CELT document T402563

The bardic poems of Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn (1550–1591)

Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn

English translation

Edited by Eleanor Knott

The bardic poems of Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn (1550–1591)

     p.1

    TO CONN O'DONNELL

    [1]  Raise the veil from Ireland; long hath she sought a spouse, finding no mate for her couch after the happiness of the men of Fál was blasted.

    [2]  It is long since the Isle of Bregia could discover herself to any; a luckless widow is the wife of Flann— land of splendid stone dwellings.

    [3]  She could not but lose her beauty, it is thus with uncared for-women Ireland, land of sparkling, melodious streams, hath the complexion of loneliness.

    [4]  Ushnagh's castle, darling of kings, hath been brought to such a state that it is a sorrowful omen to watch over the fair, modest contours of her bright countenance.

    [5]  Ireland's capitals have been defiled, one after another; a garment of weeds invests each keep, the white rampart of every castle is become a trench.

    [6]  Her round hills have been stripped, her boundaries plowed over, so that 's Rampart, with its firm (?) dwellings of white masonry, is not recognized by the guides.

    [7]  Nought remains of them save their traces, they have exchanged comeliness for uncomeliness; the brightly-tapestried castles of Niall's Banbha—a cause of sorrow are they.

    [8]  Howbeit, we think the more lightly of this mournful gloom which hangs over Ireland, since 's Rampart, which was named of Art, succour hath been foretold.

     p.2

    [9]  It is in store for it that a man shall come to dissolve its enchantments; needs must, then, that he shall one day take possession of the Field of the Gaels.

    [10]  For thee, Conn, son of the Calvach, many a prophet hath truly foretold thee—it is fitting that you should seek one another—Ireland hath been waiting.

    [11]  Alas, thou graceful of form, for him who does not give some thing of her desire to the smooth, yew-timbered, bright rampart, first couch of Conn and Cobhthach.

    [12]  Look frequently on her bright countenance, bend thine eye upon her in secret; approach her graceful form, speak covertly with Ireland.

    [13]  Embrace her, go to her couch, thou beautiful yet icy of flesh; take to thee the spouse of Lugh, lest Ireland be left unwedded.

    [14]  Press the lips like berry-bloom, and the shining, snow-white teeth, in a kiss to Bregia of the smooth hill, amidst the welcome of the five provinces.

    [15]  Great Niall, son of Eachaidh, from whom thou art sprung, O bright-cheeked countenance, bestowed just such a kiss, whereby he united (under his sway) the fair Dwelling of Eber.

    [16]  Another such kiss gave Brian of Bóroimhe, by which he gained without dispute, thou white of hand, that stately dwelling place of the Sons of Míl.

    [17]  As with other women in manifold enchantments, thou canst procure with a kiss the release of tearful Banbha, O white-footed, black-lashed youth.

    [18]  As with women under enchantments, Ireland, land of rippling waterfalls, plain of great fins, of shallow streams, will be the possession of him who rescues her.

     p.3

    [19]  Long ere her time there was a woman even as this country of the Sons of Míl, in ancient Africa, sandy, bright, of fertile hills, many-rivered, salmonful.

    [20]  The man of yore who loved the princess of the wondrous isles changed the white-handed maiden of the soft, shining hair into a great, forbidding she-dragon.

    [21]  The daughter of Hippocrates, son of Núl, spent a while in dragon's shape, under many and manifold enchantments, from which it had been difficult to rescue her.

    [22]  Be the reason what it may, for one day in each year, in order, to rekindle her sorrow, the gift of beauty was granted to her sparkling, youthful countenance.

    [23]  A merchant's son from the land of the west went to her once upon a time, and found the bright, sweetly-speaking, womanly beauty in her modest maiden's form.

    [24]  He set the desire of his heart upon the woman, and prayed that the lovely, shining-haired one might be a mate for his own bright figure, though to seek her was a cause of remorse.

    [25]  The bright-eyed queen replied, 'I would be thine were it possible, thou wondrous, comely youth, long-handed, gentle, dark-browed.'

    [26]  'By consent or force thou shalt be mine,' said the brown-lashed youth. 'I have forsaken the glances of man, it cannot be,' returned the maiden.

    [27]  'At all other times I am in the shape of a fiery dragon, so that my face (though now) smooth, modestly blushing, beloved, is horrifying to behold.'

    [28]  'Is help in store for thee in days, to come?' said the youth, 'thou bright form, with clear countenance, when dost thou expect thy deliverance?'

    [29]  'It is destined for me that a knight from the warriors of Féilim's Land shall come when I am in dragon's shape, with a kiss whereby I shall be delivered.'

     p.4

    [30]  'The compassionate warrior shall be a husband to me, it is destined for him that he shall be made king over the islands, a thing difficult to accomplish.'

    [31]  'It is destined for me', said the youth, 'I am from Ireland, to bestow that kiss which shall quench thy rage, thou curly-haired maiden, so young and noble.

    [32]  'How could the thing thou sayest be destined for thee, my heart's fruit?' said the stately maiden, 'since thou hast never been a knight.'

    [33]  On hearing that, the merchant's son took orders of chivalry; he departed from the rosy maiden of the soft, shining hair to learn a strange calling.

    [34]  At the break of day he came again to visit the maiden; astonishing was the state in which he found the gracious beauty of the fair, soft tresses.

    [35]  He found in the early morn the graceful figure with smooth brows, and the smooth, silky, heavy, luxuriant tresses, transformed into an awesome, fiery dragon.

    [36]  On beholding the terrifying monster he fled in panic; that expedition ended in his death; a case not easy to succour.

    [37]  The daughter of Hippocrates then returned to her chamber, and the heart of the white-footed, sweet-voiced maiden was full of sorrow.

    [38]  She vowed that from that day on she would arise for no man until the coming of the prophesied one who was destined to release her from her bonds.

    [39]  And even yet—long is the suffering—her gray modest-lashed eye, her pleasing form, her rosy countenance await her deliverer.

    [40]  Ireland is that woman, O silky of hair, thou art the woman who shall deliver Ireland; and the hideous visage of the dragon is the tormenting host of ruthless foreigners.

     p.5

    [41]  Draw near to her, thou curly-headed one, do not shrink from the dragonlike aspect which clothes the sweet, beguiling streams of the Boyne; deliver Ireland from her disfigurement.

    [42]  Many say of thee, Conn, descendant of Conn the Hundredfighter, thou heedest not that Cobhthach's Plain has been for some time in the custody of foreigners.

    [43]  They are right, O bright countenance, not very thankful are the Sons of Míl to thee, Conn, son of the Calvach, as regards the famed land of bright apple-trees.

    [44]  Even though thou mayst not be supreme in the Land of the Gaels, thou thick-haired one, it is in thy power, Conn, to free the country of Banbha from its fetters.

    [45]  It is easy for thee to win triumphs, the Sons of Míl are eager for war; it needs few forays, thou man of the Inny, to stir up Banbha.

    [46]  A house takes fire from the one beside it; if thy intention of battle be heard, from thy head of wavy tresses the rest will take it; it is a ready desire that is ignited.

    [47]  Even as the spreading of a flame, throughout this Plain of Cobhthach every territory will have its own reaver, from thy raids upon the foreign soldiery.

    [48]  And the result, O wondrous form, shall be that the people of every territory, together with thee, O face ruddy as the berry, from which the stream is calm, shall storm the dividing boundaries of Gael and foreigner.

    [49]  Take command of them, Conn, and lead them to Frewen; thou bright-handed warrior of Bregia, revivify the soldiery of the Gael.

    [50]  Forsake not for Donegal, or the bay of Eas Dá Éagann, or ancient Loch Foyle, of the sparkling wines, the royal rampart of Tara in the east.

     p.6

    [51]  Alas, if anyone found that for the cocket of Sligo Bay, or for bright Croghan of the fair equipment thou wouldst abandon ancient Tara of Tuathal Teachtmhar.

    [52]  The words of soothsayers, the utterances of saints, mate her with thee, O wavy tresses; did they not prophesy of yore the salmon from Frewen's fair harbor?

    [53]  Prophets of thy rule, thou lord of Bearnas, are the promise of fruit on the green-leafed bough, the fury of the stream bearing its produce, the wave concealed beneath the washed-up treasure.

    [54]  Abundance of milk from a small number of cattle, abundance of corn stacks before summer, and—soothsayers through whom thou art most clearly recognized—the ruined buildings of the churches repaired.

    [55]  Thou at the service of all, and all submitting to thee; thou above everyone, and everyone above thee; thou at the pleasure of every man, and for all that, the Gaels at thy mercy.

    [56]  The noble Gaels welcome thee to this enterprise, O cheerful heart; as a woman with her unlawful mate, so is Ireland with thy warriors.

     p.7

    TO HUGH O'DONNELL

    [1]  Welcome, thou son of Manus, from blue-harbored Tirconell; hasten, bright face, to Croghan's long-speared host.

    [2]  Hasten to us, if thou art coming; to the north a visit is enough; make thy dwelling in Connacht, thou lord of the Ultonian plain.

    [3]  Hasten thee, gentle (?) countenance, to view the province of Ól nÉagmocht; be not laggard of foot, come hither, admit no hindrance about it.

    [4]  Welcome to thee, come hither, and gather thy noble assembly; make a full hosting, and advance through the fresh, bright-surfaced plain of Connacht.

    [5]  Assemble the warriors of Ulster, it is long since they have been assembled, to check the contest of the tribes of Conn with thy thick, soft, gold-brown locks.

    [6]  Ask of the seed of Suibhne, thou chief of Mourne, if they are grieved that the Connachtmen are contending with the powerful striplings of Ulster's land.

    [7]  Say to the clans of noble Niall that they should make a union and alliance; display to them their great ties with us, thou golden king amongst chessmen.

    [8]  Bring to us one after another the seed of Eóghan, the race of Conall, around thy bright, modestly-flushing face, to seek the tributes of the province.

     p.8

    [9]  Gather around thy brightly fringed locks thy battle-allies, thy marriage connections, and the host from Liathdruim's walled castle—Colla's mighty kindred, so smooth of skin.

    [10]  Though we speak thus, we know that on the day of the hosting thou needest only the descendants of noble Dálach of Bregia, the many-gifted ones of the five provinces.

    [11]  Those four sections yonder of the race that sprang from Conall—all the armies of Tara would not be capable of fighting against them.

    [12]  Dálach's race, they of the smooth-walled fortresses, the race of Dochartach, the host of Baoigheall's seed, and Gallchobhar's bright, haughty stock, from whom the Ulstermen are without rest.

    [13]  Those are the four battalions that follow the high-prince, disturbers of Conn's Banbha, valiant raiders of Conall's race.

    [14]  Should the men of Ireland fail thee, the proven warriors of the four battalions, the champions of Tara's hill, will gain for thee the headship of Connacht.

    [15]  Bring with thee the four-hosted seed of Conall in their full strength, that the plain of Croghan, delightful country, of fertile nooks, may be brought under rule.

    [16]  Until thou avenge all that thou hast undergone, make neither peace nor settlement about the rich territory of Sreang's ancient line, thine inherited portion of Ireland.

    [17]  Be not satisfied until thou art here, we know, O bright bosom, that when the race of Conall shall have arisen, it is not yonder they will make peace with us.

    [18]  Thou needst not fear to entrust thyself to them, until the assemblies of that race of Conall be simultaneously laid low thou art not likely to be overthrown in despite of them.

     p.9

    [19]  It were unfitting for thee to seek other aid, it befits that race of Conall, O shapely of form and white of hand, to do their utmost for thee.

    [20]  Few among them, O modest eye, but are either beloved, worthy fosterers, or goodly fostersons, or sometime fosterbrothers to thee, thou fair-cheeked one.

    [21]  Those who are older than thou are as thy fosterers, while the offspring of the rest are thy goodly fosterchildren, thou prophesied one of the Plain of Cormac.

    [22]  Just such words as these Conall of Cruacha uttered long ago on Magh Léana, thou star of Sligo's host.

    [23]  It was a day when battle was declared against Conn on Magh Léana, at the instigation of foreigners, by fearless Mugh Nuadhad, head with a sheltering mane of sleekly waving locks.

    [24]  Around famed Mugh Nuadhad, with one accord, gather the pick of the men of Ireland, save only—princely, unconquered troop—the valiant (?) men of Connacht.

    [25]  Conn had with him but the men of Connacht, for his protection in battle against the forces of all the rest of Ireland, warriors with sleek, shapely steeds.

    [26]  'Too few for us are the Connachtmen,' said Conn, in converse with Conall, 'seeing that all Ireland is opposing us, thou soft, smooth and gentle of countenance.'

    [27]  'The men of Ireland, from sea to sea,' such were the words of Conall, "should not make thee to quail whilst thou art amongst the hosts of the plain of Connacht.'

    [28]  'Fosterer, fosterchild, or fosterbrother to thee,' said Conall, 'is everyone in the plain of Croghan, O yellow of hair, O beloved of women.'

    [29]  'The elders of Connacht, one and all,' continued Conall, 'are-fosterers to thee, thou gentle, fair, black-lashed youth.'

     p.10

    [30]  'Those of thine own age, o stately eye, are thy foster brethren,' said Conall, 'since thou wast reared, thou bright of cheek, along with the people of Telton's smooth hills.'

    [31]  'To end,' said Conall of Cruacha, our diffident(?) youths are all fostersons to thee, thou horseman of the Plain of the Champion.'

    [32]  'Why, therefore, shouldst thou think thy number too small?' continued the high-king's fosterer, 'a, host of united friends are here, we shall not stir one foot in thy despite.'

    [33]  The battle of the morn is won by Conn, sleek of hair, over Mugh Nuadhadd; well did Conall fulfil his good pledge to Conn.

    [34]  And thus it is with thee, O'Donnell, thou shalt feel no inferiority in combat, while amongst Conall's warlike stock, o slender, powerful stately-eyed one.

    [35]  O lion of the Erne, there is but one province opposing thee, whilst all Ireland, save Conall, was unitedly attacking Conn.

    [36]  There are many trusty officers as good as Conall around thy dark-lashed cheek; (they are to thee) even as in his day Conn's Conall was to his king.

    [37]  Even as Conn set his trust in the troops of Croghan, and in Conall, set thou thy trust in thy foster-brethren, and in the goodly youth of Murbhach.

    [38]  Better these about the warrior of the Plain of the Fair than seven times their number of a summoned and pressed army from the other territories of Ireland.

    [39]  As long as that fierce, watchful host survive, thou wilt fear little vexation, o crimson-bladed champion of Oileach.

    [40]  What is it that hinders thee from coming to confront the men of Connacht, continually despoiling the men of Ireland-warriors with lithe, docile steeds?

     p.11

    [41]  And yet, I understand the reason of thy delay, thou ruler of fair Fainn's plain; it is because the firmly-dyked plain of Connacht has no means to withstand thee.

    [42]  It oppresses thy mind, Hugh, that Maeve's land, with fair, noble ramparts, should be spoiled by its own folk, although you are at variance.

    [43]  Thou wouldst rather it were lost to thee wholly, O bright countenance, than that it should be destroyed between you; I think the babe is thine, O sleek-browed, supple-handed youth.

    [44]  Hast thou heard of the women's dispute, or of the royal judgment which Solomon pronounced; thou stately scion from the rippling Moy, about the halving of the babe?

    [45]  One day there came before Solomon two strange women, a comely, youthful-looking, bright pair, carrying between them a single infant.

    [46]  Each of the women had come directly to him to certify that the babe was hers, in order that he might confirm that.

    [47]  'Since you have no witness in this matter regarding the babe, I would fain divide it between you,' said the sage of the world.

    [48]  'It is a good decision,' said one of the women, 'that great Solomon, son of David, has given us concerning the rosy, supple-armed offspring: that the child should be divided between us.'

    [49]  'I had rather my own babe were out of harm's way even shouldst thou have it altogether,' replied the other woman.

    [50]  'Thou art the mother of the boy,' said the judge famed for his awards; 'assuredly he has been in thy womb, thou dost not allow the child to be divided.'

    [51]  Even thus, Hugh, son of Manus—where am I telling it of thee?—thou hast not ravaged the plain of Connacht on account of wrong or transgression.

     p.12

    [52]  Since it is thine, thou smooth and soft of skin, thou wouldst not ravage Connacht, o blameless hand; the babe was begot by thee.

    [53]  Thou hast spared Conn's Croghan, thou hast protected the haven of ancient, clear-streamed Sligo against Conall's line, in spite of the impatient men of Ulster.

    [54]  Didst thou follow the counsel of the rest, Telton would be in a blaze, and Croghan dismantled; listen not to their entreaties.

    [55]  Even wert thou thyself attacking them, on account of the Ineen Duv, thou torrential stream from the Bregian Boyne, it would not be possible to devastate them.

    [56]  In any province where that woman is, none dare to talk of strife; the Land of Fionntan has shown (?) that she has curbed the race of Conall.

    [57]  Until the daughter of James came to us, and until the land of Bregia became subdued to her will, we would not keep peace with the rest for the twinkling of an eye.

    [58]  From the time that she came across the sea the race of Dálach, on account of the queen of Cobha's pure plain, do not remember in their hearts the offences of others.

     p.13

    TO HUGH O'DONNELL

    [1]  The race of Conall will praise the children of Tál, may hap that these plunderings of Conall's Plain be a token of fortune for the seed of noble Ros from the gently-flowing Maigue.

    [2]  For sometime past the seed of Brian and that race of Conall have been coupled together; receiving praise and satire.

    [3]  We poets of the North used to compose eulogies for the seed of red-speared Conall in provocation of the tribe of Cas, stems from the fair banks of the Fergus.

    [4]  We poets of the seed of Hundred-battling Conn, have, whatever the reason, harmed the repute of the great and ancient race of Mugh Nuadhad, valor's inherited capital.

    [5]  We used not to compose a long poem of praise, or even one humorous stanza, without corresponding dispraise of the race of Corc, stems most strange to attack.

    [6]  Fearing that we may have to approach them, we are remorseful for what we used to do against the beloved seed of Cas, so famed in battle.

    [7]  It was not for the sake of cattle or golden goblets, precious jewels or mantles of red satin, that we found reasons for satirizing the fair warriors of Fermoyle.

    [8]  But that a short time ago—sorrowful indeed—a fine poet from the northern half went yonder to the west to study his art in Munster.

     p.14

    [9]  And it befell—most harmfully—that the foreign rulers of Mac Con's Munster arrested the poet of Ulster when he was perfected in his art.

    [10]  The poet of O'Donnell of Donegal, by the dreadful rule of foreigners—to be brief, he was slain in the south, which caused the simultaneous ruin of the poets.

    [11]  It was foreign tyranny that caused them to suffer his murder; the race of Sadhbh should not bear the blame, though it befell them to commit it.

    [12]  However, from arrogance of mind I plied the edge of my just wrath on the tribe of Cas, mischievously and pridefully.

    [13]  I, like every other man, acted as I should not have done towards the kindly, generous children of Tál, a proceeding which enhanced my unfairness.

    [14]  It fell out, thereafter, that war arose between the Ulstermen and the hosts of firmly-walled Croghan; a cause of deep flushing in bright faces.

    [15]  It was proclaimed by the race of Dálach that not even friends or comrades should be protected throughout the land of Oilill, dry, bright-stoned plain, watered by melodious streams.

    [16]  Thereupon my kinsfolk, my own friends, oblige me to go and seek protection and surety from the stern, powerful kindred of Dálach.

    [17]  Despite all they had lavished upon me, this I have to say of the tribe of Conall, they had no mind to undertake my protection; unhappy the condition of the friends.

    [18]  I do not deny that it is the same to me as if the seed of Conall were plundering me, for the mighty champions of Beanna Boirche to refuse me in the matter of protection.

     p.15

    [19]  Having heard what they recited to me on thy behalf, Hugh O'Donnell, I am filled with wrath and impatience towards thy ruddy, bronzed, bright-cheeked countenance.

    [20]  For thy public proscription of me, thou king of noble Conall's line, the powerfully attended host of Murbhach have no sufficing compensation to offer.

    [21]  The hearts of king's children will bound, if I go from thee in enmity; fair faces will flame amongst Almhu's, keen-bladed host.

    [22]  Though I am at war with the race of Dálach about my cattle, there went not from me into Ulster unjustly even the value of a single cow.

    [23]  Nevertheless, I shall depose against the battalions of the haven of Duibhlinn that they plundered me of all that is in my home, O supple-bodied lord of Calry.

    [24]  I shall say, O son of Manus, that thou hast wrought me harm, and requital for the harm thou hast not done me will be given, O lord of Bearnas.

    [25]  It was in this fashion, O thick-haired one, that Maol Miolsgothach obtained of yore from the race of famous Niall that extraordinary award of goods.

    [26]  One of the nobles of Niall's seed, thus the matter arose, met his death by Mac Coise; thereat they became incensed.

    [27]  Upon the kindling of their resentment the road-skilled(?) warriors of Niall's line threaten to go and plunder the poet in return for the unseemly, woeful deed.

    [28]  Mac Coise upon hearing this, went to the high-king of Oileach—generous hero for whom the sea was calm, helm of sovranty to Ulster.

    [29]  Donnell grandson of Niall, then asked the poet for a story; the best of story-tellers was he, narrator of all Ireland's lore.

     p.16

    [30]  Mac Coise enquired if he had heard a number of entertaining stories; he named them, one after another, to the graceful, white-handed hero of Bóroimhe.

    [31]  From the time that Ceasair took possession of the plain of Bregia, all the curious stories of the Field of the Gael were known by heart, he found, to the gallant hero of Maonmhagh.

    [32]  About the destruction of his own house, then, the poet composed an original fable for his splendid, angelic countenance.

    [33]  Iorard said, in short, that some of Donnell's kinsmen had destroyed his dwelling, homestead of bright, glittering stones.

    [34]  Oileach's king, with braided locks, Donnell, son of Muircheartach, gave to the elfin, comely countenance requital for the damage he had not wrought.

    [35]  The breadth of his face of pure gold he gave to the poet as an honor-price; and that is but a small part of the various payments he got from the powerful chief of Gáirighe.

    [36]  In return for the falsehood he had composed about the kindred of Niall, the slender-handed youths of Bregia thereupon dispensed gifts more than he could reckon to the poet.

    [37]  The choicest of their rings, of their goblets encrusted with precious stones, did Mac Coise, Maol Miolsgothach—well did his bluster succeed—get in payment for the hurt they had not wrought.

    [38]  Mac Coise's claim against the kindreds of Niall, as I know, O cheery of face, is a sufficing pattern for a claim upon thee, thou lord of the fair Plain of Conchobhar.

    [39]  The precious treasures, the gift of cattle, that Mac Coise got from Eóghan's kin—why should not such be dispensed to me, thou scion from the timbered House of Croghan?

     p.17

    [40]  It did not become me, thou lord of Line, either from affection or from fear of reproach, to be forbearing in the matter, thou wise and righteous of mien [sic].

    [41]  In short, thou man of honorable intention—it is I myself that am patient; a buffet from a red fist in thy bright cheek is the sentence thou deservest from me.

    [42]  Thou hast bidden me, thou smooth of hair, to guard my cattle from thee—my state is nothing but banishment, thou noble king of Frewen.

    [43]  For the love of thine honor, tell me wouldst thou establish thyself there in my place, if I left my native territory?

    [44]  To whom in the world wilt thou guarantee surety or respect, thou protecting shield of Ulster's shore, after thou hast banished me?

    [45]  Hardly should I ever find again, after thy decree, thou slender scion from the Bregian Boyne, one friend with whom it were fitting to live.

    [46]  O supple form, as it is with thee I was reared, thou son of Manus, this increases my depression—that the knee which nursed me should reject me.

    [47]  Amongst them I was brought up, until I had spent the greater part of my life; great was the comradeship with me of every lord of Conall's curly-haired race.

    [48]  Whenever the descendants of Tál, or the graceful, vigorous kindred of Niall were mentioned in my presence, thou prince of Iomghán, I used not to make (great) people of them.

    [49]  I shall belie myself if I am for any time at odds with thy noble, crimson, melodious countenance; (my) praises of thee will be refuted by my censure.

    [50]  I shall compose a refreshing piece of censure for thee after my lamentation; it shall be as a eulogy of the blood of Tál, thou dark-lashed chief of Iomghán.

     p.18

    [51]  It is a piece of fortune for the seed of Brian that I shall become resentful towards the nobles of Conall's line, offspring of a goodly seed from the City of Conn.

    [52]  Wert thou remorseful for the hurt thou hast not done me, I would accept and give an honor-price, O blushing cheek.

    [53]  All the greater is the guilt of Dálach's clan in opposing a comrade, since hitherto they have not been wont to plunder any man of letters.

    [54]  From the side of either Core or Conn—there is no noble connection whom thou owest to resemble, O Hugh O'Donnell, that was not wont to show forbearance towards poets.

     p.19

    THE BATTLE OF DRUMLEENE

    [1]  Drumleene is a precinct of vengeance; much evil and injustice hath been committed in contention for that hill, in the valley of conspicuous inlets.

    [2]  Often have its slopes been turned into a crimson, blood-red mass, and every dip of its glowing fields filled with mangled bodies.

    [3]  Many a time ere this has the lake in front of it been turned to blood, and its waves purpled with gore on the brink of the vengeful ridge.

    [4]  The deathful slopes of Drumleene! Never have there been nor ever shall be such evil deeds in any other plain in Ireland as those of this fair fresh-verdured expanse.

    [5]  Since the days of the Children of Nemed, the fresh, brightly-glistening surface of the smooth hill of Cruachán Lighean has been bathed in the blood of champions.

    [6]  Conning, son of Faobhar, son of Flath, it was he who fought the first battle in contest for the land of Bregia, by the calm waters of Drumleene.

    [7]  Nine hundred of the Children of Nemed, of their chieftains, of their soldiery, fell by Conuing's battalions on the brown surface of that field.

    [8]  Then the five sons of mighty Deala, son of Lóch, gave battle on the hill to the noble warriors of Fál, by the ancient dyke of Cruachán, peak.

    [9]  In the same spot, after a space, great Breas, son of Ealatha, gave battle to the warriors of Lochlann for the noble hill of graceful castles.

     p.20

    [10]  Of the fighting men of Banbha there fell by Breas upon the ancient, awesome slope one hundred and three worthy to reign, as well as mercenaries of the land.

    [11]  Of three thousand Fir Bolg there escaped from the conflict—distress enough was the amount of the spoil— but five.

    [12]  When the mighty race of Míl of Spain returned to the land of Fál, (such fury as) the fury of these men upon the fair summit of the slopes of Drumleene is untold.

    [13]  In days of conflict the three gallant sons of Cearmaid are slain by them, three valiant ones for whom hazels bore fruit-laden branches, pillars of fair Cathair Chröoinn.

    [14]  They waged, then, three battles upon the perilous slopes of Drumleene, and they took to themselves the sovranty of Bregia, a step in the Gaelic conquest.

    [15]  The Sons of Míl, moreover, and the flower of the Tuath Dé Danann, these also perished in the slaughter on the white-knolled green of Cruachán.

    [16]  Never on any other hill of Úghaine's Land have there been slain half as many warriors as the number that fell on the glistening mounds of Cruachán.

    [17]  Until the stars of heaven be numbered, or the great sands of the sea, it will not be possible to recount the evil deeds wrought on the brightly foliaged hill with its ancient fields.

    [18]  Six royal battles ere now have been waged around the fair hill of Foyle, by the sluggish stream, without recording any petty fray.

    [19]  In short, this is the seventh battle, this mighty conflict of to-morrow, that the champion of Ulster's land will wage upon this mound of which ye have heard.

    [20]  It is he, moreover, who will give battle, Hugh, son of Manus, of Tara's rampart; the cheery and ruddy of countenance, that is most wont to triumph over the foe.

     p.21

    [21]  This great battle of the morrow is the grievous, destructive plague which has set the four elements trembling throughout the spacious Rampart of Lughaidh.

    [22]  That is what has made flaming folds of the hills of the world, and sent the waves through the forest thickets in mighty masses of flame.

    [23]  The spurting fires of heaven, a presage of conflict, have appeared, with the great maned star in a wondrous, warlike array.

    [24]  The sepulchred dead will be struggling and contending, throughout Fál's plain the corpses are quickening, in expectancy of the extraordinary evil.

    [25]  Throughout the delightful expanses of the Field of the Fair the beasts of Banbha's plain are uttering intelligent speech, simultaneously proclaiming the woes of Ireland.

    [26]  Brutes are brought forth in human shape, and men in the form of brutes, many a monster has that created throughout the dyked meadow of Cobhthach.

    [27]  The ravenous Fury of battle is inciting the great chief, passing over the isles of Ireland with crimson tresses about her head.

    [28]  Until morn come, the phantom women of faery, the wolves and wild animals, will utter presage of the coming battle to the host of Macha.

    [29]  Many this night, throughout both armies, will be the spectres, ghosts and apparitions around the spoiler of Banbha's castles.

    [30]  Many a soldier in the camp of the warrior of Bregia will have had his shield on his wrist since the night before; many the long fingers looped around javelins, hands clasped about swordhilts.

    [31]  In the morn betimes there will be many a meal consumed without comfort, warriors whetting (?) their keen weapons, shrieks of scaldcrows and ravens.

     p.22

    [32]  Most horrifying, then, will be the clang of the clashing spears, the whistle of their sharp blades with dripping points, the harsh calling of their ivory horns.

    [33]  Piteous, at the same time, will be the bellowing of the gaping brutes, the voices of the wolves from the heights of Banbha, the fluttering of strange banners.

    [34]  Betimes to-morrow morn the blue assembly mound of Cruachán, the woeful ridgepole of all slaughter, will be a clamorous hillock.

    [35]  The battle of to-morrow morning will be gained, as is wont, by the keen-eyed host from Teach Truim and the stately race of Conall.

    [36]  Does Hugh pay heed to the complaint of the creatures in human form, the moaning of the streams, the clouds in the heavens, the tidings of the soothsayers?

    [37]  Or is it the complaint of Conall's kindred, that the army of the chieftain of Fál is kept parleying about battle, that afflicts his brown cheek?

    [38]  Long have they been attending him, without returning to their native lands, the long-handed scion of Bregia is wearying the Children of Míl.

    [39]  Long does it seem to the man from the Moy, and from the cool brink of Sríbh Broin, from the Curlews and from the lands of Oriel in Ulster, not to return home.

    [40]  Whether it prove his undoing or his advantage, whether the victory be for or against Hugh, since it awaits him it is high time to face it.

    [41]  Readily can he go into battle before the mighty host of the warriors of Tara, few therein that are not forest-trees of the true family of the race of Conall, towering above the wood.

    [42]  Gathered about his soft locks are the heroes of the Tuatha, the warriors of Fanad, the kingly youth of Inishowen, delightful hosts from whom the sea is easy to fish.

     p.23

    [43]  From the other side he will be joined by the danger-braving hawks of Beanna-Boghaine and a fierce host from the glens of Bearnas, a red-speared, blue-bladed herd.

    [44]  With him moreover, one after another, are his own kinsmen of the race of Conall, who have no mind to retreat one step, champions from the castle of Durlas.

    [45]  Better these around the warrior of the Plain of the Fair than seven times their number of a summoned and pressed army from the other territories of Ireland.

     p.24

    LIFFORD CASTLE

    [1]  A beloved dwelling is the castle of Lifford, homestead of a wealth-abounding encampment; forge of hospitality for the men of Ulster, a dwelling it is hard to leave.

    [2]  Beloved are the two who keep that house without excess, without lack; the ward of the stout, even-surfaced tower are the supporting pillars of the province.

    [3]  Short is the day, no matter what its length, in the company of the royal warrior of Conchobhar's Plain; fleet are the long days from the lady of bright-walled Tara.

    [4]  The daughter of noble Shane O'Neill, and the son of O'Donnell of Dún Iomgháin—they are in the ancient, comely dwelling as entertainers of guests.

    [5]  Dear the hostel in which these are wont to be, dear the folk -who dwell in the hostel; the people of the house and the house of that people—happy is any who shall get honor such as theirs.

    [6]  Beloved the delightful, lofty building, its tables, its coverlets, its cupboards; its wondrous, handsome, firm walls, its smooth marble arches.

    [7]  Beloved is the castle in which we used to spend a while at chess-playing, a while with the daughters of the men of Bregia, a while with the fair books of the poets.

