Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Heroic Romances of Ireland, Translated into English Prose and Verse — Volume 2
Author: Leahy, Arthur Herbert
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "Heroic Romances of Ireland, Translated into English Prose and Verse — Volume 2" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



HEROIC ROMANCES OF IRELAND


TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH PROSE AND VERSE, WITH PREFACE, SPECIAL
INTRODUCTIONS AND NOTES

BY

A. H. LEAHY


IN TWO VOLUMES

VOL. II



@@{Redactors Note: In the original book the 'Literal Translation' is
printed on facing pages to the poetic translation. In this etext the
literal translation portions have been collated after the poetic
translation, for the sake of readability. Hence the page numbers are
not sequential--JBH}



PREFACE TO VOL. II


It seems to have been customary in ancient Ireland to precede by
shorter stories the recital of the Great Tain, the central story of the
Irish Heroic Age.  A list of fourteen of these "lesser Tains," three of
which are lost, is given in Miss Hull's "Cuchullin Saga"; those
preserved are the Tain bo Aingen, Dartada, Flidais, Fraich, Munad,
Regamon, Regamna, Ros, Ruanadh, Sailin, and Ere.  Of these, five only
have been edited, viz. the Tain bo Dartada, Flidais, Fraich, Regamon,
and Regamna; all these five are given in this volume.

The last four tales are all short, and perhaps are more truly
"preludes" (remscela) than the Tain bo Fraich, which has indeed enough
of interest in itself to make it an independent tale, and is as long as
the four put together.  All the five tales have been rendered into
verse, with a prose literal translation opposite to the verse
rendering, for reasons already given in the preface to the first
volume.  A short introduction, describing the manuscript authority, is
prefixed to each; they all seem to go back in date to the best literary
period, but appear to have been at any rate put into their present form
later than the Great Tain, in order to lead up to it.  A possible
exception to this may be found at the end of the Tain bo Flidais, which
seems to give a different account of the end of the war of Cualgne, and
to claim that Cuchulain was defeated, and that Connaught gained his
land for its allies.  It may be mentioned that the last four tales are
expressly stated in the text to be "remscela" to the Great Tain.



INTRODUCTION IN VERSE



When to an Irish court of old
Came men, who flocked from near and far
To hear the ancient tale that told
Cuchulain's deeds in Cualgne's War;

Oft, ere that famous tale began,
Before their chiefest bard they hail,
Amid the throng some lesser man
Arose, to tell a lighter tale;

He'd fell how Maev and Ailill planned
Their mighty hosts might best be fed,
When they towards the Cualgne land
All Irelands swarming armies led;

How Maev the youthful princes sent
To harry warlike Regamon,
How they, who trembling, from her went,
His daughters and his cattle won;

How Ailill's guile gained Darla's cows,
How vengeful fairies marked that deed;
How Fergus won his royal spouse
Whose kine all Ireland's hosts could feed;

How, in a form grotesque and weird,
Cuchulain found a Power Divine;
Or how in shapes of beasts appeared
The Magic Men, who kept the Swine;

Or how the rowan's guardian snake
Was roused by order of the king;
Or how, from out the water, Fraech
To Finnabar restored her ring.

And though, in greater tales, they chose
Speech mired with song, men's hearts to sway,
Such themes as these they told in prose,
Like speakers at the "Feis" to-day.

To men who spake the Irish tongue
That form of Prose was pleasing well,
While other lands in ballads sung
Such tales as these have loved to tell:

So we, who now in English dress
These Irish tales would fain
And seek their spirit to express,
Have set them down in ballad verse;

And, though to Celts the form be strange,
Seek not too much the change to blame;
'Tis but the form alone we change;
The sense, the spirit rest the same.



