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Title: Ancient Irish Poetry
Author: Various
Language: English
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                    SELECTIONS FROM
                  ANCIENT IRISH POETRY



                    Selections from
                  Ancient Irish Poetry


                     TRANSLATED BY

                      KUNO MEYER


                        LONDON
               CONSTABLE & COMPANY LTD
       10 ORANGE STREET LEICESTER SQUARE W.C.
                         1911



                          TO
                EDMUND KNOWLES MUSPRATT
          THE ENLIGHTENED AND GENEROUS PATRON
                  OF CELTIC STUDIES
            IN THE UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL
                    A SMALL TOKEN
          OF AFFECTIONATE REGARD AND GRATITUDE



INTRODUCTION


In offering this collection of translations from early Irish poetry to a
wider public I feel that I am expected to give a brief account of the
literature from which they are taken--a literature so little known that
its very existence has been doubted or denied by some, while others, who
had the misfortune to make its acquaintance in ill-chosen or inadequate
renderings, have refused to recognise any merit in it. The bias and
ignorance of English historians and of many professed students of Irish
history, who continue to write without a first-hand knowledge of its
sources, have also reacted unfavourably upon the study of Irish
literature. Slowly, however, the fact is becoming recognised in ever wider
circles that the vernacular literature of ancient Ireland is the most
primitive and original among the literatures of Western Europe, and that
in its origins and development it affords a most fascinating study.
Whatever may be its intrinsic merit, its importance as the earliest voice
from the dawn of West European civilisation cannot be denied.

Time and again in the course of their history the nations of Western and
Northern Europe have had to struggle hard for the preservation of their
national life against a powerful denationalising influence proceeding from
Rome. Those among them who underwent the Roman conquest lost early,
together with their liberty, their most precious national possession,
their native language and with it their vernacular literature. Less than a
century after the slaughter of Vercingetorix Romanised Gauls were
carrying off the palm of Roman eloquence. By the fifth century the Gaulish
language was everywhere extinct, without having left behind a single
record of its literature. The same fate was shared by all Celtic
nationalities of the Continent, and by those numerous Germanic tribes that
were conquered by Rome, or came within the sphere of the later Roman
civilisation. In Britain, where the Roman occupation was only temporary,
its denationalising effect may be gauged by the numerous Latin loan-words
preserved to the present day in the Welsh language, by the partial
Romanisation of British personal proper names, by the early inscribed
stones, which, unlike those of Ireland, are all in Latin, and by the late
and slow beginnings of a literature in the vernacular.

It was only on the outskirts of the Continental world, and beyond the sway
and influence of the Roman Empire, that some vigorous nations preserved
their national institutions intact, and among them there are only three
whom letters reached early enough to leave behind some record of their
pagan civilisation in a vernacular literature. These were the Irish, the
Anglo-Saxons, and, comparative latecomers, the Icelanders.

Again, when Christianity came with the authority of Rome and in the Latin
language, now imbued with an additional sanctity, there ensued in all
nations a struggle between the vernacular and the foreign tongue for
obtaining the rank of a literary language--a struggle from which the
languages of the Continental nations, as well as of Britain, emerged only
slowly and late. It is not till the end of the eleventh century that we
find the beginnings of a national literature in France and Germany. In
Ireland, on the other hand, which had received her Christianity not direct
from Rome but from Britain and Gaul, and where the Church, far removed
from the centre of Roman influence and cut off from the rest of
Christendom, was developing on national lines, vernacular literature
received a fresh impulse from the new faith. A flourishing primitive
Christian literature arose. The national language was employed not only
for the purposes of instruction and devotion, in tombstone or other
inscriptions, but also in religious prose and poetry, and, still more
remarkable, in learned writings. There can, I think, be little doubt that
we should hardly have any early records of Anglo-Saxon literature if the
English had not in the first instance received Christianity from the
Irish. It had been the influence and example of those Irish missionaries
who converted Northumberland that taught the Anglian monk to preserve and
cultivate his national literature.

Ireland had become the heiress of the classical and theological learning
of the Western Empire of the third and fourth centuries, and a period of
humanism was thus ushered in which reached its culmination during the
sixth and following centuries, the Golden Age of Irish civilisation. The
charge that is so often levelled against Irish history, that it has been,
as it were, in a backwater, where only the fainter wash of the larger
currents reaches, cannot apply to this period. For once, at any rate,
Ireland drew upon herself the eyes of the whole world, not, as so often
in later times, by her unparalleled sufferings, but as the one haven of
rest in a turbulent world overrun by hordes of barbarians, as the great
seminary of Christian and classical learning, 'the quiet habitation of
sanctity and literature,' as Doctor Johnson called her in a memorable
letter written to Charles O'Connor. Her sons, carrying Christianity and a
new humanism over Great Britain and the Continent, became the teachers of
whole nations, the counsellors of kings and emperors. For once, if but for
a century or two, the Celtic spirit dominated a large part of the Western
world, and Celtic ideals imparted a new life to a decadent civilisation
until they succumbed, not altogether to the benefit of mankind, before a
mightier system--that of Rome.

It was during this period that the oral literature, handed down by many
generations of bards and story-tellers, was first written down in the
monasteries. Unfortunately, not a single tale, only two or three poems,
have come down to us from these early centuries in contemporary
manuscripts. In Ireland nearly all old MSS. were destroyed during the
Viking terror which burst upon the island at the end of the eighth
century.[1] But, from the eleventh century onward, we have an almost
unbroken series of hundreds of MSS. in which all that had escaped
destruction was collected and arranged. Many of the tales and poems thus
preserved were undoubtedly originally composed in the eighth century; some
few perhaps in the seventh; and as Irish scholarship advances, it is not
unlikely that fragments of poetry will be found which, from linguistic or
internal evidence, may be claimed for the sixth century.

The Celtic nations stand almost alone in this, that they did not employ
poetry for epical narrative. There are no ancient Irish epics or ballads.
So much was prose the natural vehicle of expression for Gaelic narrative,
that when in later centuries the Arthurian epics were done into Gaelic,
they were all turned from poetry into prose. At the same time, most Irish
tales and stories are interspersed with lyrics put into the mouth of the
principal heroes, after the manner of the _cante fable_, most familiar to
modern readers from the French story of _Aucassin et Nicolete_. My
collection begins with a few specimens of such poems.

The purely lyrical poetry of ancient Ireland may be roughly divided into
two sections--that of the professional bard attached to the court and
person of a chief; and that of the unattached poet, whether monk or
itinerant bard.

From the earliest times we know the names of many famous bards of ancient
Ireland and Scotland. Their songs are interwoven with the history of the
dynasties and the great houses of the country whose retainers they were,
and whose joys and sorrows they shared and expressed. Thus they became the
chroniclers of many historical events. Of the oldest bardic poetry very
little has as yet been published, and less translated. But many fine
examples of a later age will be found in Standish Hayes O'Grady's
_Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in the British Museum_, a book which
makes one realise more clearly than any other that the true history of
Ireland has never yet been written. My own specimens from the earlier
centuries include several laments and a sword-song, a species of bardic
composition which the Gaels share with the Norse.

Religious poetry ranges from single quatrains to lengthy compositions
dealing with all the varied aspects of religious life. Many of them give
us a fascinating insight into the peculiar character of the early Irish
Church, which differed in so many ways from the rest of the Christian
world. We see the hermit in his lonely cell, the monk at his devotions or
at his work of copying in the scriptorium or under the open sky; or we
hear the ascetic who, alone or with twelve chosen companions, has left one
of the great monasteries in order to live in greater solitude among the
woods or mountains, or on a lonely island. The fact that so many of these
poems are fathered upon well-known saints emphasises the friendly attitude
of the native clergy towards vernacular poetry.

In Nature poetry the Gaelic muse may vie with that of any other nation.
Indeed, these poems occupy a unique position in the literature of the
world. To seek out and watch and love Nature, in its tiniest phenomena as
in its grandest, was given to no people so early and so fully as to the
Celt. Many hundreds of Gaelic and Welsh poems testify to this fact.[2] It
is a characteristic of these poems that in none of them do we get an
elaborate or sustained description of any scene or scenery, but rather a
succession of pictures and images which the poet, like an impressionist,
calls up before us by light and skilful touches. Like the Japanese, the
Celts were always quick to take an artistic hint; they avoid the obvious
and the commonplace; the half-said thing to them is dearest.

Of ancient love-songs comparatively little has come down to us. What we
have are mostly laments for departed lovers. He who would have further
examples of Gaelic love-poetry must turn to modern collections, among
which the _Love-Songs of Connaught_, collected and translated by Douglas
Hyde, occupy the foremost place.

A word on the metrical system of Irish poetry may conclude this rapid
sketch. The original type from which the great variety of Irish metres has
sprung is the catalectic trochaic tetrameter of Latin poetry, as in the
well-known popular song of Cæsar's soldiers:--

   'Caesar Gallias subegit,      Nicomedes Caesarem,
   Ecce Caesar nunc triumphat      qui subegit Gallias';

or in St. Hilary's _Hymnus in laudem Christi_, beginning:--

   'Ymnum dicat turba fratrum,      ymnum cantus personet,
   Christo regi concinentes      laudem demus debitam.'

The commonest stanza is a quatrain consisting of four heptasyllabic lines
with the rhyme at the end of the couplet. In my renderings I have made no
attempt at either rhythm or rhyme; but I have printed the stanzas so as
to show the structure of the poem. For merely practical reasons I have, in
some cases, printed them in the form of couplets, in others in that of
verse-lines.

I must not conclude without recording here also, as I have done elsewhere,
my gratitude for the constant help and advice given to me in these
translations by my old friend and colleague, Professor J.M. Mackay.

       K.M.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: The poems referred to have been preserved in Continental
manuscripts.]

[Footnote 2: See the admirable paper by Professor Lewis Jones on 'The Celt
and the Poetry of Nature,' in the _Transactions of the Hon. Society of
Cymmrodorion_, Session 1892-93, p. 46 ff.]



CONTENTS


 MYTH AND SAGA--
                                                           PAGE
 THE ISLES OF THE HAPPY                                       3

 THE SEA-GOD'S ADDRESS TO BRAN                                7

 THE TRYST AFTER DEATH                                        9

 DEIRDRE'S FAREWELL TO SCOTLAND                              15

 DEIRDRE'S LAMENT                                            17

 THE HOSTS OF FAERY                                          19

 FROM THE VISION OF MAC CONGLINNE                            20


 RELIGIOUS POETRY--

 THE DEER'S CRY                                              25

 AN EVEN-SONG                                                28

 PATRICK'S BLESSING ON MUNSTER                               29

 THE HERMIT'S SONG                                           30

 A PRAYER TO THE VIRGIN                                      32

 EVE'S LAMENT                                                34

 ON THE FLIGHTINESS OF THOUGHT                               35

 TO CRINOG                                                   37

 THE DEVIL'S TRIBUTE TO MOLING                               39

 MAELISU'S HYMN TO THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL                     41

 THE MOTHERS' LAMENT AT THE SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS       42


 SONGS OF NATURE--

 KING AND HERMIT                                             47

 SONG OF THE SEA                                             51

 SUMMER HAS COME                                             53

 SONG OF SUMMER                                              54

 SUMMER IS GONE                                              56

 A SONG OF WINTER                                            57

 ARRAN                                                       59

 LOVE POETRY--

 THE SONG OF CREDE, DAUGHTER OF GUARE                        63

 LIADIN AND CURITHIR                                         65


 BARDIC POETRY--

 A DIRGE FOR KING NIALL OF THE NINE HOSTAGES                 69

 THE SONG OF CARROLL'S SWORD                                 72

 EOCHAID'S LAMENT                                            75

 LAMENT ON KING MALACHY II.                                  77


 MISCELLANEOUS--

 THE MONK AND HIS PET CAT                                    81

 COLUM CILLE'S GREETING TO IRELAND                           83

 ON ANGUS THE CULDEE                                         86

 COLUM CILLE THE SCRIBE                                      87

 THE LAMENT OF THE OLD WOMAN OF BEARE                        88

 THE DESERTED HOME                                           92

 CORMAC MAC CULENNAIN SANG THIS                              94

 ALEXANDER THE GREAT                                         95


 QUATRAINS--

 THE SCRIBE                                                  99

 ON A DEAD SCHOLAR                                           99

 THE CRUCIFIXION                                             99

 THE PILGRIM AT ROME                                        100

 HOSPITALITY                                                100

 THE BLACKBIRD                                              100

 MOLING SANG THIS                                           100

 THE CHURCH BELL IN THE NIGHT                               101

 THE VIKING TERROR                                          101


 FROM THE TRIADS OF IRELAND                                 102


 FROM THE INSTRUCTIONS OF KING CORMAC                       105


 NOTES                                                      111



MYTH AND SAGA



THE ISLES OF THE HAPPY


   Once when Bran, son of Feval, was with his warriors in his
   royal fort, they suddenly saw a woman in strange raiment
   upon the floor of the house. No one knew whence she had come
   or how she had entered, for the ramparts were closed. Then
   she sang these quatrains to Bran while all the host were
   listening.