    [8]  The fortress of smooth-lawned Lifford—no one in the world can leave it once it is found; that dwelling is the Durlas of the north.

     p.25

    [9]  Or else it is Eamhain which used to vary in form, or Croghan of the children of Mágha, or Tara of the race of Cobhthach—this bright castle, rich in trees and horses.

    [10]  Or it is Naas, the fortress of Leinster, as it was first fashioned; or the fertile, ancient abode of the children of Corc, green, conspicuous Cashel.

    [11]  Or it is fair Lifford itself—hardly is any of these castles better—which hath of yore assumed those shapes ye are wont to hold dear.

     p.26

    LIOS GRÉINE

    [1]  Lios Gréine is the Eamhain of Ulster; a dwelling not to be deserted for Tailte; a house whose gifts are not excelled, booty taken from the foreigner is bestowed in that bright dwelling.

    [2]  It is the fairy castle of Ealcmhar in loveliness, a dwelling which of yore was held by kings; enough is it to set all at variance, a sunny castle like to the Brugh of the Boyne.

    [3]  It is akin to Guaire's Durlas, it was built by the descendant of the earls; dwelling of feasting, wine-wealthy hosts, royal castle abounding in spears and bridles.

    [4]  Lios Gréine, saffron-tinted castle of brave melody, the sight of it will relieve sickness; plenty therein of all kinds of delight, fair stead amidst green-topped hazel-trees.

    [5]  White-lathed, straightly built castle, a habitation beguiling to companies; Dún Dealgan—bright fortress similar to the rampart—is such another as this lofty castle.

    [6]  Fort full of booty, of companies, of drinking horns, long shall this dwelling be remembered; much hath the shapely fort laid desolate; a mirthful rampart like to Lios Luigheach.

    [7]  A fort like that of famed Ushnagh, which the Hound of the Feats subdued (?); bring no woman within this tower, similar to Troy is the dwelling.

    [8]  The level green lawn about the sunny castle is like plowed land, from the prancing of vigorous steeds: no one hath tilled the bright sod, but its state is caused by the exercising of young and spirited horses.

     p.27

    [9]  Horses on the lawn around the bright castle, shining spears being polished; the race of Conn driving round, well-set nails in preparation for exercising their steeds.

    [10]  From the prince who is lord of this house Banbha shall know no lack; he is a man whose fame is such as that Hound's—similar to him was the Hound of the Feats.

    [11]  Shane leads us to Rath Éanna{} hostage for the prowess of Úna's Land, spouse of Conn {}  1.

    [12]  The darling of Tara hath won great triumph, Shane is proven in combats {}  2it is right to shun the wrath of a warrior.

    [13]  A keen steed beneath thee, swift as a hawk {} 3.

    [14]  Until thou canst win her will from Tara, thou son of Conn, unflinching in battle—goodly fame is not to be thought little of—thou provest thy worth in conflict.

    [15]  Lugh Longhand, lord of Tara, who left no foe unsubdued—many a soothsayer says it of thee—is thy similitude over the Plain of Connla.

    [16]  Stretch forth from bright Dungannon, suffer not the land of Niall to be unsubmissive to thee; it is meet to exalt one nut above the cluster, I choose thee for the qualities of Cú Chulainn.

    [17]  Sufficing is the agility of thy slender tipped spears- hafts, they will send the foreign hosts across the bright sea; it is no reproach to Bearchán to have announced thee—the ancient plain of Niall is well foretold for thee.

    [18]  Not much of other men's wealth does he hoard, bright satin such as is not wont to be in a hostage-cell (?); as he returns triumphant from a territory gentle, sharp and eager are the steeds around the sunny dwelling.

     p.28

    To Turlogh Luineach

    [1]  Many privileges have the seed of Niall, it is long since they, the seed of the forest-tree from the Bregian Boyne, were ordained above the rest of Míl's mighty kin.

    [2]  Even when they are not ruling the Land of the Fair, the high-king of Ireland is not entitled to any increase of homage from the goodly race of Eóghan, orchard-stems of Cobhthach's kindred.

    [3]  When any other king rules the Plain of Úghaine no exchange of hostages is got from the goodly race of Nine-hostaged Niall.

    [4]  But when one of the O'Neills is made king, then it is no matter of doubt that the keen-bladed race of noble Niall obtains pledges from every Irishman.

    [5]  They, being the most excellent, have given hire to the men of Ireland, but the flower of Bregia's ever-roving host are not bound to accept hire.

    [6]  O'Neill is entitled to the blood-price if any of his people be killed, but he gives no honor-price to any of the strongly fettering host of the Gael.

    [7]  We know, moreover, that in no part of Ireland are their rights withheld, while these hosts so heroic in exploit hold the dues of all Ireland.

    [8]  The descendants of Niall of the Nine Fetters, stems from the Hill of the Fair, there have not been, nor will there ever be any Irishmen such as they.

     p.29

    [9]  The kings of Ireland who were not of them, and the race of mighty Niall, son of Eachaidh—not more numerous in the regal list are kings from other stock than from them.

    [10]  From them are the kings of hilly Banbha, from them the choicest of Ireland's noble saints; from the seed of royal Niall of the land of Bregia, the stainless, righteous ones of the Gael.

    [11]  Mac Coise estimated the race of Niall, and in no respect did he find in them any traces of wickedness or transgression, any more than in the angels of the haven of paradise.

    [12]  'Whosoever is the worst of Niall's stock, I testify,' said Mac Coise, 'that he excels all others besides them, that company from Tuatha Teamhrach.'

    [13]  The best of Niall's stock, these, palmtrees from the haven of Derry, he did not speak of as men, but as angels in fleshly body.

    [14]  The judgment of Mac Coise of Cluain on the seed of Niall of red-weaponed Oileach has ever since had wide and enduring repute throughout the host of Fionntan's wine-abounding plain.

    [15]  There are many other reasons whereby the descendants of Eóghan especially surpass in nobility the rest of Niall's saintly race, noble stems from a single root.

    [16]  Eóghan, son of glorious Niall, branch above the forest of Macha's plain, obtained, beyond the other children of the high-prince, the blessing of the primate Patrick.

    [17]  Patrick of the Haven of the Fair bequeathed to Eóghan, rather than to the rest of Niall's seed, and to his vigorous and noble stock, the honor and prowess of Ireland.

    [18]  They ruled the descendants of Criomhthan, and never since, in virtue of the patron's legacy, has any one of the men of Ireland obtained power over Eóghan's, seed.

     p.30

    [19]  The seed of Niall is the outcome of the ancient blessings, the fruit of the holy man's prayer has now come to Turlogh, apple-branch of Tara's wood.

    [20]  Son of Niall, son of Art Óg, son of Conn, descendant of the kings from Frewen, most righteous king that man ever saw of the mighty sons of Míl.

    [21]  The difference between gold and copper, the difference between the moon and the stars, such is the difference whereby the lord of Bangor's fertile plain exceeds all other Irishmen.

    [22]  A king who never allowed the men of Ireland to outdo the Ulstermen in anything, the king proven to be best, surpassing all Ireland.

    [23]  A king through whom the men of Ulster are without war, without conflict; without envy, without resentment, without anger, without destruction of castles, without reaving.

    [24]  A king who never broke his kingly word, the king to whom evildoers are most hateful: a king who will promise nothing under heaven save that which is certain to be done.

    [25]  Even on the highway a ring of ruddy gold might be safely left for a year, such is the rigor of the law amongst the men of Ulster.

    [26]  Under the glancing eye of the mighty hero of Macha the women of Fál's Plain might (each one) traverse Ulster singly, clad in garments of varied hue, broidered with gold.

    [27]  If a ship laden with treasure were cast unguarded by the coast, such power does Turlogh wield that it would depart without infraction.

    [28]  All the more wonderful is it for the man to have brought the Fifth into such a state, seeing that, save Ulster alone the whole of bright and fertile Banbha is one wave of depredation.

     p.31

    [29]  That deluge whereby God desolated the world, or else just such another, has been sent upon Bregia's dewy rampart; the happiness of Banbha has been extinguished.

    [30]  In the land of the children of Rudhruighe there is another conspicuous Noah, stately presence, whose excellence is acknowledged, shielding it from the down-pouring of the flood.

    [31]  Now, out of all Banbha, Turlogh keeps the fifth part of Tara's land unwetted by Ireland's deluge of lawlessness.

    [32]  Even thus of yore did the King of Heaven bring Noah son of Lamech, fruitful scion, of word inviolate, across the heaving sea of the Flood.

    [33]  In the days of great Noah son of Lamech the world lay beneath the darkness of mist through lack of reverence for creative God; a well-known matter ever since.

    [34]  Save Noah himself and his three sons, the seed of Adam then, all the people of the world, it is said, were abounding in wickedness and sin.

    [35]  The angel of God comes down from heaven on a certain day to the son of Lamech, to prophesy to him before the Flood, that most destructive downpour.

    [36]  'The fierce, dark streams of the flood,' said God's messenger to him, 'most able destroyers of them, will overwhelm all simultaneously.'

    [37]  'Let a firm, stout-flanked vessel be made by you,' said the angel, 'ere the black, scorching brine come across the solid plain of the earth.'

    [38]  Upon the angel's entreaty the son of Lamech— what courage—makes a graceful, smooth-masted ark, a glistening watertight ship.

    [39]  When the ark had been made ready the King of the elements, God the Father, sent the Flood upon the earth and laid it waste.

     p.32

    [40]  Until God in requital of their crimes had overwhelmed the whole world, save eight alone, He ceased not to harry them in His righteous anger.

    [41]  It was not the comely, graceful ark that saved them from the wrath of the Deluge whilst the tide was rising, but the prayers and the saintliness of Noah.

    [42]  The foreigners are the deluge, the Plain of Conchobhar is the ark, and the Noah of that land is Turlogh, noble, hospitable scion of Tara's fold.

    [43]  Even as formerly Noah was chosen by Him, today, according to His wisdom, God has chosen beyond any of the warriors of the bright plain of the Gaels the heavenly countenance of O'Neill.

    [44]  Amongst the Gaels of Tara's Field God Himself has chosen Turlogh, it is not easy to alter that choice of the God of the elements.

    [45]  It is not to be wondered at though a fierce, powerful king such as he perform any of his actions, considering the number of kings of Ireland that were of his stock.

    [46]  Twenty-six kings, in the reckoning of rulers, reigned over the Gaels' land of dark yewtrees, from Niall son of Eachaidh down to Turlogh to whom the forest bends.

    [47]  Sixteen kings of Eóghan's race preceded him, no statement of an unlearned man, and ten kings, one after another, of the long-speared seed of Conall.

    [48]  Seventy-two kings, reckoning up from Niall of the fair waving hair to proud Míl of Spain, ruled over the pleasant, cool and dewy Plain of Fál.

    [49]  Eight kings and four score ruled before him over the field of the Gael; such is the resplendent pedigree of the high-king, the latest generation is the best.

     p.33

    [50]  And further, if, as is not the case, the rest were of equal estimation with the race of Eóghan, the homage of Bregian Banbha would of necessity be given to the hero of Annla.

    [51]  It is no season for Irishmen to oppose the power of O'Neill; it is no disgrace not to withstand thee now, since thou wert not withstood as (simple) Turlogh.

    [52]  O Turlogh, grandson of Art, little short of woeful were it for any one who should see the homage of one Gael begrudged thee about Flann's Field.

     p.34

    To Turlogh Luineach

    [1]  At Christmas we went to the Creeve; all the poets of Fódla were assembled together by the smooth wall of the hospitable castle wherein O'Neill lay at Christmastide.

    [2]  One of O'Neill's dwelling-places was the pleasant, lightsome Creeve—never was there built a court to excel it—wherein all the delight of Ireland was comprised.

    [3]  It was then that the unopposed kingship was sustained by a noble scion from Tara's height, Turlogh, the fruitful branch.

    [4]  It was ten years since the king had been inaugurated, and the gallant, famous branch of Almhu had built a dwelling in the Creeve.

    [5]  We proceed to the Creeve to seek the white-toothed, bright-faced chieftain, we, the encomium-makers of the Land of the Fair, the poets of Ireland.

    [6]  It seemed to us, when entering, as if the wall of the firmament had fallen, from the tumult of the sleek, yellow-bridled steeds around the lord of Raoiliu's pathed plain.

    [7]  And afterwards it seemed to us, from the sheen of weapons and accoutrements, that the whole place was aflame from roof to foundation.

    [8]  The sounds of banqueting in the court of the descendant of Nine-fettered Niall we liken to a stormy sea coming against the shore, from the clashing of purple vessels.

     p.35

    [9]  When just in sight of the rampart even were I at the shoulder of any man I could not hear him because of the strains of music from the citadel.

    [10]  Ere we had arrived beside it, it seemed to me that the brilliance of its bright-surfaced goblets, and the fragrant odour of its banquet ales were of themselves a sufficient enjoyment.

    [11]  We seat ourselves, ordered and compact hosts, on the border of the lawn; in front of that noble dwelling amidst rich sward was a poet from every quarter of Ireland.

    [12]  After a space there come to us the officers of Conn of the Hundred-fighter's descendant, and they welcomed each one, with salutations to all from the high-king.

    [13]  No glimpse of the high-king of Ushnagh was had by us that night; the slender, soft-haired hero of Bregia dismissed us to our sleeping chamber.

    [14]  From then till morn the fair, haughty cupbearers of famed O'Neill plied us unrelaxingly with refreshment.

    [15]  He sent a man to inquire of us if any of our poems contained tidings of his battles throughout Ireland, accounts of his triumphs and exploits.

    [16]  'No,' said the poets of Ireland, 'but,' continued the men of art, 'we have, without any degree of uncertainty, the origin of the genealogical ramifications of Conn's descendants.'

    [17]  'We have,' said the poets of Ireland then, 'The privileges of Niall's seed', the number of their race that ruled over the Bregian Boyne, and all that was rightful for them to do.'

    [18]  'We have said that the Rampart of Croghan, country of shallow rills, and the Rampart of , humid and pleasing territory, are his by right, and that he is the sole heir to Ireland.'

     p.36

    [19]  The messenger went to seek the bright-faced, boldly-glancing chieftain, and on the morrow he related the speeches to O'Neill of Mourne.

    [20]  'If their matter for encomium be what they have said,' quoth the son of Niall, 'rather is it their reproach; it is simply an exhortation of the race of Eóghan!'

    [21]  'It were a great insult to the youths of Tara,' said Turlogh, if Tara's plain should be wrested from Art's generous line and they should be unable to avenge it.'

    [22]  O'Neill of Tara of Trim declared that he would not listen to any of our poems, but—strange to think on—that he would give a reward for each one.

    [23]  Thereupon there come to us the descendant of Niall of Callann and the race of Eóghan; and the ancient hazel-tree of Ulster's plain was full of reproach for our art.

    [24]  The son of Niall O'Neill did not lift his kindly, gracious countenance, or his keen, heavy-browed, active eye to the poets of Eber's land.

    [25]  From the sole of his soft, smooth, springing foot to his fine, abundant locks Turlogh's handsome, brilliant form became a crimson mass.

    [26]  We all filled with fear of the high-king of Conchobhar's race, for the red-lipped hero of Bóroimhe was thoroughly angered.

    [27]  We attempted with pleasant speeches to distract his mind, seeking to turn away his wrath, but that availed us nothing.

    [28]  The award we asked was conceded to us by the descendant of Nine-fettered Niall, but the noble chief of Monadh's, host would not hearken to one stanza of our art.

    [29]  Ever since he hath borne an unchanging aspect of fierce anger, and the king of Fál's noble, vigorous race hath found no abatement of it.

     p.37

    [30]  I ask of the high-king of Oileach, if it be timely to ask it; what caused the keen wrath from which the fierce glow arose in his fair countenance?

    [31]  Wherefore this great anger which afflicts the son of Niall, in spite of having well rewarded everyone? What hath caused his clear countenance to flame, or was there any cause?

    [32]  If one might say it to himself, as regards this great wrath which afflicts the son of noble Niall, he hath no reason for it; the easier is it to enkindle it.

    [33]  His race are as dearly ransomed at the mouth of the Erne as by the limpid streams of the fair Finn, and the sweetly-murmuring Trágh Báile.

    [34]  Equally is he obeyed at the Drowes and at the Ards, at the glistening streams of Srúbh Breagh and at the green-banked Boyne by Tailte.

    [35]  I do not find that the curly-haired king of fair Derg hath any reason for anger, but territories submitting to him, including kings and assemblies of Ulster  4.

    [36]  It is this alone, I know well, that causes the anger of the white-fingered, sleek-browed man, that no one recited to O'Neill a battle-roll of his exploits.

    [37]  He would be waiting for them till the day of Doom, if the poets of Ireland were to versify the distant forays of the mighty and spirited one; the hostings and combats of Turlogh.

    [38]  However, if all the people of Ireland were united against them they would be in no danger as long as he were on their side; in no place does any dare to contend with him. 5

     p.38

    To Cú Chonnacht Maguire

    [1]  Free people are the seed of Colla, champions of Liathdruim's homestead; stags of the royal herd from Conn's castle, vineblossoms from Frewin.

    [2]  Manannans of western Europe, pure seed in kindly soil; smooth-fingered warriors from the stately Boyne of Bregia, twining stems of the bright host of the Gael.

    [3]  Shore-defenders of-the Plain of the Fair, Ireland's 'Children of Israel,' little does it profit to strive against their fortune—sustaining pillars of the House of Tara.

    [4]  Furnace sparks from the mouth of a forge, deep, diluvian waves; mighty warriors to give battle, set stones of the land.

    [5]  Favored children of the host of Banbha, fierce fiery heroes; few are the like of the men amongst the contenders (?) of Gall or Gael.

    [6]  Never have we heard of any kindred fit to be pitted against the race of Colla from the confines of Oriel, or of any Irishmen such as they.

    [7]  There has not been nor will there ever be found— what avails it to discuss them?—a perfect simile of the noble Ulstermen from the Bregian Boyne.

    [8]  There is but one tale about the seed of Colla, the race of Eachaidh—that the heroes lost possession of Ireland by force of their exploits.

    [9]  Of their own will the proud race of Eachaidh Doimlén have relinquished the kingship of Fál's corn-abounding plain in exchange for other privileges.

     p.39

    [10]  Since the days of our ancestors the three Oirghialla of Bregia's soil have ever held privileges innumerable beyond (others of) the five blue regions of the Gael.

    [11]  The king of the Oirghialla has not only the right to sit next to the king of Ireland, but I should think less of the best of the Oirghialla did he seek this privilege.

    [12]  The plentifully attended king of Colla's tribe keeps vacant (at table) the space of his sword's length and his long hand between him and the freemen.

    [13]  The kindred of noble Colla are entitled to a third of the honorprice, a third of the tribute and a third of the tax of Fearadhach's Plain, to be divided amongst them by the man.

    [14]  They are entitled—what an achievement—from November to summer to quarter their steeds and their hounds from house to house on the plain of Teathbha.

    [15]  The king of Tara can claim from the Oirghialla— and did he mention any more he would not get it—once in three years a hosting of but six weeks.

    [16]  Even as regards that claim upon the kingly seed of generous Colla, he does not send a man to bind their agreements throughout summer or autumn.

    [17]  The wealth which any of them loses when he joins the high-king's army, the princely champion is bound to find seven times its value.

    [18]  Twenty-one cows are due to every man from the firm king of the fair Gaels, when they are returning home from that army; an award which has ennobled Eachaidh's descendant.

    [19]  Thirty blades—no small gift—thirty mantles, thirty steeds and thirty sharp elfin spears as well, from the king of Ireland to Eachaidh's descendant.

    [20]  Despite the prohibition of the king of Inisfail, the shrewd lords of the Plain of Eithne can safeguard criminals for a year beyond the just term of protection.

     p.40

    [21]  If they are accused of crimes, this is what the high king of Ireland can have, the oath of the defendant in the case of every offence committed by the race of Eachaidh.

    [22]  The learned ones of Bregia's land say that the king of the Field of the Gael gets no further homage from the warriors of the Oirghialla than an exchange of hostages.

    [23]  Moreover the hostages of Colla's bright-sworded kin are entitled to take counsel with all in order to find the meaning of their judgment (?).

    [24]  The soldiery from the House of Tara have no chain or iron ring confining slender hand or foot, nor is there a man's body (of theirs) in stone prison.

    [25]  They are not to be ironed, the captives from the line of noble Colla; it is enough to take their pledges, all agree that they may have their liberty.

    [26]  Each man has the attire of a chieftain when returning from the king of Tara, a privilege granted to the nobly feasting Oirghialla beyond other mighty hostages of the men of Ireland.

    [27]  They have gold on the hilts of their blades, gold on the rims of their helmets; of fine-spun gold are their garments, the hostages from Bregia's dewy castle.

    [28]  Therefore are they, rather than any other Gaels known as 'golden hostages', of ruddy gold are the fetters of their hostages when the Oirghialla are returning home.

    [29]  When returning from the king of Ireland they have not so much as the heads of their javelins, the thongs of their spears or the fine greaves of their legs but is gold.

    [30]  It is the right of the seed of Colla of smooth goblets that the men of Ireland should rise up before them, but they, warriors with whom women readily make peace, are not bound to arise.

     p.41

    [31]  Such privilege have they obtained from the king of Ireland that a hand is not dipped in a golden basin, nor yet is palm of hand or sole of foot cleansed therein until they have first washed in it.

    [32]  In Tara of the hostages, then, it is not lawful that any bathe before the high-king of the Oirghialla shall have done so, or that any other man should be assigned an apartment in the sleeping house before him.

    [33]  The high king of the land of Bregia might not seat himself until he should have sat, nor arise from wine until the champion of the Erne arose.

    [34]  A third of Ulster, the great third of Connacht, according to the boundary, was the original share of the wine-quaffing race of Colla amongst the lords of Fál.

    [35]  The Erne, the Finn, the Boyne and the Bann, and each territory that lies between them—brown-nutted soils where the sun shines—these are the boundaries of the land of the Oirghialla.

    [36]  The privileges of Colla's seed have ceased; the fighting men of Liathdruim do not remember what hath long been owing to them from the peoples of Tailte.

    [37]  Even were it feasible to claim it the Oirghialla do not seek to obtain from Fiacha's kindred the due which was rightfully theirs.

    [38]  It is not loss of power or of memory that affects the youths of Mourne; what is the reason that the privileges of Banbha's bright-haired scions are withheld?

    [39]  Many are their breachmakers of battle, many their stuff of high chieftains, sufficient is the abundancy of their warriors, the great host of Maighin's fertile plain.

    [40]  That they themselves do not unite, that, you would say, is the reason their rights are withheld from the three hosts of the Plain of Codhal.

     p.42

    [41]  There is good reason for resisting the power of the progeny of bold Eachaidh Doimlén—the seed of Colla are in three divisions, with a several king over each band of them.

    [42]  A king over the seed of Mathghamhain from Moira, a king over the seed of Maine, son of Eachaidh, a king over the men of Fermanagh's bending woods, have the bright battalions of the men of Oriel.

    [43]  It is wrong to have three kings over the seed of Colla, it is a cause of weakness; it were better to be depending on a single man, as a shepherd to all in general.

    [44]  The three equal battalions of the kindred of Colla, warriors of Bregia's dewy mount, would do well to appoint a single man to rule them.

    [45]  As for the true patrimony of Colla's tribe let the three royal bands deliver the kingship of the bright, blue-soiled plain, into the keeping of one man of the Oirghialla.

    [46]  Why do not the race of Eachaidh put their trust in a valiant, rightly-judging king, over whom none (of theirs) of the wondrous line of Fiacha would have any degree of superiority?

    [47]  Let the three noble battalions of Colla's seed elect one king amongst them, according to wisdom and shrewdness; according to age and dignity.

    [48]  What ails them that they confide not in Cú Chonnacht, son of Cú Chonnacht scion {}(?) of the House of the Three, guarding champion of his kin.

    [49]  The only levying steward of the three battalions is the righteous king of Fermanagh; gently-moving foot, save when meeting spear-points, enemy to the wrongs of Ireland.

    [50]  Cú Chonnacht Óg Maguire, protecting shield to his soldiers; senior of the seed of Colla Dá Chríoch, their surety for peace or for war.

     p.43

    [51]  Most precious jewel of Conn's Half, heir of great Donn, son of Domhnall, a man whom the wealth of this world never beguiled, the best nourisher of art.

    [52]  Counsellor in war of Bregia's land, chief of peace of the host of the Gael; a king who entwines the fair men of Fál, the fulfilment of Bearchán's prophecy.

    [53]  Let your three united battalions assemble with Cú Chonnacht, the great host of Eachaidh's descendants, valiant, rightly-judging kindred.

    [54]  This is the intention of Joan's son, upon the coming of the three royal gatherings; to go and inspect the plain of Niall, it shall profit both them and him.

    [55]  A man from fair Cliú shall recognize the son of great Cú Chonnacht, son of Brian's son,  6 as chieftain over your battalions, O fair kindred of Eachaidh.

    [56]  From the beginning to the end of the world, ye have not found, nor will ye find a more princely chief than this king, ye three patrimonies of Oriel.

    [57]  Son of Joan, and Cú Chonnacht—what king might one compare with him? a heart from which hardness hath parted, the latest generation of kindliness.

     p.44

    To Maguire

    [1]  Fermanagh is the hearthstone of hospitality; its men are more generous than hospitality itself; it is a land that hath put forth every goodly crop, a fount for the hospitality of all others.

    [2]  For repute and hospitality there is not their like in Banbha; fame hath ever preferred the blood of Odhar beyond any in the Western Land.

    [3]  The chieftain of the Manchian plain merits every gage of hospitality that may be found; it were fitting that those who journey Cobhthach's Plain should deliver to him the gages of all others.

    [4]  Short is the time of his opponent {} 7 as the sea excels the tiny pool so doth he excel the pledgeworthy of Féilim's blood.

    [5]  The day Maguire is at his worst he overshadows the growth of other men's fame; their equal in one man confronts the choicest of the Gaels of the western land.

    [6]  His word is enough to curb the host of Banbha when they are rallied in ranks of battle; from the wrath of the king of Fiacha's land peace is made in five countries.

    [7]  It behoves not Ireland to be independent of the king of Odhar's race; the seed of Conn is powerful either to succour or to spoil the lords of the western land.

    [8]  By his bold words a king was proclaimed through territories; a man banished by the seed of Séadna did not find shelter throughout Fódla.

     p.45

    [9]  Reavers dare not attack the Manchians of Gowra's Field; if the king of Eamhain be there he wards off those in the pass.

    [10]  Heroes by whom the Dwelling of Tuathal's secured, whom no man is found to face; the blood of Fiachaidh earn fame in the fighting, even when unwithstood.

    [11]  They rule Ireland without reproach, from one corner of the western land; there is not sufficient might against them to attempt to spoil the race of Odhar.

    [12]  Cú Chonnacht, by his qualities, deserved to be chosen beyond the Children of Míl; a king is made from the seed of Bonn in preference to (all) the kings of Eber's land.

    [13]  The king of the Erne can balance every known pledge of honour; it were a small pledge for the person of the Manchian if the pledge of (all) Cobhthach's Fold were got.

    [14]  One would get from him at the feast a payment which should be denied every guest; the hospitality of Craoidhe's blood bears a repute which all Ireland never bore.

    [15]  Consider has there or will there come a fortune which their exploits do not overwhelm; to people of repute the very faults of the host from Bearta's brink were matter for great praise.

    [16]  With them is the custody of hospitality, to guard it from the western warriors; even if those against them be of the best the blood of Odhar will surpass them.

    [17]  That which has been uttered in time of feasting is not denied when slumber is past; were an enemy seeking justice he never on that account made a biased award.

    [18]  A cup brimming with the contents of goblets, it could not be tackled without a gathering of champions; the empty horn of the champion of Ulster brought a strong man's hand to the ground.

     p.46

    [19]  Greatly did the wonted trouble increase when Banbha was shepherdless; he goes to the House of Tuathal, that has removed the curse of the slaying of Fiachaidh.

    [20]  The land of the Gael is thine as far as it extends, it is no boast for Maguire; since thou art pledged for the seed of Conn there is an end to spoiling in the western land.

    [21]  Thou causest all Banbha to be without either reaver or watchman; all are thanking thee that no one is at the mercy of any other.

    [22]  The race of Eremon and Eber have become one assembly; it enhances the exploit that it is no marvel that the Gaels themselves should do it for thee.

    [23]  None but the soldiery of the Erne confront thee when rising forth upon the western land; not that one fears to oppose thee, but if it be gained it is by the blood of Odhar.

    [24]  When thou comest single-handed into the conflict thou needest no exhortation; thou in the pass alone hadst power by which the Field of the Gaels was delivered.

    [25]  Thy exploits on the brink of the pass suffice to guard them; on thy account the spoilers of Connla's land pass through it unarmed.

    [26]  In thy castle, Maguire, knowledge of territories is got from exacting companies; without quitting thy side a poet explores the whole of the western land.

    [27]  Thou, from the extremity of the Irish soil, dost apportion the five lands; but a small thing mentioned by thee causes the hosting of the Sons of Míl.

    [28]  The kings of Bregia are in thy steading in bands at feasting time, thou concealest under (as it were) a shelter of foliage (?) the royal throne of every other man.

    [29]  The labour of thy sword hilt in the field of danger has spared thy companions; thy approach to the perilous pass robs (?) something of each man's vigour.

     p.47

    [30]  In the time which poets do not appropriate the others wait in thy presence; the leaders of hosts, while they are before thee, do not get an opportunity with thee.

    [31]  The pledge of Banbha comes to thee, the utterance of the prophets hath been confirmed; no man is envious because the Gaels look for thy crowning.

    [32]  Bending trees in the place of the pools which the dry weather hath emptied; by reason of the produce it hath cast on the strand the sea of the Champions' Plain is empty.

    [33]  A winding stream through a wood brown with nuts, a hostage in fetters was never slower; the low bending trunks, the shallow wave, are charters of ownership on Féilim's land.

    [34]  The envious could not discern any thing which would be a reproach to the royal line; the seed of Donn, (even) their enemies declare, are entitled to the tribute of Úna's soil.

    [35]  The champions from Oileach's land were not dreaded by the western country; without the wasting of any territory Odhar's blood subdued five kings.

    [36]  When they had enkindled every land it was not long till a country was succoured by them; the peaceful humour of Fiacha's blood pacified five territories.

    [37]  In Connla's Land there is no refuge for him, till he have requited (even) the damage he did not commit; the reaver is accepted in no part of Banbha, because of this new hound of Eamhain.

    [38]  Banbha is guarded, though it be difficult, without violence or enmity; no man has accused the blood of Odhar of spoiling the Gaels.

    [39]  The seed of Connla does not hoard up its great gifts, golden bracelets have completed their time with it the day they are fashioned.

     p.48

    [40]  After surveying the generosity of others never did poet cool towards the warriors of Oileach; having inspected the whole of Eber's land he makes for the tribe of Donn.

    [41]  Cú Chonnacht's vow protects them when they have served like the Collas; the pledges of their fighting men are released throughout Banbha by the warriors of Eamhain.

    [42]  After the battle the hostages of Fódla are proclaimed on the green of his castle, in the house of the hostages thou wilt find tidings of every man in Úna's land.

    [43]  There is no danger of reaving on the coast, there is no door to a hostel; the steward of Conn's descendant is secure of tribute on the foot-hills of the western soil.

    [44]  Hotter is every palm than the sparks from the all but molten mass in smithy; weary must be the legs and arms of the soldiery of Rath on returning from the battle.

     p.49

    Enniskillen

    [1]  Alas for him who looks on Enniskillen, with its glistening bays and melodious falls; it is perilous for us, since one cannot forsake it, to look upon the fair castle, with its shining sward.

    [2]  Long ere ever I came to the white-walled rampart amongst the blue hillocks it seemed to me if I could reach that house I should lack nothing.

    [3]  I heard, alas for me that heard it, such repute of the fairy castle of surpassing treasure, and how my beguilement was in store, that it was impossible to turn me back from it.

    [4]  This was the saying of each man regarding the splendid dwelling of the lion of the Erne—no man in Banbha ever saw a dwelling to equal it.

    [5]  And they used to say moreover, whosoever should see the bending wood or the verdant slope, the level beach or the green field, would not take one step away from it.

    [6]  After hearing its description when I had slept for a while I beheld no other vision save the splendor of the noble spacious dwelling.