CONTENTS



THE PRELUDES TO THE RAID OF CUALGNE


TAIN BO FRAICH - Page 1

THE RAID FOR DARTAID'S CATTLE - Page 69

THE RAID FOR THE CATTLE OF REGAMON - Page 83

THE DRIVING OF THE CATTLE OF FLIDAIS - Page 101

THE APPARITION OF THE GREAT QUEEN TO CUCHULAIN - Page 127

APPENDIX

IRISH TEXT AND LITERAL TRANSLATION OF PART OF THE COURTSHIP OF ETAIN -
Page 143



TAIN BO FRAICH



INTRODUCTION


The Tain bo Fraich, the Driving of the Cattle of Fraech, has apparently
only one version; the different manuscripts which contain it differing
in very small points; most of which seem to be due to scribal errors.

Practically the tale consists of two quite separate parts.  The first,
the longer portion, gives the adventures of Fraech at the court of
Ailill and Maev of Connaught, his courtship of their daughter,
Finnabar, and closes with a promised betrothal.  The second part is an
account of an expedition undertaken by Fraech to the Alps "in the north
of the land of the Long Beards," to recover stolen cattle, as well as
his wife," who is stated by O'Beirne Crowe, on the authority of the
"Courtship of Trebland" in the Book of Fermoy, to have been Trebland, a
semi-deity, like Fraech himself.  Except that Fraech is the chief actor
in both parts, and that there is one short reference at the end of the
second part to the fact that Fraech did, as he had promised in the
first part, join Ailill and Maev upon the War of Cualnge, there is no
connection between the two stories.  But the difference between the two
parts is not only in the subject-matter; the difference in the style is
even yet more apparent.  The first part has, I think, the most
complicated plot of any Irish romance, it abounds in brilliant
descriptions, and, although the original is in prose, it is, in
feeling, highly poetic.  The second part resembles in its simplicity
and rapid action the other "fore tales" or preludes to the War of
Cualnge contained in this volume, and is of a style represented in
English by the narrative ballad.

In spite of the various characters of the two parts, the story seems to
have been regarded as one in all the manuscripts which contain it; and
the question how these two romances came to be regarded as one story
becomes interesting.  The natural hypothesis would be that the last
part was the original version, which was in its earlier part re-written
by a man of genius, possibly drawing his plot from some brief statement
that Finnabar was promised to Fraech in return for the help that he and
his recovered cattle could give in the Great War; but a difficulty,
which prevents us from regarding the second part as an original legend,
at once comes in.  The second part of the story happens to contain so
many references to nations outside Ireland that its date can be pretty
well fixed.  Fraech and his companions go, over the sea from Ulster,
i.e. to Scotland; then through "north Saxon-land" to the sea of Icht
(i.e. the sea of Wight or the English Channel); then to the Alps in the
north of the land of the Long-Beards, or Lombards.  The Long-Beards do
not appear in Italy until the end of the sixth century; the suggestion
of North Saxon-Land reaching down to the sea of Wight suggests that
there was then a South Saxon-Land, familiar to an Irish writer, dating
this part of the story as before the end of the eighth century, when
both Saxons and Long-Beards were overcome by Charlemagne.  The second
part of the story is, then, no original legend, but belongs to the
seventh or eighth century, or the classical period; and it looks as if
there were two writers, one of whom, like the author of the Egerton
version of Etain, embellished the love-story part of the original
legend, leaving the end alone, while another author wrote an account of
the legendary journey of the demi-god Fraech in search for his stolen
cattle, adding the geographical and historical knowledge of his time.
The whole was then put together, like the two parts of the Etain story;
the difference between the two stories in the matter of the wife does
not seem to have troubled the compilers.

The oldest manuscript authority for the Tain bo Fraich is the Book of
Leinster, written before 1150.  There are at least two other manuscript
authorities, one; in Egerton, 1782 (published by Professor Kuno Meyer
in the Zeitschrift für Celt. Philologie, 1902); the other is in MS. XL.,
Advocates' Library, Edinburgh (published in the Revue Celtique, Vol.
XXIV.).  Professor Meyer has kindly allowed me to copy his comparison
of these manuscripts and his revision of O'Beirne Crowe's translation
of the Book of Leinster text.  The text of the literal translation
given here follows, however, in the main O'Beirne Crowe's translation,
which is in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy for 1870; a few
insertions are made from the other MSS.; when so made the insertion is
indicated by a note.