       I bring a branch of Evin's[3] apple-tree,
       In shape alike to those you know:
       Twigs of white silver are upon it,
       Buds of crystal with blossoms.

       There is a distant isle,
       Around which sea-horses glisten:
       A fair course against the white-swelling surge--
       Four pedestals uphold it.

       A delight of the eyes, a glorious range
       Is the plain on which the hosts hold games:
       Coracle contends against chariot
       In Silver-white Plain[3] to the south.

       Pedestals of white bronze underneath
       Glittering through ages of beauty:
       Fairest land throughout the world,
       On which the many blossoms drop.

       An ancient tree there is in bloom,
       On which birds call to the Hours:
       In harmony of song they all are wont
       To chant together every Hour.

       Colours of every shade glisten
       Throughout the gentle-voiced plains:
       Joy is known, ranked around music,
       In Silver-cloud Plain[3] to the south.

       Unknown is wailing or treachery
       In the homely cultivated land:
       There is nothing rough or harsh,
       But sweet music striking on the ear.

       Without grief, without gloom, without death,
       Without any sickness or debility--
       That is the sign of Evin:
       Uncommon is the like of such a marvel.

       A beauty of a wondrous land,
       Whose aspects are lovely,
       Whose view is wondrous fair,
       Incomparable is its haze.[4]

       Then if Silverland[5] is seen,
       On which dragon-stones and crystals drop--
       The sea washes the wave against the land,
       A crystal spray drops from its mane.

       Wealth, treasures of every hue
       Are in the Land of Peace[5]--a beauty of freshness:
       There is listening to sweet music,
       Drinking of the choicest wine.

       Golden chariots on the plain of the sea
       Heaving with the tide to the sun:
       Chariots of silver on the Plain of Sports,[5]
       And of bronze that has no blemish.

       Steeds of yellow gold are on the sward there,
       Other steeds with crimson colour,
       Others again with a coat upon their backs
       Of the hue of all-blue heaven.

       At sunrise there comes
       A fair man illumining level lands:
       He rides upon the white sea-washed plain,
       He stirs the ocean till it is blood.

       A host comes across the clear sea,
       They exhibit their rowing to the land:
       Then they row to the shining stone
       From which arises music a hundredfold.

       It sings a strain unto the host
       Through ages long, it is never weary:
       Its music swells with choruses of hundreds--
       They expect neither decay nor death.

       Many-shaped Evna by the sea,
       Whether it be near, whether it be far--
       In which are thousands of many-hued women,
       Which the clear sea encircles.

       If one has heard the voice of the music,
       The chorus of little birds from the Land of Peace,
       A band of women comes from a height
       To the plain of sport in which he is.

       There comes happiness with health
       To the land against which laughter peals:
       Into the Land of Peace at every season
       Comes everlasting joy.

       Through the ever-fair weather
       Silver is showered on the lands,
       A pure-white cliff over the range of the sea
       Receives from the sun its heat.

       There are thrice fifty distant isles
       In the ocean to the west of us:
       Larger than Erin twice
       Is each of them, or thrice.

       A wonderful child will be born after ages,
       Who will not be in lofty places,
       The son of a woman whose mate is unknown,
       He will seize the rule of the many thousands.

       A rule without beginning, without end.
       He has created the world so that it is perfect:
       Earth and sea are His--
       Woe to him that shall be under His unwill!

       'Tis He that made the heavens,
       Happy he that has a white heart!
       He will purify multitudes with pure water,
       'Tis He that will heal your sicknesses.

       Not to all of you is my speech,
       Though its great marvel has been revealed:
       Let Bran listen from the crowd of the world
       To the wisdom told to him.

       Do not sink upon a bed of sloth!
       Let not intoxication overcome thee!
       Begin a voyage across the clear sea,
       If perchance thou mayst reach the Land of Women.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 3: The name of one of the Isles of the Happy.]

[Footnote 4: 'Ese vapor transparente y dorado, que solo se ve en los
climas meridionales.']

[Footnote 5: The name of one of the Isles of the Happy.]



THE SEA-GOD'S ADDRESS TO BRAN


   Then on the morrow Bran went upon the sea. When he had been
   at sea two days and two nights, he saw a man in a chariot
   coming towards him over the sea. It was Manannan, the son of
   Ler, who sang these quatrains to him.

   To Bran in his coracle it seems
   A marvellous beauty across the clear sea:
   To me in my chariot from afar
   It is a flowery plain on which he rides.

   What is a clear sea
   For the prowed skiff in which Bran is,
   That to me in my chariot of two wheels
   Is a delightful plain with a wealth of flowers.

   Bran sees
   A mass of waves beating across the clear sea:
   I see myself in the Plain of Sports
   Red-headed flowers that have no fault.

   Sea-horses glisten in summer
   As far as Bran can stretch his glance:
   Rivers pour forth a stream of honey
   In the land of Manannan, son of Ler.

   The sheen of the main on which thou art,
   The dazzling white of the sea on which thou rowest about--
   Yellow and azure are spread out,
   It is a light and airy land.

   Speckled salmon leap from the womb
   Out of the white sea on which thou lookest:
   They are calves, they are lambs of fair hue,
   With truce, without mutual slaughter.

   Though thou seest but one chariot-rider
   In the Pleasant Plain of many flowers,
   There are many steeds on its surface,
   Though them thou seest not.

   Large is the plain, numerous is the host,
   Colours shine with pure glory,
   A white stream of silver, stairs of gold
   Afford a welcome with all abundance.

   An enchanting game, most delicious,
   They play over the luscious wine,
   Men and gentle women under a bush,
   Without sin, without transgression.

   Along the top of a wood
   Thy coracle has swum across ridges,
   There is a wood laden with beautiful fruit
   Under the prow of thy little skiff.

   A wood with blossom and with fruit
   On which is the vine's veritable fragrance,
   A wood without decay, without defect,
   On which is a foliage of a golden hue.

   We are from the beginning of creation
   Without old age, without consummation of clay,
   Hence we expect not there might be frailty--
   Transgression has not come to us.

   Steadily then let Bran row!
   It is not far to the Land of Women:
   Evna with manifold bounteousness
   He will reach before the sun is set.



THE TRYST AFTER DEATH


   Fothad Canann, the leader of a Connaught warrior-band, had
   carried off the wife of Alill of Munster with her consent.
   The outraged husband pursued them and a fierce battle was
   fought, in which Fothad and Alill fell by each other's hand.
   The lovers had engaged to meet in the evening after the
   battle. Faithful to his word, the spirit of the slain
   warrior kept the tryst and thus addressed his paramour:

   Hush, woman, do not speak to me! My thoughts are not with thee.
   My thoughts are still in the encounter at Feic.

   My bloody corpse lies by the side of the Slope of two Brinks;
   My head all unwashed is among warrior-bands in fierce slaughter.

   It is blindness for any one making a tryst to set aside the tryst with
       Death:
   The tryst that we made at Claragh has been kept by me in pale death.

   It was destined for me,--unhappy journey! at Feic my grave had been
       marked out;
   It was ordained for me--O sorrowful fight! to fall by warriors of
       another land.

   'Tis not I alone who in the fulness of desires has gone astray to meet
       a woman--
   No reproach to thee, though it was for thy sake--wretched is our last
       meeting!
   Had we known it would be thus, it had not been hard to desist.

   The noble-faced, grey-horsed warrior-band has not betrayed me.
   Alas! for the wonderful yew-forest,[6] that they should have gone into
       the abode of clay!

   Had they been alive, they would have revenged their lords;
   Had mighty death not intervened, this warrior-band had not been
       unavenged by me.

   To their very end they were brave; they ever strove for victory over
       their foes;
   They would still sing a stave--a deep-toned shout,--they sprang from
       the race of a noble lord.

   That was a joyous, lithe-limbed band to the very hour when they were
       slain:
   The green-leaved forest has received them--it was an all-fierce
       slaughter.

   Well-armed Domnall, he of the red draught, he was the Lugh[7] of the
       well-accoutred hosts:
   By him in the ford--it was doom of death--Congal the Slender fell.

   The three Eoghans, the three Flanns, they were renowned outlaws;
   Four men fell by each of them, it was not a coward's portion.

   Swiftly Cu-Domna reached us, making for his namesake:
   On the hill of the encounter the body of Flann the Little will be
       found.

   With him where his bloody bed is thou wilt find eight men:
   Though we thought them feeble, the leavings of the weapon of Mughirne's
       son.

   Not feebly fights Falvey the Red; the play of his spear-strings withers
       the host;
   Ferchorb of radiant body leapt upon the field and dealt seven murderous
       blows.

   Front to front twelve warriors stood against me in mutual fight:
   Not one of them all remains that I did not leave in slaughter.

   Then we two exchanged spears, I and Alill, Eoghan's son:
   We both perished--O the fierceness of those stout thrusts!
   We fell by each other though it was senseless: it was the encounter of
       two heroes.

   Do not await the terror of night on the battle-field among the slain
       warriors:
   One should not hold converse with ghosts! betake thee home, carry my
       spoils with thee!

   Every one will tell thee that mine was not the raiment of a churl:
   A crimson cloak and a white tunic, a belt of silver, no paltry work!

   My five-edged spear, a murderous lance, whose slaughters have been
       many;
   A shield with five circles and a boss of bronze, by which they used
       to swear binding oaths.

   The white cup of my cup-bearer, a shining gem, will glitter before
       thee;
   My golden finger-ring, my bracelets, treasures without a flaw, King Nia
       Nar had brought them over the sea.

   Cailte's brooch, a pin with luck, it was one of his marvellous
       treasures:
   Two heads of silver round a head of gold, a goodly piece, though small.

   My draught-board--no mean treasure!--is thine; take it with thee.
   Noble blood drips on its rim, it lies not far hence.

   Many a body of the spear-armed host lies here and there around its
       crimson woof;
   A dense bush of the ruddy oak-wood conceals it by the side of the
       grave.

   As thou carefully searchest for it thou shouldst not speak much:
   Earth never covered anything so marvellous.

   One half of its pieces are yellow gold, the other are white bronze;
   Its woof is of pearls; it is the wonder of smiths how it was wrought.

   The bag for its pieces,--'tis a marvel of a story--its rim is
       embroidered with gold;
   The master-smith has left a lock upon it which no ignorant person can
       open.

   A four-cornered casket,--it is but tiny--made of coils of red gold;
   One hundred ounces of white bronze have been put into it firmly.

   For it is of a coil of firm red gold, Dinoll the goldsmith brought it
       over the sea;
   Even one of its clasps only has been priced at seven slave-women.[8]

   Memories describe it as one of Turvey's master-works:
   In the time of Art--he was a luxurious king--'tis then Turvey, lord of
       many herds, made it.

   Smiths never made any work comparable with it;
   Earth never hid a king's jewel so marvellous.

   If thou be cunning as to its price, I know thy children will never be
       in want;
   If thou hoard it, a close treasure, none of thy offspring will ever be
       destitute.

   There are around us here and there many spoils of famous luck:
   Horrible are the huge entrails which the Morrigan[9] washes.

   She came to us from the edge of a spear, 'tis she that egged us on.
   Many are the spoils she washes, terrible the hateful laugh she laughs.

   She has flung her mane over her back--it is a stout heart that will not
       quail at her:
   Though she is so near to us, do not let fear overcome thee!

   In the morning I shall part from all that is human, I shall follow the
       warrior-band;
   Go to thy house, stay not here, the end of the night is at hand.

   Some one will at all times remember this song of Fothad Canann;
   My discourse with thee shall not be unrenowned, if thou remember my
       bequest.

   Since my grave will be frequented, let a conspicuous tomb be raised;
   Thy trouble for thy love is no loss of labour.

   My riddled body must now part from thee awhile, my soul to be tortured
       by the black demon.
   Save for the worship of Heaven's King, love of this world is folly.

   I hear the dusky ousel that sends a joyous greeting to all the
       faithful:
   My speech, my shape are spectral--hush, woman, do not speak to me!

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 6: A kenning for a band of warriors. 'The flowers of the forest
have all wede away.']