    [7]  I proceed on my way, I reach Enniskillen of the overhanging oaks; through the fair plain of bending, fruit-laden stems I was in no wise loth to approach it.

    [8]  Ere I arrived beside the place I was startled at the tumult; the baying of their lively hounds and their hunting-dogs driving deer from the wood for them.

     p.50

    [9]  The strand beside the court, on the fairy-like bay of murmuring streams, was crowded with such groves of tapering ship-masts that they concealed the beach and its waves.

    [10]  And hard by that enclosure I see a lovely plain of golden radiance, the moist-surfaced lawn of the bright-hued castle, the soil of Paradise, or else its very counterpart.

    [11]  Thus did I find the green of the castle—upturned by the hooves of steeds; from the prancing of horses competing for triumph no herb flourishes in the soil of the outer yard.

    [12]  The horses of the castle (were) running in contest, again I see them coursing one by one, until the surrounding hills were hidden, no mist upon them save an expanse (?) of steeds.

    [13]  I make directly for the coupled fortress of the branch of Lie; those whom I found in the fair mansion— a wondrous content of a mansion were they.

    [14]  I found the nobles of the race of Colla in the thronged court distributing treasure, and those who exposed the recondities of the genealogy of the Grecian Gaels.

    [15]  I found, moreover, throughout the fortress plenty of poets and minstrels, from one bright, white-surfaced wall to the other—happy the dwelling in which they find room!

    [16]  In the other division I found plenty of slender-lipped, satin-clad maidens, weaving wondrous golden fringes in the sportive (?) rampart with fair, sleek hounds.

    [17]  All through the house is an abundance of soldiery, reclining by the side walls; their edged weapons hanging above the fighters, warriors of fruitful Druim Caoin.

    [18]  A mighty band of elfin youth, either from the Fairy-mound of Bodhbh or from Lear's Hostel, such that eye dared not regard them because of their splendor, were on the battlements of the bright, wooded rampart.

     p.51

    [19]  A company of artificers binding vessels, a company of smiths preparing weapons; a company of wrights that were not from one land at work upon her—fair pearl of babbling streams.

    [20]  Dyeing of textures, polishing of blades, fitting of javelins, exercising of steeds; captives in surety, drawing up of conditions, scholars surveying the list of kings.

    [21]  Taking of hostages, releasing of hostages; healing of warriors, wounding of warriors; continual bringing in and giving out of treasure at the wondrous, smooth, comely, firm, castle.

    [22]  Part of that day they spent in talking of exploits, in meditating on battle; and a while would be spent by the host of Ushnagh in feasting, in listening to music.

    [23]  Thus till supper-time we spent the whole of the fair day in the bright, green-swarded, fertile enclosure; as one hour in length did that day seem to us.

    [24]  All began to seat themselves by the smooth walls of the white rampart; hardly in any hostel is there a number to equal the party that was therein.

    [25]  Cú Chonnacht Óg, son of Cú Chonnacht, supple form to which smoke clings, when all that were in his hostel have sat down he seats himself on his regal seat.

    [26]  I sat on the right hand of the champion of Tara till the circling of goblets was over; though it had its due of nobles the king's elbow never disdained me.

    [27]  After a while, when it was time for those in the castle to take their rest, beds of down were prepared for the noblest of the alert, instructed host.

    [28]  Ere day overtook the people of the hostel a band of them were fitting spears; at daybreak horse-shoes (?) were being fitted within and men were going to catch steeds.

     p.52

    [29]  Shortly after sleep I see around the hawk of Síoth Truim the picked ones of all in panoply of battle, in the gloomless, stone-built, firmly-standing court.

    [30]  Ere the coming of morn the valiant youth of the king's court set out from us; a great, lengthy, dense, spear-armed mass, ignorant they of making treaties of peace.

    [31]  It was not long until the gold-ringletted race of Colla rejoined us, after completely subduing every territory, happy the kingdom which is their homeland.

    [32]  That day around Loch Erne there is many a stranger woman whose husband is no more; many figures of wounded hostages coming in after the conflict.

    [33]  Precious treasures there were in that dwelling, which had not been theirs at the beginning of day: and hard by the place there were cattle which had not been near them the night before.

    [34]  Then were the poets of the castle rewarded by Eachaidh's descendant, who never shrank from combat: small harm was the dearness of their poesy, riches had been got beyond what he allowed to them.

    [35]  I went with the school to take leave of Maguire; away from the lofty, brightly appointed court, alas that he suffered me to go.

    [36]  When parting from me, he said, shedding tears down his brown cheek, even though I might not be near to the warrior, that he was not parting from me for good.

    [37]  I remember that the day I turned my back on the household of the king's dwelling, such sorrow lay upon them all that the grief of any one of them was not distinct.

    [38]  None the better am I that that household is no more, would I had consumed the end of my days; lest I be longlived after they have gone, it is perilous to me that I shall survive.

     p.53

    [39]  Never have I heard of a household so noble as that in the castle—what excellence—under any that sprang from the Collas; that is the pronouncement of every poet regarding it.

    [40]  Lifford of the bright lawns, none ever quits it of his own free will; since it beguiles to the place a man from every quarter—alas for him that beholds it.

     p.54

    Hugh Maguire

    [1]  I shall leave Hugh to the men of Ireland, they are enough for the white-handed one of the fine, soft hair; save myself alone all Ireland is his; he is her comrade, her companion.

    [2]  I should not find room by Hugh, the best poets of the Irishmen are around him on every side; they do not permit me to approach Criomhthan's descendant.

    [3]  No matter, that is no harm; I shall look to Maguire to see if my king of Gowra will accept me since I am alone.

    [4]  I must needs approach, even if it be wrong, the high-king of Fermanagh's soil; we have been forestalled with Hugh, supple-handed, foam-white form.

    [5]  A curious little story concerning this I shall relate to Hugh Maguire—bright, fair-hued countenance fore which the wave ebbs—for which it were unjust to reproach me.

    [6]  Seventeen of the poets of Ulster went to study their art, the destination of the fair Ultonian band being Kilcloney in Connacht.

    [7]  They purchased a pig and a beef, and forthwith these people I have mentioned, each of them in quarrelsome humor, began to apportion their shares.

    [8]  The man of the house asked which of the undistinguished, bashful company should be set down to the beef, and which to the long, fat, substantial pig.

     p.55

    [9]  Unanimously they make for the pork, out of that senseless band there was only one man got for the beef, though it was a crazy proceeding.

    [10]  'May I never come back alive,' said one of them, turning, 'it has parted me from this company of friends, I shall go to the sharp, bony thing.'

    [11]  Of the seventeen men—keen the liking—none selected the clear, succulent beef in the end save a single man; it was not possible to restrain them.

    [12]  Consider, thou soft and white of bosom, how abundant {}(?) caused only one man to forsake the pork, thou shepherd of Cormac's Plain.

    [13]  Today, thou son of Maguire, it is no fault in me not to approach thee; I am loth to celebrate thy praises amongst all the poets of Ireland.

    [14]  Not rumors of niggardliness, not disagreement with thee, or hatred or distrust of thee, thou smooth-cheeked, wondrous, graceful one, keeps thee perpetually cut off from me, but (my) sulkiness.

    [15]  Good as thou art, I would not forsake for thee my own man, Cú Chonnacht; my strength, my love, my affection; he would never abandon me.

     p.56

    To Brian Maguire

    [1]  Fermanagh is the Paradise of Fódla, a tranquil, fruitful plain; land of bright, dry, fertile fields, formed like the havens of Paradise.

    [2]  The murmuring of her waters is heavenly melody, her soil bears golden blossom, the sweetness of her rivers is a vision of sweet honey, the tresses of her wood turning them back.

    [3]  Gentle valleys beyond arable (?) plains, blue streams above the valleys, overhanging the flowers is a yellow-nutted forest covered with golden foliage.

    [4]  Enough to take sickness from a man were the brownness of her branches, the blue of her waters, the ruddiness of her foliage, the gloomlessness of her clouds; heavenly is her soil and sky.

    [5]  Like to the melodies of Paradise around the tender, blue-springed country is the murmuring of her pure, sand-bedded streams mingling with the angelic voice of her birdflocks.

    [6]  No tongue—in short—can tell half her delight, land of shallow streams and clustering, succulent crops, what is it but the very Paradise of Ireland?

    [7]  None interfereth with any other in this pleasant earthly Paradise; there is none bent on spoil, nor any man suffering from injustice.

    [8]  Every man, moreover, finds in her glance a smile of love, so that even a veritable foe, if he enter, is not ready to do her harm.

     p.57

    [9]  There is no reavers' track in the grass, or trace of spectres in the air, or of monsters in the waters about the noble, gifted, dyked plain.

    [10]  There are no ghosts in her woods, or serpent in her fens; no misfortune threatening her cattle, no spoiler plundering her.

    [11]  They dare not traverse her beyond her boundary-dykes; little recks the bright, blue region of any of the spoilers of Eber's Land.

    [12]  This land around Gowra's Field hath obtained by wondrous magic powers something that protects it so that it cannot be plundered.

    [13]  It is not the properties of stones, nor is it the veil of wizardry, that guards the waters of its far-spread lands; it is not the smooth slopes, or the wood, nor is it the sorcerous arts of druids.

    [14]  They have a better protection for all the boundaries —a shepherd sufficient for everyone is the man—one alone is their guard.

    [15]  Brian Maguire of the bared weapons, son of Donnchadh, son of Cú Chonnacht; guarding buckler of Donn's Land, own fosterling of the fairy mound of Sioghmhall.

    [16]  Towards Ulster he is the ocean's surface; towards Connacht a rampart of stone; comrade of the gentle, maidenly women of Bregia, boundary dyke of the two provinces.

    [17]  A healing herb for the blood of Eachaidh; a gate of death to the Breffnians; a fiery bolt to the blood of Niall and to the Oirghialla of the other side.

    [18]  Fermanagh of the fortunate ramparts is the Adam's Paradise of Inisfail; the descendant of the noblemen Bregia's castle is as the fiery wall surrounding it.

     p.58

    [19]  If a single prey were taken from the race of Conn between the Erne and Áth Conaill, compensation for the spoilings inflicted on them would be got from the four quarters of Ireland.

    [20]  He would not leave a dwelling unwrecked by the fertile banks of the Boyne, by the warm, bright, gentle Moy, or the very shores of Bearnas.

    [21]  Equally would he lay waste the smooth hills around Creeveroe, and the wondrous country from Croghan of Conn as far as the borders of Corann.

    [22]  It were attacking a dwelling of bees, or putting the hand into a serpent's nest, to plunder the man of his ancestral land—or it were to approach a blazing house.

    [23]  Long hath she been watching for Brian himself to come to her aid; since every soothsayer hath foretold his coming to the bright, angelic plain.

    [24]  Once upon a time the Greeks endured like this for a certain space, in great and grievous trouble, trusting to find help.

    [25]  The flower of the men of the world march on warlike, valiant Greece, making upon her simultaneously, so that they deprived her of her magic (protection).

    [26]  Since the youth of Greece had no means of giving battle, the king of the exceedingly valorous host said that they should abandon their fatherland forthwith.

    [27]  'Do not abandon it,' said the Grecian soothsayers; 'it were better to keep your country; for people of your prowess it is a shameful thing to be ready to forsake your inheritance.'

    [28]  And then spake one of the druids: 'All the fitter is it to preserve the land since there is one in store for it who shall be a shepherd over the whole world.'

     p.59

    [29]  'A babe to-day,' said he, 'is the man that shall deliver us; if we but endure the wrong we get, shortly shall we gain relief.'

    [30]  'Name to us more clearly,' replied the rest, as one man, 'who is, or will you trace to his origin the one you would say can accomplish it?'

    [31]  The druid replied—sufficing weal—'great Hercules, the Grecian champion, it is he I have named as a protector for all, by virtue of his powers and fortune.'

    [32]  'The armies of all the world,' he continued, 'will gather under the terrifying, wondrous hero, the glowing form named Hercules, this fruitful palm-tree of a promised (deliverer).'

    [33]  'No monsters, no human creatures shall have such strength as to attempt to contend with him or tell of the gains(?) of his kindred.'

    [34]  The druid who had spoken thus decided as a counsel for his friend that until that fair, bright, eager countenance appear, they endure the ordinances of all the islands.

    [35]  'If ye do as I say,' said the sage, 'until Hercules come to manhood, all that the three continents have exacted is naught but a loan from us.'

    [36]  'We care not what wrongs, dangers or perils we undergo provided there is a prospect of help in store for us;' replied every one.

    [37]  As for the Grecian high-king, he endured every ordinance that was imposed upon him, till the coming of the prowess of Hercules—ruddy, bright, soft cheek, never wont to do ill.

    [38]  Nine queens of the Greeks {} 8 him, in order to hasten his maturity, a most promising company for his guarding.

     p.60

    [39]  Never, moreover, would he leave the knee or the bosom of the high-king, such care had he for him; no negligent guarding had Hercules.

    [40]  Thereafter it was not long till Hercules subdued the choicest of the world; what need to recount the deeds of the man—? he confirmed the prophecies of the druid.

    [41]  He overcame the people of the world, he punished them for their unjust dealings; the Grecian treasures came back to him with a hundredfold increase.

    [42]  Well did it serve his kinsfolk to wait for him in his youth—but why should I continue? Hercules is famed for his adventures.

    [43]  Even thus were the far-raiding race of Colla as regards Brian, waiting for the ripening of his bright cheek sometime in his boyhood.

    [44]  So that the men of Fermanagh, moreover, spent a time sorrowfully and woefully, ever watching for the royal champion of the men of Oileach.

    [45]  So that he was nourished—most fortunately—on the lap of Fermanagh's high-king, and by shining, white-handed women, this Hercules of the Sons of Míl.

    [46]  Until he filled with courage from the excellence of his nourishing—ruddy cheek by whom peace is readily rejected and from his nursing in the bosom of the high-king.

    [47]  So that there came to them after that the son of Donnchadh, son of Maguire, to rescue them, under omens propitious for the succour of his kindred.

    [48]  As for the race of Colla, the tribe of Eóghan have levied and will levy what they owe by charter the blood of Colla.

    [49]  Colla's race of Dá Thí's, Plain, these chieftains of Bregia have kept in their minds every decree that was made, in the hope of avenging it at last.

     p.61

    [50]  They cared not what wrong they should suffer from Ulster or from Connacht, since against the brigandage of Ireland, help awaited them.

    [51]  Now will they demand satisfaction (?) for their grudges, from Ulster, from the territory of Connacht; since the prophesied Brian hath come reavers are marching from the north.

    [52]  In front of all will come that son of Hugh's daughter, strong hand from which the javelin glistens, the Hercules of western Europe.

     p.62

    Cathal O'Conor

    [1]  Let us make a reckoning, Cathal, of riches and of poetry; the occasion for making it is a heart's torment, thou star from the Plain of Calry.

    [2]  This is a common saying, thou kindly countenance— 'affection ends with the casting up of accounts;' it is not an utterance without sorrow for me, thou capital of hospitality to men of letters.

    [3]  It is time for us to balance accounts—and yet, O star-soft eye and glowing cheek, O beloved of women, it was not timely for me that it should be done.

    [4]  Too early for me didst thou determine to go into the reckoning, the end of my affection is a cause of grief, unhappy for me is the determination.

    [5]  A bargain of gifts and of poetry I used to make with thee, O ruddy, gentle contenance, as was proper for me and for thee; sad is my share of the bargain.

    [6]  There is no shape of all those which our craft has ever taken that I did not make for thy waving locks, from the poem to the weaving of a single stanza, thou noble chieftain of the host of Sligo.

    [7]  There is no art, from playing the musical branches to the relating of soothing stories, and from that to extolling thy race, that thou didst not get from me.

    [8]  Let us now make a reckoning anew, let me hear from thee how thou didst requite every quality in which I served thee, thou surety for foray of the Plain of Cormac.

     p.63

    [9]  What is this silence which is upon thee, Cathal O'Conor, that thou recountest not against me whatever was bestowed upon me?

    [10]  Why, son of Tadhg, dost thou not boast of all that I obtained from thee, thou bright and noble of presence, as a balance of my great account with thee, thou soft-haired hero of Bangor?

    [11]  Were everything that thou hast granted to me put in the account, thou mighty ox of this land of Bregia, it were not easy to reckon it up.

    [12]  The spur-strap and the belt would be got from thee, Cathal, mantle and goblet and steeds, thou scion of Sligo.

    [13]  Alas, alas, one would get mares and the precious stone from thy slender hand, and the gilded horn and the ring, thou chieftain of the great plain of Murbhach.

    [14]  Cattle would be got from thee, O clinging locks, land moreover, and the shepherding of those cattle, thou defending shield of the waters of Duff.

    [15]  I found a hundred times as much from thee, thou red-lipped, gently-speaking one, it is not the various wealth I received therefore that should be set against me.

    [16]  Rather should thy favor be recounted, and thy prudent, kindly care, thou hostage of the fair Plain of Fál; more fitting were it to recount thy love and thy esteem.

    [17]  I used to have thy confidence and thy counsel, thou branch of Leyney, thy elbow and half thy couch, an award which no gifts could excel.

    [18]  It were just to give thanks for it to thee—from others, Cathal, I got plenteous gifts in consequence of being seen beside thee.

    [19]  I could not recount, O bright face, one half of what I received amongst the host of the fair Dwelling of Fál, from appealing in thy honor.

     p.64

    [20]  Through thee I got my price from Clanwilliam to the west, and, another time, from the battalion of Breffney, thou twining stem of the host of Sligo.

    [21]  I got—though I deserved it not—my share of the wealth of Conall's race, and of the booty of the O'Neills from the east, on account of thee, O waving, parted-locks.

    [22]  The Costellos, the Gaileangaigh, would be spared for rewarding me; Chlann Chúán and Carra must needs favor us.

    [23]  From Erne's water to Slieve Aughty each chief, each one likely for kingship used to flatter me: it was no presage of exaltation of spirit.

    [24]  Never before did poet get such honor as mine upon the soft-swarded Hill of the Fair, from any king amongst the men of Ireland.

    [25]  Eochaidh the Sage had not such honor from Hundred-fighting Conn as we from thee, thou ruling staff of Conn's Banbha.

    [26]  Consider even Fítheal, the soothsayer of Cormac— from thy long palm, thou chief of the slender-handed host of Bregia, I have had gifts such as Fítheal did not get.

    [27]  In short—in the days of Niall or Corc of Cashel, Torna, teacher of the learned poets of the men of Fál, was not wont to obtain what I have obtained.

    [28]  Mac Coise's honor long ago, in the days of Tadhg Mór son of Cathal, is not comparable to mine; harder it is that thou shouldst perish from thy poet.

    [29]  Mac Liag's honor in Leath Mogha, in the time of Brian of Bóromha, though good was the king of Fál's fair height, is not fit to set beside mine.

    [30]  Never did the kings of Ireland give to the poets of hilly Banbha half as much as I got from thy dear countenance, or half my honor in a single house.

     p.65

    [31]  Since I cannot relate of thee sufficingly, Cathal O'Conor, it is grievous to me to speak of thee, alas that I did not perish by thy side.

    [32]  None ever thought that I would remain after thee, it is shameful for me not to have gone with thee in requital for thy affection and thy bounty.

    [33]  It is hard for the nobles of Innisfail, since I live and thou, O flower of the Gaels of Connla's Plain, art no more, to have trust in any man of art.

    [34]  Oft wouldst thou implore God for me that I should have a longer life than thine; O ruling hand of Bregia's dewy plain, thy boon hath perturbed my mind.

    [35]  Thy boon hath harmed us, alas; thou hast obtained from God, O gallant form, that we live after thee, thou only hope of Muireadhach's rampart.

    [36]  It was no wonder, O white-handed, modest-worded, that thou shouldst obtain thy desire, who never didst refuse any under heaven, O gracious, gentle face.

    [37]  Thine own boon, the wrath of the Lord, hath grieved me, thou bright and gallant form; in return for my loyalty to thee, through thee my devastation is come.

     p.66

    To Mór, daughter of Brian Ballach

    [1]  Ah Mór, remember the affection, but in brief, thou eye with the hue of springing corn, there will be no difficulty in clearing away the charges which have sundered us.

    [2]  In complaining to thee, thou soft of hair, I have— what unkindness—to confess, though it is no secret, an unworthy deed.

    [3]  Alas, I have committed against my trusty lord, thou fruit of the branches from Bregia's citadel, an action whereat his disposition changed.

    [4]  To my lord at first, and also to those who entertained me, I gave reasons for displeasure, it was a portent of sorrow to do so.

    [5]  In short—a numerous throng of mischief-makers asserted to him that I had done wrong to the noble, sweetly-speaking hero of Bregia.

    [6]  People are saying to me that in a poem I addressed to O'Donnell I am said to have committed an unjustice against the stately race of Conchobhar.

    [7]  Great forbearance did the lord of Sligo, lord of the host from that moated stead of Conn, show towards me at that time, considering all the mischief he heard of me.

    [8]  From that time on I have been wandering from one territory to another to avoid him, through the fierce wrath of Conn's race, and because of Donnell's displeasure.

     p.67

    [9]  Although I have not been outlawed, O Mór, for enkindling his wrath, throughout the fair, splendid Plain of Féilim I am as good as exiled.

    [10]  For a year's space, and a little more, I have not visited my homeland, as long as a hundred years it seems to me, I have been away in the wilds of Ireland.

    [11]  Moreover, for a year my credit amongst the race of Nine-hostaged Niall and the seed of Conall has been failing, the weather turning against me.

    [12]  The noble princes of the men of Fál, those from whom I used throughout my days receive the choicest favor—exhaust their entertainment of me in one day.

    [13]  In my own place, while I am in disagreement with the lord of the Suck's noble plain, I have no enjoyment save that of an exiled man.

    [14]  Unless God and thou can protect me, O wavy locks, there is no might that can rescue me; such misfortune has befallen me.

    [15]  If thou deliver me in the time of my distress, thou bright and soft of form—this is a decree which all have confirmed, I shall be in thy possession for ever.

    [16]  According to legal decree, O soft, slender, womanly hand, it is right if thou canst succour me that I should be thine in return for my protection.

    [17]  Hast thou heard, thou apple-branch from Fál's fair Dwelling, of the three birds of a strange and curious kind, which came to an emperor in Italy?

    [18]  Every day they were ever in the presence of the high-king, over his head when coming in, and above the couch where he reclined.

    [19]  For seven years these were with him day and night, the bird-flock did not on any day return without him.

     p.68

    [20]  Thus they were—trouble enough—without sleeping, without resting; not satisfying was the music of their discourse, wearying was their contention.

    [21]  He offered his heritage, and also his daughter, to any man who knew the birds, and could tell what they were about.

    [22]  Amongst the people there spake a youth, and vowed publicly forthwith, however hard it was for him, to rescue the king from his misery.

    [23]  And thereupon he said: 'As for the business of the three birds with thee, whosoever may be ignorant thereof, it is not hidden from me.'

    [24]  'These three birds, O emperor,' said the youth, 'have a delicate matter to lay before thee, decide it justly.'

    [25]  'These birds have for a long time had a case for judgment, and since justice is awaited from you it is high time for them that it should be instituted.'

    [26]  'A woman-bird and two men are these three that are with thee, a matter that will cause them to be discussed forms a curious dispute between them.'

    [27]  'Relate to us, as thou art certain, O youth,' said the emperor, 'the tidings of each bird, their origin, and their adventures.'

    [28]  'Conceal not from me, tell me what has been the reason of their sojourn with me, now is the time to reveal it.'

    [29]  'There came, O king,' said he, 'some time ago, a famine that lasted for a year, it afflicted the entire world throughout the globe.'

    [30]  'The bird-flocks felt it, the salmon of the ocean, the herds of the land; curious was it when considered.'

    [31]  'To one of the two birds belonged the woman-bird at first, throughout the famine he disowned her, when her protection was hardest.'

     p.69

    [32]  'From the other man-bird, during that dreadful year, she got everything of which she was in need, as he had her in that time of distress.'

    [33]  'After they had come through that hard year, the former bird, he with whom she was in the beginning, proceeded to take possession of her, wishing to claim her by right.'

    [34]  'This is what the other man-bird says: that the woman is lawfully his, since it was he that brought her through that time so that she survived to the season of of [sic] prosperity.'

    [35]  'These were the words just now, of the first bird, who rejected her in the hard year: whosoever be the woman's first mate she cannot deny him.'

    [36]  'In order that you especially, rather than any other, might pronounce judgment for them, that is their object in remaining in thy presence, O king.'

    [37]  As a judicial precedent the king adjudged that when she had come through the time of hardship, the bird should belong to him who had succoured her.

    [38]  That verbal decree of the emperor has been under seal ever since, it is an award by which one must abide, it cannot be changed.

    [39]  O daughter of Brian, thou sleek of hair, even thus wilt thou have custody of me after dispelling my hardship, in return for rescuing me from my misery.

    [40]  Never can I forsake thy gentle countenance, I would not, moreover, if I could, thou tender and white of cheek, if thou protect me in the hour of my strait.

    [41]  Make of me one of thine own, O lady of noble Niall's Castle, it is necessary for me and thee that I render thee allegiance in return.

    [42]  Essay my protection, O benignant countenance, if it were difficult I could teach thee how to do it with thy thick, silky locks, and thy white hand.

     p.70

    [43]  Do not raise to him the gentle eye until Donnell and I be reconciled, neither spend nor husband his wealth, do not say that good is to be increased.

    [44]  Neither heighten the renown of O'Conor of the plain of Tara, nor defend him from calumny; remain melancholy throughout the feast, remember no man in particular.

    [45]  Enter not into securities for peace, do not pacify the neighbouring territories, O prudent mind, O bright of cheek, do not settle any suit or question.

    [46]  Bathe not the hand or the bosom, or the pearly-hued teeth; approach not the host of Sligo for feasting or music.

    [47]  Maintain not any rule or law, hinder not the quarrels of thy assemblies—until peace is obtained for thy poet from the wrath of Conchobhar's race.

    [48]  Many a thing dost thou do—if thou art attempting to protect me, thou rosy lady of Bregia's Hill, which is more difficult for thee.

    [49]  Much harder is it for thee to bend the oak-trees by thy counsel—subdue, even as thou dost the fruitful wood, the displeasure of the head of Conchobhar's race.

    [50]  Calm the wrath of the high-king of the Duff, as thou calmest the anger of the wave, soften the fury of the man's storm even as the winter wind is silenced by thee.

    [51]  As the melodious babbling streams are deprived by thee of their eloquence, easier is it to control the lord of Carbury in anything in which thou attemptest to instruct him.

    [52]  Even as thou curbest the forays of all others, let some bridle be laid by thy ruddy, gently-speaking, stately figure on the vengeful wrath of Donnell.

     p.71

    [53]  As thou makest shallow the streams, so that they bear not the salmon, thus were it easy to abate the anger of this descendant of Fiachaidh.

    [54]  As thou causest the waves of the sea to ebb, and abatest the bitter, cold, tempestuous weather, even so make to ebb all the wrath which threatens thy poet, that is the sum of what I have sung.

    [55]  If thou, O Mór, join with Meadhbh while our dispute lasts, there is nothing that can oppose me, despite all the ill-feeling there is against me.

     p.72

    Brian na Murratha

    [1]  Towards the warlike man peace is observed, that is a proverb which cannot be outdone; throughout the fair forests of Banbha none save the fighting man finds peace.

    [2]  If any one amongst the warriors of Bregia deem it well to pacify the Saxons, this will suffice for his protection, so it is said, let him spend a while in continually spoiling them.

    [3]  The Gaels of civil behaviour will not get peace from the foreigners, such is the their warfare, these most valorous, royal hosts, that it is not worth a treaty of peace.

    [4]  No object for pacification are the seed of Conall, or the seed of Eóghan of the standards, or yet Cathaoir's desendants, or the seeds of Sadbh, or the valiant race of Conchobhar.

    [5]  The nobility of the blood of fair Gaedhel is vanished almost to a man; such hopeful quarry are they that pursuit of them is nothing to boast of.

    [6]  They are being thrust on to the outskirts of Banbha, whilst regiments of foreigners are in the centre; of the seed of Eber and Eremon a one-sided {}(?) hath been made.

    [7]  It is but fitting that the Saxon soldiery fulfil not terms of peace with the scattered band; it seems to them—alas that is should be so—that the hosts of Banbha are without a warranty.

    [8]  It is because of their weakness in fighting men against the foriegn battalions that beyond those of any land in Europe ths wounded and unfairly—used people lack peace.

     p.73

    [9]  Lack of counsel it is that has rendered the people subservient to the wrathful, tyrannical band; alas that they do not find those who would exhort them through any single man of valour!

    [10]  Great unfriendliness were it did none of the poets of the bright-knolled land say to the men of Fódla that they should declare war upon the foreigners.

    [11]  Since our darling amongst the race of Míl is the son of Brian, lavisher of herds, with gentle utterances I shall counsel the scion of Limerick's vigourous, nimble host.

    [12]  I would give counsel of a friend to the head of royal Fearghna's line, that he, ripe fruit of the vine, kindle a tiny spark in the embers.

    [13]  I will moreover, with brief discourse—what is it but a kindling of righteous wrath?—give to the king of rivered Magh Sléacht an incitment to foray.

    [14]  Easy it is for him to give battle, from the sympathy of five noble nations, from one coast to the other Ireland will join him in a united war.

    [15]  Throughout fertile Banbha's plain, the rest, both kings and princes, will kindle sympathy with him, even as one house takes fire from another.

    [16]  When the men of Ireland learn that the high-king of Aolmhagh is making war, throughout Banbha of the glistening showers there will not be a land without one to despoil it.

    [17]  Eager for mischief are the men of Ireland, they will rise with him in their full strength; the Gaels will strive to unite so that Ireland may depend on a single surety.

    [18]  Only by keen war for our plain of Úna can he wage them, his will be the profit or the blame there of—these forays on Úghaine's isle.

     p.74

    [19]  Let stone castles become couches for wild beasts, let grass so hide each road that he leave the bright surfaced plain of Tara over-run with wild deer and wolves.

    [20]  Let them leave such famine in the valley of the Boyne, and by the long-branched shores of Birr, that the woman in Meath's rich plain eat of the heart of her firstborn.

    [21]  Let the white-limbed hero of Gáirighe effect that there shall be nothing of their precious treasures, or at all events of their limewashed castles, save the saying that once upon a time they were.

    [22]  Let their fruitful orchard be cut down, let their corn-crops be shorn by the defenders of Croghan's province, spirited, ruddy-bladed warriors.

    [23]  Beside Teltown let great towers be pulverised by him, let him sweep utterly away their mills, their kilns, their granaries.

    [24]  Throughout Ushnagh let the level borders of spreading plains become moorlands, so that the man beside Teathbha may not find a trace of the four roads.

    [25]  Let it be treasured up for the passing guest as a marvellous thing if the lowing of a single cow be heard around Colt, or by green-swarded Usnagh.

    [26]  From Naas of Leinster let powerful men carry away heavy burdens of massive (?) ancient gilt goblets and of the sides of their merchant's coffers.

    [27]  Let, moreover, poor and friendless men become wealthy, and let wealthy and powerful noblemen be made poor.

    [28]  After the deeds the seed of Ruarc slow to anger shall perform the foreigner's of Almha's fertile meadow will ask for a treaty of peace.

    [29]  Messengers will come from them to seek a truce from the warriors of Banbha's land; they will ply the graceful, affable folk with sweet, honorable speeches.

     p.75

    [30]  Their robs of satin, their precious treasures, they will bring to the host of ancient Sligo, whose nobles will be plied with golden rings by the surly, impatient band.

    [31]  They will ask the leader of peace of bright Ushnagh's meadow to come with them to court, and they will not yet seek requital for what the seed of Fearghna will have done on that raid.

    [32]  Let them not with honeyed words beguile Brian son of Brian from Breffney, woe to him who would approach them, ravenous, destructive barbarians.

    [33]  Does he know of the case of the lion, once when he attempted treachery? To no one yet born does he show gratitude(?), this king of all the animals.

    [34]  He summoned to him the quadrupeds of the earth, they go at the first asking; many a proud, headstrong band attended the thronged gathering.

    [35]  The chief of the fox tribe came not at the beginning of the party, but kept away for the time, until he found a suitable opportunity.