For those who may be interested in the subsequent history of Fraech, it
may be mentioned that he was one of the first of the Connaught
champions to be slain by Cuchulain in the war of Cualnge; see Miss
Faraday's translation (Grimm Library, page 35).



PERSONS IN THE STORY



MORTALS


Ailill, King of Connaught.

Medb (or Maev), Queen of Connaught.

Findbar (or Finnabar), their daughter.

Froech (or Fraech), (pronounced Fraych); son of a Connaught man and a
fairy mother.

Conall Cernach (Conall the Victorious), champion of Ulster.

Two Irish women, in captivity in the Alps, north of Lombardy.

Lothar (or Lothur), a follower of Fraech.

Bicne, a follower of Conall.



IMMORTALS



Befind, Fraech's fairy mother.

Boand (pronounced like "owned"), sister to Befind; Queen of the Fairies.

Three fairy harpers.



TAIN BO FRAICH



THE RAID FOR THE CATTLE OF FRAECH


Now the news of the love of that maid to Fraech, at his home where he
dwelt, was brought,
And he called his folk, and with all he spoke, and for speech with the
maid he sought:
And they counselled him thus: "Let a message from thee be sent to thy
fairy kin
To entreat their aid when we seek that maid; a boon we may chance to
win:
For the wondrous robes of the fairy land, and for gifts from the
fairies plead;
And sure thy mother's sister's hand will give to thee all thy need."

To Mag Breg,[FN#1] where his mother's sister dwelt, to Boand he away
hath gone,
And she gave to him mantles of dark black-blue, like a beetle's back
they shone:
Four dark-grey rings in each cloak she gave were sewn, and a brooch
shone, bright
With the good red gold in each mantle's fold; she gave tunics pale and
white,
And the tunics were bordered with golden loops, that forms as of beasts
displayed;
And a fifty she added of well-rimmed shields, that of silver white were
made.


[FN#1]  Pronounced Maw Brayg.


Then away they rode, in each hero's hand was a torch for a kingly hall,
For studs of bronze, and of well-burned gold, shone bright on the
spears of all;
On carbuncle sockets the spears were set, their points with jewels
blazed;
And they lit the night, as with fair sunlight, as men on their glory
gazed.

By each of the fifty heroes' side was a sword with a hilt of gold;
And a soft-grey mare was for each to ride, with a golden curb
controlled;
At each horse's throat was a silver plate, and in front of that plate
was swung,
With a tinkling sound to the horse's tread, a bell with a golden tongue.
on each steed was a housing of purple hide, with threads of silver
laced,
And with spiral stitch of the silver threads the heads of beasts were
traced,
And each housing was buckled with silver and gold: of findruine[FN#2]
was made the whip
For each rider to hold, with a crook of gold where it came to the horse
man's grip.


[FN#2]  Pronounced "find-roony," the unknown "white-bronze" metal.


By their sides, seven chase-hounds were springing
At leashes of silver they strained,
And each couple a gold apple, swinging
On the fetter that linked them, sustained:
And their feet with bronze sheaths had been guarded,
As if greaves for defence they had worn,
Every hue man hath seen, or hath fancied,
By those chase-hounds in brilliance was borne.

Seven trumpeters strode on the road before, with colour their cloaks
were bright,
And their coats, that shone with the gauds they wore, flashed back as
they met the light;
On trumpets of silver and gold they blew, and sweet was the trumpets'
sound,
And their hair, soft and yellow, like fairy threads, shone golden their
shoulders round.

Three jesters marched in the van, their-crowns were of silver, by gilt
concealed,
And emblems they. carried of quaint device, engraved on each jester's
shield;
They had staves which with crests were adorned, and ribs down their
edges in red bronze ran;
Three harp-players moved by the jesters' sides, and each was a kingly
man.
All these were the gifts that the fairy gave, and gaily they made their
start,
And to Croghan's[FN#3] hold, in that guise so brave, away did the host
depart.