[Footnote 7: A famous mythical hero.]

[Footnote 8: A slave-woman (rated at three cows) was the standard of value
among the ancient Irish.]

[Footnote 9: A battle-goddess.]



DEIRDRE'S FAREWELL TO SCOTLAND


   A beloved land is yon land in the east,
   Alba[10] with its marvels.
   I would not have come hither[11] out of it,
   Had I not come with Noisi.

   Beloved are Dun Fidga and Dun Finn,
   Beloved is the fortress above them,
   Beloved is the Isle of the Thorn-bush,
   And beloved is Dun Sweeny.

   Caill Cuan!
   Unto which Ainnle would go, alas!
   Short we thought the time there,
   Noisi and I in the land of Alba.

   Glen Lay!
   There I used to sleep under a shapely rock.
   Fish and venison and badger's fat,
   That was my portion in Glen Lay.

   Glen Massan!
   Tall is its wild garlic, white are its stalks:
   We used to have a broken sleep
   On the grassy river-mouth of Massan.

   Glen Etive!
   There I raised my first house.
   Delightful its house! when we rose in the morning
   A sunny cattle-fold was Glen Etive.

   Glen Urchain!
   That was the straight, fair-ridged glen!
   Never was man of his age prouder
   Than Noisi in Glen Urchain.

   Glen Da Ruadh!
   Hail to him who hath it as an heritage!
   Sweet is the cuckoo's voice on bending branch
   On the peak above Glen Da Ruadh.

   Beloved is Draighen over a firm beach!
   Beloved its water in pure sand!
   I would never have left it, from the east,
   Had I not come with my beloved.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 10: _i.e._ Scotland.]

[Footnote 11: _i.e._ to Ireland.]



DEIRDRE'S LAMENT


   And Deirdre dishevelled her hair and began kissing Noisi and
   drinking his blood, and the colour of embers came into her
   cheeks, and she uttered this lay.

   Long is the day without Usnagh's Children;
   It was never mournful to be in their company.
   A king's sons, by whom exiles were rewarded,
   Three lions from the Hill of the Cave.

   Three dragons of Dun Monidh,
   The three champions from the Red Branch:
   After them I shall not live--
   Three that used to break every onrush.

   Three darlings of the women of Britain,
   Three hawks of Slieve Gullion,
   Sons of a king whom valour served,
   To whom soldiers would pay homage.

   Three heroes who were not good at homage,
   Their fall is cause of sorrow--
   Three sons of Cathba's daughter,
   Three props of the battle-host of Coolney.

   Three vigorous bears,
   Three lions out of Liss Una,
   Three lions who loved their praise,
   Three pet sons of Ulster.

   That I should remain after Noisi
   Let no one in the world suppose!
   After Ardan and Ainnle
   My time would not be long.

   Ulster's high-king, my first husband,
   I forsook for Noisi's love:
   Short my life after them,
   I will perform their funeral game.

   After them I will not be alive--
   Three that would go into every conflict,
   Three who liked to endure hardships,
   Three heroes who never refused combat.

   O man that diggest the tomb,
   And that puttest my darling from me,
   Make not the grave too narrow,
   I shall be beside the noble ones.



THE HOSTS OF FAERY


   White shields they carry in their hands,
   With emblems of pale silver;
   With glittering blue swords,
   With mighty stout horns.

   In well-devised battle array,
   Ahead of their fair chieftain
   They march amid blue spears,
   Pale-visaged, curly-headed bands.

   They scatter the battalions of the foe,
   They ravage every land they attack,
   Splendidly they march to combat,
   A swift, distinguished, avenging host!

   No wonder though their strength be great:
   Sons of queens and kings are one and all;
   On their heads are
   Beautiful golden-yellow manes.

   With smooth comely bodies,
   With bright blue-starred eyes,
   With pure crystal teeth,
   With thin red lips.

   Good they are at man-slaying,
   Melodious in the ale-house,
   Masterly at making songs,
   Skilled at playing _fidchell_.[12]



FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 12: A game like draughts or chess.]



FROM THE VISION OF MAC CONGLINNE


   A vision that appeared to me,
   An apparition wonderful
       I tell to all:
   There was a coracle all of lard
   Within a port of New-milk Lake
       Upon the world's smooth sea.

   We went into that man-of-war,
   'Twas warrior-like to take the road
       O'er ocean's heaving waves.
   Our oar-strokes then we pulled
   Across the level of the main,
   Throwing the sea's harvest up
       Like honey, the sea-soil.

   The fort we reached was beautiful,
   With works of custards thick,
       Beyond the lake.
   Fresh butter was the bridge in front,
   The rubble dyke was fair white wheat,
       Bacon the palisade.

   Stately, pleasantly it sat,
   A compact house and strong.
       Then I went in:
   The door of it was hung beef,
   The threshold was dry bread,
       Cheese-curds the walls.

   Smooth pillars of old cheese
   And sappy bacon props
       Alternate ranged;
   Stately beams of mellow cream,
   White posts of real curds
       Kept up the house.

   Behind it was a well of wine,
   Beer and bragget in streams,
       Each full pool to the taste.
   Malt in smooth wavy sea
   Over a lard-spring's brink
       Flowed through the floor.

   A lake of juicy pottage
   Under a cream of oozy lard
       Lay 'twixt it and the sea.
   Hedges of butter fenced it round,
   Under a crest of white-mantled lard
       Around the wall outside.

   A row of fragrant apple-trees,
   An orchard in its pink-tipped bloom,
       Between it and the hill.
   A forest tall of real leeks,
   Of onions and of carrots, stood
       Behind the house.

   Within, a household generous,
   A welcome of red, firm-fed men,
       Around the fire:
   Seven bead-strings and necklets seven
   Of cheeses and of bits of tripe
       Round each man's neck.

   The Chief in cloak of beefy fat
   Beside his noble wife and fair
       I then beheld.
   Below the lofty caldron's spit
   Then the Dispenser I beheld,
       His fleshfork on his back.

   Wheatlet son of Milklet,
   Son of juicy Bacon,
       Is mine own name.
   Honeyed Butter-roll
   Is the man's name
       That bears my bag.

   Haunch of Mutton
   Is my dog's name,
       Of lovely leaps.
   Lard, my wife,
   Sweetly smiles
       Across the brose.

   Cheese-curds, my daughter,
   Goes round the spit,
       Fair is her fame.
   Corned Beef is my son,
   Who beams over a cloak,
       Enormous, of fat.

   Savour of Savours
   Is the name of my wife's maid:
   Morning-early
   Across New-milk Lake she went.

   Beef-lard, my steed,
   An excellent stallion
       That increases studs;
   A guard against toil
   Is the saddle of cheese
       Upon his back.

   A large necklace of delicious cheese-curds
       Around his back;
   His halter and his traces all
       Of fresh butter.



RELIGIOUS POETRY



THE DEER'S CRY


   Patrick sang this hymn when the ambuscades were laid against
   him by King Loeguire (Leary) that he might not go to Tara to
   sow the faith. Then it seemed to those lying in ambush that
   he and his monks were wild deer with a fawn, even Benen,
   following them. And its name is 'Deer's Cry.'

   I arise to-day
   Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
   Through belief in the threeness,
   Through confession of the oneness
   Of the Creator of Creation.

   I arise to-day
   Through the strength of Christ's birth with His baptism,
   Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
   Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
   Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of Doom.

   I arise to-day
   Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
   In obedience of angels,
   In the service of archangels,
   In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
   In prayers of patriarchs,
   In predictions of prophets,
   In preachings of apostles,
   In faiths of confessors,
   In innocence of holy virgins,
   In deeds of righteous men.

   I arise to-day
   Through the strength of heaven:
   Light of sun,
   Radiance of moon,
   Splendour of fire,
   Speed of lightning,
   Swiftness of wind,
   Depth of sea,
   Stability of earth,
   Firmness of rock.

   I arise to day
   Through God's strength to pilot me:
   God's might to uphold me,
   God's wisdom to guide me,
   God's eye to look before me,
   God's ear to hear me,
   God's word to speak for me,
   God's hand to guard me,
   God's way to lie before me,
   God's shield to protect me,
   God's host to save me
   From snares of devils,
   From temptations of vices,
   From every one who shall wish me ill,
   Afar and anear,
   Alone and in a multitude.

   I summon to-day all these powers between me and those evils,
   Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
   Against incantations of false prophets,
   Against black laws of pagandom,
   Against false laws of heretics,
   Against craft of idolatry,
   Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
   Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.

   Christ to shield me to-day
   Against poison, against burning,
   Against drowning, against wounding,
   So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
   Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
   Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
   Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
   Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
   Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
   Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me,
   Christ in every eye that sees me,
   Christ in every ear that hears me.

   I arise to-day
   Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
   Through belief in the threeness,
   Through confession of the oneness
   Of the Creator of Creation.



AN EVEN-SONG

PATRICK SANG THIS


   May Thy holy angels, O Christ, son of living God,
   Guard our sleep, our rest, our shining bed.

   Let them reveal true visions to us in our sleep,
   O high-prince of the universe, O great king of the mysteries!

   May no demons, no ill, no calamity or terrifying dreams
   Disturb our rest, our willing, prompt repose.

   May our watch be holy, our work, our task,
   Our sleep, our rest without let, without break.



PATRICK'S BLESSING ON MUNSTER


   God's blessing upon Munster,
   Men, women, children!
   A blessing on the land
   Which gives them fruit!

   A blessing on every wealth
   Which is brought forth on their marches!
   No one to be in want of help:
   God's blessing upon Munster!

   A blessing on their peaks,
   On their bare flagstones,
   A blessing on their glens,
   A blessing on their ridges!

   Like sand of sea under ships
   Be the number of their hearths:
   On slopes, on plains,
   On mountain-sides, on peaks.



THE HERMIT'S SONG


   I wish, O Son of the living God, O ancient, eternal King,
   For a hidden little hut in the wilderness that it may be my dwelling.

   An all-grey lithe little lark to be by its side,
   A clear pool to wash away sins through the grace of the Holy Spirit.

   Quite near, a beautiful wood around it on every side,
   To nurse many-voiced birds, hiding it with its shelter.

   A southern aspect for warmth, a little brook across its floor,
   A choice land with many gracious gifts such as be good for every plant.

   A few men of sense--we will tell their number--
   Humble and obedient, to pray to the King:--

   Four times three, three times four, fit for every need,
   Twice six in the church, both north and south:--

   Six pairs besides myself,
   Praying for ever the King who makes the sun shine.

   A pleasant church and with the linen altar-cloth, a dwelling for God
       from Heaven;
   Then, shining candles above the pure white Scriptures.

   One house for all to go to for the care of the body,
   Without ribaldry, without boasting, without thought of evil.

   This is the husbandry I would take, I would choose, and will not hide
       it:
   Fragrant leek, hens, salmon, trout, bees.

   Raiment and food enough for me from the King of fair fame,
   And I to be sitting for a while praying God in every place.



A PRAYER TO THE VIRGIN


   Gentle Mary, noble maiden, give us help!
   Shrine of our Lord's body, casket of the mysteries!

   Queen of queens, pure holy maiden,
   Pray for us that our wretched transgression be forgiven for Thy sake.

   Merciful one, forgiving one, with the grace of the Holy Spirit,
   Pray with us the true-judging King of the goodly ambrosial clan.

   Branch of Jesse's tree in the beauteous hazel-wood,
   Pray for me until I obtain forgiveness of my foul sins.

   Mary, splendid diadem, Thou that hast saved our race,
   Glorious noble torch, orchard of Kings!

   Brilliant one, transplendent one, with the deed of pure chastity,
   Fair golden illumined ark, holy daughter from Heaven!

   Mother of righteousness, Thou that excellest all else,
   Pray with me Thy first-born to save me on the day of Doom.

   Noble rare star, tree under blossom,
   Powerful choice lamp, sun that warmeth every one.

   Ladder of the great track by which every saint ascends,
   Mayst Thou be our safeguard towards the glorious Kingdom.

   Fair fragrant seat chosen by the King,
   The noble guest who was in Thy womb three times three months.

   Glorious royal porch through which He was incarnated,
   The splendid chosen sun, Jesus, Son of the living God.

   For the sake of the fair babe that was conceived in Thy womb,
   For the sake of the holy child that is High-King in every place,

   For the sake of His cross that is higher than any cross,
   For the sake of His burial when He was buried in a stone-tomb,

   For the sake of His resurrection when He arose before every one,
   For the sake of the holy household from every place to Doom,

   Be Thou our safeguard in the Kingdom of the good Lord,
   That we may meet with dear Jesus--that is our prayer--hail!