    [36]  On the same path then the foxes go to him together—it was not meet to contend with them in their crafts—a wily, stealthy pack.

    [37]  When the host, not numerous enough for battle, had gone to look at the lion's cave, they filled with fear for their lives, a weak and spiritless hosting.

    [38]  The first fox who approached the lime-white entrance of the gorgeous cavern bid those on the outer threshold return with one accord.

    [39]  'Clearly can I see coming up to this track of every quadruped, but there is no track leaving it, ye modest, youthful, prudent band.'

    [40]  'Did we go into that fortress', said the leader of the guileful company, 'never would our returning tracks from the smooth, artful rampart be found'.

     p.76

    [41]  Those foxes, then, turned away from the greedy cave, in brief, what they said is conceived by us to apply to the white-breasted swan of the Finn.

    [42]  This court of the foreign battalions is the cave of the nimble lion, and the hosts of the Irish territory are the slain quadrupeds.

    [43]  Let Brian, son of Brian, son of Owen, understand that none of the bright Banbha's warriors come from the foreigners safe from treachery or betrayal.

    [44]  With such terror has the uniting thread of this land of Lugh inspired the Saxons that even if the rest surrendered him into their custody it would not be easy to capture him.

    [45]  It is in his power, the chief of royal Fearghna's race, to defend Tara; the rest cannot but guard him, blossom of the vine tendrils.

    [46]  The nobles BaBanbha could not rescue generous Brian, son of Brian, yet it were not difficult for the well-followed hero of the Duff to succour all the Gaels.

    [47]  The hatred of the foreigners for him is his testimony (?); all have been proclaiming for long that she is his—he holds Fódla by the bridle.

    [48]  It is easy for him to defend her against them, many are his allies, far and wide lie his forces, while he has naught to protect save Ireland.

    [49]  The races from which his mother came will be around the son of Brian in phalanxes(?); each tribe like a precipitous flood (?), the seed of Niall Caille and the race of Conall.

    [50]  The three Luighne will be around the chief of Breffney, a broad-shielded, numerous throng; the men of Tireragh, the men of Carbury, the men of Corran, will be with him in the fighting without delay.

     p.77

    [51]  The three MacSweeneys from the march of Bearnas will also join him in one band; come weal come woe let them not part from him, steel of the bright host of the Gael.

    [52]  The Hy Many will join the son of Gráinne, with crimson, blue-headed javelins—they will leave the foreign women wet-cheeked—and the haughty line of Fearghus.

    [53]  From the Inny to Loch Erne all are with him, both freemen and wanderers, and from Boyle to stormy Loch Oughter, the men of Fermanagh, the O'Rourkes, the O'Reillys.

    [54]  The three chieftains of Connacht will go with him in a bannered mass, three stately, mighty regiments, the valiant line of Conchobhar.

    [55]  The Clann Domhnaill will be with him in their full strength, like oaks towering above the groves, a gay and wondrous band of the soldiery of Fódla, the mercenaries of Islay.

    [56]  The lords of the Gail will then march to Dublin at the outset, many a stone castle will be laid in ruins by the stubborn, headstrong fighters.

    [57]  From the generous seed of Ruarc the valley of the Boyne will be a mass of lightning, the foreign tribes from Cliú to Croghan {} 9.

    [58]  The fierce, heroic swarm will have many an ornamented goblet and basin, many sledges for shattering walls, many vats and shining cans.

    [59]  Many a spit and hook will they have, and many heavy corded bundles, many tables and pots, and plenty of other booty.

     p.78

    [60]  The slopes of Meath will be covered by them with the vastness of the spoils from the cities, the powerful, cunning host will make many a road about the bright-trouted Boyne.

    [61]  At sleeping time, after spoiling Magh Ceóil, the children of kings will have in their camps plenty of half-cooked flesh for griddles.

    [62]  The foreigners about Ushnagh's field will then say to the people of fair Boyle that they will not allow the blood of Cairbre to take their kine, their spoils and their manifold wealth.

    [63]  The nobles of the Gael will not respect the utterance of the fair, splendid warriors, the children of Cobhthach will marvel greatly that the foreigners should contend with them.

    [64]  Then will the Saxon battalions and the hosts of royal Tara take the field of battle, many deaths will the wondrous, fortunate host wreak upon them.

    [65]  Then will they hack at one another till even; many foreigners, many Gaels will perish by the numerous, irrestible host.

    [66]  Many a keen, razor-edged arrow from the bow will pierce the flesh of a nobleman; many a cold blade and javelin, and slender, shining battle-axe.

    [67]  The land of Meath will be flooded with ruddy pools from the two vigorous bands, until blood rises above the shoulders on that bright-surfaced plain of Tara.

    [68]  Then will the Saxon tribe be vanquished by the seed of keen-weaponed Gaedheal, so that from the proclamation of war there will never be any save Irishmen over the land of Fódla.

    [69]  On the night following the battle on the hill above the beguiling streams of the Boyne there will be many a noble, comely body in death-throes(?) from the hero of the Maigue's fertile valley.

     p.79

    [70]  There will be many a scaldcrow tearing the flesh of stout-weaponed warriors, and many will be the ravens and wolves around bright, fertile, salmon-abounding Cliú.

    [71]  On the slopes of Meath many will be the wet-eyed queens over their dead, from (the deeds of) the host of the Erne many will be the keen, ardent cries over them.

     p.80

    MACWILLIAM BURKE

    [1]  The land of Banbhais but swordland: let all be defied to show that there is any inheritance to the Land of Fál save that of conquest by force of battle!

    [2]  No one man has any lawful claim to the shining land of the ancient Gaels. The law of this territory is that it shall be subjugate to him who is strongest.

    [3]  The father does not bequeath to the son Fódla's Isle of noble scions; until it be obtained by force it cannot be occupied.

    [4]  Neither the Sons of Míl of Spain nor any who have conquered her have any claim to the land of Fál save that of taking her by force.

    [5]  The spreading-branchéd forests of Fál's Plain were taken forcibly from the guileful race of Nemhedh— most courtly line.

    [6]  By force, moreover, such their tale, were the wondrous hills of Ireland—the best dispellers of sorrow— captured from the Fir Bolg.

    [7]  By force, again, was the land won from the kings of the Tuatha Dé Danann, when the noble Children of Míl wrested from them the dewy plain of Bregia.

    [8]  Forcibly was the Land of Fál taken from the Sons of Spanish Míl; the Hill of The Three Men is not wont to be obtained save by force.

    [9]  Although the Gaels conquered the spacious, kindly land, it was reconquered in despite of them, and has passed into the power of foreigners.

     p.81

    [10]  There come across the sea in three battalions the warriors of France, the soldiery of Greece and the mercenaries of the eastern land, the wondrous youth of England.

    [11]  The Greeks of swift steeds, the men of England, the nobles of France—bright, wonderful warriors—divide Ireland in three parts.

    [12]  The men from fair Greece and the foreigners from bright, fierce England wrest from the war-seasoned race of Eber the share of Mugh Néid's son.

    [13]  The warriors of the seed of Charles conquer from Limerick to Lecale, Conn the Hundredfighter's share of the ancient, green-isled land.

    [14]  The descendants of Charles conquered from Cashel to the Ards, from ancient Tory yonder to the flock-strewn Caol of Aran.

    [15]  Where is there, from the Boyne to Limerick of the ships, a single quarter of land from which they derive not a certain portion?

    [16]  I forbear for a space, from fear of reproach, to recount their tributes, until their defender come.

    [17]  Should any say that the Burkes of lion-like prowess are strangers—let one of the blood of Gael or Gall be found who is not a sojourner amongst us.

    [18]  Should any say they deserve not to receive their share of Ireland—who in the sweet, dew-glistening field are more than visitors to the land ?

    [19]  Though the descendants of Gaedheal Glas used speak of the race of Charles, set stones of Banbha's hills, as foreigners—foreigners were they who spoke thus.

    [20]  Ireland cannot escape from them, for four centuries and ten years has the warm, ancient, humid land been under the fair warriors of the seed of Charles.

     p.82

    [21]  It is they who are the noblest in blood, it is they who have best won the heritage; from them—nobles to whom homage is meet—the Bregian Boyne can hardly be wrested.

    [22]  There will not be, nor has there ever been a line equal in power to the race that sprang from William, rulers of the Dwelling of Tara.

    [23]  As far east as the stream of Jordan there is no field that was not conquered by them; if the fair Plain of Flann should be overcome we need not wonder.

    [24]  Of them was he who conquered London from the Saxons, although they were watching for him in a bitter, furious mass.

    [25]  Of them was he who took Jerusalem by force— many things are related thereof—the centre of the fourfold world.

    [26]  Twenty-one battles, moreover, as I know, they waged over Ireland, wresting the bright centre of the Gaels from the seed of Eremon of Bregia.

    [27]  By Richard the Great was gained the Battle of the Cinders, the battle of Calgach, the famous conflict of Trim, the fray of the castle by Frewen.

    [28]  Richard, moreover, gave in one month three battles to the blood of noble Conall and the race of Niall, stems from a single cluster.

    [29]  The same man it is that fought the battles of Loch Cuain and of Beannchor, and—long has the result of the conflict been a benefit—the battle of Annla against the Ulstermen.

    [30]  At Ros Guill by northern Tory, moreover, he gave battle to Ó Maol Doraidh and overthrew the race of Conall, it was a conflict of strength.

    [31]  It is that Richard who divided Leath Cuinn with boundary ditches and into smooth acres yonder at his dwelling including Connachtmen and Ulstermen.

     p.83

    [32]  Under the favored offspring Sir Richard, him of the fair-browed, generous countenance, not a fastness or a hunting mound of victorious Leath Cuinn was left un tilled.

    [33]  From the Strand of Baile, son of Buan, to the shores of the Suir in its pleasant valley was his; his from the blue, sunny-banked Suir to the western Head of Erris.

    [34]  He was lord over Shannon and Suir, over the murmuring waters of Cong, over the Moy, the babbling streams of the Bann, and all the rivers between them.

    [35]  Salmon from Assaroe, from the pleasant shore of the Bann, and from Cashel's slender stream, used to be served on the same spit to that earl.

    [36]  On one dish of ruddy gold the nuts of Seaghais, fragrant fruit of Derry, and apples from the banks of the Bóroimhe, would be served to Sir Richard.

    [37]  Never was there found the equal of his kinsman, Sir William, he continued the triumphs of the man, like to his father in disposition.

    [38]  Eight battles are reckoned to William Óg, high-king of the Burkes, gained over the Leinstermen, over Leath Cuinn, by the imperious hero of Umhall.

    [39]  The battles of Liffey, of Magh Máil against Leinster, unkindly enough! The battle of Loch Neagh in Ulster, and four battles against Connacht.

    [40]  The famous battle of Slievemurry, the battle of Inny, in the Annaly, the celebrated battle of Athenry, gained by the valor of the highking (or were amongst the exploits of the highking).

    [41]  As for Scottish Edmund, none dared to oppose him; not so much opposition did he find as an attempt to speak disobediently.

    [42]  Thomas, son of Edmund, was, in short, of the same bearing, and his valorous son Edmund, blue-eyed, smooth handed warrior.

     p.84

    [43]  Richard, son of another Edmund—no likely opponent was the fiery dragon—the fruit of the orchard from London did not receive homage from the blood of Conn.

    [44]  There was no lair of the wild deer, in dangerous passes, or on the slopes of valleys, in Richard's day, that he did not despoil, so that he disquieted the isle of Ireland.

    [45]  Richard—great was the power—a man by whom Conn's Tara was laid low, gave the spoils of Meath, the tribute of Kells, as wages to the men of Umhall.

    [46]  In those days, of which ye have heard, the star of the Plain of the Champions brought the gates of Bregian Tara to Loch Mask on Magh Tuireadh.

    [47]  The caldron of the king of Man across the sea, the smooth-framed harp of Beann Éadair, were brought to his house by the hero(?) of Tara, together with the chess from Eamhain in Ulster.

    [48]  Long did great John, son of Richard, follow in his path, harassing the men of Ireland for possession of the bright, fresh-swarded Dwelling of the Fair.

    [49]  Oliver, son of John, got John's heritage of the land of Fál; of those that took the grassy Field of Fionntan, no man's son excelled him.

    [50]  John Burke, son of Oliver, is the man that will spend and defend the ruddy-nutted plains of the blood of Cas, and the boundaries of the shore of Bearnas.

    [51]  The blossom of the apple-tree from Eamhain surpasses all his forbears, from Oliver back to William; to each man is his destiny apportioned.

    [52]  An unfathomable ocean bed, a heart not to be doubted, a steed from the swift brood of Eamhain's rampart, a pious, subtle mind.

    [53]  A brimming well in sultry days, a magnifier of every good, a resolve no less firm than are planted rocks, tokens of an adventurous prince.

     p.85

    [54]  The object of his enemies' blessings, instructor of the lords, expected mate for the plain of Meath, herdsman of his enemies' cattle.

    [55]  Battle-stay of the land of Bregia, gate of death to the race of Míl; smooth-fingered hand most unyielding in battle, most precious treasure of the Burkes.

    [56]  Mac William Burke, enemy of evil, capable to banish unseemly customs; strong is his hand against their wickedness, a prince like royal Caesar of the Romans.

    [57]  There is no son of Gael or Englishman, from the Ards in Ulster to Achill, that is not full of the same affection for him concerning the possession of Úghaine's fair-swarded Plain.

    [58]  John, grandson of John, has no enemy or friend who has any reason to doubt his claim to Cobhthach's bright-walled castle.

    [59]  From childhood's days until now, I defy each learned man to show that the scion of Bregia's citadel committed any deed of which his heart might repent.

    [60]  In earnest or in play, in assurance or timidity the star of Sligo's host never meditated anything which would need confession afterwards.

    [61]  The mischief-maker (even) is witness that he never said, nor was there ever said of him—bright cheek like the berry—anything he would conceal in a whisper.

    [62]  Never was there said of his radiant face anything which would be fitting to hide from him, and he never concealed from anyone the reason of his foe's conspiracy.

    [63]  Should it happen that a man were able to slay those who surrounded him, once he submit to him he need not fear vengeance.

    [64]  Steeds have not been shod, nor has blade or corslet been hasped since he, gentle grey eye, from which the sea is calm, gained lordship.

     p.86

    [65]  There is no going into camp in his days, no weapon stirred from its rack; no one under heaven in dread, no rumours of ravaging parties to be heard.

    [66]  No asking for tidings, no expeditions or hostings, no spoiling, no destruction, no conflict, no plundering of anything from an enemy.

    [67]  Nothing which might make a woman tremble, no Gael committing injustice against any Englishman, nor any Englishman despoiling a Gael, no wrong of any man permitted.

    [68]  From the prosperity of the peaceful kingship there is entrancing fairy music in the speech of each man to his fellow, around the defender of Curlews' plain.

    [69]  Conn O'Donell—may God protect him! Precious scion of the race of the highkings; a man without lack of courage in exploits, leader of the warriors from Lifford.

    [70]  Four score, five hundred and one thousand since the birth of Christ is remembered—the {} sorrow was destined—until the {} death of John.

     p.87

    EDMUND BURKE

    [1]  What now delays Edmund? Surely we shall not endure to be as we have been for some time, like any captive at the mercy of the foreigners.

    [2]  Everyone has noticed the length of this delay of Edmund's, ere the man's pride was enkindled, ere he found a reason for rebellion.

    [3]  I know not what has hitherto kept the prince of the soil of Umhall like a hostage in English fetters, under the treacherous enactments of the foreigners.

    [4]  Not weariness of battle nor peril of conflict, not lack of army or following has ever restrained the hero of Bóroimhe from setting forth.

    [5]  Not {}(?) days are responsible for (the delay of) the active, courageous one, hand by which the Fold of the Fair is overthrown, neither is it {} (?) or bad weather.

    [6]  When the man would be setting forth the prophecies of soothsayers or poets would not hinder his graceful form from spoiling or sacking Ireland.

    [7]  Both to me and to himself has been known for some time past the sole reason for the delay of Edmund, chief of the people of Conn's spreading plain.

    [8]  The amount of his riches and his wealth, the regality of his great princedom—these were protecting Ireland, warm bright-stoned Plain of the Three Fair Ones.

    [9]  Edmund himself did not perceive—this certainly is the reason for the delay of his ruddy countenance—that there was a single thing lacking to him.

     p.88

    [10]  So long as he were permitted to be without trouble or hardship Ireland would be as a level pool from edge to edge.

    [11]  As soon as he is attacked the English and the Gaels of Ireland will teem with treachery towards one another, with anger and discontent.

    [12]  That which was never endured before let not the son of MacWilliam endure it; since there is a case for battle it is no day for Edmund to make peace.

    [13]  Since conflict is kindling let him not leave it in doubt  10 but the hero of Bregia will requite their unjust deed.

    [14]  The fight has been forced upon him without the leave of the dark-lashed youth, the more likely is he, pillar of battle of Corc's Plain, to avenge the matter.

    [15]  Ever since days of old {} the man {} the man that begins the quarrel. 11

    [16]  What war has there ever been in which he that first started it was not vanquished? That is the way in wars.

    [17]  Have we not witness enough in the assembly of Pompey, the hosting of Caesar? The descendant of the chieftain from the Plain of Cnodhbha is as in the case of the Civil War.

    [18]  Pompey, if it be true, first made war against Caesar, and though victorious for a while, he was remorseful in the end.

    [19]  Caesar, in fine, vanquished Pompey who first caused the conflict, and the valiant hosts from the eastern land, as they had begun the war.

    [20]  Those who enkindle dissension are ever defeated in requital for making war, a work that does not meetly go unpunished.

     p.89

    [21]  Badly did it result for the Trojan warriors to make the first day's war; they provoked the Grecian heroes, who considered not an occasion of battle.

    [22]  The people of Troy did not suppose at first that in that fierce, ardent conflict—it was not long till they felt the result of their wrong doing—the armies of the world would rout them.

    [23]  {} the mighty Grecian soldiery, of admirable deeds, a lasting example fit to be cherished.

    [24]  Those that started the war—the Greeks did not yield to them, nor did any of their seed since settle in their native place.

    [25]  Just such a war as that did Eber unjustly proclaim upon Eremon son of Míl about the green-pathed plain of the champion of Fál.

    [26]  The end of their battling was that Eber fell by Eremon in his impetuous anger (fighting) for the bright centre of the sunset land.

    [27]  Great Mugh Nuadhad and Mugh Néeid, well did they expiate such an act—first renouncing peace with Conn, a deed they could not maintain.

    [28]  Conn beheaded both Mugh Néeid and venomous Mugh Nuadhad, ill did it result for the progeny of the chief of Fál that they did not uphold the law of battle.

    [29]  May a like destruction, since it is he that is attacked, be told of Edmund; a sure result of all unjust dealings in war.

    [30]  He hath been treacherously dealt with; against him the war hath been begun {}  12

    [31]  {} 13 spoiling in the midst of peace that is not a seeking of disturbance for Edmund, object of the glances of the noble English stock.

     p.90

    [32]  So long as they held from the son of MacWilliam the fertile portion of Connacht they would not need to pursue him to plunder the dangerous mountain ravines and morasses.

    [33]  For the arrogant, stubborn band it would be putting the head into a lion's den to plunder the man of his ancestral land, or it were to approach a blazing house.

    [34]  Or it would be plunging the bare hand into the griffin's nest in order to destroy her first brood, to meddle with his bright, softly-speaking countenance, or it would be plundering laden{?) bees.

    [35]  Or it would be waging battle in spite of terms, or snatching treasure from fairy palaces or—woe to him that must face her—teasing a hound through her puppies.

    [36]  Or it is handling the edges of naked weapons, or arousing a red bear, for the warmly-housed (?) soldiery from beyond the wave to attempt combat with Edmund.

    [37]  Or does anyone suppose that when Edmund had been plundered he would leave anything of value in {} smooth, beautiful land of {}. . castles?

    [38]  If any indeed so thought they had no justification; an evil not easy to repress is the surging of rapine from the kindling of Edmund's righteous anger.

    [39]  {}extent four lines. 14

     p.91

    EDMUND BURKE

    [1]  Well mayst thou use this weapon, Edmund, O bright, pearl-gray eye; may it be an omen of danger to the enemies of thy fair-cheeked, lime-bright countenance.

    [2]  May this weapon which is bestowed on thee, thou youth to whom such as we are dear, be a sign of protection of friends, despoiling of foes.

    [3]  May it portend the exaltation of thy kindred, may it render time and occasion propitious, thou strong hand in quelling hosts—may it be a sign of the debasement of foreigners.

    [4]  This weapon of mine is not as the weapons of others, though one would be glad to obtain it, dangerous are the conditions which go with it, thou smooth-footed warrior of Bearnas.

    [5]  Thou shouldst not—if thou wouldst do so—take a weapon thoughtlessly from my hand in return for gold and silver, thou war-sprite of Gabhrán's bright Plain.

    [6]  It will not suffer thy broad face to be unwatchful, unprepared, or that thy splendid form heed not to be active and alert.

    [7]  It likes not that its companions sleep where they eat their breakfast, it endures not a refusal of battle, hard it is to accept its prohibitions.

    [8]  Be the host few or many, be there peace or disturbance, this keen-edged sword which no blade rivals desires not to be even for one night on the rack.

    [9]  Desisting from foray is one of its prohibitions, and this weapon thou hast received, thou hero from Art's lime-washed Dwelling, may not take one step in retreat.

     p.92

    [10]  Didst thou take a prey with it even on the seventh day it were no harm; it is not possible for this weapon to abide for the time of a month without spoil, without trophies.

    [11]  Were I thy suitor thou wouldst wreak, O bright face, in search of the treasure of Conn's bounded Field a hundred other injuries.

    [12]  Thou wouldst not slumber on down or on quilt, wert thou answerable to me thou wouldst not dare consume a feast without a sentry keeping watch for thee.

    [13]  Thou wouldst be one day beside the Duff, beside the sunny slopes of Aughty, another by Croghan of the battalions, and another at the borders of Tara's Dwelling.

    [14]  Thou wouldst make conflagrations about Loughrea, thou wouldst spend a day in spoiling thy gilt bucklers (?) beside Bregia's plain, O bright form, or at ancient Loch Key, having made a foray on it.

    [15]  If Walter, thou slender of hand, be feasting or playing chess, be thou in arms to win triumphs, until his men of means (?) are despoiled.

    [16]  The function of {}(?) with ships, the function of the tongs in the smithy, O fruitful branch of Íor's Dwelling, is thine for thy high-king.

    [17]  Unless thou do as I have said to thee thou wilt get from this weapon as regards the treasure and the booty of Conn's race naught but failure or death, O Edmund.

    [18]  Their crimson mantles, their graceful hounds, their women, their rings, their chessmen, their golden drinking-horns are freely thine, their gifts of gold and silver.

    [19]  If thou desire, thou warrior of Codhal, to be long-lived and prosperous, let the conditions of this weapon be maintained, never be they violated.

     p.93

    MAC WILLIAM BURKE

    [1]  Much circumspection is due to the title of king, it must be guarded both from headstrong arrogance and lack of vigor, it is truly difficult to defend it.

    [2]  If a man be headstrong he must needs be given to forays and wars, he will draw upon himself a contest for the kingship, and his land will be wrested from him.

    [3]  Howbeit, let not one choose to be humble and servile; he will be despised thereby, not kingly is he who resolves thus.

    [4]  Between arrogance and gentleness lies the golden mean of kingship; the king who is most moderate in his bearing is able to deal with disobedience.

    [5]  According to this not many of us are fitted to assume kingship; it is not easy for a man to undertake it, considering these qualities which pertain to it.

    [6]  Saving this only, might not Richard, son of Oliver— smooth hand like the blossom of the thorn—boast now that all follow his standard ?

    [7]  He seeks naught from anyone else, and he leaves none unsatisfied (?}; despite the amount he spends of his wealth, there comes no ebbtide in his riches.

    [8]  Although he has attained to kingship after winning every territory, it is enough for him to be as before, Richard, son of Mac William.

    [9]  According to the judgment of the learned of Innisfail on Richard, grandson of John, he is the best, since he is the eldest, if he can answer for his comrades.

     p.94

    [10]  It is hard for them to displease the son of the queen from Ráth Murbhaigh; he of his race has the best claim, such might will be joined with him.

    [11]  He is the most temperate in spirit, and has the best talents for lordship; the long of the Moy, chief in every fortune—by him is it most efficiently defended.

    [12]  Never a day has the king of Cong been found humble or submissive—although he has plenty of prudence— hand which would not be checked in combat.

    [13]  Neither is there any danger to the champion of Achill, high-spirited though he be, of being plundered on account of his arrogant spirit, fruitful branch of a lord.

    [14]  Just such a warrior as he obtained the reward of his temperate spirit, the heir of the king of the Greeks, a deed most likely to be remembered.

    [15]  The name of the youth was great Daedalus, son of Saturn, best warrior of the Greeks in valor, a graceful-fingered, kindly scion.

    [16]  He coaxed—what greater affection?—the daughter of the emperor of the world to elope with him from sea to sea, without asking the leave of her father.

    [17]  Along with him on his excursion, Daedalus, apple-branch surpassing the forest, brought his two brothers to guard the life of the warrior.

    [18]  After exploring the lands they are wafted to a lonely isle, inhabited by no one in the world.

    [19]  When this company of four had spent some time there, the maiden went of her own will to the green shore of the isle.

    [20]  After a space a warrior of wondrous array came towards her; the woman, alone by the shore, regarded him for a while.

    [21]  Never was there fashioned, of all human creatures, clay more beautiful than that warrior, face (radiant) as the moon, throat (white) as a blossom.

     p.95

    [22]  The young and. gift worthy warrior saluted the modest maiden, such fear was in her heart that she made him no reply.

    [23]  And then he asked: 'What land is this in which thou art, or who has a right to dwell in it, thou graceful-handed, chaste beauty?'

    [24]  'The children of the king of Greece, who never grudged wealth, Daedalus and his two brothers, they,' said she, 'are in possession of the land, three appletrees from a single stem.'

    [25]  'I shall bear thee away from the three heroes, maiden,' said the warrior; 'sorrowful are thy words,' said the woman, 'it would be an omen of conflict were they heard.'

    [26]  'Didst thou so deal with me,' said she, 'in despite of my husband, it would be difficult for all the world to shelter thee, from the terror of the high-king's weapon.'

    [27]  'I shall take their ship with me, and the three chieftains who are within shall remain in weakness of travail in this land until the end of the world.'

    [28]  He carried the woman into the ship, and then departed from the isle, having outwitted Daedalus, the generous, whitetoothed hero.

    [29]  She cried as she left the shore, he rushed to her at once to see what was her trouble, or why she grieved.

    [30]  He sees a ship under full sail, just visible from the strange land, speeding out to sea; he hears a cry from the vessel.

    [31]  For seven days after, as it is told, Daedalus and the company who were ashore remained without woman, without ship.

     p.96

    [32]  'O brothers, it is poor-spirited of us,' said bright-faced Daedalus, 'not to escape with the wings of birds, and fly from the isle across the sea.'

    [33]  With strong glue they attach a bird's wing to the shoulder of each man; they arise from the slopes of the hills across the deep expanse of the ocean.

    [34]  In arrogance of spirit the youngest of the eager heroes arises; from the sea he goes close to the sun, and ascended into the high heavens.

    [35]  The sun's heat dissolved the fair glue, the wings gave way; he fell helpless headlong into the deep billows of the ocean.

    [36]  The second youth kept close by the surface of the great streams, so that his stout pinion was struck from him by the cold flight of the water.

    [37]  Upon the severing of the heavy wings by the harsh edges of the green waves the second warrior meets his death; an occasion of grief.

    [38]  The elder of the joyous, fair youths, in a course between loftiness and lowliness, went unharmed across the surface of the white-foamed sea.

    [39]  On coming to land the high-king seized his sword and his bright lance, and followed in the track of the couple.

    [40]  He searched the whole world in pursuit of the pair and when he overtook them afterwards he caused their bodies to be hacked in pieces.

    [41]  He slew the ruddy, white-toothed woman and her paramour; he gave him due cause of remorse for seeking his wife from him.

    [42]  The young maiden is the wand of kingship, yours was that woman at first; be not slumbering, thou bright of cheek, the maiden has been stolen from thee.

     p.97

    [43]  The ship, moreover, O soft of hair, answers to those places of sovranty belonging to the Seed of Charles which have been wrested from thee, as it is said; compensation is due for unjust deeds.

    [44]  And the island upon which thou didst remain when the maiden had departed from thee, thou hand unflinching in combat, is the comfortable plain of peace.

    [45]  The bird's wings whereby thou didst leave the island are the mercenaries of hilly Banbha, and the companies that surround thee.

    [46]  And that glue which binds to thee the blue-armoured warriors, thou chief of Bregia's ever-roving host, is the stipend which is dispensed to them.

    [47]  The other young brother, whose great daring submerged him, is the people who contend with thee, and the kindred which arose on thy behalf.

    [48]  And the man whom his lowliness of spirit submerged answers to those who would tell thee to make peace about thy territory.

    [49]  Thou, O chief of Cong, art come in the middle way between them; thou art the elder who wilt surpass the rest, thou star of the isles of Ireland.

    [50]  Thy love who was borne away from thee unjustly, O sparkling countenance, if she be restored to thee let her not be received with humility.

    [51]  Go forth, thou king of Carra, make fast to thee the wings to recover the maiden, thou fair forest-tree of Bearnas.

    [52]  This maiden has from childhood's years been wooing thee, Richard, this smooth, long-cultivated, fertile land, this territory of the seed of Charles.

    [53]  Thou are most worthy of her, many are the reasons, thou stately hero of Bregia's hill, wherefore thy patrimony should be lawfully united to thee.

     p.98

    [54]  Thou hast the most numerous household, the largest number of veterans of battle; difficult it were for any to challenge thee, thou best of the sojourners of Ireland.

    [55]  Let thy royal seat be filled, Richard, at the quaffing of ruddy draughts, with a number sufficient to guard the coasts of Banbha, a generous, peaceable host.

    [56]  Let the northern side of the house be occupied by Sheela, daughter of Owen, and a flock of fair, modest, white-handed maidens, not of the daughters of the Sons of Míl.

    [57]  Let the choicest women of the Irish and the English fill the apartment around her; a bright-cheeked swarm, ungrudging of cattle, disturbance of slumber to the warriors.

    [58]  Many will be the slender-lipped, bright-cheeked beauties feasting with the daughter of the king of Durlas, like stars in time of frost.

    [59]  A bevy of cupbearers with crimson beakers dispensing wine for her until after sleeping-time to the royal stags of the plain of Connacht.

    [60]  After a time her minstrels, her music-makers, come to her; a forest of sweet-stringed, plaintive stems, about her soft, spreading locks and blushing cheeks.

    [61]  The household of the queen of the plain of Cong— time passes swiftly amongst them; a noble throng, whom it is no wonder to love, abounding in witty converse.

     p.99

    Myler Burke

    [1]  Subdue thine arrogant spirit, Myler, forbear, thou joyous countenance, to be perpetually plundering the children of Conn, thou accomplished, gracious one.

    [2]  The disputes of Ulster, the wars of Connacht, are severally laid to thy reproach, thou fair and bright of face.

    [3]  Thou art blamed respectively for what is despoiled in Leinster, or in Munster, land of gently flowing rivers, O clustering, ringletted tresses.

    [4]  On thy account, thou broad, lean, gentle countenance, many a time, when thou art in repose, there are flights from thy reavings one after another in the four quarters of Ireland.

    [5]  Because of the spoilings thou hast wrought thyself, thou son of Walter, thou art accused in every part of Ireland—noble land of sweetly murmuring streams— that is devastated.

    [6]  No wonder that young and uncouth band which follows thee in time of stress should be blamed for forays, thou shapely, sleek, smooth head.

    [7]  Men to whom a quilt of snow is a bed of down, amorous, ardent youths; a bright, adventurous, agile throng, wondrously equipped.

    [8]  In no place are they so long settled, the young and spirited drove, the lawless, barbarian band, as in the gloomy cliffs of the heights of Banbha.

     p.100

    [9]  Alas for him who is king over them, according to the look of this roving, active band; their couch grass, their feast cold water, these armies of the field of the Gael.

    [10]  Thy followers are scarcely unlike thyself, thou son of Walter; troublesome, careless-minded men, scouting-parties of fierce warriors.

