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Title: A Hymn on the Life, Virtues and Miracles of St. Patrick - Composed by his Disciple, Saint Fiech, Bishop of Sletty
Author: Fiech, Saint
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Hymn on the Life, Virtues and Miracles of St. Patrick - Composed by his Disciple, Saint Fiech, Bishop of Sletty" ***

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A

HYMN

ON THE

LIFE, VIRTUES, AND MIRACLES OF ST. PATRICK,


COMPOSED BY HIS DISCIPLE,

SAINT FIECH, BISHOP OF SLETTY

---

As this specimen of the language spoken in Ireland about 1200 years
ago, is here published, not only for the elucidation of our apostle's
history, but also for the gratification of the lovers of Irish
literature in general; the Irish original is accompanied, on the
opposite page, with an English translation of the whole.

In this translation, the literal meaning, and idiomatic expression of
the words and phrases, are adhered to in all such stanzas as the
editor (with the aid of some members of the Gaelic Society,
particularly conversant with subjects of this sort) could fully
understand: for he acknowledges that neither he nor these gentlemen
are so vain or disingenuous as to pretend that they comprehend the
whole of this very ancient composition.

In order to obviate any objection which may be made against the
passages in which the editor differs from the author of the version
of this hymn, in Colgan's collection of our patron saint's lives, the
Latin translation adopted in _his_ edition, is also subjoined to the
poem, at the bottom of each page.

To the hymn are added some short notes, illustrative of the subject.

_Vindication of St. Fiech's Hymn, in Answer to Dr. Ledwich's
Objections._

Respecting the authenticity and antiquity of this curious specimen of
our language about the commencement of the sixth century, some doubts
were entertained by the sagacious Bollandists, who, consequently,
considered St. Fiech to have lived long after our saint's time. This
opinion, those learned Jesuits founded on Fiech's referring to other
_histories_ for the truth of what he relates with regard to his
master, St. Patrick, during the first sixty years of his life
previously to his arrival on the mission of Ireland.

This plausible objection has been adopted and urged by Dr. Ledwich,
against St. Patrick's existence, with that dogmatical tone of
magisterial positiveness so conspicuous in his volume of invectives
against the ancient splendour, sanctity, and literature of his native
country, declaring that Fiech and Sedulius's poems on our saint "are
the wretched productions of some cloistered ecclesiastic."

To this, the only remaining one of these formidable objections,
adduced by the doctor against our apostle's existence, we answer,
that Fiech lived and composed this hymn some time after St. Patrick's
death, in the 120th year of his age, and 60th of his apostleship. Now
supposing Fiech to have lived to the 84th year of his age, and to
have composed this hymn in 600, seven years after his master's death,
which he so circumstantially relates in the poem; Fiech must
consequently have been no more than about 17 years of age when our
saint commenced his mission here. Where, or whence, then, except by
divine revelation, or from St. Patrick himself, or from the
revelation of others, could his disciple derive his information with
respect to St. Patrick's parents and ancestors, who lived in a
foreign country? or sacred Tours, in Gaul, the place of our saint's
nativity? or his original name Succoth? or his voyages and travels by
sea and land, after his escape from servitude in Ireland? or his
insular retreats or studies under the spiritual guidance of St.
German of Auxerre? &c, &c. &c.

Now, Fiech very justly informs his readers, that all these
transactions, wrought before he was born, and in a foreign country,
during the first 60 years of his great master's life, were
ascertained in _skelaiv_, (STORIES,) as in the first stanza; or
Fiadhaid, _testified to us_, as he says in the sixth stanza of his
poem, the only two places were Fiech appeals to others for the
foreign actions performed in the early period of St. Patrick's life:
of whom, though there were many lives written and published during
his existence, yet it is uncertain whether Fiech obtained his account
from written or oral documents, for either may be denoted by the
Irish word _Scealaw_ (stories.) The term by which the translator of
this hymn into Latin has rendered it, may also denote either oral or
written information. In English, too, the word _history_ often
imports oral narration: thus Pope says:

  "What _histories_ of toil could I declare,
  But still, long-wearied nature wants repair."



INNUIN PATRAIC.

I.