EVE'S LAMENT


   I am Eve, great Adam's wife,
   'Tis I that outraged Jesus of old;
   'Tis I that robbed my children of Heaven,
   By rights 'tis I that should have gone upon the cross.

   I had a kingly house to please me,
   Grievous the evil choice that disgraced me,
   Grievous the wicked advice that withered me!
   Alas! my hand is not pure.

   'Tis I that plucked the apple,
   Which went across my gullet:
   So long as they endure in the light of day,
   So long women will not cease from folly.

   There would be no ice in any place,
   There would be no glistening windy winter,
   There would be no hell, there would be no sorrow,
   There would be no fear, if it were not for me.



ON THE FLIGHTINESS OF THOUGHT


   Shame to my thoughts, how they stray from me!
   I fear great danger from it on the day of eternal Doom.

   During the psalms they wander on a path that is not right:
   They fash, they fret, they misbehave before the eyes of great God.

   Through eager crowds, through companies of wanton women,
   Through woods, through cities--swifter they are than the wind.

   Now through paths of loveliness, anon of riotous shame!

   Without a ferry or ever missing a step they go across every sea:
   Swiftly they leap in one bound from earth to heaven.

   They run a race of folly anear and afar:
   After a course of giddiness they return to their home.

   Though one should try to bind them or put shackles on their feet,
   They are neither constant nor mindful to take a spell of rest.

   Neither sword-edge nor crack of whip will keep them down strongly:
   As slippery as an eel's tail they glide out of my grasp.

   Neither lock nor firm-vaulted dungeon nor any fetter on earth,
   Stronghold nor sea nor bleak fastness restrains them from their course.

   O beloved truly chaste Christ to whom every eye is clear,
   May the grace of the seven-fold Spirit come to keep them, to check
       them!

   Rule this heart of mine, O dread God of the elements,
   That Thou mayst be my love, that I may do Thy will.

   That I may reach Christ with His chosen companions, that we may be
       together!
   _They_ are neither fickle nor inconstant--not as I am.



TO CRINOG


       Crinog, melodious is your song.
       Though young no more you are still bashful.
       We two grew up together in Niall's northern land,
       When we used to sleep together in tranquil slumber.

       That was my age when you slept with me,
       O peerless lady of pleasant wisdom:
       A pure-hearted youth, lovely without a flaw,
       A gentle boy of seven sweet years.

       We lived in the great world of Banva[13]
       Without sullying soul or body,
       My flashing eye full of love for you,
       Like a poor innocent untempted by evil.

       Your just counsel is ever ready,
       Wherever we are we seek it:
       To love your penetrating wisdom is better
       Than glib discourse with a king.

       Since then you have slept with four men after me,
       Without folly or falling away:
       I know, I hear it on all sides,
       You are pure, without sin from man.

       At last, after weary wanderings,
       You have come to me again,
       Darkness of age has settled on your face:
       Sinless your life draws near its end.

       You are still dear to me, faultless one,
       You shall have welcome from me without stint;
       You will not let us be drowned in torment:
       We will earnestly practise devotion with you.

       The lasting world is full of your fame,
       Far and wide you have wandered on every track:
       If every day we followed your ways,
       We should come safe into the presence of dread God.

       You leave an example and a bequest
       To every one in this world,
       You have taught us by your life:
       Earnest prayer to God is no fallacy.

       Then may God grant us peace and happiness!
       May the countenance of the King
       Shine brightly upon us
       When we leave behind us our withered bodies.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 13: A name for Ireland.]



THE DEVIL'S TRIBUTE TO MOLING


   Once as Moling was praying in his church he saw a man coming
   in to him. Purple raiment he wore and a distinguished form
   had he. 'Well met, cleric!' says he. 'Amen!' says Moling.
   'Why dost thou not salute me?' says the man. 'Who art thou?'
   says Moling. 'I am Christ, the Son of God,' he answers. 'I
   do not know that,' says Moling. 'When Christ used to come to
   converse with God's servants, 'twas not in purple or with
   royal pomp he would come, but in the shape of a leper.'
   'Then dost thou not believe in me?' says the man. 'Whom dost
   thou suppose to be here?' 'I suppose,' says Moling, 'that it
   is the Devil for my hurt.' 'Thy unbelief will be ill for
   thee,' says the man. 'Well,' says Moling, raising the
   Gospel, 'here is thy successor, the Gospel of Christ.'
   'Raise it not, cleric!' says the Devil; 'it is as thou
   thinkest: I am the man of tribulations.' 'Wherefore hast
   thou come?' says Moling. 'That thou mayst bestow a blessing
   upon me.' 'I will not bestow it,' says Moling, 'for thou
   dost not deserve it. Besides, what good could it do thee?'
   'If,' says the Devil, 'thou shouldst go into a tub of honey
   and bathe therein with thy raiment on, its odour would
   remain upon thee unless the raiment were washed.' 'How would
   that affect thee?' asks Moling. 'Because, though thy
   blessing do nought else to me, its good luck and its virtue
   and its blossom will be on me externally.' 'Thou shalt not
   have it,' says Moling, 'for thou deservest it not.' 'Well,'
   said the Devil, 'then bestow the full of a curse on me.'
   'What good were that to thee?' asks Moling. 'The venom and
   the hurt of the curse will be on the lips from which it will
   come.' 'Go,' says Moling; 'thou hast no right to a
   blessing.' 'Better were it for me that I had. How shall I
   earn it?' 'By service to God,' says Moling. 'Woe is me!'
   says the Devil, 'I cannot bring it.' 'Even a trifle of
   study.' 'Thine own study is not greater, and yet it helps me
   not.' 'Fasting, then,' says Moling. 'I have been fasting
   since the beginning of the world, and not the better thereof
   am I.' 'Making genuflexions,' says Moling. 'I cannot bend
   forward,' says the Devil, 'for backwards are my knees.' 'Go
   forth,' says Moling; 'I cannot teach thee nor help thee.'
   Then the Devil said:

   He is pure gold, he is the sky around the sun,
   He is a vessel of silver with wine,
   He is an angel, he is holy wisdom,
   Whoso doth the will of the King.

   He is a bird round which a trap closes,
   He is a leaky ship in perilous danger,
   He is an empty vessel, a withered tree,
   Who doth not the will of the King above.

   He is a fragrant branch with its blossom,
   He is a vessel full of honey,
   He is a precious stone with its virtue,
   Whoso doth the will of God's Son from Heaven.

   He is a blind nut in which there is no good,
   He is a stinking rottenness, a withered tree,
   He is a branch of a blossomless crab-apple,
   Whoso doth not the will of the King.

   Whoso doth the will of God's Son from Heaven
   Is a brilliant summer-sun,
   Is a daïs of God of Heaven,
   Is a pure crystalline vessel.

   He is a victorious racehorse over a smooth plain,
   The man that striveth after the Kingdom of great God;
   He is a chariot that is seen
   Under a triumphant king.

   He is a sun that warms holy Heaven,
   A man with whom the Great King is pleased,
   He is a temple blessed, noble,
   He is a holy shrine bedecked with gold.

   He is an altar on which wine is dealt,
   Round which a multitude of melodies is sung,
   He is a cleansed chalice with liquor,
   He is fair white bronze, he is gold.



MAELISU'S HYMN TO THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL


   O angel!
   Bear, O Michael of great miracles,
   To the Lord my plaint.

   Hearest thou?
   Ask of forgiving God
   Forgiveness of all my vast evil.

   Delay not!
   Carry my fervent prayer
   To the King, to the great King!

   To my soul
   Bring help, bring comfort
   At the hour of its leaving earth.

   Stoutly
   To meet my expectant soul
   Come with many thousand angels!

   O soldier!
   Against the crooked, wicked, militant world
   Come to my help in earnest!

   Do not
   Disdain what I say!
   As long as I live do not desert me!

   Thee I choose,
   That thou mayst save my soul,
   My mind, my sense, my body.

   O thou of goodly counsels,
   Victorious, triumphant one,
   Angelic slayer of Antichrist!



THE MOTHERS' LAMENT AT THE SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS


Then, as the executioner plucked her son from her breast, one of the women
said:

   Why do you tear from me my darling son,
   The fruit of my womb?
   It was I who bore him,
   My breast he drank.
   My womb carried him about,
   My vitals he sucked,
   My heart he filled.
   He was my life,
   'Tis death to have him taken from me.
   My strength has ebbed,
   My speech is silenced,
   My eyes are blinded.

Then another woman said:

   It is my son you take from me.
   I did not do the evil,
   But kill me--me!
   Kill not my son!
   My breasts are sapless,
   My eyes are wet,
   My hands shake,
   My poor body totters.
   My husband has no son,
   And I no strength.
   My life is like death.
   O my own son, O God!
   My youth without reward,
   My birthless sicknesses
   Without requital until Doom.
   My breasts are silent,
   My heart is wrung.

Then said another woman:

   Ye are seeking to kill one,
   Ye are killing many.
   Infants ye slay,
   The fathers ye wound,
   The mothers ye kill.
   Hell with your deed is full,
   Heaven is shut,
   Ye have spilt the blood of guiltless innocents.

And yet another woman said:

   O Christ, come to me!
   With my son take my soul quickly!
   O great Mary, Mother of God's Son,
   What shall I do without my son?
   For Thy Son my spirit and sense are killed.
   I am become a crazy woman for my son.
   After the piteous slaughter
   My heart is a clot of blood
   From this day till Doom.



SONGS OF NATURE



KING AND HERMIT

   Marvan, brother of King Guare of Connaught in the seventh
   century, had renounced the life of a warrior-prince for that
   of a hermit. The king endeavoured to persuade his brother to
   return to his court, when the following colloquy took place
   between them.

GUARE

   Why, hermit Marvan, sleepest thou not
   Upon a feather quilt?
   Why rather sleepest thou abroad
   Upon a pitchpine floor?

MARVAN

       I have a shieling in the wood,
       None knows it save my God:
       An ash-tree on the hither side, a hazel-bush beyond,
       A huge old tree encompasses it.

       Two heath-clad doorposts for support,
       And a lintel of honeysuckle:
       The forest around its narrowness sheds
       Its mast upon fat swine.

       The size of my shieling tiny, not too tiny,
       Many are its familiar paths:
       From its gable a sweet strain sings
       A she-bird in her cloak of the ousel's hue.

       The stags of Oakridge leap
       Into the river of clear banks:
       Thence red Roiny can be seen,
       Glorious Muckraw and Moinmoy.[14]

       A hiding mane of green-barked yew
       Supports the sky:
       Beautiful spot! the large green of an oak
       Fronting the storm.

       A tree of apples--great its bounty!
       Like a hostel, vast!
       A pretty bush, thick as a fist, of tiny hazel-nuts,
       A green mass of branches.

       A choice pure spring and princely water
       To drink:
       There spring watercresses, yew-berries,
       Ivy-bushes thick as a man.

       Around it tame swine lie down.
       Goats, pigs,
       Wild swine, grazing deer,
       A badger's brood.

       A peaceful troop, a heavy host of denizens of the soil,
       A-trysting at my house:
       To meet them foxes come,
       How delightful!

       Fairest princes come to my house,
       A ready gathering:
       Pure water, perennial bushes,
       Salmon, trout.

       A bush of rowan, black sloes,
       Dusky blackthorns,
       Plenty of food, acorns, pure berries,
       Bare flags.

       A clutch of eggs, honey, delicious mast,
       God has sent it:
       Sweet apples, red whortleberries,
       And blaeberries.

       Ale with herbs, a dish of strawberries
       Of good taste and colour,
       Haws, berries of the juniper,
       Sloes, nuts.

       A cup with mead of hazel-nut, blue-bells,
       Quick-growing rushes,
       Dun oaklets, manes of briar,
       Goodly sweet tangle.

       When brilliant summer-time spreads its coloured mantle,
       Sweet-tasting fragrance!
       Pignuts, wild marjoram, green leeks,
       Verdant pureness!

       The music of the bright red-breasted men,
       A lovely movement!
       The strain of the thrush, familiar cuckoos
       Above my house.

       Swarms of bees and chafers, the little musicians of the world,
       A gentle chorus:
       Wild geese and ducks, shortly before summer's end,
       The music of the dark torrent.

       An active songster, a lively wren
       From the hazel-bough,
       Beautiful hooded birds, woodpeckers,
       A vast multitude!

       Fair white birds come, herons, seagulls,
       The cuckoo sings between--
       No mournful music! dun heathpoults
       Out of the russet heather.

       The lowing of heifers in summer,
       Brightest of seasons!
       Not bitter, toilsome over the fertile plain,
       Delightful, smooth!