    [11]  They sleep not, they eat not a meal, without discussing a battle or an encounter: continual pondering on forays and wars has dimmed the brightness of their glowing cheeks.

    [12]  The time will come, Myler, when thou wilt regret the ways of thy followers, these warriors of keen, sadly-wounding spears; a company that will be intolerable.

    [13]  As it is destined, if it be right to credit prophecy, thou wilt forcibly wrest the kingship of Connacht of the bright harbors from the hands of the foreign tribe.

    [14]  They will continue, according to their wont, in wars, in roguish exploits, in doing hurt, O bright face, beyond any of the host of Croghan's dyked meadow.

    [15]  As a king thou wilt not be able to suffer injustice or disturbance; then will thy dear face regret thy forbearance towards thy followers.

    [16]  Thou wilt make all desist from their wars, thou, O waving tresses, wilt defend the Connachtmen from the might of reavers, and from the excessive burden of the foreign soldiery.

    [17]  The soothsayers of Fódla were assuring the possession of the blue isle of the Gael, the fragrant soil of Bregian Tara, to thy father.

    [18]  Thou, O bright, soft countenance, wilt fulfil what the druids foretold; thou wilt rescue the country of Banbha from the great oppression of the foreign hosts.

    [19]  Of thee, O slender form, is foretold that which Aoibheall prophesied to the noble children of Brian Bóromha, three fair stems from the soil of Lugh's land.

     p.101

    [20]  Three sons of Brian, three lions of Maicnia's Munster, three royal heirs from the House of Tara; gracious, comely men.

    [21]  Murchadh, son of Brian, he of the bright hair, Tadhg, son of Brian, Murchadh's brother—let one plant be chosen above the forest—nobly-born Donnchadh was their elder.

    [22]  Murchadh, son of Brian, and Brian himself—these fell together, battling with the warriors of Lochlainn for bright, fertile Cliú and its smooth castles.

    [23]  Those children of Brian, flower of the vine from fair Cliú, favorers of the sweet prophetess, were wont to obtain tidings from Aoibheall.

    [24]  After a space Donnchadh son of Brian goes forth to speak with Aoibheall concerning the lovely Boyne, of smooth yew-trees.

    [25]  O woman, said Donnchadh, declare to me who shall be king over the bright western plain in succession to Brian? it is not a curious thing to ask.

    [26]  Tadhg, son of Brian, thine own brother, said Aoibheall thereupon, to him has the House of Tara, dwelling with varied vestures, been promised.

    [27]  After this converse Donnchadh became filled with envy of Tadhg of Banbha; it is hard to bridle a woman's foolish speech, the hero's reason became subverted.

    [28]  Therefore he fratricidally slew the heir to the kingship of Fódla, and said that he had refuted Aoibheall regarding that descendant of Tál and Éibhear Fionn.

    [29]  Aoibheall came to reproach him when Donnchadh was left alone in {}(?) Kincora, by the bright, fair, blue-streamed rampart.

    [30]  It is unjust for thee to say that my prophecy was false, said Aoibheall, my words regarding the noble mate of Bregia's castle are certain, said the maiden.

     p.102

    [31]  For the heir of a high-king and for the heir's son the prophecy is the same, it is said; have faith in what I say regarding the pleasant, flowery plain of swaying yews.

    [32]  What I promised to Tadhg of Tara, Tadhg's son Turlogh shall receive; stag of the royal flock of the noble line of Cas, finest vinestalk of the Fergus.

    [33]  Turlogh, son of Tadhg, assumed sovranty over every part of Ireland—fair, pleasant land of graceful streams—even as Aoibheall had foreseen.

    [34]  Even thus it will befall thee as regards this land, thou gracious form, thou wilt win supremacy over Meadhbh's Country, thou stately, white-footed youth.

    [35]  Aoibheall promised the Country of Lugh to Tadhg, son of Brian Bóroimhe, and Turlogh—sustaining pillar of Tara's stead—had the profit thereof.

    [36]  The druids of Banbha have ever been prophesying that Cobhthach's Plain—restful land of firm forest trees— would come to Walter, son of Mac William.

    [37]  Walter, O crimson lips, died as he was about to become king, for thee, thou defending arm of Meath's hill, will the prophecy be fruitful.

    [38]  The province, thou graceful form, was full, of dissensions upon Walter's death, full of wars and battles and wrong and harm.

    [39]  Since thou hast gotten warrior's weapons the rest have not dared to think of their enmities, to speak of war, or to use force, thou ripe fruit of the vine.

    [40]  It was thy fathers death that hid the fruits of the forests, the fish of the bay; and it is the reason wherefore the moon and sun were fettered.

    [41]  There come with thee, as thou hast come, the flowering of those woods, the corn of the tilth, the produce of the streams; each element recognizing thy tokens.

     p.103

    [42]  Behold the fully sprung corn, behold the moon shining brightly, why should there be any distrust of thy claim to the bright-walled land of Connacht?

    [43]  Moon and wind and sun, stars of heaven and clouds of the sky are favoring thee, thou lord of Gorumna, the sea is about proclaim thee.

     p.104

    A COMPLAINT

    [1]  Thou messenger going across the moor, speak yonder with William Burke; tell him of the plight that I am in, without any prospect of help.

    [2]  Tell him moreover, in secret, that there is no shelter for me on land or on sea; that no one before was ever afflicted with half of my injustice or one third of my wrong.

    [3]  I have been paying my share for two years or three, and after that all the liabilities of others are levied from me.

    [4]  When I saw the liabilities of the others being all wrested from me, I went to the courthouse to see if I could obtain right or justice.

    [5]  In going to the court I myself spent—to my sorrow, and that is not all, in ridding myself of that trouble— whatever little I possessed.

    [6]  I fetch with me a good warrant, and return full of spirits; I thought that I was safe after my visit to the great court.

    [7]  I display my own patent to the {}(?), when the had read my letters, I got even less consideration (?).

    [8]  My captain, each of the two to whom I go again lamenting, swears by the glove of Christ that it is not his part to hinder them.

    [9]  The sheriff that was in charge of us, this is what my precious fellow says to me; you trust to the creditors, it is not the solider that will lack anything.

    [10]  It did not satisfy any of them to take one gage alone from me; in payment of the fines of the rest I had to render two or three gages into the hand of each man.

     p.105

    [11]  I spent a long time going from place to place in search of the gage; not only is my gage taken from me, but I redeem it twice or thrice.

    [12]  When I would redeem it from the first man that held it he from whom it was redeemed in the beginning{?) would hand it on to the next.

    [13]  I go promptly in pursuit of the gage, whether it be carried far or near; I never returned home till I had spent six times the price.

    [14]  Then as for the President, to whom I would go to relate my case; with tears on my cheeks I used to make complaints to him, sternly and bitterly.

    [15]  He says gruffly, that not by his will would a gage be taken from me; that, however, I can give payment for it eventually.

    [16]  It is not for my goods I am most grieved, but that when I lost my fortune none remained to support me, for I was left destitute in the end.

    [17]  The horseboy, the cowherd, the quern-girl, the comb-woman—they all went from me at once, along with a solider; a wretched deed.

    [18]  This is what my own cowherd, of all those that deserted me, says, showing me(?) the fire: What keeps you from drawing up?'.

    [19]  I have been, there is no reason for hiding it, under dire oppression these three years; in hope for the coming of William Burke I did not make much of it.

    [20]  God's curse on those dealers in lies that do not verify their stories; everyone whispers to me that William Burke is here.

    [21]  Thou messenger going to meet him, pay no heed to fun or sport; speak with my own companion, and see if he has yet come.

    [22]  Lion's whelp of Loch Con, salmon of the Shannon's bright streams, hound of the inlet of Assaroe, much do I expect from his coming.

     p.106

    RICHARD ÓG BURKE

    [1]  Give heed to thyself, Richard Ógg, do not forsake thine early disposition; if one might say so much to thee, it were more fitting to be as thou hast been.

    [2]  Be, even as thou hast ever been, Richard son of Mac William; alas, if thou shouldst assume any other rank, thou gentle, supple scion of Mucroimhe.

    [3]  Thou wouldst do ill, O pure face, to change that former name, considering all it hath won for thy bright hand, with it thou didst increase in prowess.

    [4]  The mantle from which a man derives customary good health. O pleasant countenance, he loves that garment, thou sacred stag of Bregia's fair territory.

    [5]  The place where one succeeds in increasing his wealth, that is the post on which he is stayed, he is not easily expelled beyond its borders.

    [6]  The boy who is sent to his own land from the country in which he is reared, after his nursing therein, thou bright hand, the boy and its people are hard to separate.

    [7]  Even thus it were not for thee to part from thy wonted title, thy well-known deeds, with every triumph that thou hadst of old, since from it was got all that thou didst win.

    [8]  O son of Richard, gentle of heart, as for the foreign title thou hast got, never didst thou gain any advantage from it that the fame of the former title did not outdo.

     p.107

    [9]  Didst them get the headship of Flann's Plain it would not advantage thee, thou gallant form, in thy native place, to reign over Banbha by a foreign title.

    [10]  Even I—it were not worth thy while for the sake of a hazardous and shortlived title, thou warrior who hauntest the border of Banbha, that I should not get an opportunity of speech with thee.

    [11]  Am I not all the more emboldened to say to thee, though it should mean an eric leviable against me, thou scion ordained above the blood of Conn, that there is a reproach between us!

    [12]  Not happily didst thou obtain the strange title, or the horrid outlandish right, about which I make bold against thee, thou diadem of Connacht's first assembly.

    [13]  Whatever land in which I might chance to fall, under any of the kings of Ireland, even though I should not seek a price for my blood I should deserve vengeance from thee.

    [14]  Didst thou fail me of thine own part, thou wouldst still owe, thou offspring of high-kings, to bear the part of the queen of Galway's field with those who should avenge our displeasure.

    [15]  It was seldom for us and for you, blood of the luminously judging Burkes, to whom shall fall the guardianship of Ireland, to be contending with one another.

    [16]  Any offences that our people ever used commit against Clanwilliam, ours would be the honorprice there for, thou powerfully attended champion of Man.

    [17]  Unfitting is it, if thou follow the dealings of their poets with their princes, thou charmed diadem from the fairy mound of Knowth, that the eric of such as I should not be paid.

    [18]  Even as the fragrant blossoms of Clanwilliam ever did, do thou, O forest tree of Bregia's height, about thy poet's reproach.

     p.108

    [19]  In the name of poetry we forbid thee to change thy title; thou shouldst renounce the new appellation rather than lose thy patrimony.

    [20]  Let me find thee again in thine own shape, thou champion of the Plain of royal Niall; thou must make speed, give up thy strangeness towards us.

    [21]  Thou wert the sinew of Banbha's land until thou didst get the outlandish title; the sheriffship of Conn's seed would not compensate for leaving sinewless the fair hunting-field of Íor.

    [22]  Thou madest a deceptive bargain, an exchange not to be persisted in, thou triumphant champion of Bregia's hill, thou shalt regret the deed.

    [23]  The worse for thee that thou didst not meet with the son of the French knight the day the new name was bestowed upon thee as a condition of receiving thy patrimony.

    [24]  Once on a time the knight's son, feeling vigor in his arm, thought to explore the world, in hope to find marvels.

    [25]  Despite his father's wish the youth set forth— what greater delusion?—active form, most steadfast of purpose, he would take no counsel to change.

    [26]  A precious stone in the full size of his fist did his father entrust to the youth, wrought with exceeding nobleness was it, and dyed in gold.

    [27]  Search the world from sea to sea with my gilded stone, said the father, bestow it, thou bright, soft-limbed fellow, upon him who is most foolish of purpose.

    [28]  The young noble bade farewell to his kinsfolk, courteous, firm in exploit, he left his fatherland.

    [29]  After his sweetly-speaking, pleasant, sprightly figure had travelled the world, the youth—what greater strength?—found himself in a certain strange land.

     p.109

    [30]  He sees from afar a multitude of people, a great royal city; he hears many cries from the people round the brightly-roofed, shapely castle.

    [31]  He hears then, about the noble, stately city, on the hills hard by the enclosure, cries of sorrow and delight alternating.

    [32]  Afar off, before drawing near the city, he enquired from the first man he met the reason for that assembly.

    [33]  That man said: those people thou seest before thee, clan by clan, are the inhabitants of the land.

    [34]  There is in this country, went on the young man, a strange, alarming custom; their king, even though he break not their law, reigns over them but for one year.

    [35]  At the end of the year they leave him out on the sea, in a lonely island; alas for the king whose patrimony is the stately city thou seest.

    [36]  Every king who has departed from us will spend his life from this on without friend or companion, see if there be anything more pitiful under heaven!

    [37]  This assembly around thee are making a new king to-day, having banished the former one, a deed to pacify a multitude.

    [38]  These hosts beside thee are choosing a new king, on account of nobility and birth, that is the cause of their gathering.

    [39]  These cries thou hearest from all, this is their import, said the young man, 'a king being proclaimed by some of them, simultaneously with the lament for the former king.

    [40]  The youth proceeded thereupon with his precious stone to meet them; the affable, ruddy, bright fellow remembered the admonition of his father.

    [41]  That day into the hand of the king the youth— what greater contempt?—delivered the many-virtued, splendid stone, he earned thereby an upspringing of contention.

     p.110

    [42]  What is the reason thou hast put into my hand this precious stone, or dost thou wish to sell it, thou strange youth? said the high-king.

    [43]  My father, said he, said to me; when thou hast searched the world, my son, bestow on the most surpassing simpleton the golden stone we have delivered to thee.

    [44]  By thee, now—therefore hast thou received the stone—has been committed a deed the most foolish under heaven, O glistening, kindly eye.

    [45]  Thy long life, and thine own inheritance, hast thou given, what senselessness, O noble, splendid form, for the sake of one year of supremacy.

    [46]  The king paid heed to the pleasant speech of the young noble, and having found true guidance, he publicly renounced the kingship.

    [47]  I would have given to thy bright face, if I had it, that man's stone, thou apple-blossom of Kincora, when thou didst change thy title.

    [48]  Thou gavest, thou ruddy form, an abiding name in exchange for a temporary one: O fighter of Bregia's gaily-tinged hill, that was an imprudent deed of thine.

    [49]  All that thou didst obtain from the beginning by that renowned jewel of a name was worth enough, thou star from Cormac's noble Plain, that thou shouldst not displace it.

    [50]  With it, as Richard Óg, in youthful days long ago, thou hadst as profitable a time as ever man had, throughout the bright plain of the Gael.

    [51]  Of yore thou wouldst spend a day in ravaging the shores of Bóromha, a day by the soft, shallow streams, of the Boyle, a day by the flats of Bearnas.

    [52]  A day by the babbling streams of Bonet, another in Erris; a day by Tara of Meath, and by noble, ancient Loch Sewdy.

     p.111

    [53]  Equally didst thou explore the brinks of Forbhar, the borders of Sligo; from them as far as Croghan of Conn, and from Croghan-eastwards to the Shannon.

    [54]  The track of thy steeds one would trace from Achill's point to Ushnagh, without a man swerving therefrom, from Bunduff to Loch Derg.

    [55]  All would say, O kindly figure, that as 'son of Mac William' never, though thou borest no strange title, wert thou humbled in a fray{?).

    [56]  The old name, O lord of Cong, well didst thou do to alter it did the fair curves of thy countenance find therefrom any reason to blush.

    [57]  Those who know thee from childhood's years are challenged to say if thou didst ever meddle with anything on earth that would earn reproach for a man, thou lord of fair Loch Corrib.

    [58]  Thou son of Joan, from the fairy mound of Trim, if there be variance between us, it should not be long persisted in, lest the fair curves of the cheek be scorched.

     p.112

    WILLIAM BURKE

    [1]  God's justice between me and William! not well did the generous and gifted nobleman—even though it be possible to make peace about it—suffer such as I to be harmed.

    [2]  It were not worth his while, without cause or reason, seeing that he, bright face, hath proper objects of plunder, to rob any man on earth of what he had gained by his art.

    [3]  Even if his slender hand were continually plundering the poets of Ireland, surely the flower of those stems from the Bregian Boyne would have no right to despoil me.

    [4]  Never before was there a portion that William and I did not divide—though it was destined for his bright cheek that by him I should be deliberately ruined.

    [5]  I was his poet, but none the meeter was it that he should meddle with my goods because I was called his follower and there was a bond of art between us.

    [6]  Long before, moreover, I was to William a pupil, a teacher; I used to impart learning to him, loyal, rosy countenance, and receive it from him.

    [7]  All the parchments of learning, the strain of music, the improvised couplet, each one of these that he studied I used to expound to the man.

    [8]  The book I used not to read myself he, bright face, would impart it to me, so that his fair hand was my noble instructor; it is a shawl which is the thinner from its folding.

     p.113

    [9]  Such learning and knowledge did he obtain from me that he was my special pupil; he to rob me is a sentence of bondage, he was my tutor in the elements.

    [10]  I was his master, his pupil; his companion, his comrade; not well did he forthwith obtain my cattle; unjustly he went to despoil me.

    [11]  Not well did he forget, when about to plunder me, that I was his follower, and that I and the fair, long-fingered fellow, William, used to be together over one book.

    [12]  Moreover, even had I not been, as I am, his pupil, it was no meet action for him of the {}tresses to snatch her gold from poesy.

    [13]  Even had I not been tutor to the valorous champion of Fannad {}

    [14]  {}

    [15]  I have served—alas for me that served—in all these forms ye hear, though the griffin of the Erne be now an enemy, the author of my hurt.

    [16]  It was none the wiser for William to attack me because he knew that I would not avenge my angering or my wrong on the royal star of the lands of Connacht.

    [17]  He himself knew that I would not satirize his bright cheek—alas, that any should see me plundered by the man—for anything in the world he might do.

    [18]  I would not, it were not for me to do so, satirize the precipitous flood (?) of the blood of the earls, a plant of the fair-haired race of Conn I would not satirize for the gold of Ireland.

    [19]  I would not, it were not for me to do so—satirize a griffin of Conall Gulban's stock, I would not, he did not fear it, satirize a dragon of the noble race of Charles.

     p.114

    [20]  I would not satirize the serpentlike venom of the blood of sternly-judging Brian, or the keen, bright, leonine countenance of the true flesh and blood of noble Niall's descendant.

    [21]  I would not for the sake of cattle dispraise the fierce, blow-dealing champion of the remnant of Core's thirsty-speared seed, and of the progeny of famous Íor.

    [22]  I know that the satirizing of the brown-browed warrior, oppressive though I deem his foray, would not be left unpunished by the kindreds of the high-kings of Ireland.

    [23]  Even were no one on earth shielding him from me—bright, richly curling, waving tresses—I could not satirize William.

     p.115

    SORLEY MACDONNELL

    [1]  Long has Fódla had a claim upon Alba, now is the time to urge it; provided she get her own rights it is not likely that Ireland will be loft mateless.

    [2]  For a long space of time that land of Alba has owed a due to Cobhthach's lime-visaged castle; a cause of dissension to the Scots.

    [3]  Alba of the shallow streams should deliver her dues to the isle of Ireland, indulating land of rippling waterfalls, lest there be disagreement between them.

    [4]  What new claim to-day has the land of the Children of Míl, tell me if thou knowest—, whereby she sues the isle of Alba?

    [5]  The heavy tribute which Balor imposed upon Ireland —it would be an awakening of conflict for her to do it— is that what Banbha would claim?

    [6]  Or is it the isles in the east between Fódla and Alba, and each tract of the fair plain of Islay, or ancient Cantire with its limpid streams?

    [7]  The land of Eber is not thinking of any of those things you suppose, but of something more difficult to levy, something about which she has been in want.

    [8]  The three Collas, children of haughty Eachaidh Doimlén, this is the end of their story: they went to the land of Alba, three with whom it were unfitting to vie.

    [9]  Two of the three came hither to Bregia's land of fairy hills, the choicest of the host have ever since remained away from us in the Plain of Monadh.

     p.116

    [10]  It is strange that Colla himself and his ancient race, stately men with perilous weapons, from that time suffered their inheritance to be lacking to them.

    [11]  Why should the Children of Colla, for whatever arose between them, render allegiance to a strange, foreign land rather than to Banbha plain of brightly-waving, crops ?

    [12]  Who is the lord of the blood of keen-sworded Colla whom Banbha is expecting ? If she has chosen one of the race of Alba, it were fitting that she should be freed from rivalry (?)

    [13]  The best-beloved of Conn's Dwelling, Sorley, son of MacDonnell, the expected mate from Monadh's Plain, he for whom Ireland is waiting.

    [14]  Fruitful branch of Tara of the Fair Folk, bright sun after a downpour, fortunate spray from the apple-trees of Islay, star of favorable summer weather.

    [15]  Most favored offspring of Colla's seed, arm that banishes foreigners, fruit of the apple-plant of Bregia's soil, sustainer of the five fifths.

    [16]  {} cause of grief, until she sued Sorley, the land of Banbha under a burden of barbarians, their (her?) claim has remained unsettled.

    [17]  Ireland, in brief, will separate the best warrior of Domhnall's race, fierce, fair, splendid heroes, from the ancient, wondrous plain of Alba.

    [18]  I have read in an ancient parchment a story which touches the race of Colla, the curious tale which will be unfolded will be fresh unto the end.

    [19]  The hero of the story which will be unfolded to thee—Caesar, the famed high-king—departed from the land of Italy with an army of splendid warriors.

    [20]  Westwards from Rome they travelled to Spain's yew-treed soil, a goodly band of adventurers, they had not come on an embassy (?)

     p.117

    [21]  Caesar of the scatheless hosts loved the west of Europe, he consented to remain away from Rome, yet separation was not agreable to both.

    [22]  When he had remained away for some time, one day after retiring to repose he beheld a wondrous vision, it was a prospect of help for the king to behold it.

    [23]  It seemed to him that he found beside him, in the guise of a lovely, graceful woman, Rome, recounting her hardships, matter for condemnation.

    [24]  Rome with streams of tears down her bright cheek, with locks dishevelled in sorrowful aspect, was bewailing her wrong, fitting was it to lament over what she said.

    [25]  It should not seem fitting to thee, said Rome, for me to be as I am now in thy absence, with no prospect of succour, overcome by outlandish men.

    [26]  To defend a fortress that is not thine own is astonishing for thee, thou keen-weaponed soldier, whilst thine own and, after being ravaged, is being wrested from thee by barbarians.

    [27]  These were the words of Caesar: O Rome of the smoothly-fashioned rampart, whether I be brought eastwards or remain here, I have striven to be obedient to thee.

    [28]  I would say to thee, said Rome, bring with thee the full muster of thy following, gather thy splendid warriors to invade the soil of Italy.

    [29]  Hesitate no longer, shameful for thee is thy chamber of slumber since foreigners have arranged it(?) though it be terrifying to face them.

    [30]  He took with him eastwards the warriors of Greece, the soldiery of Europe, it was a time for display (?}, to defend stately Rome, a most righteous action when considered.

     p.118

    [31]  I Caesar, in brief, after the tyrannies she had suffered, delivered the wondrous limewashed castles of Rome from the power of the wicked host of barbarians.

    [32]  Banbha spouse of Conn, like Rome of old, will bring her own man from the Plain of Monadh, that is the meaning of what ye have heard.

    [33]  MacDonnell's son sees before him in a vision, ere he falls into slumber, fair and generous Banbhabewailing her oppression.

    [34]  Even as Caesar came the son of Alastar will come now to the Bregian Boyne to aid everyone, with a following difficult to number.

    [35]  Even as Caesar's hosts won to Rome, through Lorc's Field, with, the full muster of his following, will come the Caesar of Colla's race, the pick of a choice gleaning.

    [36]  From the playful, melodious Moy, so famed for treasure (?) as far as the Peak of Éadar, son of Éadghaoth, there will spring forth from the edges of the strands a veritable forest of sail-trimmed masts of majestic ships.

    [37]  He will discharge the debt of his forefathers to the land of Bregia, following in their wake he will occupy the plain of smooth standards and many {}{?} eastwards to the ancient castle of Tara.

    [38]  Though Eber's land submitted not to that Colla Uais from whom thou art sprung, the ancient line of Colla possessed her, she is an inheritance unfit for division.

    [39]  Do we count a single king, from Colla back to Gaedheal Glas, who did not seize the headship of Ireland, if that knowledge prove an exhortation to them ?

    [40]  Without leave from us, the three Collas, champions from Baoi's clear, sail-bright bay, surrendered Ireland through envy, for one day's hard-won victory in battle.

     p.119

    [41]  Sorley, timely it is, will speedily issue a ban, he will not fulfil the ancient contract of the Collas about the land of Frewin.

    [42]  About Cashel, about Croghan of Aoi, about the brightly-wooded Hill of Alien, and Oileach with its faultless steeds, the ancient covenant of all will be revoked.

    [43]  Because of the ban which Sorley shall declare, Banbhais about to mate, a troop hath come to levy her, the Boyne will rejoice at that ban.

     p.120

    MAELMORA MACSWEENY

    [1]  One night I came to Eas Caoille, till the Day of Doom shall I remember it; when the fortress itself shall have perished there shall still remain forever the events of that night, the doings of all (who were present).

    [2]  The like of the men whom I found in the polished bright-hued castle, on the shapely benches of the crimson fortress, eye never saw before.

    [3]  But few remain of the beloved company whom I found in the bright castle, the death of the four that were within was a grief from which Banbhadid not look to recover.

    [4]  I found Maelmora MacSweeny on the central bench of the graceful mansion, a man of generous and pleasant manner, favorite pupil of the schools of Conn's land.

    [5]  Dear as life to me was the man I found in that domed castle with its ivory-hilted swords; as I have experienced twice its value of misery from (the loss of) it, the honor I received from him is the worse from its greatness.

    [6]  Both pupil and fosterer to the poets of Banbha throughout his days was the chess-king of the Finn; the goal of our emulation, our ready gift, storehouse of the hearts of the learned.

    [7]  Our healing herb, our sleep charm, our fruitful branch, our house of treasure; a piece of steel, yet one who never denied any man, most precious offspring of the Grecian Gaels.

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    [8]  I found beside the son of Maelmurray many men of letters worthy of recompense, while the choicest of every craft in the world were also reclining beside the chief of Derg.

    [9]  Till the day of his death the poets of the host of the House of Trim were ever with the chief of Conn's tribe in a gathering large enough for battle or assembly.

    [10]  At that time in particular there sat by the warrior of Loch Key—well did their scholarship become them— three of the poets of 's Hill.

    [11]  There was the poet of the Earl of the Burkes, and also by his soft bosom was one of whom the very mention was a surety, the poet of the famous race of Niall.

    [12]  There was the poet of the chieftain of the Moy, Mac William Burke of just awards—discouraging in sooth are the changes of the world, that not one of these remains is in itself a sermon.

    [13]  Brian O'Donnellan, kindly countenance, poet to the lion of Loughrea; he with the schools as the moon above stars, peace to his gallant, noble form.

    [14]  Brian Macnamee, son of Angus, poet to the descendant of Nine-Hostaged Niall; a man whose attainment (?) was the best of his time, he was fit to deliver wisdom's pledge.

    [15]  Conor, grandson of O'Huiginn, poet to the lord of Inishkea, almost equal to a prince was the poet, the head of his kindred in worth.

    [16]  The three poets that I found by the ruddy, fair-skinned hero—let a trio such as they be found in the land of Banbha!

    [17]  With one accord they arise before me from beside the chieftain who was my chieftain: often I think of them in my heart, the utterances of the three drawing tears from my eyes.

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    [18]  The soothing strains of {}(?) harps, the sweetness of honey, the elation of ale—alas, that he of whom I had them no longer lives—these gave me pleasure.

    [19]  For a while after my arrival they drank to me— gentlemen were their attendants—from cups of gold, from goblets of horn.

    [20]  When we had gone to our couches of rest to slumber, ere the coming of day, he who lay furthest from me would not admit that to be thus was not a sentence of bondage.

    [21]  I lay in the midst of the four, the four forms that were most dear to me, the three comrades who have grieved my heart, and the champion of Magh Meann.

    [22]  To the blossom of Tara and his three companions I relate a tale in return for reward; its dearness was a portent of fame for them, golden youth of the north.

    [23]  Four treasures endowed with virtue I take from them in payment for my story; that the like of the princely jewels may not be found—is not that enough to color one's tears ?

    [24]  As the first award I was allowed I took the dappled steed from the hero of steed-abounding Slieve Gamph, him at whose death hospitality perished.

    [25]  The dappled steed that I took from Maelmora— woe is me that I took it—hardly is there its like in the world, a steed surpassing all the steeds of Bregian Banbha.

    [26]  From Brian son of Angus I took the choicest hound of Dá Thí's Plain; its excellence was such as to place it above all other hounds, it was one of the choice hounds of the world.

    [27]  It had been easier for Brian to renounce one by one all of the treasures of Ireland—wherefore should this not depress my spirit?—than his treasure of a noble handsome hound.

     p.123

    [28]  From Brian son of Owen, ere the fair, rosy, kindly fellow slept, I got as a reward for my story a precious book, a brimming spring of the genuine stream of knowledge.

    [29]  The 'Cattle-raids', 'Wooings', 'Destructions' of all the world were in the gift I received, with descriptions of the battles and exploits thereof, it was the flower of the royal books of Ireland.

    [30]  Conor gave the magic harp, such a precious jewel as even a king would not bestow; long has that present been a sorrowful inheritance, it was no fitting gift from a poet.

    [31]  The harp of the poet of the Burkes will be ever an object of reverence; he from whom it was got is no-more, but it remains in freshness to day.

    [32]  Alas for him by whom the givers of these were beloved, since it was destined that he should part from them; men never Fál in the house of election, men who loved to spread their fame.

    [33]  Alas for my beloved four, my bed-fellows, my confidants; four stems from a fruitful forest, trees fertile in gifts for us.

    [34]  My reason wanders, restless is my mind after that shortlived company; alas for him who remains on earth without them, departing, they have left Brian's Banbha without fruits.

    [35]  lt is a heartbreak that the chief of the band which was within should be lacking to us; never before did poet lack the generous gift of his stout heart.

    [36]  May God requite Maelmora for the quantity of his wealth that I received; one who bestowed as much as any man gave, the benefactor of all.

    [37]  Suave in utterance, stern in resolve, ruthless in deeds, modest in speech; guardian of every man of his kindred, judge, soldier, poet, soothsayer.

     p.124

    [38]  Treasure of contention of the race of Breóghan, winning of their game, defence of their pledge; satisfaction of the hearts of troublesome guests, love of melodious, merry, graceful women.

    [39]  Prudent preparation(?), generous disposition, a keeping of word, a breaking of peace; bright countenance from which the eyes could scarce wander, nursing knee of royal rule.

    [40]  Solving of problems, posing of counter-problems, Inisfail's anvil of knowledge (?); hate of perpetual ease, love of conflict, surety for the peace and war of all.

    [41]  The son of Gormlaidh, a branch above the wood, keen in mind, gentle in response—where is his like for bestowing a troublesome award? sternness and generosity he has in equal parts.

    [42]  Though I have been in poverty since he fell, I should be above all the land of Fál (in affluence) if only Maelmora—lime-white skin, countenance of amber— remained.

    [43]  The remembrance of what I got from my friend will soon be but an omen of grief; I shall fear lest the greatness of my honor should come to me again in illusion.

    [44]  Alas, not many of my comrades remain to me in their own shape; the world has cast me away, sending me travelling afar in solitude.

    [45]  Pitiful it is to lack my three comrades, the race of Gormlaidh, from whom the day was short; Banbha, who looked for help from this clan, is now under a cloud of sorrow.

     p.125

    OWEN ÓG MACSWEENEY

    [1]  It is they themselves who repress the race of Niall, lords of the fertile land of Fódla; through the jealousy of Bregia's gold-decked host the glory of the Gael has ever suffered decrease.

    [2]  The sunny soil of the isle of Fódla, upon the death of their father the eight sons of Nine-hostaged Niall—a band used to peril—divided it.

    [3]  The share of Maine, fierce Laoghaire, Fiacha, and Conall Criomthainn was the level of Bregia's ruddy-beakered Plain, the ancient territory of Tailte's Dwelling.

    [4]  To mighty Conall of wide renown, to Cairbre, Énna and Eóghan, the royal slopes of the North were given by the fiery impetuous host.