[FN#3]  Pronounced Crow-han.


On the fort stands a watchman to view them,
And thus news down to Croghan he calls:
"From yon plain comes, in fulness of numbers,
A great army to Croghan's high walls;
And, since Ailill the throne first ascended,
Since the day we hailed Maev as our Queen,
Never army so fair nor so splendid
Yet hath come, nor its like shall be seen."

"'Tis strange," said he," as dipped in wine,
So swims, so reels my head,
As o'er me steals the breath divine
Of perfume from them shed."

"A fair youth," said he, "forth with them goeth,
And the grace of such frolicsome play,
And such lightness in leap as he showeth
Have I seen not on earth till to-day:
For his spear a full shot's length he flingeth,
Yet the spear never reacheth to ground,
For his silver-chained hounds follow after,
In their jaws is the spear ever found!"
The Connaught hosts without the fort
To see that glory rushed:
Sixteen within, of baser sort,
Who gazed, to death were crushed.

To the fort came the youths, from their steeds they leapt, for the
steeds and the stabling cared,
And they loosed the hounds that in leash they kept, for the hunt were
the hounds prepared;
Seven deer, seven foxes and hares, they chased to the dun on Croghan's
plain,
Seven boars they drave, on the lawn in haste the game by the youths was
slain:
With a bound they dashed into Bree, whose flood by the lawns of Croghan
flows;
Seven otters they caught in its stream, and brought to a hill where the
gateway rose.

'Twas there that Fraech and the princes sat at the castle-gate to rest,
And the steward of Croghan with Fraech would speak, for such was the
king's behest:
Of his birth it was asked, and the men he led all truth to the herald
spake:
"It is Idath's son who is here," they said, and they gave him the name
of Fraech.
To Ailill and Maev went the steward back of the stranger's name to tell;
"Give him welcome," said they: "Of a noble race is that youth, and I
know it well;
Let him enter the court of our house," said the king, the gateway they
opened wide;
And the fourth of the palace they gave to Fraech, that there might his
youths abide.

Fair was the palace that there they found,
Seven great chambers were ranged it round;
Right to the walls of the house they spread,
Facing the hall, where the fire glowed red:
Red yew planks, that had felt the plane,
Dappled the walls with their tangled grain:

Rails of bronze at the side-walls stood,
Plates of bronze had made firm the wood,
Seven brass bolts to the roof-tree good
Firmly the vaulting tied.

All that house had of pine been made,
Planks, as shingles, above were laid;
Sixteen windows the light let pass,
Each in a frame of the shining brass:
High through the roof was the sky seen bright;
Girder of brass made that opening tight,
Under the gap it was stretched, and light
Fell on its gleaming side.

All those chambers in splendour excelling,
The midmost of all in the ring,
Rose a room, set apart as the dwelling
Of Queen Maev, and of Ailill the king.
Four brass columns the awning supported
For their couch, there was bronze on the wall;
And two rails, formed of silver, and gilded,
In that chamber encircled it all:
In the front, to mid-rafters attaining,
Rose in silver a wand from the floor;
And with rooms was that palace engirdled,
For they stretched from the door to the door.

'Twas there they went to take repose,
On high their arms were hung;
And down they sank, and welcome rose,
Acclaimed by every tongue.

By the queen and the king they were welcome made, the strangers they
turned to greet;
And their courtesy graciously Fraech repaid: "'Twas thus we had hoped
to meet."
"Not for boasting to-day are ye come!" said Maev; the men for the chess
she set:
And a lord of the court in the chess-man sport by Fraech in a match was
met.
'Twas a marvellous board of findruine fair was prepared, when they
played that game,
Four handles, and edges of gold it had, nor needed they candles' flame;
For the jewels that blazed at the chess-board's side, a light, as from
lamps, would yield;
And of silver and gold were the soldiers made, who engaged on that
mimic field.