       The voice of the wind against the branchy wood
       Upon the deep-blue sky:
       Falls of the river, the note of the swan,
       Delicious music!

       The bravest band make cheer to me,
       Who have not been hired:
       In the eyes of Christ the ever-young I am no worse off
       Than thou art.

       Though thou rejoicest in thy own pleasures,
       Greater than any wealth;
       I am grateful for what is given me
       From my good Christ.

       Without an hour of fighting, without the din of strife
       In my house,
       Grateful to the Prince who giveth every good
       To me in my shieling.

GUARE

   I would give my glorious kingship
   With the share of my father's heritage--
   To the hour of my death I would forfeit it
   To be in thy company, my Marvan.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 14: Names of well-known plains.]



SONG OF THE SEA


   A great tempest rages on the Plain of Ler, bold across its high borders
   Wind has arisen, fierce winter has slain us; it has come across the sea,
   It has pierced us like a spear.

   When the wind sets from the east, the spirit of the wave is roused,
   It desires to rush past us westward to the land where sets the sun,
   To the wild and broad green sea.

   When the wind sets from the north, it urges the dark fierce waves
   Towards the southern world, surging in strife against the wide sky,
   Listening to the witching song.

   When the wind sets from the west across the salt sea of swift currents,
   It desires to go past us eastward towards the Sun-Tree,
   Into the broad long-distant sea.

   When the wind sets from the south across the land of Saxons of mighty
       shields,
   The wave strikes the Isle of Scit, it surges up to the summit of
       Caladnet,
   And pounds the grey-green mouth of the Shannon.

   The ocean is in flood, the sea is full, delightful is the home of ships,
   The wind whirls the sand around the estuary,
   Swiftly the rudder cleaves the broad sea.

   With mighty force the wave has tumbled across each broad river-mouth,
   Wind has come, white winter has slain us, around Cantire, around the
       land of Alba,
   Slieve-Dremon pours forth a full stream.

   Son of the God the Father, with mighty hosts, save me from the horror
       of fierce tempests!
   Righteous Lord of the Feast, only save me from the horrid blast,
   From Hell with furious tempest!



SUMMER HAS COME


   Summer has come, healthy and free,
   Whence the brown wood is aslope;
   The slender nimble deer leap,
   And the path of seals is smooth.

   The cuckoo sings sweet music,
   Whence there is smooth restful sleep;
   Gentle birds leap upon the hill,
   And swift grey stags.

   Heat has laid hold of the rest of the deer--
   The lovely cry of curly packs!
   The white extent of the strand smiles,
   There the swift sea is.

   A sound of playful breezes in the tops
   Of a black oakwood is Drum Daill,
   The noble hornless herd runs,
   To whom Cuan-wood is a shelter.

   Green bursts out on every herb,
   The top of the green oakwood is bushy,
   Summer has come, winter has gone,
   Twisted hollies wound the hound.

   The blackbird sings a loud strain,
   To him the live wood is a heritage,
   The sad angry sea is fallen asleep,
   The speckled salmon leaps.

   The sun smiles over every land,--
   A parting for me from the brood of cares:
   Hounds bark, stags tryst,
   Ravens flourish, summer has come!



SONG OF SUMMER


   Summer-time, season supreme!
   Splendid is colour then.
   Blackbirds sing a full lay
   If there be a slender shaft of day.

   The dust-coloured cuckoo calls aloud:
   Welcome, splendid summer!
   The bitterness of bad weather is past,
   The boughs of the wood are a thicket.

   Panic startles the heart of the deer,
   The smooth sea runs apace--
   Season when ocean sinks asleep,
   Blossom covers the world.

   Bees with puny strength carry
   A goodly burden, the harvest of blossoms;
   Up the mountain-side kine take with them mud,
   The ant makes a rich meal.

   The harp of the forest sounds music,
   The sail gathers--perfect peace;
   Colour has settled on every height,
   Haze on the lake of full waters.

   The corncrake, a strenuous bard, discourses,
   The lofty cold waterfall sings
   A welcome to the warm pool--
   The talk of the rushes has come.

   Light swallows dart aloft,
   Loud melody encircles the hill,
   The soft rich mast buds,
   The stuttering quagmire prattles.

   The peat-bog is as the raven's coat,
   The loud cuckoo bids welcome,
   The speckled fish leaps--
   Strong is the bound of the swift warrior.

   Man flourishes, the maiden buds
   In her fair strong pride.
   Perfect each forest from top to ground,
   Perfect each great stately plain.

   Delightful is the season's splendour,
   Rough winter has gone:
   Every fruitful wood shines white,
   A joyous peace is summer.

   A flock of birds settles
   In the midst of meadows,
   The green field rustles,
   Wherein is a brawling white stream.

   A wild longing is on you to race horses,
   The ranked host is ranged around:
   A bright shaft has been shot into the land,
   So that the water-flag is gold beneath it.

   A timorous, tiny, persistent little fellow
   Sings at the top of his voice,
   The lark sings clear tidings:
   Surpassing summer-time of delicate hues!



SUMMER IS GONE


   My tidings for you: the stag bells,
   Winter snows, summer is gone.

   Wind high and cold, low the sun,
   Short his course, sea running high.

   Deep-red the bracken, its shape all gone--
   The wild-goose has raised his wonted cry.

   Cold has caught the wings of birds;
   Season of ice--these are my tidings.



A SONG OF WINTER


   Cold, cold!
   Cold to-night is broad Moylurg,
   Higher the snow than the mountain-range,
   The deer cannot get at their food.

   Cold till Doom!
   The storm has spread over all:
   A river is each furrow upon the slope,
   Each ford a full pool.

   A great tidal sea is each loch,
   A full loch is each pool:
   Horses cannot get over the ford of Ross,
   No more can two feet get there.

   The fish of Ireland are a-roaming,
   There is no strand which the wave does not pound,
   Not a town there is in the land,
   Not a bell is heard, no crane talks.

   The wolves of Cuan-wood get
   Neither rest nor sleep in their lair,
   The little wren cannot find
   Shelter in her nest on the slope of Lon.

   Keen wind and cold ice
   Has burst upon the little company of birds,
   The blackbird cannot get a lee to her liking,
   Shelter for its side in Cuan-wood.

   Cosy our pot on its hook,
   Crazy the hut on the slope of Lon:
   The snow has crushed the wood here,
   Toilsome to climb up Ben-bo.

   Glenn Rye's ancient bird
   From the bitter wind gets grief;
   Great her misery and her pain,
   The ice will get into her mouth.

   From flock and from down to rise--
   Take it to heart!--were folly for thee:
   Ice in heaps on every ford--
   That is why I say 'cold'!



ARRAN


   Arran of the many stags,
   The sea strikes against its shoulder,
   Isle in which companies are fed,
   Ridge on which blue spears are reddened.

   Skittish deer are on her peaks,
   Delicious berries on her manes,
   Cool water in her rivers,
   Mast upon her dun oaks.

   Greyhounds are in it and beagles,
   Blackberries and sloes of the dark blackthorn,
   Her dwellings close against the woods,
   Deer scattered about her oak-woods.

   Gleaning of purple upon her rocks,
   Faultless grass upon her slopes,
   Over her fair shapely crags
   Noise of dappled fawns a-skipping.

   Smooth is her level land, fat are her swine,
   Bright are her fields,
   Her nuts upon the tops of her hazel-wood,
   Long galleys sailing past her.

   Delightful it is when the fair season comes,
   Trout under the brinks of her rivers,
   Seagulls answer each other round her white cliff,
   Delightful at all times is Arran!



LOVE POETRY



THE SONG OF CREDE, DAUGHTER OF GUARE


   In the battle of Aidne, Crede, the daughter of King Guare of
   Aidne, beheld Dinertach of the Hy Fidgenti, who had come to
   the help of Guare, with seventeen wounds upon his breast.
   Then she fell in love with him. He died, and was buried in
   the cemetery of Colman's Church.

   These are arrows that murder sleep
   At every hour in the bitter-cold night:
   Pangs of love throughout the day
   For the company of the man from Roiny.

   Great love of a man from another land
   Has come to me beyond all else:
   It has taken my bloom, no colour is left,
   It does not let me rest.

   Sweeter than songs was his speech,
   Save holy adoration of Heaven's King;
   He was a glorious flame, no boastful word fell from his lips,
   A slender mate for a maid's side.

   When I was a child I was bashful,
   I was not given to going to trysts:
   Since I have come to a wayward age,
   My wantonness has beguiled me.

   I have every good with Guare,
   The King of cold Aidne:
   But my mind has fallen away from my people
   To the meadow at Irluachair.

   There is chanting in the meadow of glorious Aidne
   Around the sides of Colman's Church:
   Glorious flame, now sunk into the grave--
   Dinertach was his name.

   It wrings my pitiable heart, O chaste Christ,
   What has fallen to my lot:
   These are arrows that murder sleep
   At every hour in the bitter-cold night.



LIADIN AND CURITHIR


   Liadin of Corkaguiney, a poetess, went visiting into the
   country of Connaught. There Curithir, himself a poet, made
   an ale-feast for her. 'Why should not we two unite, Liadin?'
   saith Curithir. 'A son of us two would be famous.' 'Do not
   let us do so now,' saith she, 'lest my round of visiting be
   ruined for me. If you will come for me again at my home, I
   shall go with you.' That fell so. Southward he went, and a
   single gillie behind him with his poet's dress in a bag upon
   his back, while Curithir himself was in a poor garb. There
   were spear-heads in the bag also. He went till he was at the
   well beside Liadin's court. There he took his crimson dress
   about him, and the heads were put upon their shafts, and he
   stood brandishing them.

   Meanwhile Liadin had made a vow of chastity; but faithful to
   her word she went with him. They proceed to the monastery of
   Clonfert, where they put themselves under the spiritual
   direction of Cummin, son of Fiachna. He first imposes a
   slight probation upon them, allowing them to converse
   without seeing each other. Then, challenged by Liadin, he
   permits them a perilous freedom. In the result he banishes
   Curithir, who thenceforward renounces love and becomes a
   pilgrim. When Liadin still seeks him he crosses the sea. She
   returns to the scene of their penance, and shortly dies.
   When all is over, Cummin lovingly lays the stone where she
   had mourned her love, and upon which she died, over the
   grave of the unhappy maiden.

CURITHIR

   Of late
   Since I parted from Liadin,
   Long as a month is every day,
   Long as a year each month.

LIADIN

   Joyless
   The bargain I have made!
   The heart of him I loved I wrung.

   'Twas madness
   Not to do his pleasure,
   Were there not the fear of Heaven's King.

   'Twas a trifle
   That wrung Curithir's heart against me:
   To him great was my gentleness.

   A short while I was
   In the company of Curithir:
   Sweet was my intimacy with him.

   The music of the forest
   Would sing to me when with Curithir,
   Together with the voice of the purple sea.

   Would that
   Nothing of all I have done
   Should have wrung his heart against me!

   Conceal it not!
   He was my heart's love,
   Whatever else I might love.

   A roaring flame
   Has dissolved this heart of mine--
   Without him for certain it cannot live.



BARDIC POETRY



A DIRGE FOR KING NIALL OF THE NINE HOSTAGES (+ A.D. 405)


TUIRN SON OF TORNA

   When we used to go to the gathering with Echu's[15] son,
   Yellow as a bright primrose was the hair upon the head of Cairenn's[16]
       son.

TORNA

   Well hast thou spoken, dear son. A bondmaid should be given thee
   For the sake of the hair which thou hast likened to the colour of the
       crown of the primrose.

   Eyelashes black, delicate, equal in beauty, and dark eyebrows--
   The crown of the woad, a bright hyacinth, that was the colour of his
       pupils.

TUIRN SON OF TORNA

   The colour of his cheeks at all seasons, even and symmetrical:
   The fox-glove, the blood of a calf--a feast without a flaw! the crown of
       the forest in May.

TORNA

   His white teeth, his red lips that never reproved in anger--
   His shape like a fiery blaze overtopping the warriors of Erin.

   Like the moon, like the sun, like a fiery beacon was the splendour of
       Niall:
   Like a dragon-ship from the wave without a flaw was Niall, Echu's son.

TUIRN SON OF TORNA

   This is a yearnful music, the wail of every mouth in Kerry--
   It increases my grief in my house for the death of Muredach's[17]
       grandson.

   Saxons will ravage here in the east, noble men of Erin and Alba,
   After the death of Niall, Echu's noble son--it is a bitter cause of
       reproach.

TORNA

   Saxons with overwhelming cries of war, hosts of Lombards from the
       continent,
   From the hour in which the king fell Gael and Pict are in a sore
       straight.