    [5]  There were two amongst the spirited offspring of the high king who surpassed the others, they resembled not the rest of Niall's noble progeny, although they were stems of the same tree.

    [6]  Eóghan, son of Niall of the Nine Fetters, Conall Gulban, the fierce griffin, they and the other sons were not the same.

    [7]  Eóghan and rightly-judging Conall, two sons of mighty Niall, son of Eachaidh, of one birth, it is said, were these princes with smooth, glistening skin.

    [8]  On the day on which the two infants were born a contentious disposition inspired the noble, highspirited offspring, two stems from a single vine.

    [9]  Upon their birth each one of the bright-faced, impetuous pair was found—omen of conflict—hugging the head of his companion in his arm.

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    [10]  As for these children of powerful Niall, Conall and valorous Eóghan, they were never afterwards free from a battlesome disposition or from the throes of war.

    [11]  Their seed from that time onward have been following in the wake of that pair, ever full of envy towards one another about Conaire's hazel-abounding land.

    [12]  Raid for raid, wound for wound, have been constantly exchanged between the seed of Conall and the race of Eóghan, much harm do we know them to be answerable for.

    [13]  For a long time the seed of the two heroes of the land of Ealg were balanced in arms as regards the plain of Tara, hurtful to themselves were their ravages.

    [14]  The fruit of the fertile stems held the supremacy of Úghaine's plain alternately down to the time of Aodh Athlamhain.

    [15]  At Aodh the seed of Eóghan divide, it befell them —what disloyalty—to overthrow one another's power; they themselves revoke their own rights.

    [16]  When their alliance (?) dissolved in the time of famed Aodh Athlamhain the clan Suibhne parted from the race of Niall, warriors who never earned reproach.

    [17]  After that the race of Suibhne made with propitious counsel an alliance with the noble youth of the race of Conn in fertile Tirconell.

    [18]  The lords of Conall's tribe gave to Suibhne's nobly-judging stock their choice of the spreading, pleasant, fertile land from sea to sea.

    [19]  From that day forward—evil the bond which came upon them—the seed of Suibhne allowed no man of Eóghan race to have possession of the kingship.

    [20]  Since that the seed of Suibhne have levied throughout the fair, grassy plain a claim out of every part of Ireland for our tribe of Conall.

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    [21]  Until the race of Suibhne made conquests for our race of Conall, Ireland was held by the descendants of Eóghan, graceful scions from Cobhthach's, fold.

    [22]  From that day to this the chief of Conall's noble tribe has overcome the rest of the warriors of the Gael in every contest for the land of Flann.

    [23]  Now to the seed of Suibhne anew, and to the race of Conall of the plain of Bearnas, there has come an arm to maintain their rights upon the gracefully-spreading northern land.

    [24]  Owen Óg, son of Mac Sweeny, guarding shield of the coast of Mourne; one fit to wage war for Conn's descendants, a spark in the embers for Conall's race.

    [25]  Precious salmon from the stream of the Finn, a sunny day after a downpour; stately figure, cool in conflict, the Ulstermen's gilded stem.

    [26]  The battle champion of Dálach's kindreds, a man who ennobles their annals; lucky treasure of the gentle race of Conn, shepherd of Conall's flock.

    [27]  As long as Mac Sweeny remains with the hot-bladed seed of Conall it will be profitless for a man to speak of a contest for the apple-branched land of the Gael.

    [28]  Never have the seed of Conall of the plain of Úghaine been mightier than they are now, thanks to the hero of Bearnas' varied plain.

    [29]  While keen-weaponed Owen lives the king of Conall's race will not find a chief to oppose him in Ireland's bright-foliaged land.

    [30]  A wood is stooped by the growth of its stems, the pledge of every man of Eóghan's kin is brought back by the son of Margaret to the deeply-wounding soldiery of Bearnas.

    [31]  Had not the lords of noble Niall's race been attacked by their own side all Ireland would have been no match for Eóghan's, line, the flower of Monadh's slender-fingered host.

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    [32]  Even thus was Troy overthrown, victorious city bordered with flourishing woods, sloping plains with the choicest of lime-washed ramparts—from the envy of kinsmen about it.

    [33]  The famed king Agamemnon and all his following set out to capture it with the Grecian host, a band dangerous to oppose.

    [34]  Each day a fresh slaughter was inflicted around Troy by the soldiery on both sides, famous, mightily courageous warriors.

    [35]  After more than ten years, piteous the siege, they had not succeeded in taking Troy by force; to attempt it was a formidable task for any man.

    [36]  Had they remained around it from that day to this, with the full strength of their forces, it is not likely that the Grecians would have captured the green-branched, turreted castle.

    [37]  It befell it, treachery enough, that some of those within delivered it to them, even when the attack was repulsed and none remaining around it.

    [38]  Had not the stately fortress of the bright ramparts been forced from within, all the armies in the world would not be likely to demolish Troy, you would have said.

    [39]  Regarding the supremacy of Lughaidh's plain even thus it befell the soldiery of Eóghan's race, the apple-branches from Eamhain.

    [40]  Until some of their tiwn folk turned against them, the land of Bregia was held by Eóghan's race, without desire of fight or attempt at conflict, neither refusing nor accepting battle.

    [41]  Had the men of all Ireland, from sea to sea, attacked the line of Eóghan, it would not have been so grievous for their soldiery as if the race of Suibhne alone were spoiling them.

    [42]  Unkindly was it for the seed of Suibhne to levy the dues of Fódla from the race of noble Niall for the generous line of royal Dálach.

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    [43]  The seed of Suibhne, the noble seed of Niall, two vine-groves from a single root, fruit of one golden husk excelling all the wood, they have sustained the glory of the Gael.

    [44]  They are called of the same stock, their pedigrees are the same, equal the nobility of their men, equal the patrimony of their fathers.

    [45]  Did the spirited warriors of Suibhne's seed but consider, no better is their claim to Tory yonder in the north, or to the calm, ancient stream of the Mourne.

    [46]  Or to Craobhruadh of the children of Ross, or fair Carrickfergus, or to the green hills and bright lands of Dundalk.

    [47]  No closer is Conn of the hundred fights, no nearer Niall son of Eochaidh, nor yet is spotless Gaedheal more akin to any other man than to Owen.

    [48]  What should hinder Owen Óg, the Gaels' unique implement of battle, from following in the wake of Niall's seed of yore and taking hostages from the dewy hills of Bregia?

    [49]  Empty houses around Croghan of Conn, from fear of the king of Conall's race; on MacSweeny the blame should lie—and castles by the Boyne are being wrecked.

    [50]  What the daughter of Conn, son of the Calvach, gives to the poets—perpetual bestowing of treasure is an omen of praise—is a deprivation of which Margaret is none the worse.

    [51]  Third generation from Conn, son of Conn, and from Manus, king of Conall's clan, though she be the most generous about riches what she does is nothing to boast of for her.

    [52]  The kindreds of which she is, the wine-blood of Conall, the race of Eóghan—if she inherit their instincts—have hitherto been supreme amid the people of Niall's land.

     p.130

    MAC SWEENEY OF FANAD

    [1]  The counterpart of Allen is in Ulster, for victory in battle, for wizardry; for defending the fair mansions of Banbha, for staying the rapine of Ireland.

    [2]  For waging conflicts, for reddening blades, for music, for chessplaying; for seeking of killing and chasing, for desire of foray.

    [3]  In the same guise as ever, Allen of the Field of the Gailiain, or its very likeness in a jewel of a firm house of stout masonry, is in Ulster.

    [4]  Throughout Ireland, Isle of Bregia, away from the warriors of Leinster, until it reached Fanad of Ulster, Allen hath betaken itself.

    [5]  The rampart which the Fian of Fál held is again in Rathmullan, or else a castle similar in structure to that ancient one of Allen.

    [6]  There is in Fanad a likeness of soft-swarded Allen in its own guise; such as the warriors of Allen are in it, graceful, bright-weaponed, well-equipped stead.

    [7]  Should it be that it is not Allen, this brilliant, marvellous rampart, this other dwelling is a fitting pledge for the bright house of Fionn of Allen.

    [8]  Though it were difficult to excel that first Allen of the tribe of Baoisgne, this second Allen—castle with firm, stately towers—is better when looked on.

    [9]  Greater is its muster of valiant heroes, more its youths, more its companies of women; more numerous around the long-lashed scion of Murbhach are poets visiting the mansion.

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    [10]  More numerous the variety of its musicians, its reciters of soothing tales, more numerous the royal host of light-hearted women, ever weaving diverse gilt broideries.

    [11]  More numerous the cupbearers dispensing feasts, the children of kings sharing fetters, greater the distribution of the wealth of all in the castle rich in flocks and gentle springs.

    [12]  Nobler the household of the dwelling than the followers of Fionn of Allen; the pledge from the Fionn of old will go to the other Fionn of Ulster.

    [13]  Thou, Donnell, kindly countenance, art that very Fionn from the land of Fanad—plain of limpid streams and stately rivers—protecting the men of Ulster.

    [14]  No hardship or distress shall touch Tirconell of placid streams that thou art not bound to ward off from that country of untilled borders, of swanflocks.

    [15]  As far as Moylurg on the other side, as far as the Finn, and to the shores of Tory, thou bright of cheek, it is thine to guard her bays and harbors.

    [16]  Watching the couch when the king has lain down to rest, settling disputes, checking quarrels; going for him into battle on their behalf—the greater part of thine obligations I do not recount.

    [17]  The rear in defeat, the van in an onslaught, thou, O lord of Fanad, dost form for the chiefs of Conall's glittering-bladed line in the country of the foe.

    [18]  Therefore, Donnell, in the pleasant Land of Flann, bright with fair stems, ennumerable privileges are bestowed on thee by the seed of Conall.

    [19]  Thou, gracious figure, art entitled to hold the kingship on the death of a high-king, until another king be found by whom she will be possessed.

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    [20]  Thou, gentle of eye, art entitled to be by O'Donnell's right elbow, that thou, O king, shouldst occupy it ennobles the place.

    [21]  When thou art dubbed MacSweeny, thou modest of countenance, yet menacing, the robe of O'Donnell of Derry is given to thee, thou heavy-lashed, stately eye.

    [22]  Thou, modest countenance, hast the right to keep a fugitive under protection in thy country for a year without compensation being sought for his deed.

    [23]  A cow out of every holding, a swine from every herd, this is thy stipend for defending the province; a ripe stem from the midst of a garden, thou hast the crop of every orchard.

    [24]  The king of Conall's race may have sought to exchange estates with thee, thou ruddy countenance, we know of thee that thou hast never attempted to barter.

    [25]  Did the race of Dálach give thee two or three times as much as they give, more honor even than that hast thou earned from that race.

    [26]  Thou art the favored offspring of Dálach's seed, the pride of their annals, treasure-house for their-peoples, herdsman for safeguarding their triumphs.

    [27]  Thou art the eyesight of the host of Bearnas, the steward of their lordship; thou art the fruit excelling beyond all the wood, which succoured the noble race of Conall.

    [28]  Thou art their protecting shield on the field of danger, thou leviest the heavy tribute which their fathers exacted from Ireland, it is imposed in every spot.

    [29]  Thou art the leader of Suibhne's race, the Fionn of our Plain of Conall; it is thou that imitatest Fionn, thou king of whom Aoibheall told.

    [30]  Many prophecies have we from the noble saints of Ireland about thy sleek, soft, yellow head, foretelling the Fionn of Fanad.

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    [31]  Colum at first foretold to Ulster, land of bright fruit-trees, what the Fionn of Fanad would accomplish for the fair plain of heavily laden woods.

    [32]  He foretold that this man would so deal with Leinster, and the Peoples of Tara, that from kick of men meadows would go unmown throughout that Dwelling of Tailte.

    [33]  Beyond any other tidings that Séadna revealed as a young and truthful babe did the impetuously-affirming youth tell of the long-haired Fionn of Fanad.

    [34]  'Grievous to me,' said the child, 'it has filled me with dejection, the slaughter that Fionn of the flowing tresses will inflict on your warriors, ye men of Leinster.'

    [35]  'In the land of Leinster—sorrow enough—this Fionn from Fanad will leave but women to till every soil;' even as Colum had spoken.

    [36]  Thou art that Fionn from Fanad, it is to thee thine ancient rivals look to fulfil the prophecy, and banish the usurping race from Ushnagh.

    [37]  Thou wilt make a slaughter of the Leinstermen, thou, graceful (?) of hand, wilt spread the hue of embers over the white houses of the foreigners; surely Colum will be believed.

    [38]  Shortly, MacSweeny, wilt thou boast to the chieftain of our race of Conall the reaving of Fódla from end to end, and the banishment of the foreigners from Ireland.

    [39]  Thou, son of Turlogh, hast given tokens worthy of credit that thou art come to-day as the prophesied one to reign over Fanad.

    [40]  Allen of the fertile slopes of Leinster—thou, Fionn of Fanad, hast built the counterpart of its timber and its walls, the counterpart of Allen in Ulster.

    [41]  A choice of the royal ladies of Ulster hast thou made, thou dark-lashed eye; happy the man who hath first taken her, happy he who made that choice.

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    [42]  A gentle eye, bright as crystal, hath the daughter of the king of Banagh; lips to which the hue of the berry might be likened, a glowing cheek that never was made to blush.

    [43]  Every woman of Ulster would not suit the husband of Gráinne as a companion, none but a generous man would suit her, happy he of whom she is the mate.

     p.135

    INISHOWEN

    [1]  Speak on, thou castle of Oileach, many a thing must one ask of thee, thou fair, long-standing dwelling, regarding the warriors of Ireland.

    [2]  Let us learn from thee, tell us, thou ancient, bright-lawned castle, of those who invaded Bregian Banbha, of the forays and seizures of the Gael.

    [3]  Each thing of which I have knowledge will be got from me, hearken, what time were better to reveal it? downwards from the pouring of the Flood.

    [4]  I know, as a rare branch of knowledge, of six seizures in turn after the Flood on the cool, moist, white-surfaced, dewy plain.

    [5]  The coming of Pártholón from the land of Greece, and of the Sons of Nemhedhto the country of Fál, the third age of the world, it is I that best remember them.

    [6]  How wast thou at first, thou lovely, changeful castle, when Pártholón of Bregia's haven had come to occupy the Field of the Gael?

    [7]  Upon the coming of Pártholón I was enduring my misfortune in this land, with no enclosed meadow or stone rampart, but all an oaken thicket.

    [8]  How was it with thee during the sovranty of the Children of Nemhedh, when thy form had been changed? Tell us, thou castle of limewashed {}(?) walls.

    [9]  I was a smooth plain, without thickets, without woods, the border slope of my bright, steed-haunted lea was a splendid mound of assembly.

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    [10]  Of my bending wood with its graceful fruit-trees not a root was left in the ground—small since that has been the growth of my noble forest—from the might of Nemhedh's saintly race.

    [11]  How long wast thou thus, a smooth, brightly glistening slope, without house or household, thou greens-swarded castle of Oileach?

    [12]  Until the coming of the Tuath Dé Danann to the spreading woods of Fódla. I was, as such were unfitting for me, empty of house or dwelling.

    [13]  Dost thou remember who were the first of the comely Tuath Dé who inhabited thee, thou tower amidst supple, flowering stems?

    [14]  The Children of mighty, honey-mouthed Cearmaid, keen-weaponed warriors, a glistening band from the Bregian Boyne, were the first that entered into fellowship with me.

    [15]  For my smooth, fertile hills the Children of Cearmaid forsook stately Cathair Chröoinn, hereditary citadel of the race.

    [16]  A while after they had come to me the Sons of Míl of Spain wrested Banbha from the Children of Cearmaid without a division as profit of battle.

    [17]  From that day to this the lords of Míl's race, white-handed host, dealers of heavy blows, have been defending Ireland within me.

    [18]  From that time on I have never lacked one high-king in succession to another, or a provincial chief who excelled any in Ireland's swan-necked plain.

    [19]  From me five-and-twenty kings of Róch's, valiant, generous race seized the Dwelling of Dá Thí, thereby my dignity is ennobled.

    [20]  And after the Faith there were crowned from me six-and-twenty kings of the blood of fair Conall, and of Niall's line, fruit from (?) each cluster were they.

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    [21]  Then was I held alternately by the noble kindreds of Niall's seed—a smooth {}(?) plain with lofty stems, another Tara of the men of Ireland.

    [22]  Since from thee all other tidings have been obtained, from the beginning until the end of time, thou fortress amidst pleasant, brown-surfaced hills, which company hast thou found the best?

    [23]  The wondrous warriors from Ulster's soil, Fiamhain's seed, the blood of Dochartach, that bright band are the best whom we have known from of yore.

    [24]  O tapering tower of smooth, even walls, who is it that excels even amongst the lords of Fiamhain's race, stems from {} 15 of Frewen?

    [25]  Were we considering it forever, John son of Felim, of the clear soft eye fore which the sea is shallow, would be the choicest of Fiamhain's fair stock.

    [26]  O'Doherty of the castle of Oileach—why should it be asked?—rosy, bright-hued countenance, he is my one darling in his time.

    [27]  Though Fiamham's seed are the best of the noble stocks of Ireland, they are as stars about the full moon, John is the one choice of them all.

    [28]  It is he that has most possessions, he is the one who bestows most gifts, in the benevolence of Iomghán's, valorous scion there comes no ebb.

    [29]  It is unlikely that any should attempt to surpass Felim's heir in his name for generosity; as a plain lies beneath a hill so is every other renown in comparison with his.

    [30]  Considering the fruitfulness of his territory, the goodliness of his kingdom, why would he not do all that he does?—no man should marvel thereat.

    [31]  'The paradise of Ireland' is the name for that stretch of land which is his; never did eye behold a finer territory than the soil of its plains and hillocks.

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    [32]  From sea-locked Fanad to the bright streams of Loch Foyle, from Malin to the plain of Bearta, a lovely and most famous land.

    [33]  Land where waves are gentlest, where granaries are loftiest, angelic country of shallow streams, 'Land of Promise' of the men of Ireland.

    [34]  Well is it placed, between the sea and the woods, level strands beyond far-stretching plains, wondrous, fairy-like regions.

    [35]  Smooth moors amidst its forests, peaked hills beyond the moors, a yellow-hazelled wood by the fair plain, a billowing sea as a hedge around it.

    [36]  Good is this land {} 16, better is he who has custody of it; alas, if one should see over any part of Ulster a king that did not surpass Ireland.

    [37]  Were his the supremacy of Bregia's plain he would spend it and defend it; if prosperity according to benevolence be just the lord of Fahan should be prosperous.

    [38]  If the contents of his house are considered, and the number of his household—it is not a superfluity which should be grudged to him—no superfluity (?) of riches is found.

    [39]  Thou man who proclaimest what the high-king of Fiamhain's stock possesses, grudge it not to the princely hero of Fál, greater is his spending than his gains.

    [40]  If many speak truth, did not the' house of Oileach fall to John, the thronged dwelling of O'Doherty would not be a shelter for any in Ulster.

    [41]  This is the several statement of those who have journeyed the plains of Banbha—all the delight of Ireland would be found in the labyrinthine (?) four-towered court.

    [42]  Since Tara received Ruadhán's interdiction against the men of Fál, the lords of Conn's land have dwelt in the pleasant, fairy-like, comely castle.

     p.139

    CORMAC AND BRIAN O'HARA

    [1]  The repute of two is as a wood to each of them; they spare not to dispense their cattle; two fruitful branches of a fragrant forest, scions are they who have earned homage.

    [2]  Two full moons of Leath Mogha, Cian's two sons that never purchased peace; two palm-branches of the regal stock, choice ones of whom it is not apparent that either should be rejected.

    [3]  Though the rewards of the first man were something to boast of, greater are the bounties that follow; until a poet obtained the wealth of Cormac, he glorified the # gifts of Brian.

    [4]  Long is it remembered by Lughaidh's Country that the seed of Cian are no peaceable folk; either of them in ungentle mood was care enough for a land.

    [5]  Whatever fight in which Cormac is is not believed to be wanting in forces; if he lacks a man he finds one in the house that is entered.

    [6]  If a poet were leaving Cormac he would be coming to Brian; the company that did not depart from him last night will return as a fresh company to-night.

    [7]  If it be that they avoid the rest of the seed of Eber that is no reproach to the excellent warriors, a pursuing party that has looked upon the children of Cian will not overtake even the most slowly-stepping women.

    [8]  When Cormac joined the race of Lughaidh few believed that Brian would flinch, how many of the seed of Sadhbh abstained(?) from the conflict the number that were in the battle know not.

     p.140

    [9]  Through terror of Cormac under the shelter of night, through dread of Brian coming after him—they are both hidden by the hand of the foe—the grassy stalks have bent back.

    [10]  As for spoils taken from the enemy, Cormac considered that what was in his keeping was not his own; only until a poet is seen does the hoarding of cattle trouble the race of Cian.

    [11]  The gifts which Cormac keeps for travellers failed him at last; the guest is satisfied after his discontent, Brian's wealth hath made him so(?)

    [12]  Oft of yore, in contending for the kingship of Leyney, has he sought his spears in the midst of slumber; he used to close the gates of his eyes when daylight came to his fastness.

    [13]  Ú's son hath a bevy of warriors, of the hawk-like birds of the seed of Blod; in order to test the soldiery of Tulach in battle Brian allows a superiority over them.

    [14]  Cormac only undertakes to get justice; Brian knows not contentment with justice, seizing a shield wrought with golden monsters, he seeks to levy claims which are not got.

    [15]  No great regard had he for ancestral right(?) until she favored thee, Cormac; suffer poets to feast beside thee, that is an honor of which Brian thinks much.

    [16]  Let those poets, too, be mentioned at the sewing of satin banners—it is difficult to abate the discontent of companies—utterances with the art(?) of gold rings.

    [17]  Thou, Cormac, causing him to be forgotten, that is what his hindered the bestowal of her love; the woman who has sought thy companionship would not exchange Brian for any other man.

    [18]  A word from thee is enough for a man, after that little doth he reck what place thou choose (?); a shattered flag of ice hath convicted thee of the foray.

     p.141

    [19]  People of means (?) after their discontent, if they rely on thee worthy is the support; all that the soldiery fear is lest their own king should wreck a tower.

    [20]  Thou, Cormac, ruling a country, hath kept Brian from conquering it; thy stewards go beyond their limits to increase the liberties (?) of the kindred of Cian.

    [21]  The warriors of Banbha's isle are in fault that they knew not the manner of thy weapons; a lance which thou didst ply against them as a dart fitted the spearshafts of the rest.

    [22]  From the shafts of thy javelins, after a space, there springs a wood from a champion's grave; so that it were the easier for thy attacker to wound thee, thou didst send such a number of weapons into him.

    [23]  She gave her love in turn to the children of Cian of the glowing spears; the maiden looked on thee after him so that she was ready to chose another than Brian.

    [24]  Amongst the great drinking-horns of another castle they must needs divide its measure, the head of thy spear, when its shaft is removed, excels the goblets of thy dwelling.

    [25]  Thou hast for poets, Cormac, an entertainment which is a cause of fame; in store for a passing guest thou keepest (but) a grass-green stream.

    [26]  None the better does he like an attack in battle, since thou hast the supremacy in power; had Brian a longer cast he would not take the field of battle against thee.

    [27]  Without its being red hot, without entering a forge, a feat none else ever could perform, thou wilt straighten—or it will break in pieces—a shoe {}(?) that never was worn by a horse.

    [28]  It is he that first incurs the obligation, it were better for the lips to be silent, any king that reproached thee for thy slayings denies it, or seeks honorprice.

    [29]  Thou, Cormac, art celebrated by those who travel the three continents; the schools are not accustomed to thy going into obscurity, they do not seek thee there.

     p.142

    [30]  The warmth of the early spring joins the branches of great trees to the roots of the sward; the fruits bend the trees so low that there would not be safety on top for the bird's nest.

    [31]  Bending woods and shallow pools, sweet springs over pasture plains, honey {}(?) tincturing green streams from the earth throughout an hour (?)

    [32]  Scarcely is there anything to equal it in the days of Cormac, save the wondrous (?) havens of Paradise; what he drank of the waters of Leyney's plains takes from the child the remembrance of the breast.

    [33]  The heavy tribute which Cormac gathered did not protect the land of the reaver; Brian thought his share of the settlement too small, he knew what it was before going on foray.

    [34]  Gold is not lasting with the warriors of Cashel amidst the sparkling of hot ales; such fumes arose from the goblet around Cormac that brown mantles smouldered.

    [35]  Lion's whelp of Leath Mogha, fortunate salmon of the race of Cian; whatever place he was in yester-eve he is enough as a guard for it to-night.

    [36]  To a chosen soldiery who have followed them it would not profit to oppose them—the race of Sadhbh is not a fence without a top-rail, they fight to, uphold Cormac's peace.

    [37]  Her gray eyes flash crimson so that she cannot conceal her passion, because of him a woman can scarcely sleep, the branch of Deirc has confessed it.

    [38]  For the castle of the champion of Leyney there is no danger that the complement of any house will excel it; all the mighty progeny of Eber the Fair arose from feasting along with our Cormac.

    [39]  The spear-forest of Eber's race, scarcely is there a fruit that they have not won; it is not possible to rival them in battle, trees above the woods are they.

     p.143

    CORMAC O'HARA

    [1]  Here is the guarantee, Cormac, take this hand in thy supple grasp, knit this heart to thine, thou forest tree of Bóromha's shore.

    [2]  Take this body upon thine own, thou chief of royal Cian's race, against the law of the king of the bright isle of the English, let this life be guaranteed by thy life.

    [3]  Accept me, upon thy mercy and thine honor, against both friend and enemy—O hand that rulest the race of Conn—thou art capable of protecting me.

    [4]  Do not leave me to contend alone with any, thou kindly, royal presence, since thou, O bright cheek, art our one friend amongst the lean-bodied host of Teltown.

    [5]  In short, thou grandson of Onóra, that thou be with me in a rightful cause is no benefit from thy rosy countenance if thou do not also support me in wrong.

    [6]  I am continually in the jaws of danger, because of all the gossip that has been made about me, having no one. to protect me, unless thou canst undertake it.

    [7]  To-day new laws are being imposed on the Sons of Míl by the noble, bright-handed English host, through-out the green-maned land of Frewen.

    [8]  They summon the territories to them, and require from all in general, until they arc all ascertained (?), a knowledge of every man, and of his native place.

    [9]  Having assembled the territories the English of Eremon's Field write the names of their hosts, one after another, in a large, clean roll of parchment.

     p.144

    [10]  And when they have been assembled before them, each of the men of Ireland, thou warrior of Tál's Dwelling, with manly following, must acknowledge an overlord.

    [11]  They require that everyone under-heaven have a guarantor, or else—piteous the strait which has been wrought for them—die forthwith.

    [12]  In brief, thou king of Leyney, on thee I set my security, in all my days, as is meet, thy book shall be my book.

    [13]  Not because my inclination is towards thee, or because I am thy poet, thou fruit of Eaghras cluster, do I choose thee as lord.

    [14]  For this have I chosen to be with thee, thou royal star of Cashel's plain, both Gaels and English have agreed to give thee the title of righteous king.

    [15]  Because thou art full of kindness and generosity, righteous and prudent—plentiful reasons for goodwill towards thee—therefore art thou loved, Cormac.

    [16]  In thine own books, thou high-king of noble Cian 's line, under the knot that has never been loosened by me, let the name of each of us poets be written.

    [17]  Let the name of every man of my kindred, mine own name in particular, thou precious treasure from the ancient plain of Tál, be kept in those books.

    [18]  Be thy gentle eye assured, since I have thine affection, thou strong-aled scion from the waters of Duff, that I shall merit it from thee.

    [19]  I call thyself as witness to it if I live for the space of a year during which thy love towards me will not be beneficial to me or to thee.

    [20]  I shall compose for thee the artistic, well-wrought lay, the laboriously wrought (?) poem, and another time the single stanza, thou noble chief of Bóromha's shore.

     p.145

    [21]  I shall give thee, as is due, knowledge of thy genealogical branches, of the tribute taken by thy forbears from the plains of Ireland, the course of their triumphs and their exploits.

    [22]  I shall tell thee, thou slender form, of thy nobility transcending that of the rest of the men of Ireland, and of every homage that were due to thee—the price of our friendship, Cormac.

    [23]  In order to raise the envy of the rest, to thee, thou son of Úna, I shall devote the best portion of my poesy, and the best part of my converse.

    [24]  In requital thereof, thou chief of Cashel, it is not too much for me that thou offer thy life and body on my behalf if I be captured.

    [25]  Even were one on trial for his life in a courthouse, while depending on thy honor neither he nor thou need tremble; here, Cormac, is the guarantee.

    [26]  Undertake my protection, Mary, on behalf of the chieftain of bright Galey, thou fruitful scion of Suibhne's race, whose safeguard is not in danger of violation.

    [27]  O Mary, daughter of Maol Muire , until I entrusted to thee my shepherding, almost every fastness which I reached was forced, thou lady of clinging tresses.

     p.146

    CORMAC O'HARA

    [1]  A good merchant is Cormac, Cian's son for whom the yew-branch bends; a generous hand in bestowing cattle, the best barterer amongst you.

    [2]  In Cormac's days never is anyone heard to cheat him in bargaining, that is what makes him of the pleasant, affable countenance easy to beguile.

    [3]  Cian's son, he of hardy achievements, the better bargainer is he—beloved hero from Bregia's hills—that each one coaxes him.

    [4]  Behold is there any better exchange than the lasting, enduring honor that goes to the pleasant, kindly chieftain in return for vain, transitory wealth?

    [5]  Not for long would the riches given by Fermoyle's lord remain, but the praises of his noble, ruddy countenance shall endure eternally.

    [6]  None of the goblets or cloaks which all receive from Cormac, nor the {}(?) engraved battle-weapon would endure for even a single thousand years.

    [7]  Neither armour nor horse nor shining, carven helmet, nor tunic of soft, blue, sheeny satin, nor valued drinking-cup of variously wrought gold would endure.

    [8]  If the wealth of the world were estimated—this is the gist of what ye have heard—save praise alone, there is naught of the earth but {}(?)

    [9]  A good merchant is he who exchanged the ephemeral flower that awakens envy—far from the flower is the coming of its fruit—for lasting encomium.

     p.147

    [10]  A good merchant is he who got in return for a worthless, transitory figment the sinccrest of fragrant, lasting panegyric at a time when art was being rejected.

    [11]  A good merchant is he that purchases when the discount is greatest the goods on which he depends, or those which he must buy.

    [12]  It was for O'Hara, by virtue of his ancestry—unniggardly men of no mean figure—to purchase the fine panegyrics of everyone.

    [13]  Cormac son of Cian would never find—the more fitting that poesy should be fully requited—a time in which the stately poems he buys from all would be cheaper than now.

    [14]  Throughout Banbha, of the nobles of Bregia's soft, dewy plain, this warrior alone is seeking poetry from us now.

    [15]  A hundred times as much as what could be got to-day for polished specimens of the poet's art shall be given for them later on by the hero of Bóromha's, shore.

    [16]  When it is cheapest and when fewest are seeking it, that is the very time to cherish the flower of perfect, durably formed poetry.

    [17]  Since poetry is cheap to-day, Cormac, if the prophesied one of Crotta's Plain survive, will have an unreckon-able store of the eulogies of all.

    [18]  The rover of the hills of Bregia will leave provision for all, gathered when easiest to obtain, of the polished offerings of the poets.

    [19]  Good was that man of yore, the mighty, valorous hero of Cashel, who, away in the beginning of time, made just such a provision.

    [20]  Famous Mugh Néid, Cormac's gallant, princely ancestor, king of Codhal's strong-aled Plain, made a similar provision.

     p.148

    [21]  The queen of keen Mugh Néid beheld long ago a vision; there was import in the telling of it, she related it to the high-king.

    [22]  Seven goodly, thriving cows appeared to that wife of Mugh, she sees the bright, sleek, fair herd around the isle of Ireland.

    [23]  And then, moreover, it appeared to her that from the bright, wondrous herd each fair, rosy, white-hazelled plain was flowing with new milk.

    [24]  After that herd there appeared to her seven hideous cows, sickening to speak of were the aged, spectral kine.

    [25]  With harsh, bitter cries, with ironlike horns; furious as a {}(?) flock; with sunken, burning eyes.

    [26]  Not a trace of the young and marvellous herd was left by the frenzied, pugnacious, repulsive, venomous, serpentlike drove.