"Get ye food for the chiefs!" said the king; said Maev, "Not yet, 'tis
my will to stay,
To sit with the strangers, and here with Fraech in a match at the chess
to play!"
"Let thy game be played!" said Ailill then, "for it pleaseth me none
the less:"
And Queen Maev and Fraech at the chess-board sate, and they played at
the game of chess.

Now his men, as they played, the wild beasts late caught were cooking,
they thought to feed;
And said Ailill to Fraech, "Shall thy harpmen play?" "Let them play,"
said Fraech, "indeed:"
Now those harpers were wondrous men, by their sides they had sacks of
the otter's skin,
And about their bodies the sacks were tied, and they carried their
harps within,
With stitches of silver and golden thread each case for a harp was
sewed;
And, beneath the embroidery gleaming red, the shimmer of rubies showed!

The skin of a roe about them in the middle, it was as white as snow;
black-grey eyes in their centre. Cloaks of linen as white as the tunic
of a swan around these ties.[FN#4]  Harps of gold and silver and
bronze, with figures of serpents and birds, and hounds of gold and
silver: as they moved those strings those figures used to run about the
men all round.


[FN#4]  This is the Egerton version, which is clearly right here.  The
Book of Leinster gives: "These figures accordingly used to run," &c.,
leaving out all the first part of the sentence, which is required to
make the meaning plain.


They play for them then so that twelve of the people[FN#5] of Ailill
and Medb die with weeping and sadness.


[FN#5]  The Book of Leinster omits "of Ailill and Medb."


Gentle and melodious were the triad, and they were the Chants of
Uaithne[FN#6] (Child-birth). The illustrious triad are three brothers,
namely Gol-traiges (Sorrow-strain), and Gen-traiges (Joy-strain), and
Suan-traiges (Sleep-strain). Boand from the fairies is the mother of
the triad:


[FN#6]  Pronounced something like Yew-ny.


At every one of the harpers' waists was girded the hide of a roe,
And black-grey spots in its midst were placed, but the hide was as
white as snow;
And round each of the three of them waved a cloak, as white as the wild
swan's wings:
Gold, silver, and bronze were the harps they woke; and still, as they
touched the strings,
The serpents, the birds, and the hounds on the harps took life at the
harps' sweet sound,
And those figures of gold round the harpmen rose, and floated in music
round.

Then they played, sweet and sad was the playing,
Twelve of Ailill's men died, as they heard;
It was Boand[FN#7] who foretold them that slaying,
And right well was accomplished her word.


[FN#7]  Pronounced with sound of "owned."


'Tis the three Chants of Child-Birth
Give names to those Three;
Of the Harp of the Dagda[FN#8]
The children they be.


[FN#8]  The Dagda seems to have been the chief god of the old Celtic
mythology.


To those harpers a fairy
Is mother, of yore
To that Harp, men call Child-Birth,
Queen Boand the three bore.

They are three noble brothers,
And well are they known;
They are kindly and gentle,
And tuneful of tone.

One is Joy-Song, one Sorrow's,
One, "Song that gives Sleep,"
And the Harp's strains, their father's,
Remembered they keep.

For when Boand was at bearing,
Came Sorrow the first,
From the Harp, its strings tearing
With cry, Sorrow burst.

Then there came to her pleasure
For birth of a boy;
And a sweet smiling measure
The Harp played, 'twas Joy.

And she swooned in her anguish,
For hard the third birth:
From the Harp, her pains soothing,
Sleep's strain came on earth.

Then from Boand passed her slumber,
And, "Uaithne,"[FN#9] she cried,
Thy three sons, thou sharp Child-Birth,
I take to my side.


[FN#9]  Pronounced something like Yew-ny.


Cows and women by Ailill
And Maev shall be slain;
For on these cometh Sorrow,
And Joy, and Sleep's strain:

Yea, and men, who these harpers,
Thy children, shall hear,
By their art to death stricken,
Shall perish in fear."

Then the strains died away in the palace,
The last notes seemed to sink, and to cease:
"It was stately," said Fergus, "that music."
And on all came a silence, and peace.