  Genair Patraic i nem Thur, (1)
  Asseadh ad fét hi scëlaibh,
  Macan sé m-bliadharn decc
  An tan do bhreth fo dheraibh.

II.

  Succat a ainm hitrubhradh
  Cidh a atair ba fisse,
  Mac calpuirn mic Otide
  Ho Deocain Odisse. (2)

III.

  Baisë bliadhna bi foghnamh
  Maise doine nïs tomledh
  Bitar le cothraighe, (3)
  Ceathar trebha dia fognadh.

IV.

  As bert Uictor fri gniadh
  Milcon, teseadh far tonna
  Forruibh a chois for sind leic
  Maraidh dia aes ni bronna.

V.

  Do faidh tar ealpa uile (4)
  De mhuir, bo hamhra reatha
  Comdh fargaibh la _Gearman_
  Andeas an deiscort leatha.

VI.

  An-innsibh mara toirrian
  Ainis indibh, ad rimhe,
  Lëghais cannóin la _Gearman_
  Is eadh ad fiadhad line.

VII.

  Do cum n-Erenn dod fetis
  Aingil _de_ hi fithis,
  Menic it chithe ifisibh
  Dos mcfed arithisi.

VIII.

  Ro po cobhair don D-Eren
  Tichta Patraic for Oclat:
  Ro clos cian son an garma
  Macraidhi caille fochlad.

IX.

  Gadhadair co tisseadh in noebh
  Ar a nimthised lethu,
  Ar atin taradh o cloean
  Tuath a h-Eren do bheathu.

X.

  Tuata h-Eren Tairchantais
  Dos nicfead Sithlaith nua,
  Meraidh co ti amartaige
  Bidh fás tír temhrach.

XI.

  A Dhruidh ar Laoghaire
  Tichta Patraic ni cheiltis,
  Ro firad ind aitsine,
  Ina flatha as beirtis.

XII.

  Ba lëir Patraic cumbebha,
  Ba sabh innarba cloeni,
  Ised duargoibh a Eua
  Suas de sech threbhah doeani

XIII.

  Immuin agus Apocapalips,
  Na tri coicat nos canad
  Pritchad, batset, arniged,
  Do moladh Dé in anad.

XIV.

  Ni con Gebéd fuacht sine
  Do shess aidche hillinnibh
  For nim consena a Righe,
  Pritcais fri de indindaibh.

XV.

  Hi slán tuaith benna-bairche
  Nis gebhe Dhtart, na lia
  Canadh Céad psalm cech naidhehe
  Do Righ aingel fo Gnia.

XVI.

  Foidh for luim iaramh,
  Ochus cuilche fhliuchimme,
  Ba coirthe a rithadart
  _Ni leic a corp e timme_.

XVII.

  Pritcadh sóscela do cäch
  Do gnih mór fearta i Leathu
  Iccaid luscu la trusca
  Mairbh dos fuisceadh beathu.

XVIII.

  Padraic priotcais do Scotuibh
  Ro cheas mór seath i Leathu
  Immi co tisat do brath
  In cách dos fiüc do beathu.

XIX.

  Meic Eimhir, meich Eirimoin
  Lotar huile la ciseal,
  Fos Zolaic in tarmchosal
  Is in mórchathe nisel.

XX.

  Conda tanic in T-apstal
  Do faith gidh gaethe dëne
  Pritchais tri fichte bliadhnâ,
  Cröich crist do thuathaibh Fene.

XXI.

  For thuath h-Erenn bai temnei
  Tuata adhorta idhla,
  Ni chraitsed in Fhirdheacht
  In i _Trinoite_ fire.

XXII.

  In Ardmacha fil righi
  Is cian do reracht Emhain,
  Is cell mor Dun-leth-glaisse
  Num dil cidh dithribh Temhair.

XXIII.

  Patraic dia mboi illolhra
  Ad cobra dol do Mhache
  Do lluidh Aingev ar a cenn
  For sed a meadhon laithe.

XXIV.

  Do faith fa dheos do Uictor
  Ba he arid ralastur,
  Lassais immuine imbai,
  Asan tein ad galastar.

XXV.

  As bert ordan do Mache,
  Do Crist atlaighthe buidhe
  Do chum nimhe mor raga,
  Ro ratha duit do guidhe.

XXVI.