    [27]  Dearg Damhsa, the king's druid, gave the reading of the dream, this is the truth thereof; he hearkened to the learned judgment, its great profit came to pass.

    [28]  Thus said the druid, beginning: 'The first seven cows are seven years of abundant milk, perfect in rule and sovranty.'

    [29]  'The other cows, moreover, are seven miserable years of hardship, for Ireland, land of sweetly-murmuring waters, it will be a portent of devastation.'

    [30]  'The woman shall devour the son she carries on her back, the heir shall deny the father, throughout Ireland, smooth, beautiful land of blue streams, from hunger.'

    [31]  'Therefore,' said Dearg Damhsa, 'let provision be made by you ere the first years come to a close, thou bright-limbed king of the Gaels.'

    [32]  'In thy tax or thy tribute from proud Leath Mogha accept not throughout the spreading land of fair, fertile, dewy hills one penny of gold or of silver.'

     p.149

    [33]  'Do not accept from any in thy royal tribute,' said the king's sage, 'aught else save food as the universal payment.'

    [34]  To each thing the druid said to him the king of Áine's brightly-spreading land willingly agreed, he was of one mind with the sage.

    [35]  Upon their own summons the Munstermen unanimously attend the son of the high-king, in an ordered multitude around Glandore, in return for aiding their distress.

    [36]  Conaire Mór and Maicnia did homage to Eóghan Mór, after the assembling of the territories, most willing (?) were the host to submit to him.

    [37]  Mugh Néid was over Munster as a lofty stem among saplings, by reason of his perpetual purchasing of food for the comely assembly of Munstermen.

    [38]  The better are his seed ever since that he waited not for the time of high prices, he—bright form before which the sea ebbs—purchased the cheap bargains of the rest.

    [39]  The high-king Cormac O'Hara imitates Mugh Néid —two rightful owners of Fál's Cornfield are they—in getting a profitable bargain from us.

    [40]  Cian's son who never defended a wrongful deed, it is right that he should be set to merchantry; flower of the stock of Sadhbh's noble blood, a trafficker in the gold of poesy.

    [41]  Here is a propitious bargain of perfect work of proven poets for his keen, eager, heavy-lashed eye, from the learned of Eber's Land.

    [42]  Till the Day of Doom all that he has purchased of the gold of poesy will remain as an augmentation of fortune and prosperity for the host from Bladhma's peaks.

     p.150

    [43]  The meeter is the time he hath thought to requite the poetic faculty of Laoghaire's Land since the regard of everyone else hath forsaken it; it is a flock without a shepherd.

    [44]  The blessing of the poets of Innisfail, the united blessing of the holy men of Ireland; that is the requital of his purchase; blessed is he by whom it is earned.

    [45]  On Cian's son who buys encomiums the fortune of the blessing hath settled, from the sole of his soft, smooth, gracious foot to his thickly-curled, stately head.

    [46]  Not more to-day than when he was a child is the love of all for his kindly features; the flower of Leyney got as a babe fortune which shall not be denied him.

    [47]  Some time in his boyhood he was left as a child, after his kinsfolk had been cut off, ere his bright cheek had reached maturity.

    [48]  No trusty friend or comrade had the slender-weaponed youth; he was in peril from his enemies, facing them alone.

    [49]  His territory, and moreover his kinsmen, had been wrested from him, so that the builder of Tál's Dwelling was left as the only one of his kindred.

    [50]  Then was the ownership of Leyney wrested from him—unkindness enough!—the unrightful man was elevated, and he for a time was outlawed.

    [51]  Twenty-one years the man spent, during which neither younger nor elder of Cian's seed settled in their homes, till he himself occupied the land.

    [52]  The race of Blod entered into their old fortune 17 when Cormac's wrath had run its course, so that the race of Cian were brought in, and obtained their own award.

    [53]  Full moon of the south—none the less did the noble young scion obtain kingship for being left as the single man of a kindred.

     p.151

    [54]  None overcame him; it seemed as if those who were plundering the race of Eber against the man were on his side.

    [55]  It was more than fortune (?) for the lord of Leyney to obtain the tribute of the blue-surfaced land, after the champions from Tál's Dwelling, in despite of everyone.

    [56]  Never before, either here or in Munster of Maicnia, did God grant such fortune as this king's to any of Dergthene's populous seed.

    [57]  Pre-eminent fortune, choiceness of form, did the bright-toothed hero of Bregia's castle obtain in the day of his birth; the best of the Lord's first gifts.

    [58]  Cormac's beauty was obtained from the Lord, both as regards form and eloquence; from the dear heart to the ruddy countenance are according to the will of Him who ordained them.

    [59]  From the sole of his foot to his bright, curly head, there is not one member of the lord of Gáirighe's fair host without some special endowment.

    [60]  The gift of agility hath the soft, white foot, of which invaders will be wary; triumph in every activity hath the white hand, a palm that is gentle save in conflict.

    [61]  The gift of speech have the crimson lips that bring discontent to women; the gift of intelligence hath the sprightly heart of the spouse of Maiste's Plain.

    [62]  From God above he hath excellence of truth and constancy; in the houses of election he hath triumphed in generosity and prowess.

     p.152

    CORMAC O'HARA

    [1]  Do you wish for the history of the seed of Cian, until they are traced to a single root? For the bright race of Eber the Fair one must do the utmost.

    [2]  Or do you desire that from the spring of knowledge I have found there should be emitted a pure stream of recondite poetry about the affinities of the champion of Munster?

    [3]  He was acknowledged as the best of the band, the Eber from whom they are sprung; another such as the torch of Bregia's castle was not amongst the Children of Míl.

    [4]  There never was one to equal Eber the Fair in Spain or in Ireland, of the royal blood of his tribe, of the seed of Bile or Breóghan.

    [5]  With him those sons of Míl of Spain came to the land of Fál; Eber was their senior, from across the ocean he conquered the Plain of .

    [6]  Four sons of Eber the Fair gained the headship of Ireland; match of those four never sprang from the active, steadfast race of Míl.

    [7]  Thereafter they all perished, save great Conmhaol, son of Eber, leaving no children in their places, the youthful, celebrated band.

    [8]  Conmhaol, son of Eber of the steeds, the first king of the Munster warriors for whom a dwelling was prepared in Tara, a man about whom maidens were envious.

    [9]  From Conmhaol to Brian of the horns there are of his kinsfolk thirty kings in succession in the regal list, reigning over the land of Ireland.

    [153] 

    [10]  Thirty-eight of the line of Eber, son of Míl, ruled the stately, white-walled castle of Trim down to the time of Oilill Ólum.

    [11]  From Oilill, son of Eóghan Mógr, back to Eber of the red-gold weapons, Bregia's host—mild and noble of heart—were a single kindred.

    [12]  The triumphant race of Eber the Fair divide then at Oilill—a thing which increased their mettle (?)—in three genealogical branches.

    [13]  Nineteen sons are reckoned as the family of Oilill Ólum, and if you trace them there are only the descendants of three to be enumerated.

    [14]  Fortunate he who had the three sons, Eóghan, Cian and Cormac; three fathers of the men of Eamhain, bright stalks of the vine-woods.

    [15]  The line of Eóghan, which never refused combat, the race of Carthach in each of its species, there is much one need not trace, and the subordinate branches of the tribes of Carthach.

    [16]  Cormac, son of red-weaponed Oilill, is the ancestor of the seed of Brian, north and south; children of one father are the blood of Cas, heritors of the grassy meadow of the Fergus.

    [17]  Smooth-haired Cian, son of Oilill, was Oilill's youngest son; he deserves the pledges of the rest, a younger son to whom respect is due.

    [18]  Never heard I of any to equal the progeny of Cian, son of Oilill Ólum; smooth-palmed warriors for whom the forest stooped, battle-props of the Gael.

    [19]  Seventeen sons had valorous Cian, but none of his children occupied his patrimony save one, noble stem of a fragrant wood.

    [20]  Tadhg, son of Cian, who never grudged cattle— from Tadhg are derived the kings over the long-grassed Plain of the Fair, and many of the patron saints of Ireland.

     p.154

    [21]  It was Tadhg himself who obtained the three Luighne from the king of Tara in battle; and not for gold, or in exchange for cattle, but as the price of shedding his blood.

    [22]  The two sons of Tadhg of the beaked ships, Connla and Cormac Gaileangach, they are the two from whom the race of Cian sprang, two royal husks of kindred trees.

    [23]  Descendants of Connla, son of Tadhg, are the seed of Cearbhall, of the smooth, vast plain, and—heavily fruited wood of crimson trees—the descendants of Conchobhar of Cianacht.

    [24]  The host of Leyney, who never shrank from combat, are the descendants of Cormac Gaileangach; men steady in step towards spear-points, choice golden stems of Ireland.

    [25]  Cormac Gaileangach took the land from the Plain of Mar to Magh Tuireadh; he had all the territory from Slievemurry to the Plain of Mar.

    [26]  The same Cormac took from Loch Laoigh to Loch Corrib; from the east bank of Corrib he paused not until he reached the flowing Boyle.

    [27]  One son was the offspring of Cormac, named Laoi, the long-handed; the son desisted not in his valor until he gained the inheritance of his father.

    [28]  Two sons had Laoi, of the keen blades, nobly-born Nia Corb, and Seisgnéan; peaceful scions from the rushing Moy, two royal heirs of the plain of Cashel.

    [29]  One son had Nia Corb of the battles, named Art, the warrior of Tara; for twenty years did the man rule the hostages of the Gael.

    [30]  For nineteen years after him was his son over his race; a king like Art was fair Fiodhchuire, for whom the cornfield of the Gaileanga was more fertile.

    [31]  For twenty-one years Figheann, son of Fiodhchuire, reigned; the land in which he was he held for a time as king without opposition.

     p.155

    [32]  Over the country of Leyney from end to end Nad Fraoich, son of Figheann, followed for twelve years, it is said, the order of his genealogical branches.

    [33]  Bréanainn, son of Nad Fraoich of the feasts, reigned as a king worthy of homage for a year and a day without belying his promise (?), according to the testimony of the learned.

    [34]  Fionnbharr, son of Bréanainn, the archbishop, the high-king—the territories are sufficient witness—reigned thirty years.

    [35]  Great Diarmuid, son of Fionnbharr, held the country of Leyney, land of glowing countrysides—the best of all reigns was the period of this clmmpion—for six years without peril.

    [36]  For twenty years Ceann Faoladh held the kingship, north and south; the wind of possession of the fair land was his, Diarmuid's, generous heir.

    [37]  Taichleach18, son of Ceann Faoladh, held the kingship of the pleasant land of Leyney—far extended is the time (?) of his fame—for twenty years without a break.

    [38]  Flaithgheas, strong son of Taichleach, held Leyney of the bright gardens for—he neither lessened it nor increased it—the same length of time as did his father.

    [39]  The door of no homestead was closed in the reign of Béac, generous son of Flaithgheas; for a hundred years he protected the churches, ruling over the blue lands of the Gaileanga.

    [40]  Saorghus, son of Béac, of the golden horns, was made king by the others forthwith; for a year and a half the noble champion of Modharn ruled over Leyney.

    [41]  Eaghra, son of Saorghus—it was most easy for him—held the crimson plain of Leyney for ten years in full rule and kingship.

    [42]  Maghnus, son of Eaghra—alas for the land whose lord he was—attempted to take possession of the territories in despite of Eaghra his father.

     p.156

    [43]  Eaghra of the green-edged weapons laid his curse upon Maghnus; he enjoyed the territory but for one day's space, he perished (?) ere he gained it.

    [44]  For one hundred years afterwards, throughout three generations, they were without the title of royal heir, without a king, from the bursting forth of reaving and war.

    [45]  Until Aodh of the plaited locks, son of Taichleach, son of Muircheartach, son of great Domhnall, son of Maghnus, took command of the host of the blue, green land.

    [46]  For two and twenty years Aodh reigned over the fair slopes of Leyney; a clear-minded king worthy of pledges, ruling all in general.

    [47]  Then Conchobhar, son of Aodh, most fearless king under heaven, face like a glowing ember, ruled Leyney but three quarters of a year.

    [48]  It is said his rule over Leyney lasted but half a year—Aodh son of warlike Conchobhar, noble, heavily-fruitful scion of Tara.

    [49]  For three score years Diarmuid, son of Aodh, the high-king, a king not faint-hearted before plundering-parties, reigned over the warriors of Leyney.

    [50]  The son of Diarmuid of the generous gifts, the king named Art of the Horses—for four royal years the descendants of Cian were ruled by him of the bright, ever-radiant locks.

    [51]  For twenty years in succession Art, father of Domhnall, left the kingship of the blue-brown, fertile plain in charge of fair Domhnall the Cleric.

    [52]  Seaán Mór, the second son, obtained Art's inheritance without change (?)—enough was it as a king's rule—for twelve years without weakness.

    [53]  Thirty-eight years he obtained—Fearghal, son of noble, loveable Domhnall, sincere heart which presaged affection, gained this land.

     p.157

    [54]  Tadhg, son of Fearghal, prince of the schools, for forty years ruled the bright, spreading plain of Leyney, restful land of ancient, warm rivers.

    [55]  Seaán the swarthy, son of Tadhg, leader of the warriors, had—little enough for his bright cheek—the same period as his father.

    [56]  For twenty years and twice nine, it is said, thus the extent of his rule when ascertained, Tomaltach, noble son of Seaán, reigned over the rest.

    [57]  For five years at least Muirchertach, the other son, defended the bright slopes of Leyney, a task most difficult to perform.

    [58]  The seed of Cian submitted to Cormac for twenty-nine years; strong, valorous scion, generous son of Tomaltach.

    [59]  Neither Ruaidhrí nor his son Maghnus was called king, although they had the obedience of the men of Munster, for fear of wronging their seniors.

    [60]  For eight years and five Oilill, son of Maghnus, a righteous king without violence, without treachery, held the kingship of all the territories.

    [61]  For eleven years east and west the host of Leyney's crimson plain, companies who were no likely mark for hardihood, were in the power of Seaán, son of William.

    [62]  Cian, son of Oilill, who never refused guests, did not wait to get his estate; when their lord perished the line of Cormac were not ready for action.

    [63]  The period of Tadhg, son of valiant Cian, was four flowery years; a full moon causing most fruitful strands was the chieftain-tree from the plain of Collán.

    [64]  For eighteen years then it was in the power of Conn son of Ruaidhrí; he held the land without a rival, save that it was in peril.

     p.158

    [65]  After a space Cormac, son of Cian, son of Oilill, is made king by the rest; he takes possession in place of his forefathers, by the voices of English and Gaels.

    [66]  He settles the land of Leyney, both as regards laity and church; the fragrant country with its fair vestures of soil Cormac apportions generally.

    [67]  He settles in their own place all the assemblies of noble Cian's line; wrongs are repealed, strongholds are erected.

    [68]  The dues of his kindred he will levy on friends and enemies; the valor of the battle-lion of Cian's blood has revived the fame of his race.

    [69]  He gathers their books to discover their genealogical branches; every recondite matter concerning his stock he seeks in the regnal list.

    [70]  The ancient charter of tributes of the plain of Leyney having fallen out of remembrance, it is renewed for his heirs, so that it is a bright, clear charter.

    [71]  Many claims upon his own territory has the chief of royal Cian's tribe; it is just that he, noble, fierce countenance, should obtain a spell of the patrimony.

    [72]  Almost has it become prescriptive—for nine hundred and four years Leyney has been under the tribe of Cian, companies who never deserved reproach.

    [73]  By means of battle and war was gained the land they have got—it were little but grievous to oppose them—and with the will of the high-kings of Ireland.

    [74]  Claim enough for Cormac, did all consider it forthwith, are the troubles he met concerning it, armed, red weaponed hero.

    [75]  A good charter on the land of his forefathers is the evil he suffered from childhood's years, shedding his blood on its behalf, till he displayed the fame of his exploits.

     p.159

    [76]  Leyney's territory, of glowing slopes, lay neath a covering of thievery and rapine, until he—the greatest war he ever waged—came to her help.

    [77]  From that time on she has been a restful, fairylike plain; without pain, without enmity, without wrath, without desire of plundering or conflict.

    [78]  The hand which had harmed repaired the land of Leyney in the days of Cormac; it is a land from which a veil hath rolled away, in one day it was settled.

    [79]  Never has there been of his true race from Tadhg, son of Cian, to the son of Úna—the fame of his forefathers he has inherited from the warriors—a man comparable to Cormac.

    [80]  The seed of Cian were in grievous perplexity, as ye have heard, until there sprang up the forest-tree from the Dwelling of Tál, who gives life to his kinsfolk.

    [81]  The wooing was the beginning of fortune (?)19, Cian's son, as the heir of a high chief, found in his hour of wretchedness the first mate he loved.

    [82]  Mary, daughter of Maol Muire; regal in aspect, chaste in mind; a woman excelling those of Bregia's dewy castle, the favorite of all of her kindred.

    [83]  Cormac son of Cian has got, if she be estimated in every particular—our choice of all her stock—the best of mates to love.

    [84]  Those who preceded her of her line have fame as their inheritance, it is likely that she will possess the inheritance, rather than all the women of the ancient line of Suibhne.

     p.160

    A PRECIOUS WEAPON

    [1]  Welcome art thou, fierce Gráinne! No ill case his who should depend on thee as his only weapon, thou shining one with the hue of ruddy drops (?), well-omened, keen-edged, perilous.

    [2]  Thou surpassing jewel of a dagger; thou venomous, inimical monster; thou form so harsh yet most smooth, dark and graceful; thou veritable queen amongst the weapons of Ireland.

    [3]  Thou fierce, hacking bear; thou best of all iron; thou bright-looped, swarthy tribal treasure; thou disturber of the hearts of champions.

    [4]  Thou point that cannot be withstood; thou darling of high-kings; thou black opening of the great door, thou light of even before dark.

    [5]  Thou slitting of the thread of life; thou high-king amongst weapons of all kinds; thou cause of envy in the heart; treasure of the eye of multitudes.

    [6]  Thou gracefully shaped bar of steel; never did thy opponent in battle bear tidings from the conflict in which ye met, nor shall one ever do so.

    [7]  Even the testament (?) in short, though the fee for leeching be small—great reproach doth it bring to thy bright form—is not procured for thy victims (?).

    [8]  Never did any on earth experience a bad year from thy fortune, thou brightly-blossomed, comely sun.

    [9]  It was a happy omen whereby thou didst fall to Aodh Óg, son of this Aodh, to a royal heir of Conn's race; a meet comrade for thee.

     p.161

    [10]  Thou art such a precious treasure as sufficeth him, thou seasoned, keen, cool weapon, and he, the youth from Bregia's battlesome castle, is the one sufficing surety for thee.

    [11]  Oft, as a pledge of much wealth, hast thou been lifted from the smooth, comely knee of Maeve's descendant, at the quaffing of the juice of the vine-fruit.

    [12]  Oft, it is said, as stipend of a high-king's heir, did the salmon from the fertile, murmuring Boyne get much gold and silver by thy means.

    [13]  Oft hath a hundred of each kind of cattle been readily got through thee by Aodh for the poets of Crioinhthann's line, to uphold the repute of the stately, heavy-lashed one.

    [14]  Never was it expected, thou shining one that hast not suffered hurt, that the scion from ancient Aolmhagh's slender streams would forego thee for the excellent weapons of any of the men of Ireland.

    [15]  None of the men of the world could obtain thee from the white-toothed, graceful one—bright palm to which one must needs yield homage—save some man of art.

    [16]  In exchange for gold or silver none might get thee readily from the prop of Bregia's white-footed host; and it is not likely that thou wouldst be obtained by force.

    [17]  From the chieftain of Eachaidh's, race an exacting poet accepted nothing on earth save thee alone; thus was it easier to obtain thee.

    [18]  Since one hath sought thee, after this Aodh, thou noble, alert, smooth, studded weapon, nobody will be forbearing towards any poet.

     p.162

    O'CARROLL

    [1]  Either O'Carroll or the rest are mistaken, these are some of the stories about him; who is it that is really mistaken? it is time to consider.

    [2]  There are some of them hoarding their wealth, those that never cared for hospitality; and some that bear the palm from Guaire, head of every company.

    [3]  A question for the companies of the Five Fifths, it should be-tackled; is it the bestower of kine who is most astray?

    [4]  Wealth {}(?), and castles the others cherish them; Cobhthach's, descendant has spent his own share, it is a wealth that endures.

    [5]  The rest desert the professional poets of Ireland for common song, until (?) the man of Cliú checked their discourse, bright shield of Gowran.

    [6]  It is a pity that the rest are not like O'Carroll, generous with cattle; given to(?) music and entertainment, blameless course.

    [7]  Maol Ruana, king of Cearbhall's stock, to whom Ireland rightfully belongs, to him the name is given as a just title—palm of hospitality—The Feale and the Cashen are two rivers in North Kerry, and it is these two prime rivers with beautiful banks that form a fishing estuary for the men of West Munster, and as the Feale is plundered of her fish she goes and floods the Cashen, and brings a prey of fish with her when returning. In such wise O'Carroll, when the keen, pungent-worded poets of Fódla plunder his land and his territory of riches and treasures and wealth, he sets upon the dour, unintelligibly-speaking outlanders, and they are plundered and burnt by him again and again.

     p.163

    [8]  Again and again is the great plain of the Moy plundered by Maol Ruana; a man who never puts off a bardic company, so great is his pride.

    [9]  {}(?) O'Carroll of the elfin blades; every man shall receive his own award if he reach the kingship.

    [10]  It is not the son of Isabel, desirous of praise, who has made a mistake; all that hath joined him of the Plain of the Champions—bardic companies are its tax—

    Doladh is a little town in East Munster, and nuns reside there, and a priest says mass every Sunday to those nuns, and good is the life (?) of that little town—

    [11]  So that thence O'Carroll goes to raid Meath; to take cattle out of every town, firm is his courage {}(?) gone into the cauldron to dispense liquor.

    [12]  Maol Ruana is the Cú Chulainn of Munster in greatness of courage; is the house in which he is better for him than the House of Tara?

    [13]  The warriors of the Gael gather around him to exercise steeds; he has surpassed Ireland, Éile and Oileach in generosity.

    [14]  Heir of Seaán son of Maol Ruana, wheel of prowess; man who could contrive victory, guarantor of hosting—

    And it was a wonderful hosting the Vicar Ó Conchobhair, and the Stronglegged Ó Léanaigh (?) the Big made, having resolved to make an alliance and compact with one another, and to go without pause or delay to battle with O'Daly—

    [15]  The fuller was robbed when coming from the forge, having ground his teasel: often {} 20

    [16]  In Limerick there is many a gentle young woman, and many a whistling man who awakens the fierce, cold-beaked, deep-crawed snipe.

     p.164

    [17]  It is not easy to collect the cattle of the man of Éile {}wrong and slaughter.

    [18]  The cow of Athboy from its spancell, the cattle of striped Slieveroe have been brought by thee, O torrential champion, to Éile; many a running in their eyes for a time from the warrior—

    And the Monday after Michaelmas a mayor is made in every big town in Ireland, and it is in this way he is made, the shaven-lipped, big-paunched, bulging(?)-eyed burgesses of those towns enter into courts built of gray masonry and stout timber, and he who has the largest retinue and following comes out as mayor, and it is a great wonder that O'Carroll does not even so go to Tara and gather the Gaels of all Ireland around him—

    [19]  As did the spirited kin from whom he is sprung; often is the fury of—Fearghal's descendants curbed by the warrior of Limerick.

    [20]  Many a heron (?) on the slope of Turlach and fawn of Leamhain (?); no dull gathering on Sunday is the tribe of O'Kearney—

    And as for O'Kearney, he used to be in Cashel, and it is for him O'Grady made the whisky, and sent one of his followers for spice, that is pepper and aniseed, telling him to memorise that well, like any lesson, and the boy started learning it well, as he had been told, and on drawing near the big town he got an extraordinary and unfortunate tumble, and this is what he said as he was getting up: 'pepper and aniseed.'

    [21]  He brought a load of the same {}, to O'Grady's castle; when he went to Port an Phúdair(?) he left distress (?)

    [22]  Like to the cold Hill of Howth is the frown of O'Grady, by the Grúda men nimbly cast trout into boats.

    [23]  I am frenzied [and (?)] every one in the country around me, with love for the bright-toothed one, a love unsupportable.

     p.165

    [24]  I am called O'Carroll's rimer in the land of Munster; him with whom I have the best place I shall make chief of the heroes.

    The stag hath no natural liking for the bay of the dogs; Lorcan's descendant {}(?) a miserable yeoman: there is many a heron and wild goose on the land of Ulster.

    [25]  The like of O'Carroll have I heard of in the battle of Cnuca; he was foremost in all their feasts, large his pigs—And Walter Mape was roasting two pigs for the king of England, that is, a fat pig and a lean one, and he took to greasing the fat pig with butter and oil, and he let the lean pig burn, and thus the English of lovely Fódla and the nobles of Munster act towards O'Carroll, for they give him gold and silver and manifold riches, while they give neither little or much to Carew, though he is nearer to the Lake of Ribh, son of Muiridh than the woman who comes from Dún Mic Padraicín to Owenogarney to gather limpets.

    [26]  Over in Trian Chonghail there is many a breast in {}(?)21

    [27]  A Tara is that rampart of Maol Ruana, where there are companies {}(?); in Maol Ruana's, castle there is many a gathering {}(?)

    [28]  Magh Dreimhne surpasses every other plain {}(?) it is the darling child of the noble dwellings, praiseworthy are its people—And as for the tribe of Munterhagan, they are in Meath, and they are wont to be killing and quarrelling with one another over the name of the head of the tribe, a name that no other of the men of Ireland would like to bear as tribal chief, and that is, The Fox—a fellow without clothing, without cattle, deceitful, false—

    [166] 

    [29]  A gray-muzzled fellow, treacherous, shifty, crafty {} he would bring a hen from the marsh (orthe Curragh?), a guileful deed, he would not exchange for gold or cattle a seal or a mackerel.

    [30]  Generous-hearted O'Carroll, sought of travellers; no one else hath such repute save Art the Lonely.

    [31]  Art the Lonely or Oilill Bare-ear, from whom he is sprung; it is shameful for all the bardic companies in Cashel not to join him.

    [32]  In fear of the champion the warlike English have retreated to the coast; shortly will he leave the castles of the foreigners deserted.

    [33]  If the honor of all the men of Ireland be considered, with accurate, knowledge, the fame of O'Carroll should be balanced with that of two kindreds [i. e. should be handicapped by competing against two instead of one] in the balancing—And it is a wonderful leap that is taken by some of the people in the eastern world, that is, to ascend the lofty mountain overlooking Paradise, and they look downwards and laugh, and go thence to Paradise, and return from there no more: even thus, then, do the landless men, the nobles, the travellers and men of art of Ireland in the case of O'Carroll's castle.

    [34]  As he competed with(?) the minstrels—attempting a good division (?), the warrior for whom a blue vessel is bright, our house of safeguard.

    [35]  Éile of the ruddy appletrees whose fruit is good, the produce of the fragrant branches conceals every path in its way.

    [36]  Murmuring streams running shallow at the beginning of summer, from the heat of the winter every fish goes a foot deep into the earth.

     p.167

    [37]  In the dwelling of O'Carroll of Cobhthach's Plain, who never loved hoarding (?), there is many a maiden in the spring and scores of hags—

    And a hag who was in the house of MacDermot of Moylurg and {} save one year there, and that hag left {} honorable and famous always from that year, and that is wonderful, seeing that there are—

    [38]  One hundred hags in O'Carroll's dwelling, God defend it; the King of all is with the youth, Mary and Íde(?).

    [39]  {}from every man, no portent of conflict, however near in time(?) he gets in his castle hundreds of champions, bright, long visitation.

    That man is deceived who would not wrest a passing pleasure from the goods of life, seeing they are but a phantom like the mist; to my mind it were better to lavish them justly therein, since assuredly none will carry them away from this dungeon of deceit.

     p.168

    HUGH O'BYRNE

    22

    [1]  Despise not, O Hugh, the love of Íor's spouse, grievous is it for thee that this land of Niall should be neglected; surely if thou comest—according to the words of Flann (or surely), it is said, if Flann's words come true) {}(?) will be under tribute to thee.

    [2]  Stretch forth thy(?) vigor as a woodbine enclasping a tree when {}; the son of John is censured by the array of English, when he comes down on the land to banish the foreign soldiery.

    [3]  And to take hostages of him who does not join with him, when thou art under the protection of thy armor and weapons, {}(?) on the embroidery of banners, a full {}(?) of silk on the bottom of a rough equipment (?).

    [4]  A tough, seasoned blade against which English armor is no protection, and a sheltering gauntlet on thy forearm down to the fingers; a tall war-horse, none straighter leaps a gap, and a {}(?).

    [5]  A spear which the royal son of noble Tuireann possessed and was, it is said, for a time in the fairy castle of Aonghus; for thee was it destined, thou gallant son of John, the lines of the shield are written on thy name (?).

    [6]  Scarcely a day but this hero of the six couplets has the gains of a king(?), when he puts on his armor; the shouts (?) of warriors facing battle-furies, and maniacs of the wind arising therefrom in the glen.

     p.169

    [7]  The clergy of the churches consider not half of his wealth enough as an additional tribute from those who used to go there (?) and from all who gather about the son of John at night, the poets seating themselves under his protection according to their rank (?).

    [8]  {}under him, students of books, fairy timpáns praising him with harp-strings of {}(?); womenfolk with no useful craft save weaving textures {} (?)

    [9] ? (Translation omitted.)

    [10] ? (Translation omitted.)

    [11]  Many a thing hath the generous son of John accomplished, Leinster's ancient plain without (need of) a shepherd over any flock, {} (?), while this best of men is king over the land.

     p.170

    FRIENDS BEYOND THE SEA

    [1]  Delightful is this day in London, many noble, loveable youths of my friendship have gone from me eastwards to London for a time.

    [2]  Many a darling, many a heart's core amongst my loving ones are there; many a wealthy scion to-day of the old nobility of the Children of Míl.

    [3]  It were pleasant to be amongst them, those with whom my spirits would rise; many in London are my loved ones, my friends and companions.

    [4]  Across the sea to London were taken the voices which were sweetest to my mind; the delight of the generous, white-footed scions, the converse of my comrades and my friends.

    [5]  Just five of those who are away east should I see every day in London, not evil were this journey23 from my house, it is not easy to treat of them.

    [6]  Though we should never suffer any wrong or want save (the loss of) these five, no five of Bregia's land would equal these noble generous warriors.

    [7]  Donnchadh Ó Briain, fruitful blossom, beloved Donnchadh Ó Conchobhair, two guarding griffins of Banbha's shore, in cold, strange London.

    [8]  Small is my share of repose since Donnchadh descendant of Conn the Hundred-fighter is gone, and my beloved companion, Donnchadh descendant of Brian Bóroimhe.

     p.171

    [9]  O'Farrell's son, my own Írial, is in bright, perilous London; it is unkindly for me not to fare across the wave since my three darlings are there.

    [10]  Something more than twelve years has Pádraicín Plunket been in the gay court of fair apple-trees, without visiting the soil of Ireland.

    [11]  Though never before did I see the dragon of Dunsany, he is before me every night, a graceful, bright, fresh-countenanced hero.

    [12]  Pádraicín, my Írial, my loved ones; my two Donnchaidh, a gracious pair; it is a presage of pleasure for Conn's land that these should come to us.

    [13]  The fifth man that is yonder, my soul, Brian Mág Eochagán, he went across the sea to London; it has lessened the glory of the Gaels.

    [14]  Donnchadh, Pádraicín and Brian, my other Donnchadh and my Írial, if those whom I expect are there my day in London should be delightful.

    [15]  My three darling companions, William, Richard, Rudhraighe; three that were never false to their side, three that are dearer than life.

     p.172

    THE BUTTER

    [1]  I myself got good butter from a woman; the good butter—if it be good—I dont think it was from a cow, whatever it was of destroyed me.

    [2]  There was a beard sprouting on it, bad health to the fellow's beard; a juice from it as venomous as poison, it was tallow with the taste of a sour draught.

    [3]  It was speckled, it was gray; it was not from a milch goat; it was no gift of butter when we had to look at it every day.

    [4]  Its long lock like a horse's mane, alas, knives to crop it were not found; long sick is he who partook of it, the good butter that was in our hut.