Said Fraech, "The food divide ye!
Come, bring ye here the meat!"
And down to earth sank Lothar,
On floor he set his feet;

He crouched, on haunches sitting,
The joints with sword he split;
On bones it fell unerring,
No dainty part he hit!

Though long with sword he hewed, and long
Was meat by men supplied,
His hand struck true; for never wrong
Would Lothar meat divide.

Three days at the chess had they played; three nights, as they sat at
the game, had gone:
And they knew not the night for the sparkling light from the jewels of
Fraech that shone;
But to Maev turned Fraech, and he joyously cried, "I have conquered
thee well at the chess!
Yet I claim not the stake at the chess-board's side, lest thy palace's
wealth be less."

"For no lengthier day have I sat in such play," said Maev, "since I
here first came."
"And well may the day have seemed long," said Fraech, "for three days
and three nights was the game!"
Then up started Maev, and in shame she blushed that the chiefs she had
failed to feed;
To her husband, King Ailill, in wrath she rushed: "We have both done a
goodly deed!
For none from our stores hath a banquet brought for the youths who are
strangers here!"
And said Ailill, "In truth for the play was thy thought, and to thee
was the chess more dear."
"We knew not that darkness had come," said Maev, "'tis not chess thou
should'st thus condemn;
Though the day had gone, yet the daylight shone from the heart of each
sparkling gem;
Though the game we played, all could meal have made, had men brought of
the night advice,
But the hours sped away, and the night and the day have approached and
have fled from us thrice!"
"Give command," said the king, "that those wailing chants, till we give
them their food, be stilled."
And food to the hands of each they gave, and all with the meat were
filled;
And all things merrily went, for long the men with a feast were fed,
For, as feasting they sat, thrice rose the day, thrice night above
earth was spread.

They brought Fraech, when that banquet was ended,
To the House of Debate, which was near,
And they asked of his errand: "In friendship,
For a visit," said Fraech, "am I here!"
"And 'twas joy that we felt, when receiving
This your host," said the king, "ye have brought
Much of pleasure to all, and with grieving,
When ye go, shall your presence be sought!"

"Then," said Fraech, "for a week we abide here."
For two weeks in that dun they abode:
And the Connaught men pressed round to view them,
As each eve home from hunting they rode.

Yet Fraech was sad, with Findabar
A word he sought in vain;
Though he in truth from home so far
Had come that word to gain.

Fraech, as night was ending,
Sprang from out his bed;
Sought the brook, intending
There to lave his head.

There King Ailill's daughter
Stood, and there her maid:
They that hour from water
Sought the cleansing aid.

"Stay," he cried, and speaking
Caught the maiden's hand;
"Thee alone as seeking,
I have reached this land:

Here am I who sought thee,
Stay, and hear me woo!"
"Ah! thy speech hath brought me
Joy," she said, "most true;

Yet, thy side if nearing,
What for thee can I?"
"Maid!" he cried, "art fearing
Hence with me to fly?"

"Flight I hold disloyal,"
Answered she in scorn;
"I from mother royal,
I to king was born;

What should stay our wedding?
None so mean or poor
Thou hast seemed, nor dreading
Kin of mine; be sure:

I will go! 'tis spoken,
Thou beloved shalt be!
Take this ring as token,
Lent by Maev to me!

'Twas my mother who bid me to save it,
For the ring she in secret would hide;
'Tis as pledge of our love that I gave it,
As its pledge it with thee should abide.

Till that ring we can freely be showing
I will tell them I put it astray!"
And, the love of each other thus knowing,
Fraech and Finnabar went on their way.

"I have fear," said the king, "that with Fraech yon maid to his home as
his wife would fly;
Yet her hand he may win, if he rides on the Raid with his kine when the
time draws nigh."
Then Fraech to the Hall of Debate returned, and he cried: "Through Some
secret chink
Hath a whisper passed?" and the king replied, "Thou would'st fit in
that space, I think!"