  Immon do roeghu it biu
  Bid luirech didin do chach,
  Immuit illathiu mesa
  Regait fir n-Erend do brath.

XXVII.

  Anais Tasac dia aës
  An tan do bert Comain dó
  As bert mios nic fead Patraic
  Briathra Tasaigh nir bu gó.

XXVIII.

  Samh aighis crich fri aidhci
  Ar na cate les oca:
  Co cenn bliadhna bai soilsi,
  Ba he sitlaithe foda.

XXIX.

  An cath fechto i m-Beatron
  Fri tuait Canan la mac Nun,
  Assuith in grian fri Gabon
  Asseadh at fet littre dun.

XXX.

  Huair assuith la h-iesue
  In ghrian fri bás ina clóen,
  Ciasu threbech be huisse
  Soillse fri betsecht an noebh.

XXXI.

  Clerich Erend do llotar
  Dairi Patraic as cech sét,
  Son in ceatuil fos roiare
  Con tuil cách uadhibh for set.

XXXII.

  Anim Patraic fria chorp
  As iar saethaibh ro scarad,
  Angeil dé i cet aldhce
  Arid fethis ceannadh.

XXXIII.

  In tan conhualai Patraic,
  Ad ella in Patraic naile,
  Is malle connucc aibhset
  Do chum hisu mac Maire.

XXXIV.

  Patraic cen airae nuabhair
  Bo mör do maith ro meanuir,
  Bith ingellsine meic Maire,
  Bha sengaire in genuir. genuir.



HYMN ON ST. PATRICK.

I.

  Patrick was born at heavenly Tours,
  As it is ascertained in stories;
  A youth of sixteen years
  At the time he was brought under bondage.

II.

  Succat his name at the beginning;
  Who his father _was_, be it known
  Son of Calphurn, son of Otidé,
  _Descended_ from the Deacon Odissé.

III.

  He was six years in servitude,
  The food of the people he eat not,
  They were all by him supported,
  Four tribes to whom he was enslaved.

IV.

  Victor (the angel) said to the servant
  Of Milcho: depart over the waves,
  He (Victor) placed his foot upon a stone
  His marks after him remained.

V.

  He departed over all the mountains,
  O'er sea, prosperous was his flight.
  He dwelled along with German,
  Southward of the southermost _part_ of Letavia.

VI.

  In the islands of the Touronian sea
  He resided, as related;
  He read his Canons with German,
  As is certified to us.

VII.

  Towards Ireland he proceeds,
  Warned by God's angels in apparitions,
  Often saw he in his sleep
  That he ought to return.

VIII.

  Great the assistance to Eire,
  The coming of Patrick to Oclat:
  He heard the long sound of entreaties
  Of children from the wood of Foclat.

IX.

  They implored the saint may come
  Upon forsaking Letavia,
  For drawing from error's propensity
  The people of Eire to life.

X.

  The people of Eire prophesy
  That _there_ will come new days of peace,
  Existing till the end of time;
  Desert will be in the country of Tara.

XI.

  O Druid! upon Laoree,
  _The_ coming of Patrick you hid not;
  Too true the prophecies
  Respecting the sovereign you predicted.

XII.

  Prudent was Patrick during life;
  Pleasing was in banishing evil propensities;
  This is what extended his fame
  Up to each tribe of people.

XIII.

  _He_ hymns, and revelations,
  _And_ the three fifties daily sung:
  _He_ preached, baptized, and prayed,
  From praising God he never ceased.

XIV.

  He felt not the cold of the season;
  He stayed the night in the waters,
  With heaven to be blessed as his kingdom,
  He preached through the day on the hills.

XV.

  In saving the people of Benibarka
  He experienced neither drought nor hunger;
  He sang an hundred psalms each night,
  The King of angels to serve.

XVI.

  He then rested on a bare stone,
  And a wet coverlid over him,
  A rock was his pillow,
  He left not his body in indolence.

XVII.

  He preached the Gospel to all;
  He worked great miracles at Letavia
  He healed the blind with fasting,
  The dead he awoke to life.

XVIII.

  Patrick preached to the Scotians
  _After_ he underwent great labours in Letavia,
  That they may come to judgment,
  Each whom he guided to life.

XIX.