TUIRN SON OF TORNA

   Upon Tara's rampart his fair hair shone against his ruddy face:
   Like unto the colour of his hair is red gold or the yellow iris.

TORNA

   'Twas great delight, 'twas great peace to be in the company of my dear
       foster-son,[18]
   When with Echu's son--it was no small thing--we used to go to the
       gathering.

TUIRN SON OF TORNA

   Darling hero of the white shoulder! whose tribes are vast, a beloved
       host:
   Every man was under protection when we used to go to forgather with him.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 15: Niall's father.]

[Footnote 16: Niall's mother.]

[Footnote 17: Niall's grandfather.]

[Footnote 18: _i.e._ Niall.]



THE SONG OF CARROLL'S SWORD (A.D. 909)


  Hail, sword of Carroll! Oft hast thou been in the great woof of war,
  Oft giving battle, beheading high princes.

  Oft hast thou gone a-raiding in the hands of kings of great judgments,
  Oft hast thou divided the spoil with a good king worthy of thee.

  Oft where men of Leinster were hast thou been in a white hand,
  Oft hast thou been among kings, oft among great bands.

  Many were the kings that wielded thee in fight,
  Many a shield hast thou cleft in battle, many a head and chest, many a
      fair skin.

  Forty years without sorrow Enna of the noble hosts had thee,
  Never wast thou in a strait, but in the hands of a very fierce king.

  Enna gave thee--'twas no niggardly gift--to his own son, to Dunling,
  For thirty years in his possession, at last thou broughtest ruin to him.

  Many a king upon a noble steed possessed thee unto Dermot the kingly, the
      fierce:
  Sixteen years was the time Dermot had thee.

  At the feast of Allen Dermot the hardy-born bestowed thee,
  Dermot, the noble king, gave thee to the man of Mairg, to Murigan.

  Forty years stoutly thou wast in the hand of Allen's high-king,
  With Murigan of mighty deeds thou never wast a year without battle.

  In Wexford Murigan, the King of Vikings, gave thee to Carroll:
  While he was upon the yellow earth Carroll gave thee to none.

  Thy bright point was a crimson point in the battle of Odba of the
      Foreigners,
  When thou leftest Aed Finnliath on his back in the battle of Odba of the
      noble routs.

  Crimson was thy edge, it was seen; at Belach Moon thou wast proved,
  In the valorous battle of Alvy's Plain throughout which the fighting
      raged.

  Before thee the goodly host broke on a Thursday at Dun Ochtair,
  When Aed the fierce and brilliant fell upon the hillside above Leafin.

  Before thee the host broke on the day when Kelly was slain,
  Flannagan's son, with numbers of troops, in high lofty great Tara.

  Before thee they ebbed southwards in the battle of the Boyne of the rough
      feats,
  When Cnogva fell, the lance of valour, at seeing thee, for dread of thee.

  Thou wast furious, thou wast not weak, heroic was thy swift force,
  When Ailill Frosach of Fál[19] fell in the front of the onset.

  Thou never hadst a day of defeat with Carroll of the beautiful garths.
  He swore no lying oath, he went not against his word.

  Thou never hadst a day of sorrow, many a night thou hadst abroad;
  Thou hadst awaiting thee many a king with many a battle.

  O sword of the kings of mighty fires, do not fear to be astray!
  Thou shalt find thy man of craft, a lord worthy of thee.

  Who shall henceforth possess thee, or to whom wilt thou deal ruin?
  From the day that Carroll departed, with whom wilt thou be bedded?

  Thou shalt not be neglected until thou come to the house of glorious
      Naas:
  Where Finn of the feasts is they will hail thee with 'welcome.'

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 19: A name for Ireland.]



EOCHAID ON THE DEATH OF KING AED MAC DOMNAILL UA NEILL[20]


   Aed of Ailech, beloved he was to me,
   Woe, O God, that he should have died!
   Seven years with Aed of Ath Í--
   One month with Mael na mBó[21] would be longer!

   Seven years I had with the King of Ross,
   Delightful was my time with the lord of Slemish,
   Though I were but one month with the king in the south,
   I know that it would weary me.

   Many honours the king gave to me,
   To pleasure me he brought down stags:
   A herd of horses he gave to me in my day,
   The great son of the woman from Magh Ai.

   Alas, O Comgall, master of harmonies,
   That the son of Domnaill should be food for worms!
   Alas that his face should be on the ground!
   Alas for noble Ailech without Aed!

   From the day that great Aed was slain
   Few men on earth but are in want:
   Since _he_ has died that was another Lugh,[22]
   It were right to shed tears of blood.

   Tara is deprived of her benefactor,
   A blight is upon his kindred,
   Torture is put upon the rays of the sun,
   Glorious Erin is without Aed.

   Fair weather shines not on the mountain-side,
   Fine-clustering fruit is not enjoyed,
   The gloom of every night is dark
   Since earth was put over Aed.

   Ye folk of great Armagh,
   With whom the son of the chief lies on his back,
   Cause of reproach will come of it
   That your grave is open before Aed.

   In the battle of Craeb Tholcha in the north
   I left my fair companions behind!
   Alas for the fruit of the heavy bloodshed
   Which severed Eochaid and Aed!

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 20: Who had fallen in the battle of Craeb Tholcha, A.D. 1004.]

[Footnote 21: King of South Leinster.]

[Footnote 22: A famous mythical hero.]



ERARD MAC COISSE ON THE DEATH OF KING MALACHY II.[23]


   Alas for thy state, O Dun na Sciath![24]
   Alas that thy lord is not alive!
   The high-king of Meath of the polished walls,
   His death has thrown us off our course.

   Thou without games, without drinking of ale,
   Thou shining abode of the twisted horns!
   After Malachy of noble shape
   Alas for thy state, O Dun na Sciath!

   I upon the green of thy smooth knolls
   Like Ronan's son after the Fiana,
   Or like a hind after her fawn,
   Alas for thy state, O Dun na Sciath!

   I got three hundred speckled cups,
   Three hundred steeds and bridles
   In this famous fort of noble shape--
   Alas for thy state, O Dun na Sciath!

   After Malachy and sweet Brian,[25]
   And Murchad[26] that was never weak in hurdled battle,
   My heart has been left without a leap of vigour,
   Alas for thy state, O Dun na Sciath!

   Ochone! I am the wretched phantom,
   Small are my wages since the three are gone.
   Greater than my own ruin is my cause of lament,
   Alas for thy state, O Dun na Sciath!

   Och! 'tis I that am the body without head,
   I, Mac Coisse, chief of all poets--
   Now that my skill and my vigour are gone,
   Alas for thy state, O Dun na Sciath!

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 23: King of Ireland. He died in 1022.]

[Footnote 24: The Fort of the Shields, on Lough Ennel, Co. Westmeath.]

[Footnote 25: _i.e._ Brian Boru, who had fallen in 1014 in the battle of
Clontarf.]

[Footnote 26: Brian's son, fallen at Clontarf.]



MISCELLANEOUS



THE MONK AND HIS PET CAT


   I and my white Pangur
   Have each his special art:
   His mind is set on hunting mice,
   Mine is upon my special craft.

   I love to rest--better than any fame!--
   With close study at my little book:
   White Pangur does not envy me:
   He loves his childish play.

   When in our house we two are all alone--
   A tale without tedium!
   We have--sport never-ending!
   Something to exercise our wit.

   At times by feats of derring-do
   A mouse sticks in his net,
   While into my net there drops
   A difficult problem of hard meaning.

   He points his full shining eye
   Against the fence of the wall:
   I point my clear though feeble eye
   Against the keenness of science.

   He rejoices with quick leaps
   When in his sharp claw sticks a mouse:
   I too rejoice when I have grasped
   A problem difficult and dearly loved.

   Though we are thus at all times,
   Neither hinders the other,
   Each of us pleased with his own art
   Amuses himself alone.

   He is a master of the work
   Which every day he does:
   While I am at my own work
   To bring difficulty to clearness.



COLUM CILLE'S GREETING TO IRELAND


   Delightful to be on the Hill of Howth
   Before going over the white-haired sea:
   The dashing of the wave against its face,
   The bareness of its shores and of its border.

   Delightful to be on the Hill of Howth
   After coming over the white-bosomed sea;
   To be rowing one's little coracle,
   Ochone! on the wild-waved shore.

   Great is the speed of my coracle,
   And its stern turned upon Derry:
   Grievous is my errand over the main,
   Travelling to Alba of the beetling brows.

   My foot in my tuneful coracle,
   My sad heart tearful:
   A man without guidance is weak,
   Blind are all the ignorant.

   There is a grey eye
   That will look back upon Erin:
   It shall never see again
   The men of Erin nor her women.

   I stretch my glance across the brine
   From the firm oaken planks:
   Many are the tears of my bright soft grey eye
   As I look back upon Erin.

   My mind is upon Erin,
   Upon Loch Lene, upon Linny,
   Upon the land where Ulstermen are,
   Upon gentle Munster and upon Meath.

   Many in the East are lanky chiels,
   Many diseases there and distempers,
   Many they with scanty dress,
   Many the hard and jealous hearts.

   Plentiful in the West the fruit of the apple-tree,
   Many kings and princes;
   Plentiful are luxurious sloes,
   Plentiful oak-woods of noble mast.

   Melodious her clerics, melodious her birds,
   Gentle her youths, wise her elders,
   Illustrious her men, famous to behold,
   Illustrious her women for fond espousal.

   It is in the West sweet Brendan is,
   And Colum son of Criffan,
   And in the West fair Baithin shall be,
   And in the West shall be Adamnan.

   Carry my greeting after that
   To Comgall of eternal life:
   Carry my greeting after that
   To the stately king of fair Navan.

   Carry with thee, thou fair youth,
   My blessing and my benediction,
   One half upon Erin, sevenfold,
   And half upon Alba at the same time.

   Carry my blessing with thee to the West,
   My heart is broken in my breast:
   Should sudden death overtake me,
   It is for my great love of the Gael.

   Gael! Gael! beloved name!
   It gladdens the heart to invoke it:
   Beloved is Cummin of the beauteous hair,
   Beloved are Cainnech and Comgall.

   Were all Alba mine
   From its centre to its border,
   I would rather have the site of a house
   In the middle of fair Derry.

   It is for this I love Derry,
   For its smoothness, for its purity,
   And for its crowd of white angels
   From one end to another.

   It is for this I love Derry,
   For its smoothness, for its purity;
   All full of angels
   Is every leaf on the oaks of Derry.

   My Derry, my little oak-grove,
   My dwelling and my little cell,
   O living God that art in Heaven above,
   Woe to him who violates it!

   Beloved are Durrow and Derry,
   Beloved is Raphoe with purity,
   Beloved Drumhome with its sweet acorns,
   Beloved are Swords and Kells!

   Beloved also to my heart in the West
   Drumcliff on Culcinne's strand:
   To gaze upon fair Loch Foyle--
   The shape of its shores is delightful.

   Delightful it is,
   The deep-red ocean where the sea-gulls cry,
   As I come from Derry afar,
   It is peaceful and it is delightful.



ON ANGUS THE CULDEE (+ ca. 830)


   Delightful to sit here thus
   By the side of the cold pure Nore:
   Though it was frequented, it was never a path o raids
   In glorious Disert Bethech.[27]

   Disert Bethech, where dwelt the man
   Whom hosts of angels were wont to visit;
   A pious cloister behind a circle of crosses,
   Where Angus son of Oivlen used to be.

   Angus from the assembly of Heaven,
   Here are his tomb and his grave:
   'Tis hence he went to death,
   On a Friday, to holy Heaven.

   'Tis in Clonenagh he was reared,
   In Clonenagh he was buried:
   In Clonenagh of many crosses
   He first read his psalms.



FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 27: 'Beechen Hermitage.']



COLUM CILLE THE SCRIBE


   My hand is weary with writing,
   My sharp quill is not steady,
   My slender-beaked pen juts forth
   A black draught of shining dark-blue ink.

   A stream of the wisdom of blessed God
   Springs from my fair-brown shapely hand:
   On the page it squirts its draught
   Of ink of the green-skinned holly.

   My little dripping pen travels
   Across the plain of shining books,
   Without ceasing for the wealth of the great--
   Whence my hand is weary with writing.



