liger book of Waterforde”. Folios 271–280 of the MS. contain abstracts in English of eleven charters. 🢀

  14. See Car. Cal. 1617, p. 345. 🢀

  15. Popular Songs of Ireland, pp. 283–4, edited by Crofton Croker, London, 1839. Facsimiles Nat. MSS. of Ireland. 🢀

  16. Arch. Mon. Hib. 704; Hibernia Dominicana, p. 207. 🢀

  17. State Papers, Hen. VIII, vol. 2, pp. 561–3; cf. vol. 3, pp. 116, 134. 🢀

  18. By Jacques Quetif and Jacques Echard, Paris, 1719, Tom. 1, p. 467; cf. Hibernia Dominicana, 1769, p. 909, and Harris's Ware, Writers, p. 75. 🢀

  19. Paris, 1847, tom. xxi. 216–229. 🢀

  20. In the preface to this last work Jofroi speaks as if he worked from a Greek and an Arabic text as well as from a Latin one, and it appears that he understood these languages, but the passage in Harris's Ware (ubi sup.), in which he is made to say that he had already translated the work from Greek into Arabic and again from Arabic into Latin, is a mistranslation. It should be “which has already been translated,” &c. These three works are in prose. The statement of Lebeuf (Hist et Mém. de l'Acad. des Inscriptions, tom. xvii. p. 736) followed by Warton (Hist of Eng. Poetry from the 12th to the 16th cent, 1871, p. 109) that Godefroy translated Dares Phrygius into French rhymes appears to have been a mistake. 🢀

  21. This passage was transcribed for me by Mr. Frederick York Powell from the original MS. at Paris. Jofroi's works are written in a late 13th century professional hand and are probably transcripts. 🢀

  22. See Facsimile, Nat. MSS. of Ireland, vol. 3, Introd. p. xiv, PI. xxxvi. and App. Indeed Yonge's Preface appears to be little else than an adaptation of Jofroi's, amounting at times to a literal translation, though this connection has not been noticed by Mr. J. T. Gilbert. Compare the passage: “In oone techying acordyth and in oone verite shewyth the moste wyse clerkes and maysteris of renoune that haue beyn afor us in all tymys”, &c., with the following extract from Jofroi's “prologes”, cited in the Histoire Littéraire de la France, ubi supra: “En une aprise accordent et une ueritei mostrent les plus sages clers et maistres les plus renomez de ceus ki auant nos furent de cest siecle,” &c.; and the following: “The whyche thynge nobil and gracious lorde afor sayde haith parcewid the sotilte of your witte and the clernys of your engyn”, with “Laquele chose aparcheust la sutelitei de vostre engin”; Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum ubi supra🢀

  23. Giraldus Cambrensis, R.S. v. Preface, lxxxiv–v. Mr. Dimock adds: “At present, it (the poem) is in great measure useless; it most sadly wants a new edition, with a literal translation and notes, by some Irish scholar well versed in the Irish topography and family nomenclature of the time, and well versed also in the Anglo-Norman of the time. No more valuable contribution, perhaps, to the history of the first few years of the English invasion of Ireland could be made than such an edition of this treatise.” 🢀


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