  The sons of Emir, the sons of Erimor,
  Were all following after the devil,
  Buried was the Armament
  In the great depths of hell.

XX.

  Till the Apostle arrived
  Who preserved them tho' dreadful the blasts
  He preached three score years
  The cross of Christ to the people of the Phenians.

XXI.

  On the people of Eire was darkness,
  People adoring idols;
  They believed not in the Godhead
  Nor in the true Trinity.

XXII.

  In Armagh is the seat of royalty;
  Long has been the prerogative of Emania,
  And of the great church at Dundalethglas,
  Nor is it pleasant that Teamar be tribeless.

XXIII.

  Patrick being about to sicken,
  For alleviation on going to Armagh,
  An angel came upon his head
  On the way, in the middle of the day.

XXIV.

  He proceeded southerly to Victor (angel)
  It was he who sent for him,
  Blaze does the bush in which he (Victor) was
  Out of the blaze he him addressed.

XXV.

  There is granted rule to Armagh,
  To Christ for this be given thanks:
  Thou, to heaven, great shalt come,
  To thee prosperous has been thy petition.

XXVI.

  A hymn, sung by thee, while living,
  Will be a protecting coat of mail to all
  In the day of judgment with thee
  The men of Erie will go to be judged.

XXVII.

  Tassac remained after him,
  The time he gave the communion to him,
  He predicted that Patrick would not return
  The sayings of Tassach were not false.

XXVIII.

  Subside does the end of the night,
  Whereupon they had great light,
  Till the year's end continued the lights,
  This was the protracted day.

XXIX.

  The battle fought in Bethoron,
  Against the people of Canaan by Nun's son
  The sun sat over Gabaon,
  It is what scripture records to us.

XXX.

  As then stood for Joshua,
  The sun for the death of the ill-inclined
  Why not trebly greater be this
  Light on the death of his saint.

XXXI.

  The clergy of Eire they proceeded
  To wake Patrick, from every side
  The sound of the musical instrument buried
  All asleep upon the spot.

XXXII.

  The soul of Patrick from his body
  After his labours, separated;
  Angels of God on the first night
  Watched around him incessantly.

XXXIII.

  At the time that Patrick died
  He proceeded to the other Patrick,
  And with him ascended
  To Jesus, the son of Mary.

XXXIV.

  Patrick, without a puff of pride,
  Manifold blessings produced;
  He was in subjection to Mary's son.
  And with auspicious bliss was born.



HYMNUS SANCTO PATRICIO

I.

  Natus est Patricius Nemturri
  Ut refertur in historiis,
  Fuit annorum sedecim
  Quando ductus in captivitatis ærumnas.

II.

  Sucat nomen ei primo impositum erat
  Quantum ad patrem attinet sciendum fuerit.
  Filius Calfurnii filii Otidii
  Nepos Diaconi Odissii.

III.

  Annis sex erat in servitute
  Escis hominum (nempe gentilium) non vescens
  Ideo Vocatus Cathraige
  Quia quatuor familiis inserviebat.

IV.

  Dixit Victor angelus servo
  Milconis: ut trans mare se conferret
  Pedem imposuit supra petram
  Ibique: exinde manent impressa ejus vestigia.

V.

  Profectus est trans Alpes omnes,
  Trajecto mari; (quæ fuit felix expeditio)
  Et apud Germanum remansit
  In Australi parte Latii.

VI.

  In insulis maris Tyrrheni
  Mansit: uti memoro
  Legit canonus apud Germanum
  Sicut testantur historiæ.

VII.

  In Hiberniam venit
  Admonitus angelorum apparitionibus
  Sæpius in visionibus videbat
  Se debere denuo eo redire.

VIII.

  Salutaris erat Hiberniæ
  Adventus Patricii ad Fochlaidios
  Audiebat a longe vocem invocantium
  Infantium de silvis Fochlaid.

IX.

  Rogabant ut ad eos veniret sanctus
  Qui discurrebat per Latium
  Ut converteret ab errore
  Populos Hiberniæ ad viam vitæ.

X.

  Vates Hiberniæ vaticinabantur
  Adventurum tempus pacis novum
  Quæ duratura sit in perpetuum
  Unde deserta foret Temorea sub silentio.

XI.