THE LAMENT OF THE OLD WOMAN OF BEARE


   The reason why she was called the Old Woman of Beare was
   that she had fifty foster-children in Beare. She had seven
   periods of youth one after another, so that every man who
   had lived with her came to die of old age, and her grandsons
   and great-grandsons were tribes and races. For a hundred
   years she wore the veil which Cummin had blessed upon her
   head. Thereupon old age and infirmity came to her. 'Tis then
   she said:

       Ebb-tide to me as of the sea!
       Old age causes me reproach.
       Though I may grieve thereat--
       Happiness comes out of fat.

       I am the Old Woman of Beare,
       An ever-new smock I used to wear:
       To-day--such is my mean estate--
       I wear not even a cast-off smock.

       It is riches
       Ye love, it is not men:
       In the time when _we_ lived
       It was men we loved.

       Swift chariots,
       And steeds that carried off the prize,--
       Their day of plenty has been,
       A blessing on the King who lent them!

       My body with bitterness has dropt
       Towards the abode we know:
       When the Son of God deems it time
       Let Him come to deliver His behest.

       My arms when they are seen
       Are bony and thin:
       Once they would fondle,
       They would be round glorious kings.

       When my arms are seen,
       And they bony and thin,
       They are not fit, I declare,
       To be uplifted over comely youths.

       The maidens rejoice
       When May-day comes to them:
       For me sorrow is meeter,
       For I am wretched, I am an old hag.

       I hold no sweet converse,
       No wethers are killed for my wedding-feast,
       My hair is all but grey,
       The mean veil over it is no pity.

       I do not deem it ill
       That a white veil should be on my head:
       Time was when many cloths of every hue
       Bedecked my head as we drank the good ale.

       The Stone of the Kings on Femen,
       The Chair of Ronan in Bregon,
       'Tis long since storms have reached them.
       The slabs of their tombs are old and decayed.

       The wave of the great sea talks aloud,
       Winter has arisen:
       Fermuid the son of Mugh to-day
       I do not expect on a visit.

       I know what they are doing:
       They row and row across
       The reeds of the Ford of Alma--
       Cold is the dwelling where they sleep.

       'Tis 'O my God!'
       To me to-day, whatever will come of it.
       I must take my garment even in the sun:[28]
       The time is at hand that shall renew me.

       Youth's summer in which we were
       I have spent with its autumn:
       Winter-age which overwhelms all men,
       To me has come its beginning.

       Amen! Woe is me!
       Every acorn has to drop.
       After feasting by shining candles
       To be in the gloom of a prayer-house!

       I had my day with kings
       Drinking mead and wine:
       To-day I drink whey-water
       Among shrivelled old hags.

       I see upon my cloak the hair of old age,
       My reason has beguiled me:
       Grey is the hair that grows through my skin--
       'Tis thus I am an old hag.

       The flood-wave
       And the second ebb-tide--
       They have all reached me,
       So that I know them well.

       The flood-wave
       Will not reach the silence of my kitchen:
       Though many are my company in darkness,
       A hand has been laid upon them all.

       O happy the isle of the great sea
       Which the flood reaches after the ebb!
       As for me, I do not expect
       Flood after ebb to come to me.

       There is scarce a little place to-day
       That I can recognise:
       What was on flood
       Is all on ebb.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 28: 'Je tremble à present dedans la canicule.'--Molière,
_Sganarelle_, scène 2.]



THE DESERTED HOME


   Sadly talks the blackbird here.
   Well I know the woe he found:
   No matter who cut down his nest,
   For its young it was destroyed.

   I myself not long ago
   Found the woe he now has found.
   Well I read thy song, O bird,
   For the ruin of thy home.

   Thy heart, O blackbird, burnt within
   At the deed of reckless man:
   Thy nest bereft of young and egg
   The cowherd deems a trifling tale.

   At thy clear notes they used to come,
   Thy new-fledged children, from afar;
   No bird now comes from out thy house,
   Across its edge the nettle grows.

   They murdered them, the cowherd lads,
   All thy children in one day:
   One the fate to me and thee,
   My own children live no more.

   There was feeding by thy side
   Thy mate, a bird from o'er the sea:
   Then the snare entangled her,
   At the cowherds' hands she died.

   O Thou, the Shaper of the world!
   Uneven hands Thou layst on us:
   Our fellows at our side are spared,
   Their wives and children are alive.

   A fairy host came as a blast
   To bring destruction to our house:
   Though bloodless was their taking off,
   Yet dire as slaughter by the sword.

   Woe for our wife, woe for our young!
   The sadness of our grief is great:
   No trace of them within, without--
   And therefore is my heart so sad.



CORMAC MAC CULENNAIN SANG THIS


   Shall I launch my dusky little coracle
   On the broad-bosomed glorious ocean?
   Shall I go, O King of bright Heaven,
   Of my own will upon the brine?

   Whether it be roomy or narrow,
   Whether it be served by crowds of hosts--
   O God, wilt Thou stand by me
   When it comes upon the angry sea?



ALEXANDER THE GREAT


   Four men stood by the grave of a man,
   The grave of Alexander the Proud;
   They sang words without falsehood
   Over the prince from fair Greece.

   Said the first man of them:
   'Yesterday there were around the king
   The men of the world--a sad gathering!
   Though to-day he is alone.'

   'Yesterday the king of the brown world
   Rode upon the heavy earth:
   Though to-day it is the earth
   That rides upon his neck.'

   'Yesterday,' said the third wise author,
   'Philip's son owned the whole world:
   To-day he has nought
   Save seven feet of earth.'

   'Alexander the liberal and great
   Was wont to bestow silver and gold:
   To-day,' said the fourth man,
   'The gold is here, and it is nought.'

   Thus truly spoke the wise men
   Around the grave of the high-king:
   It was not foolish women's talk
   What those four sang.



QUATRAINS



THE SCRIBE


   A hedge of trees surrounds me,
   A blackbird's lay sings to me;
   Above my lined booklet
   The trilling birds chant to me.

   In a grey mantle from the top of bushes
   The cuckoo sings:
   Verily--may the Lord shield me!--
   Well do I write under the greenwood.



ON A DEAD SCHOLAR


   Dead is Lon
   Of Kilgarrow, O great hurt!
   To Ireland and beyond her border
   It is ruin of study and of schools.



THE CRUCIFIXION


   At the cry of the first bird
   They began to crucify Thee, O cheek like a swan!
   It were not right ever to cease lamenting--
   It was like the parting of day from night.

   Ah! though sore the suffering
   Put upon the body of Mary's Son--
   Sorer to Him was the grief
   That was upon her for His sake.



THE PILGRIM AT ROME


   To go to Rome
   Is much of trouble, little of profit:
   The King whom thou seekest here,
   Unless thou bring Him with thee, thou wilt not find.



HOSPITALITY


   O King of stars!
   Whether my house be dark or bright,
   Never shall it be closed against any one,
   Lest Christ close His house against me.

   If there be a guest in your house
   And you conceal aught from him,
   'Tis not the guest that will be without it,
   But Jesus, Mary's Son.



THE BLACKBIRD


   Ah, blackbird, thou art satisfied
   Where thy nest is in the bush:
   Hermit that clinkest no bell,
   Sweet, soft, peaceful is thy note.



MOLING SANG THIS


   When I am among my elders
   I am proof that sport is forbidden:
   When I am among the mad young folk
   They think that I am their junior.



THE CHURCH BELL IN THE NIGHT


   Sweet little bell
   That is struck[29] in the windy night,
   I liefer go to a tryst with thee
   Than to a tryst with a foolish woman.



THE VIKING TERROR


   Bitter is the wind to-night,
   It tosses the ocean's white hair:
   To-night I fear not the fierce warriors of Norway
   Coursing on the Irish Sea.



FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 29: The tongueless Irish bells were struck, not rung.]



FROM THE TRIADS OF IRELAND


Three slender things that best support the world: the slender stream of
milk from the cow's dug into the pail; the slender blade of green corn
upon the ground; the slender thread over the hand of a skilled woman.

The three worst welcomes: a handicraft in the same house with the inmates;
scalding water upon your feet; salt food without a drink.

Three rejoicings followed by sorrow: a wooer's, a thief's, a
tale-bearer's.

Three rude ones of the world: a youngster mocking an old man; a robust
person mocking an invalid; a wise man mocking a fool.

Three fair things that hide ugliness: good manners in the ill-favoured;
skill in a serf; wisdom in the misshapen.

Three sparks that kindle love: a face, demeanour, speech.

Three glories of a gathering: a beautiful wife, a good horse, a swift
hound.

Three fewnesses that are better than plenty: a fewness of fine words; a
fewness of cows in grass; a fewness of friends around good ale.

Three ruins of a tribe: a lying chief, a false judge, a lustful priest.

Three laughing-stocks of the world: an angry man, a jealous man, a
niggard.

Three signs of ill-breeding: a long visit, staring, constant questioning.

Three signs of a fop: the track of his comb in his hair; the track of his
teeth in his food; the track of his stick behind him.

Three idiots of a bad guest-house: an old hag with a chronic cough; a
brainless tartar of a girl; a hobgoblin of a gillie.

Three things that constitute a physician: a complete cure; leaving no
blemish behind; a painless examination.

Three things betokening trouble: holding plough-land in common; performing
feats together; alliance in marriage.

Three nurses of theft: a wood, a cloak, night.

Three false sisters: 'perhaps,' 'may be,' 'I dare say.'

Three timid brothers: 'hush!' 'stop!' 'listen!'

Three sounds of increase: the lowing of a cow in milk; the din of a
smithy; the swish of a plough.

Three steadinesses of good womanhood: keeping a steady tongue; a steady
chastity; a steady housewifery.

Three excellences of dress: elegance, comfort, lastingness.

Three candles that illume every darkness: truth, nature, knowledge.

Three keys that unlock thoughts: drunkenness, trustfulness, love.

Three youthful sisters: desire, beauty, generosity.

Three aged sisters: groaning, chastity, ugliness.

Three nurses of high spirits: pride, wooing, drunkenness.

Three coffers whose depth is not known: the coffers of a chieftain, of the
Church, of a privileged poet.

Three things that ruin wisdom: ignorance, inaccurate knowledge,
forgetfulness.

Three things that are best for a chief: justice, peace, an army.

Three things that are worst for a chief: sloth, treachery, evil counsel.

Three services, the worst that a man can serve: serving a bad woman, a bad
lord, and bad land.

Three lawful handbreadths: a handbreadth between shoes and hose, between
ear and hair, and between the fringe of the tunic and the knee.

Three angry sisters: blasphemy, strife, foul-mouthedness.

Three disrespectful sisters: importunity, frivolity, flightiness.

Three signs of a bad man: bitterness, hatred, cowardice.



FROM THE INSTRUCTIONS OF KING CORMAC


'O Cormac, grandson of Conn,' said Carbery, 'what are the dues of a chief
and of an ale-house?'

'Not hard to tell,' said Cormac.

   'Good behaviour around a good chief,
   Lights to lamps,
   Exerting oneself for the company,
   A proper settlement of seats,
   Liberality of dispensers,
   A nimble hand at distributing,
   Attentive service,
   Music in moderation,
   Short story-telling,
   A joyous countenance,
   Welcome to guests,
   Silence during recitals,
   Harmonious choruses.'

'O Cormac, grandson of Conn,' said Carbery, 'what were your habits when
you were a lad?'

'Not hard to tell,' said Cormac.

   'I was a listener in woods,
   I was a gazer at stars,
   I was blind where secrets were concerned,
   I was silent in a wilderness,
   I was talkative among many,
   I was mild in the mead-hall,
   I was stern in battle,
   I was gentle towards allies,
   I was a physician of the sick,
   I was weak towards the feeble,
   I was strong towards the powerful,
   I was not close lest I should be burdensome,
   I was not arrogant though I was wise,
   I was not given to promising though I was strong,
   I was not venturesome though I was swift,
   I did not deride the old though I was young,
   I was not boastful though I was a good fighter,
   I would not speak about any one in his absence,
   I would not reproach, but I would praise,
   I would not ask, but I would give,--

for it is through these habits that the young become old and kingly
warriors.'

'O Cormac, grandson of Conn,' said Carbery, 'what is the worst thing you
have seen?'

'Not hard to tell,' said Cormac. 'Faces of foes in the rout of battle.'

'O Cormac, grandson of Conn,' said Carbery, 'what is the sweetest thing
you have heard?'

'Not hard to tell,' said Cormac.

   'The shout of triumph after victory,
   Praise after wages,
   A lady's invitation to her pillow.'

'O Cormac, grandson of Conn,' said Carbery, 'how do you distinguish
women?'

'Not hard to tell,' said Cormac. 'I distinguish them, but I make no
difference among them.