    [5]  A wrapping-cloth about the sour grease like a shroud taken from a corpse: disgusting to the eye it was to look at the rag from the amount of its foulness.

    [6]  There was a stench from that fellow that choked and stupefied us; it seemed to us to be of all colours, with a branching crest of fungus over its head.

    [7]  It had never seen the salt; the salt had never seen it, save from a distance; the remembrance of it does not leave us in health, white butter bluer than coal!

    [8]  There was grease in it, and not that alone, but every other bit was of wax; little butter did I eat after it, the butter I got that was flesh.

     p.173

    A FALSE FRIAR

    [1]  Of what land art thou, friar? humility is one of the graces: give us plain information, that we may not be in ignorance about thee.

    [2]  Is it a part of thy Rule? explain, friar, and relate, why are thy shoes sound and thy hat tattered ?

    [3]  Considering till the swamp thou hast travelled, thou valiant, wet-footed friar, I marvel at the cleanness of thy hose whilst thy hat is covered with dirt.

    [4]  Was it in thy Rule, thou friar from Connacht, that thy shoes and hose should be stout and thy hat very frail ?

    [5]  Methinks I see not a single fault in thy long and correct costume, beloved, melodious friar, save that thy hat is not worth a farthing.

    [6]  Including coat and cap, habit and hose, more than any other article of thy dress has thy hat been ill-fashioned.

    [7]  I make no complaint of thy habit, thou contemptible friar; look behind thee and before, for there is a rent in thy hat.

    [8]  Thy hat, student, from whomsoever in Ireland it has been stolen, that is not the hat of an honest man which is ever being secretly offered for sale.

    [9]  It is not its faulty fashioning, it is not the badness of its colour, prevented it being from sold in Cavan, but the fact that it is a stolen hat.

     p.174

    [10]  Uttering it for sale, friar, that is what has brought about thy ruin; here is a proverb-made, 'alas for him who brought a hat to Sligo.'

    [11]  It is not the Earl's practice to suffer a friar to steal; if thou art sent in {}(?) the hat will be striped.

    [12]  Good are thy shirt and thy vest, neat is thy step on the causeway, fine moreover is thy mantle, but badly doth thy hat become thee.

    [13]  Why is thy habit short, and thy cloak down to thy heels, and thy hat damp and high (or broad?), of what land art thou, friar?

     p.175

    A VISION

    [1]  There was a vision of a fairy woman here last night, alas for him who beheld the royal vision; a woman such as she we have never looked upon, -the vision which perturbed my mind.

    [2]  Dear the shape which came here to me last night in my slumber; the sleep of the night in which the dream came will ever be talked of by us.

    [3]  Bright-cheeked countenance, the rose is not more red, had the maiden, such was her description; eyes like a hyacinth petal, and even, jet-black brows.

    [4]  Slender lips, sweet as honey, had the maiden, with the hue of a budding rose; every gentle utterance of hers was enough to heal the ailing.

    [5]  In the softly speaking mouth were white teeth like a shower of pearl; about them a delicate resting place for her lips, like two couches of {}(?)

    [6]  Between the arms with long hands are placed these—the graceful mounds of fair, white breasts, with a covering of golden interlacement.

    [7]  The covering of her feet was achieved by the gift of Aonghus(?), two shoes with golden borders were worn by the bright, sweet, fair, maidenly girl.

    [8]  A purple mantle with satin fringes, a red-bordered golden tunic; fettered hostages of gold formed the vest around the loveable, fairy maiden.

    [9]  The gentle, tender one greeted me with modest words, and thereupon I replied to the bright, noble-looking beauty.

     p.176

    [10]  A while after that I questioned the maiden: 'of what kingdom art thou, from the king of what land art thou come?'

    [11]  'Two divisions or three there are of the world, the easier is it to traverse them to seek tidings of me,' said the woman, 'my secret I shall not reveal.'

    [12]  'In search of thee have I come, come with me' said the maiden covertly, in a musical voice, gentle, sweet-substanced (?), modest-worded.

    [13]  I know not—what beguilement—when I refused to go with her, whither the wise, tender-hearted beauty flew from me.

    [14]  It was a separation of body and soul for the rosy, brown-lashed queen to leave me when departing, the fair, modest, justly-speaking maiden.

    [15]  To the land of Fódla, long ago, there came before like this the woman who beguiled royal Connla the Red: more peaceful her deeds the second time.

    [16]  The best son his father had, Connla, son of Hundred-fighting Conn—through the wiles of one woman he goes across the wave, there never went in a ship one to equal him.

    [17]  Such another visit as that the woman with the brown cloak and the musical branch made from beyond the wave to the son of Feabhal; famous is the wonderful story.

    [18]  Nine times nine of the children of champions from the nobility of Desmond did that woman carry away with her, even as she carried Bran, he was an additional triumph.

    [19]  The beguilement of Bran, the coaxing of Connla across the sea by foreign women, thus also am I deceived, this seems the most wonderful of all.

     p.177

    [20]  Midear's fairy mound with its bright-portaled (?) rampart, the castle of Sanbh, or the fairy mound of Abhartach—you know not of a woman in these castles to equal the gentle, softly-speaking one.

    [21]  There would not be found in Eamhain of the Apple trees, or in the mansion of golden-weaponed Aonghus, a fairy woman comparable to the gentle, bright-formed, brown-browed maid.

    [22]  Since the woman departed from us, I would fain, if it were possible, be not merely a sojourner, in her land (?)

    [23]  After my love for her bright face, when the maiden had left me, as an ebb comes in every tide, the exaltation of my spirit was quenched.

     p.178

    A VISION

    [1]  Art thou the woman who was here last night with me in a vision? uncertain about thee as I am, thou bright form, my mind is bewildered.

    [2]  If thou be not she who came before, O slender figure, gentle and soft of hand, and dainty of step, thou art exactly similar.

    [3]  Thy glowing cheek, thy blue eye—never were there formed from the four-fold element two more similar in form, O yellow, curly, plaited locks.

    [4]  Thy white teeth, thy crimson lips which make sufficing lullaby, brown brows of the hue of the sloe, and all that lies between them.

    [5]  Throat like the blossom of the lily, long, slender hands; supple, plump flesh, of the hue of the waves, dulling the whiteness of the river's foam.

    [6]  Small, smooth, white breasts rising above a lovely, shining slope; gentle expanses, with borders most fair and delightful, they are to be likened to fairy knolls.

    [7]  On the ends of thy luxuriant tresses are flocks not usual in winter, which have been bathed in pure gold; a most wondrous flock.

    [8]  I am worthy of trust, thou art in no danger, tell me was it thou who came before to the land of Fál to trouble me, thou shining, white-toothed, modest-faced lady?

    [9]  Or art thou she who came afore-time to visit the Round Table, thou head of smooth, fair, bright locks, to wondrous King Arthur?

     p.179

    [10]  Or art thou she who came to great Aodh, son of Úghoine, from the seductive streams of the fairy mound of Slievenamon to the mortal (?) plain of Ireland?

    [11]  Or art thou she who came another time to the camp of Brian Bóroimhe, to bear Murrough across the Irish Sea, and eastwards across the surface of the ocean ?

    [12]  Or art thou she who came from bright, fruitful Rathtrim to beguile the son of Deichtine, the valorous Hound of Culann?

    [13]  Or art thou she that came afore-time, thou bright, angel-like form, to the land of battlesome Banbha, to Mathghamhain Ó Máille?

    [14]  Or art thou she who came again to seduce the youths, in the days of Conaire, O bright cheek, to the chosen host of Teltown?

    [15]  Or art thou she, thou staunch heart, who bore Bran, son of white-footed Feabhal, across the smooth surface of the sea, to the chosen Land of Promise?

    [16]  There came, perhaps thou art of them, to the king of Connacht—a famous visit, beautiful women—a gathering of power, to the shores of noble Loch Derg.

    [17]  Or didst thou beguile Connla the Red, from the host of Banbha of the cold, wet summits; O bright form, not unseemly of looks, though he was guarded by the sages of the people?

    [18]  Or didst thou beguile myself before, thou shining form, since thou, O slender, fairy-like lady, art continually spoiling the men of Ireland?

    [19]  All the more do I suspect that thou art the other woman I saw, because there is none save thee to equal her in beautiful, leafy Banbha.

    [20]  There is not in the fairy mounds of the Boyne a woman of thy beauty save that woman, nor in the fair castles of Síodh na gCuan, thou gentle, white-formed, pleasing one.

     p.180

    [21]  Nor in the fairy mound of oared Assaroe, or in the castle of the Ioldánach's fosterfather, or in the smooth, warm-couched mound of Trim, or in the many-shaped castle of Eochall.

    [22]  After her no woman shall we see in dream or in fantasy, until she comes to us again, returning in a vision.

    [23]  Once or twice has my form been blighted by her soft face, it will happen a third time, the wondrous, shining beauty.

     p.181

    THE CALVACH O'CONOR

    [1]  Hasten to us, O Calvach, advance across the darkly-eddying sea; thou goal of the poets of Conn's territory, come to us at the first message.

    [2]  Thou kindly-faced son of Donnell, this message we send to thee, let it be a pressing business for thee, let it not be delayed over a jest.

    [3]  Many fresh tidings have we for thy smiling, brown-lashed countenance, thou king of Eine's grassy plain, which were a fit reason for haste.

    [4]  The men of London, the warriors of Scotland are contending together, thou chief of the noble host of Síoth Truim, in one compact mass about us.

    [5]  From fear of foray none, from the Shannon to the river of Sligo, O sparkling, heavy-pented, straightly-glancing eye, can sleep for one hour at a stretch.

    [6]  Lest the others complain of thee, array thyself, come to our help, give to this district an opportunity of repose, have they not said enough?

    [7]  Hasten thee, thou son of Mór, great is the reason for unrest, thou defending arm of the folds of Conn{} 24

    [8]  {}

    [9]  The athletic feats of their champions, the courageous spirit of their youths, the shining, smooth, white skin of their women, the agreeable speech of their men of letters.

     p.182

    [10]  Headstrong children plundering hives, hawks in pursuit of birds; graceful stags bounding from height to height, ships, and hounds contending in speed.

    [11]  Journeying over the slopes of Loch Gill; the produce of the stream of Sligo; nuts coming upon the white, thickly-growing hazel-trees about their border ditches.

    [12]  The coupled mansion, with its golden goblets, precious treasures, red satin garments, bright, square, smooth battlements {} 25

    [13]  Let not the excellence of their ale, or their quilts, or their charmed, stout, smooth ramparts cause thee to linger, Calvach O'Conor.

    [14]  Let not the warriors of Carbury's swan-flecked waters, the noble clans of Síol Murray, beguile thee amongst them, thou hand ungentle on the iron of spear-shafts.

    [15]  Away from them take, for another while, in a propitious hour and time, an unhesitating step against the foreigner, thou graceful stem from Conchobhar's, plain.

    [16]  {} 26 thou slender-lipped hero of Bearnas.

    [17]  Thou appletree from Paradise, thou precious, softly-worded jewel, thou hindrance of the suffering of Conn's race, thou art able to guard us.

    [18]  If thy coming to us be heard of, O clustering locks, foeman will not dare to look from on high at the borders of this fair country from which one must go.

    [19]  Were I not urging (?) thee, I would censure thy bright face concerning this dispute with thy fair cheek, in the white houses of Sligo's host.

    [20]  Understand moreover, were I not dissatisfied with thy bright, steady glance, thy soft, white skin, thy supple form, I would not (?) forgive thee what thou hast done.

    [21]  From the danger that I might reprove thee, rightly are thy censurers and {} 27 giving thanks that we are at odds.

     p.183

    A COMPLAINT

    [1]  This is an address to the race of Colla, to complain amongst them, the mighty youth from the Plain of Mar, of the misfortunes which afflict me.

    [2]  Do not overlook a single man of Colla's race from the fertile borders of Cliún, but address each of them severally, they are men who will not allow me to be refused.

    [3]  Tell to my avengers, the progeny of Turlogh, son of Marcus, a company most modest towards poets, the sum of my wrong and injustice.

    [4]  I shall tell thee, man, my complaint, my foreboding to the great affable, pleasant, generous throng, in the hope that thou wilt remember what I say.

    [5]  Many scattered captains of bands, many quarterings and kern—alas for him who {} 28 wrong me.

    [6]  The kern of the house next to me are full of wickedness and surliness, entering my house every other day, they and the assembly which is around me (?)

     p.184

    A CONTENTION

     1

    Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn sang:

    The Macawards, mangy whelps, blind {}(?) of the Conall kindred; stuttering bards without a qualified poet over them; alas for any who is in their company.

     2

    A rejoinder from Mac an Bhaird:

    The banner of the foray of Conn's land is half-blind (?) Tadhg Ó Huiginn; is it not woeful for any who met that devil of a blind fellow who was whetted in the cave of hell?

     p.185

    A SATIRE

    This is the satire Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn composed on the people of the O'Hara family, for which they cut out his tongue etc.

    [1]  A troop of six that came to my house, I shall give a description of them; scarce of milk was I the next morning, from the thirst of the six vagabonds.

    [2]  It was a long time, seemingly, since a bit of cow's produce had entered their bodies, the twice three whom I have mentioned.

    [3]  I was able—'tis a pity—to bring them from death to life; must needs they drink my milk, so great was the thirst from the dry bread.

    [4]  I in want, and they in necessity—I am in a strait between the two; it is hard for me to repress these verses, yet is it sinful for me to make them.

    [5]  It is best not to conceal the satire if any deserve censure; as I satirized the troop of six it is unfitting not to tell it.

    [6]  The first that I saw, he was the best equipped of the band, a youth whose vest was not worth more than a groat; one whom feasting or gaming never impoverished.

    [7]  The second man, as I found, coming in front of the company, was a miserable fellow whose marrow had gone from him, I shall not leave him out of the reckoning.

    [8]  The munition of the third wretch was an old javelin and an untempered, gapped ax; he and his makings of an ax in an encounter, I pity such a battle-equipment.

     p.186

    [9]  The equipment of the fourth fellow who flux-smitten marched with them, four shafts, that never knocked a splinter out of target, slung across his rump.

    [10]  At the heels of the four others comes the fifth rogue, in a short smock not worth a groat, I do not think his mantle was any better.

    [11]  The likeness of a fellow not worth a fleshworm was along with the five; a gaunt (?), transparent sort of fellow, he was a poor commodity on inspection.

    [12]  I beseech God who shed His blood, since it is but decay for them to be alive—it is scarcely to be called living—that none may slay the troop of six.

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Title statement

Title (uniform): The bardic poems of Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn (1550–1591)

Title (supplementary): English translation

Author: Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn

Editor: Eleanor Knott

Responsibility statement

translated by : Eleanor Knott

Electronic edition compiled by: Emer Purcell

proof corrections by: Emer Purcell and Benjamin Hazard

Funded by: University College, CorkThe HEA via the LDT Project and The IRCHSS via the Digital Dinneen Project

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2. Second draft.

Extent: 52120 words

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Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of the Department of History, University College, Cork

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

Date: 2007

Date: 2008

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

CELT document ID: T402563

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT project for purposes of academic research and teaching only.Copyright for the printed edition rests with the Irish Texts Society. The electronic edition was compiled with the kind permission of the copyright owner.

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You can purchase the book(s) containing this text via the ITS website (http://www.irishtextssociety.org/). Click on the link to the RIA shop.

Source description

Manuscript sources

  1. Dublin, RIA 3 B 14, 1826, by Micheál Óg Ó Longáin of Co Cork from a vellum of 1594, belonging to Cormac Ó Heaghra of Anagh Mór, Co Sligo. The vellum MS, was written for Cormac Ó Heaghra to whom poems 29–32 are addressed. Poems 29, 30, 31,32.
  2. Dublin, RIA 23 A 45, Muiris Mac Gormáin of Louth. (See O'Grady, Cat. 498. Also see Introduction p. xxiv of printed edition).
  3. Dublin, RIA 23 B 25, Probably 18th century. "Nothing to throw any light on the transciber's name or time". O'Curry, RIA MS. Cat. Poem 43.
  4. Dublin, RIA 23 B 38, Séamus Ó Murchughadh of Droichead Ceann Puill. Contains poem 37.
  5. Dublin, RIA 23 C 12, c.1757; partly by Seaghén Ó Connaire but our poem is in another hand. Poem 32.
  6. Dublin, RIA 23 C 18, c. 1766, the part containing our poem by Mícheál Ó Longáin, Co Cork. Poems 32.
  7. Dublin, RIA 23 C 26, c. 1770, Tomás Ó Súilleamháin, Co Cork. Poem 20.
  8. Dublin, RIA 23 C 33, c. 1830, Micheál Óg Ó Longáin, Co Cork. Poems 2,5.
  9. Dublin, RIA 23 D 4, early 18th century? no name. Neatly written but not a scholarly hand. Poems 9, 11, 14, 26, 40.
  10. Dublin, RIA 23 D 5, c. 1715 Seón Mac Solaidh, of Meath (See Gadelica I, 159, 161). Orthography very inaccurate. Poems 4, 32. (See introduction of printed edition, p. xxiv).
  11. Dublin, RIA 23 E 14, c. 1846, John O'Daly. Poem 6.
  12. Dublin, RIA 23 E 16, 1800–33, M. Óg Ó Longáin, Co Cork. Poem 24.
  13. Dublin, RIA 23 F 16, 1656, Fearghal Ó Gadhra, of Co Sligo, at Antwerp and Lisle, see O'Grady, Cat. 339. Poems 1, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 22a, 25, 26, 36.
  14. Dublin, RIA 23 G 1, 1709, the part containing our poem by Art Ó Caoimh, Co Cork. Poem 20.
  15. Dublin, RIA 23 G 8, 1711, mostly Tadhg Ó Neachtain. (See Stair Éamuinn Ó Cléire, Br. and Gad. I, 156). But the hand in which our poem is written resembles that of Muiris Ó Nuabha. Poem 32.
  16. Dublin, RIA 23 G 12, c. 1840, Sean Ó Cléirigh. Poems 4, 32.
  17. Dublin, RIA 23 G 20, 1788–97, Micheál Óg Ó Longáin Co Cork. Poem 15.
  18. Dublin, RIA 23 G 23, 1794, M. Óg Ó Longáin. Poem 6.
  19. Dublin, RIA 23 G 24, 1800, M. Óg Ó Longáin. Poems 7, 14, 20.
  20. Dublin, RIA 23 H 8, 1864, Joseph O'Longan, from an imperfect paper MS. written in 1712 by Donal O'Teimhin for Cornelius O'Brien, of Kilcor, Co Cork. This a beautifully written MS., and the text extremely good. In many cases large vacant spaces are left for initial letters, which suggests that D. O'T. had a vellum exemplar. Poems 1, 4, 7, 15.
  21. Dublin, RIA 23 I 40, No date or name appear, bu the writing is that of the late 17th or early 18th century, and the text is good. Poem 4, 37, 38.
  22. Dublin, RIA 23 K 25, 1818, Maoil Seachloinn Ó Comhraidhe (O'Curry's brother). Poem 40 (and see Introduction printed edition, p. xxiv.
  23. Dublin, RIA 23 L 17, c. 1745, Seán Ó Murchadha na Raithíneach of Carrignavar, Co Cork; the hand is ugly, but the text is carefully written and extremely good, much better than those of the O'Conor Don MS. and 23 F 16. For the scribe see O'Grady, Cat. 515–6, and the ed. of his poems by Torna; see Ériu 4, 209. Poems 1, 8, 11, 12, 15, 17, 22a, 30, 31, 32.
  24. Dublin, RIA 23 L 32, Risdeard Tuibear of Co Dublin, see Gad. I, 159, 161. See poem 43, Notes in the printed edition.
  25. Dublin, RIA 23 L 34, 1714, the part containing our poem is by Muiris Ó Nuabha (Maurice Newby) of Tipperary, a careful scribe, Gad. I, 160–161, and ref. to H 6 15, infra, TCD MSS. Poem 7.
  26. Dublin, RIA 23 M 16, 1768, Andrias Mac Mathghamhna, Limerick. Our poem was transcribed from a MS. of 1567, according to the heading, (see p. 268 of printed edition). Poem 40.
  27. Dublin, RIA 23 M 17, c. 1715, Séon Mac Solaidh, of Meath, see 23 D 5 supra. See introduction of printed edition, p. xxiv.
  28. Dublin, RIA 23 M 18, Same as last. Poem 32.
  29. Dublin, RIA 23 M 34, c. 1684, Eóghan Ó Caoimh, See Gad. 1, 2; 5 etc. Text of the dám dírech is bad. Poem 34.
  30. Dublin, RIA 23 M 47, 1790–1816, the part containing our poem is by John O'Daly. Poem 6.
  31. Dublin, RIA 23 N 11, c. 1766, Micheál Ó Longáin. Poem 24.
  32. Dublin, RIA 23 N 12, c. 1766?, Micheál Ó Longáin and M. Óg Ó Longáin. Poems 8, 16.
  33. Dublin, RIA 23 N 14, c. 1790, Micheál Óg Ó Longáin. Poem. 8.
  34. Dublin, RIA 23 N 15, c. 1740, Micheál Ó Longáin. Poem 6.
  35. Dublin, RIA 24 A 26, 19th century, no name. Poem 2.
  36. Dublin, RIA 24 A 28, 1818, M. Óg Ó Longáin. Poem 6.
  37. Dublin, RIA 24 C 5, 1844–55, Éamonn Ó Mathghamhna: ar na aithsgríobha as seanleabhar árrsa no cianaosda do sgribhe an t-Athair Seaghran h Connaire. See printed edition p. 104. Poem 32.
  38. Dublin, RIA 24 C 20, c. 1855, Brian O'Looney. Poem 7.
  39. Dublin, RIA 24 L 36, 1885, Patraic Mhac Oghannán. Poem 28.
  40. Dublin, RIA 24 P 12, No date, but the writing is early 17th century, of the O'Cleary school. Text good. Poems 9, 11, 13.
  41. Dublin, RIA 24 O 25, vellum, the part containing our poem probably c. 1580, see Leabhar Chlaine Suibhne ed. Rev. Paul Walsh, 1920. Poem 27.
  42. Dublin, RIA 24 P 27, no name or date; the 16th century poems are in a late 17th century hand. Text good. Poems 2, 5.
  43. Dublin, RIA A iv 3, no name or date; defective at beginning and end. The writing is a scholarly 17th century hand, and the text good. Poems 3, 12, 13, 21.
  44. Dublin, RIA A v 1, no name or date; hand late 17th century. Text good. Poems 1, 2, 3, 4.
  45. Dublin, RIA A v 2, no name or date; various hands, the copy of our poem is probably late 17th century. Text fairly good. Poem 7.
  46. Dublin, RIA C i 1, 1731, Charles O'Conor of Belanagare, Co Roscommon. Poem 15.
  47. Dublin, RIA C iv 1, The greater part of this book consists of Maguire poems transcribed at Dublin in 1713, by E (This is his own spelling of his christian name in the this MS) Buidhe Mac Cruitín, from the Duanaire (Poem-book) of Cú Chonnacht Mhág Uidhir (slain at Aughrim in 1691). Some fragments of the Duanaire itself, together with some leaves from other early 17th century mss., follow the transcriptions. The copies of our poems by E Buidhe, show in general style the same peculiarities of spelling as those in 24 P 12, but wrong accents are frequently added, and the spelling is often inaccurate. Poems 9, 11.
  48. Dublin, RIA E ii 1, 18th century, our poem by Charles O'Conor of Belanagare in 1749. The copy is evidently from that in the O'Conor Don MS., with which it closley agrees. Poem 16.
  49. Dublin, RIA F ii 4, 1820, Peadar Ó Longáin. Poem 7.
  50. Dublin, RIA F iii 1, 1820, Micheál Ó Longáin and Peadar Ó Longáin. Poem 7, 8.
  51. Dublin, RIA F iv 4, 1809, M. Óg Ó Longáin. Poem 8.
  52. Dublin, RIA F v 3, 1788, Énrí Mac An tSaoir, Dublin. Poem 9.
  53. Dublin, RIA F vi 2, 1813, M.Óg Ó Longáin. Poem 5, 7, 8, 14, 16, 24.
  54. Dublin, UCD-OFM A 34, otherwise MS. No. 16 (formerly Franciscan Convent, Merchants' Quay). c. 1628, see RC 11, 326, Ériu 5, 51, ZfcP 10, 274. Poems 1, 15, 18, 22a, 28, 33, 36.
  55. Stonyhurst College, A ii 20, c. 1701, by C. Ó Corbáin. Poem 33.
  56. Harvard University Library, Leabhar Branach see O'Grady Cat. 499. Poem 35.
  57. Dublin, TCD F 1 18, 18th century? A miscellaneous collection of historical extracts; the copy of our poem is in a hand resembling that of Chas. O'Conor of Belanagare. Poem 4.
  58. Dublin, TCD F 4 13, 1578, vellum. No name; see O'Grady, Cat. 428, and TCD Cat., ed. Gwynn. Poem 17.
  59. Dublin, TCD H 1 6, c. 1761, Aodh Ó Dála, an unreliable scribe; see O'Grady, Cat. 499. Poem 3, 33.
  60. Dublin, TCD H 1 14, 1750, a copy of Leabhar Branach by Aodh Ó Dála above. For general comments see O'Grady, l.c. and Gwynn's Cat. Poem 9, 35.
  61. Dublin, TCD H 1 17, 1755, same scribe as last. Poem 44.
  62. Dublin, TCD H 4 3, 18th century, Muiris MacGormán, of Louth, see above, 2. Poem 4.
  63. Dublin, TCD H 4 4, 1726, Aodh Ó Dála. Poem 35.
  64. Dublin, TCD H 15, 1728, Stiabhna Ríghis, otherwise S. Ó Maoil Chraoibhe, see Gad. 1, 161, 302. Text fairly good for the period. Poems 4, 12, 20, 32.
  65. Dublin, TCD H 4 20, 1725–29, Tadhg Ó Neachtain. Poem 9.
  66. Dublin, TCD H 5 9, c. 1684, identity of scribe doubtful. Poem 44.
  67. Dublin, TCD H 6 7, c. 1737, Donnchadh Ó Connaill(?). Poem 7, 14, 20.
  68. Dublin, TCD H 6 15, 1714, Muiris Ó Nuabha, see above, 25. Poem 44.
  69. Dublin, TCD H 6 17, 19th century, Edward O'Reilly. Poem 44.
  70. Edinburgh, Advocates Library, No. XLIV, 17th century hand, no name, see Mackinnon, p. 122. Text good, but not always legible. Poems 4, 7, 9, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 23, 25, 26, 30, 32, 41, 42.
  71. Edinburgh, Advocates Library, No. XLIX, 17th century?, see Mackinnon, pp 99, 124. Poem 8.
  72. Edinburgh, Advocates Library, No. LII, a collection of undated fragments, probaby 17th century. Poem 15.
  73. In private possession. The Book of O'Conor Don, Clonalis, Co Roscommon, written at Ostend in 1631, by Aodh Ó Dochartaigh, as Prof. Hyde has shown in his description of the MS, Ériu 8, 78. The hand, though extremely neat and pleasing, is not a scholarly one, that is, it does not suggest that the writer had been educated in the tradition of the native schools. The text is often faulty, and in fact the principal value of this MS. is that it contains unique copies of a great many interesting pieces. The only poems of Tadhg Dall not found in it are: 2, 3, 5, 6, 13, 18, 20, 21, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 41–44.

Further reading

  1. Edmund Crosby Quiggin, Prolegomena to the study of the later Irish bards, 1200–1500 (Oxford 1911).
  2. Standish Hayes O'Grady, Catalogue of Irish manuscripts in the British Museum (London 1926–53)[Vol. 1, by Standish Hayes O'Grady; v. 2–3, by Robin Flower, completed by Myles Dillon].
  3. Eleanor Knott, An introduction to Irish syllabic poetry of the period 1200–1600: with selections, notes and glossary (Cork: Cork University Press 1928).
  4. Eleanor Knott, Irish classical poetry: commonly called bardic poetry (Dublin 1957).
  5. Osborn J. Bergin (ed.), Irish bardic poetry, ed. David Greene & Fergus Kelly (Dublin 1970)
  6. Liam P. Ó Caithnia, Apalóga na bhfilí 1200–1650 (Dublin 1984).
  7. Katharine Simms, Bardic poetry as a historical source. In: T. Dunne (ed.), The writer as witness (Cork 1987).
  8. Pádraig A. Breatnach, A New Introduction to the Bardic Poems of Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn (1550–1591), Irish Texts Society (Dublin 1997).
  9. Michelle O'Riordan, Irish Bardic Poetry and Rhetorical Reality (Cork 2007).

The edition used in the digital edition

Knott, Eleanor, ed. (1922). The bardic poems of Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn (1550–1591)‍. 1st ed. viii + 360 pp. London: Irish Texts Society.

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

@book{T402563,
  title 	 = {The bardic poems of Tadhg Dall Ó~Huiginn (1550–1591)},
  editor 	 = {Eleanor Knott},
  edition 	 = {1},
  note 	 = {viii + 360 pp.},
  address 	 = {London},
  date 	 = {1922},
  publisher 	 = {Irish Texts Society},
  UNKNOWN 	 = {seriesStmt}
}

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Creation: Translation by Eleanor Knott

Date: c. 1921

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  • The Text is in English. (en)
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Keywords: bardic; poetry; 16c; duanaire; poembook; translation

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  1. 2008-10-22: Keywords added, file validated; new wordcount made. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2008-07-28: Value of div0 "type" attribute modified, title elements streamlined, creation date inserted, content of 'langUsage' revised; minor modifications made to header. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2007-12-14: Note inserted in header. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2007-08-31: File parsed; SGML and HTML file created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  5. 2007-08-14: Minor corrections to the text; addition of bibliographical detail. (ed. Emer Purcell)
  6. 2007-07-30: Text proof-read (1); structural and content markup inserted; header compiled with bibliographical details. (ed. Emer Purcell)
  7. 2007: Text scanned, some XML markup applied. (ed. Ben Hazard and Emer Purcell)
  8. 2006-07: Text proof-read (1); some markup added. (ed. Emer Purcell)

Index to all documents

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Formatting

For details of the markup, see the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)

page of the print edition

folio of the manuscript

numbered division

 999 line number of the print edition (in grey: interpolated)

underlining: text supplied, added, or expanded editorially

italics: foreign words; corrections (hover to view); document titles

bold: lemmata (hover for readings)

wavy underlining: scribal additions in another hand; hand shifts flagged with (hover to view)

TEI markup for which a representation has not yet been decided is shown in red: comments and suggestions are welcome.

Other languages

G402563: The bardic poems of Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn (in Irish)

Source document

T402563.xml

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  1. I cannot translate the second line and the third is corrupt 🢀

  2. I do not understand the third line 🢀

  3. See notes printed edition 🢀

  4. Here Ed. has: {} anger; fitting was the poetry to his bright cheeks, he is provoked without reason 🢀

  5. N has: {}were against him while in their company it would be no marvel if he should spoil them. The rest is too defective for translation. 🢀

  6. See notes 🢀

  7. Text corrupt and unintelligible 🢀

  8. I have no other ex, of branar in any meaning that would suit here. 🢀

  9. A line is missing in the text 🢀

  10. or reading:cuiread 'let them no doubt'. 🢀

  11. Text imperfect. 🢀

  12. Text imperfect 🢀

  13. Reading:Ní cáíl 🢀

  14. Text imperfect. 🢀

  15. Text corrupt 🢀

  16. Text defective 🢀

  17. Text uncertain 🢀

  18. see Notes printed edition 🢀

  19. Text defective 🢀

  20. The remainder of this stanza in unintelligible to me. 🢀

  21. The remainder of this stanza is unintelligible to me. 🢀

  22. The text has been transmitted in a very corrupt form, and many passages are unintelligble to me. In some cases the translation is from conjectural emendations of the published text, see Notes. 🢀

  23. The words in square brackets translate a conjectural restoration of the text. See Variants. 🢀

  24. The loss of some lines here obscures the trend of the remaining stanzas; but the poet is evidently describing the delights of O'Conor's country of Sligo, and seems to suggest that they may have an enervating effect on the warrior's courage and spirit of enterprise. 🢀

  25. MS defective 🢀

  26. MS defective 🢀

  27. MS defective 🢀

  28. MS defective 🢀

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