  Sui Druydæ Loegario
  Adventum Patricii non cælabant
  Adimpleta sunt vaticinia
  De domino quem predicabant.

XII.

  Carus erat Patricius usq. mortem
  Exhibit et strenuus in exterminandis erroribus
  Ex ninc merita ejus exaltata sunt
  Supra nationes hominum.

XIII.

  Hymnos et Apocalypsin
  Et tres quinquagenas _psalmorum_ in dies canenat
  Prædicabat, baptizabat, orabat,
  Et a laudibus dei non cessabat.

XIV.

  Nec temporis algor impediebat
  Quo minus maneret de nocte in mediis aquis
  Ad cœli potiandum gaudium
  Prædicabat de die super collibus.

XV.

  In fonte sian ad aquilonem juxta Bennaboirche
  (Qui fons nunquam deficit)
  Decantabat centum psalmos singulis noctibus
  Regi angelorum inserviendo.

XVI.

  Cubabat postea super nuda petra
  Cassula amictus madida
  Saxum fuit ejus pulvinar
  Sic arcebat a corpore remissionem.

XVII.

  Prædicabat evangelium populis,
  Multas virtutes et signa simul operatus
  Curabat cæcos et leprosos:
  Mortuos revocabat ad vitam.

XVIII.

  Patricius prædicabat Scotis
  Passus multos labores in Latio
  Ut venirent in die judicii
  Quos convertit ad vitam æternam.

XIX.

  Filii Emeri, Filii Erimonii,
  Omnes seducti a dæmone,
  Quos et recondidit Sathanas
  In magno puteo infeniali.

XX.

  Donec advenit apostolus
  Qui eos preservavit, licet turbines vehementes
  Qui prædicavit annis sexagihta
  Crucem Christi populis Feniorum.

XXI.

  Super populos Hiberniæ erant tenebræ
  Populos adorantes idola
  Non credebant in veram Deitatem
  Trinitatis veræ.

XXII.

  Ardmachæ est regni sedes
  Futura æterni nominis populis Emaniæ
  Et est ecclesia celebris in Dundalethglas
  Nec gratum quod Temoria deseratur.

XXIII.

  Patricius quando cepit infirmari
  Desiderabat ire Ardmacham
  Sed Angelus Dei ad eum venit
  In via in medio die.

XXIV.

  Venit versus Ausirum ad Victorem angelum
  (Is fuit qui eum accersivit)
  Rubus in quo angelus erat exarsit
  Et ex eo ipsum alloquebatur.

XXV.

  Dixit angelus regimen sit penes Ardmacho.
  Christo propter hæc gratias age;
  Ipse ad cœlos venies;
  Impetrasti adeoquæ petieras.

XXVI.

  Hymnus decantatus tibi jam viventi,
  Erit lorica protectionis populis;
  In die judicii te comitabuntur
  Hiberni ad supremum judicem.

XXVII.

  Remansit Tassachus post eum
  Quando ministravit communionem ipsi
  Dixit quod communicaturus esset Patricium
  Nec prophetia Tassachi erat falsa.

XXVIII.

  Possuit tenebras nocti
  Ita quod apud eos erat indeficiens lui
  Spatio unius anni continuata lux erat
  Et ista continuata dies et prolongata erat.

XXIX.

  Prælium gestum in Bethoron
  Contra populum Cananeorum per filium Nun
  In quo stetit sol contra Gabaoan
  Ut referunt sacræ litteraæ nobis.

XXX.

  Quandoquidem sic steterit Josuæ
  Sol ad cædendos iniquos
  Esto triplo major sit hæc
  Lux potiori jure concedenda erat in mort hujus sancti.

XXXI.

  Clerici enim Hiberniæ confluebant
  Ad celebrandas exequias Patricii undique
  Sonus concentus superni
  Reddebat ipsos sopore irruenti ubi humi decumbantes.

XXXII.

  Anima Patricii a corpore
  Post labores seperata est,
  Angeli dei prima nocte,
  Excubias circa ipsum protinus agebant.

XXXIII.

  Quando decessit Patricius
  Venit ad Patricium alterum
  Et simul ascenderunt
  Ad Jesum filium Mariæ.

XXXIV.