   'They are crabbed as constant companions,
   haughty when visited,
   lewd when neglected,
   silly counsellors,
   greedy of increase;
   they have tell-tale faces,
   they are quarrelsome in company,
   steadfast in hate,
   forgetful of love,
   anxious for alliance,
   accustomed to slander,
   stubborn in a quarrel,
   not to be trusted with a secret,
   ever intent on pilfering,
   boisterous in their jealousy,
   ever ready for an excuse,
   on the pursuit of folly,
   slanderers of worth,
   scamping their work,
   stiff when paying a visit,
   disdainful of good men,
   gloomy and stubborn,
   viragoes in strife,
   sorrowful in an ale-house,
   tearful during music,
   lustful in bed,
   arrogant and disingenuous,
   abettors of strife,
   niggardly with food,
   rejecting wisdom,
   eager to make appointments,
   sulky on a journey,
   troublesome bedfellows,
   deaf to instruction,
   blind to good advice,
   fatuous in society,
   craving for delicacies,
   chary in their presents,
   languid when solicited,
   exceeding all bounds in keeping others waiting,
   tedious talkers,
   close practitioners,
   dumb on useful matters,
   eloquent on trifles.
   Happy he who does not yield to them!
   They should be dreaded like fire,
   they should be feared like wild beasts.
   Woe to him who humours them!
   Better to beware of them than to trust them,
   better to trample upon them than to fondle them,
   better to crush them than to cherish them.
   They are waves that drown you,
   they are fire that burns you,
   they are two-edged weapons that cut you,
   they are moths for tenacity,
   they are serpents for cunning,
   they are darkness in light,
   they are bad among the good,
   they are worse among the bad.'

'O Cormac, grandson of Conn,' said Carbery, 'what is the worst for the
body of man?'

'Not hard to tell,' said Cormac. 'Sitting too long, lying too long, long
standing, lifting heavy things, exerting oneself beyond one's strength,
running too much, leaping too much, frequent falls, sleeping with one's
leg over the bed-rail, gazing at glowing embers, wax, biestings, new ale,
bull-flesh, curdles, dry food, bog-water, rising too early, cold, sun,
hunger, drinking too much, eating too much, sleeping too much, sinning too
much, grief, running up a height, shouting against the wind, drying
oneself by a fire, summer-dew, winter-dew, beating ashes, swimming on a
full stomach, sleeping on one's back, foolish romping.'

'O Cormac, grandson of Conn,' said Carbery, 'what is the worst pleading
and arguing?'

'Not hard to tell,' said Cormac.

   'Contending against knowledge,
   contending without proofs,
   taking refuge in bad language,
   a stiff delivery,
   a muttering speech,
   hair-splitting,
   uncertain proofs,
   despising books,
   turning against custom,
   shifting one's pleading,
   inciting the mob,
   blowing one's own trumpet,
   shouting at the top of one's voice.'

'O Cormac, grandson of Conn,' said Carbery, 'who are the worst for whom
you have a comparison?'

'Not hard to tell,' said Cormac.

   'A man with the impudence of a satirist,
   with the pugnacity of a slave-woman,
   with the carelessness of a dog,
   with the conscience of a hound,
   with a robber's hand,
   with a bull's strength,
   with the dignity of a judge,
   with keen ingenious wisdom,
   with the speech of a stately man,
   with the memory of an historian,
   with the behaviour of an abbot,
   with the swearing of a horse-thief,

and he wise, lying, grey-haired, violent, swearing, garrulous, when he
says "the matter is settled, I swear, you shall swear."'

'O Cormac, grandson of Conn,' said Carbery, 'I desire to know how I shall
behave among the wise and the foolish, among friends and strangers, among
the old and the young, among the innocent and the wicked.'

'Not hard to tell,' said Cormac.

   'Be not too wise, nor too foolish,
   be not too conceited, nor too diffident,
   be not too haughty, nor too humble,
   be not too talkative, nor too silent,
   be not too hard, nor too feeble.

   If you be too wise, one will expect too much of you;
   if you be too foolish, you will be deceived;
   if you be too conceited, you will be thought vexatious;
   if you be too humble, you will be without honour;
   if you be too talkative, you will not be heeded;
   if you be too silent, you will not be regarded;
   if you be too hard, you will be broken;
   if you be too feeble, you will be crushed.'



NOTES


'The Isles of the Happy' and 'The Sea-god's Address to Bran' are poems
interspersed in the prose tale called 'The Voyage of Bran son of Febal to
the Land of the Living.' For text and translation see my edition (London:
D. Nutt, 1895), pp. 4 and 16. The tale was probably first written down
early in the eighth, perhaps late in the seventh century.

'The Tryst after Death' (_Reicne Fothaid Canainne_) belongs to the ninth
century. For the original text and translation see my 'Fianaigecht, a
collection of hitherto inedited Irish poems and tales relating to Finn and
his Fiana' (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis and Co., 1910), p. 10 ff.

'Deirdre's Farewell to Scotland' and 'Deirdre's Lament' are taken from the
well-known tale called 'The Death of the Children of Usnech.' The text
which is here rendered is that of the Middle-Irish version edited and
translated by Whitley Stokes (_Irische Texte_, ii., Leipzig, 1884), pp.
127 and 145. My rendering follows in the main that of Stokes.

'The Hosts of Faery.'--From the tale called 'Laegaire mac Crimthainn's
Visit to the Fairy Realm of Mag Mell,' the oldest copy of which is found
in the Book of Leinster, a MS. of the twelfth century, p. 275 _b_. See
S.H. O'Grady's _Silva Gadelica_ (Williams and Norgate, 1892), vol. i. p.
256; vol. ii. p. 290, where, however, the verse is not translated.

The two poems from the 'Vision of MacConglinne' are taken from my
translation of the twelfth-century burlesque so called (D. Nutt, 1892),
pp. 34 and 78.

'A Dirge for King Niall of the Nine Hostages.'--Text and translation in
_Festschrift für Whitley Stokes_ (Harrassowitz, Leipzig, 1900), p. 1 ff.,
and in the _Gaelic Journal_, x.p. 578 ff. Late eighth or early ninth
century.

'The Song of Carroll's Sword.'--Edited and translated in _Revue Celtique_,
xx. p. 7 ff., and again in the _Gaelic Journal_, x.p. 613. Dallán mac
Móre, to whom the poem is ascribed, was chief bard to King Carroll
(Cerball) mac Muiregan of Leinster, who reigned from about A.D. 885 to
909.

'Eochaid's Lament.'--Text published in _Archiv für celtische
Lexikographie_ (Niemeyer, Halle a. S., 1907), vol. iii. p. 304.

'Lament on King Malachy II.'--_Ibid._, p. 305.

'King and Hermit.'--First published and translated by me under that title
with Messrs. D. Nutt, 1901. The language is that of the tenth century.

'Song of the Sea.'--Text and translation in _Otia Merseiana_ (the
publication of the Arts Faculty, University College, Liverpool), vol. ii.
p. 76 ff. Though the poem is ascribed to the celebrated poet Rumann, who
died in 748, its language points to the eleventh century.

'Summer has come.'--Text and translation in my _Four Songs of Summer and
Winter_ (D. Nutt, 1903), p. 20 ff. The piece probably dates from the tenth
century.

'Song of Summer.'--_Ibid._, p. 8 ff., and _Ériu_, the Journal of the
School of Irish Learning, i. p. 186. The date is the ninth century, I
think.

'Summer is gone.'--_Ibid._, p. 14. Ninth century.

'A Song of Winter.'--From the story called 'The Hiding of the Hill of
Howth,' first printed and translated by me in _Revue Celtique_, xi. p. 125
ff. Probably tenth century.

'Arran.'--Taken from the thirteenth-century prose tale called _Agallamh na
Senórach_, edited and translated by S.H. O'Grady in _Silva Gadelica_. The
poem refers to the island in the Firth of Clyde.

'The Song of Crede, daughter of Guare.'--See text and translation in
_Ériu_, ii. p. 15 ff. Probably tenth century.

'Liadin and Curithir.'--First published and translated by me under that
title with Messrs. D. Nutt, 1902. It belongs to the ninth century.

'The Deer's Cry.'--For the text and translation see Stokes and Strachan,
_Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus_ (University Press, Cambridge), vol. ii. p.
354. I have adopted the translation there given except in some details.
The hymn in the form in which it has come down to us cannot be earlier
than the eighth century.

'An Evening Song.'--Printed in my _Selections from Old-Irish Poetry_, p.
1. Though ascribed to Patrick, the piece cannot be older than the tenth
century.

'Patrick's Blessing on Munster.'--Taken from the _Tripartite Life of
Patrick_, edited by Whitley Stokes (Rolls Series, London, 1887), p. 216.
Not earlier than the ninth century.

'The Hermit's Song.'--See _Ériu_, vol. i. p. 39, where the Irish text will
be found. The poem dates from the ninth century.

'A Prayer to the Virgin.'--See Strachan's edition of the original in
_Ériu_, i. p. 122. There is another copy in the Bodleian MS. Laud 615, p.
91, from which I have taken some better readings. The poem is hardly
earlier than the tenth century.

'Eve's Lament.'--See _Ériu_, iii. p. 148. The date is probably the late
tenth or early eleventh century.

'On the Flightiness of Thought.'--See _Ériu_, iii. p. 13. Tenth century.

'To Crinog.'--The Irish text was published by me in the _Zeitschrift für
celtische Philologie_, vol. vi. p. 257. The date of the poem is the tenth
century. Crinog was evidently what is known in the literature of early
Christianity as [Greek: iagapêtê], _virgo subintroducta_ ([Greek:
syneisaktos]) or _conhospita_, _i.e._ a nun who lived with a priest, monk,
or hermit like a sister or 'spiritual wife' (_uxor spiritualis_). This
practice, which was early suppressed and abandoned everywhere else, seems
to have survived in the Irish Church till the tenth century. See on the
whole subject H. Achelis, _Virgines Subintroductae_, ein Beitrag zu i.,
Kor. vii. (Leipzig, 1902).

'The Devil's Tribute to Moling.'--For text and translation see Whitley
Stokes's _Goidelica_, 2nd ed., p. 180, and his edition of _Félire
Oingusso_, p. 154 ff. I have in the main followed Stokes's rendering.

'Maelisu's Hymn to the Archangel Michael.'--Text and translation in the
_Gaelic Journal_, vol. iv. p. 56. Maelisu ua Brolcháin was a writer of
religious poetry both in Irish and Latin, who died in 1056.

'The Mothers' Lament at the Slaughter of the Innocents.'--See text and
translation in the _Gaelic Journal_, iv. p. 89. The piece probably belongs
to the eleventh century.

'Colum Cille's Greeting to Ireland.'--From Reeves' edition of Adamnan's
_Life of St. Columba_, p. 285. The poem, like most of those ascribed to
this saint, is late, belonging probably to the twelfth century.

'The Lament of the Old Woman of Beare.'--Text and translation in _Otia
Merseiana_, i. p. 119 ff. The language of the poem points to the late tenth
century.

'The Deserted Home.'--See _Gaelic Journal_, iv. p. 42. Probably eleventh
century.

'Colum Cille the Scribe.'--See _Gaelic Journal_, viii. p. 49. Probably
eleventh century.

'The Monk and his Pet Cat.'--Text and translation in _Thesaurus
Palaeohibernicus_, ii. p. 293. I have made my own translation. The
language is that of the late eighth or early ninth century.

'The Crucifixion.'--From _Leabhar Breac_, p. 262 _marg. sup._ and p. 168
_marg. inf._

'Pilgrimage to Rome.'--See _Thes. Pal._, ii. p. 296.

'On a Dead Scholar.'--From the notes to the _Félire Oingusso_, ed. Wh.
Stokes (Henry Bradshaw Society, vol. xxix.), p. 198.

'Hospitality.'--From the Brussels MS., 5100-4, p. 5, and _Leabhar Breac_,
p. 93, _marg. sup._

'The Scribe.'--See _Thes. Pal._, ii. p. 290.

'Moling sang this.'--From the notes to the _Félire Oingusso_, ed. Wh.
Stokes, p. 150.

'The Church Bell.'--See _Irische Texte_, iii. p. 155.

'The Blackbird.'--From _Leabhar Breac_, p. 36, _marg. sup._

The 'Triads of Ireland.' Edited and translated by me in the Todd Lecture
Series of the Royal Irish Academy, vol. xiii. (Hodges, Figgis and Co.,
Dublin, 1906). The collection was made towards the end of the ninth
century.

The 'Instructions of King Cormac.' Edited and translated by me in the Todd
Lecture Series, vol. xv. (Dublin, 1909). Early ninth century.


 Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty
 at the Edinburgh University Press





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