  Patricius absque elationis nævo
  Multa bona excogitavit
  In servitio filii Mariæ
  Fælicibus natus est auspiciis.



St. Fiech, the author of the above Hymn, was a disciple to Duvhach,
poet laureate of Laoree, monarch of Ireland. He was converted by St.
Patrick, who taught him the elements of the Latin language, in which
he was enabled to read the bible after fifteen days' study. Fiech was
appointed bishop of Leinster by his holy master, upon which he
founded a celebrated monastery, called from him _Domnach-Fiech_, on
the mountain of Sletty, about a mile to the north of Carlow, in the
territory of Leix, now in the barony of Slieve-Margey, and Queen's
county. In this church, the remains of which still exist, he also
established a college, celebrated for producing many saints, as may
be seen in Colgan's Lives of Irish Saints, &c.



NOTES.

_The figures refer to the stanzas_.

(1) In the Latin translation accompanying Colgan's edition of this
Hymn Nein Thur, or _Holy Tours_, is rendered into _Nemthur_, as if
the two words were but one, designating a place of that name. In the
fifth and ninth stanzas, the word _Lethu_ or _Letha_, is rendered by
_Latium_ or _Italy_: upon which absurd translation, Colgan, without
rectifying the mistake, observes that _Nisi Germanus dicatur degisse
in eis (insulis Tyrrheni maris) videtur hic preposterus ordo_;
"except St. German be said here to have lived in them, (the islands
of the Tyrrhenian sea,) the order of time seems preposterous." So
contradictory does this appear to the Latin translator, that he has
totally mistranslated the 17th and 18th verses, in which _Letha_
again occurs, by his omitting the word altogether. The editor's
reason for deviating from the Latin translation may be seen, at full
length, in the preceding work.

(2) Colgan, from the psalter of Cashel, traces back St. Patrick's
pedigree to the 17th progenitor, thus:

  Calphurnius     1
  Potitus         2
  Mercutius       3
  Oda, or Othus   4
  Oricius         5
  Muricius        6
  Muricius        7
  Oricius         8
  Leo             9
  Maximius       10
  Otrasius       11
  Ericius        12
  Pelestius      13
  Fierinius      14
  Brittanus      15
  Fergusius      16
  Nemethus       17
  &c. &c.

From the names of the above list, if they could be depended on, it
would appear that St. Patrick's ancestors were of Roman origin.

(3) As Father Michael Clery, one of the annalists called the four
masters was employed for fifteen years previously to the Anglo-Cromwellian
invasion in collecting Irish manuscripts, and translating
them into Latin for Colgan's Lives of the Irish Saints, it is very
probable he was the translator of this Hymn into Latin at the same
time. He was also the author of an Irish dictionary of difficult
words. To the translation of such a scholar, made also at a time when
the language was regularly studied in the seminaries of Ireland,
great deference must be paid. In this third stanza, however, the
editor has ventured to deviate from his version, which runs thus,
according to the Latin words "St. Patrick was six years in slavery,
during which he eat not the food of the (heathenish) people. For this
reason he was called Cathraige, because he served four masters." Now,
as _Cothraighe_ may also mean a supporter, maintainer, protector, &c.
this last import of the word is adopted in the English translation.

(4) Instead of St. Patrick's running over the Italian "Alps," as the
Latin translator affirms here, he travelled over all the mountains
from the north to the south of Ireland, whence he took shipping for
his native country; for _Ealpa uile_ denotes all mountains in
general.

(5) Tassach was originally a brazier and silversmith, who ornamented
the celebrated crozier of St. Patrick, called the _Staff of Jesus_.
Tassach was afterwards a priest.

In the 5th, 6th, 9th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 18th stanzas, the English
translation will be found to differ very materially from the Latin
one. Some verses of the 28th and 31st stanzas, neither the editor nor
some literary friends (of whose observations he has availed himself
in translating other parts of the Hymn) could make any tolerable
sense; he at the same time acknowledges, that he is far from being
satisfied with the Latin translation. He thinks it necessary to
observe here, once for all, that the Hymn has been faithfully
collated with, and printed word for word, according to Father
Colgan's edition.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Hymn on the Life, Virtues and Miracles of St. Patrick - Composed by his Disciple, Saint Fiech, Bishop of Sletty" ***

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