"Will ye give me your daughter?" said Fraech: said the king, "In sight
of our hosts she goes;
If, as gift to suffice for her marriage price, thy hand what I ask
bestows."
"I will give thee what price thou dost name," said Fraech, "and now let
its sum be told!"'
"Then a sixty steeds do I claim," said the king, "dark-grey, and with
bits of gold;
And twelve milch-cows, from their udders shall come the milk in a
copious stream,
And by each of the cows a white calf shall run; bright red on its ears
shall gleam;
And thou, with thy harpers and men, shalt ride by my side on the
Cualgne[FN#10] Raid,
And when all thy kine driven here shall stand, shall the price of her
hand be paid!"


[FN#10]  Pronounced Kell-ny.


Now I swear by the edge of my sword," said Fraech, "I swear by my arms
and shield,
I would give no such pledge, even Maev to take, were it her thou wert
fain to yield!"
And he went from the House of Debate, but Maev with Ailill bent low in
plot:
All around us our foes," said the king, "shall close, if Finnabar stays
here not;
Many kings of Erin, who seek that maid, shall hear of her borne away,
And in wrath they will rush on our land; 'twere best that Fraech we
devise to slay;
Ere that ruin he bring, let us make our spring, and the ill yet
unwrought arrest."
"It were pity such deed should be done," said Maev, "and to slay in our
house our guest!
'Twill bring shame on us ever." "No shame to our house," said King
Ailill, "that death shall breed!"
(And he spake the words twice)--"but now hear my advice, how I plan we
should do this deed."

All the plot had been planned; to their house at last
King Ailill and Maev through the doorway passed;
And the voice of the king uprose:
"'Tis now that the hounds should their prey pursue,
Come away to the hunt who the hounds would view;
For noon shall that hunting close."
So forth went they all, on the chase intent,
And they followed till strength of the hounds was spent,
And the hunters were warm; and to bathe they went
Where the river of Croghan flows.

And, "'Tis told me," said Ailill, "that Fraech hath won
A great fame for the feats he in floods hath done:
Wilt thou enter these streams by our side that run?
We are longing to see thee swim!"
And said Fraech: "Is it good then indeed thy stream?
And said Ailill: "Of danger no need to dream,
For many a youth from the Connaught Court
In its current hath bathed, and hath swum it in sport,
Nor of any who tried have we heard report
That ill hath been found by him!"

Then Fraech from his body his garments stripped,
And he sprang down the bank, and he swiftly slipped
In the stream: and the king's glance fell
On a belt, left by Fraech on the bank; the king
Bent low; in the purse saw his daughter's ring,
And the shape of the ring could tell.
"Come hither, O Maev," Ailill softly cried;
And Queen Maev came up close to her husband's side
"Dost thou know of that ring?" in the purse she spied
The ring, and she knew it well.
Then Ailill the ring from the purse withdrew,
And away from the bank the fair gem he threw;
And the ring, flashing bright, through the air far flew,
To be lost in the flood's swift swell.

And Fraech saw the gem as it brightly flashed,
And a salmon rose high, at the light it dashed,
And, as back in the stream with the ring he splashed,
At the fish went Fraech with a spring:
By its jole was the salmon secured, and thrown
To a nook in the bank, that by few was known;
And unnoticed he threw it, to none was it shown
As it fell to the earth, with the ring.

And now Fraech from the stream would be going:
But, "Come not," said the king, "to us yet:
Bring a branch from yon rowan-tree, showing
Its fair berries, with water-drops wet."

Then Fraech, swimming away through the water,
Brake a branch from the dread rowan-tree,
And a sigh came from Ailill's fair daughter;
"Ah! how lovely he seemeth," said she.

Fair she found him, swimming
Through that pool so black
Brightly gleamed the berries,
Bound athwart his back.

White and smooth his body,
Bright his glorious hair;
Eyes of perfect greyness,
Face of men most fair:

Soft his skin, no blemish,
Fault, nor spot it flawed;
Small his chin, and steady,
Brave his brow, and broad.

Straight he seemed, and stainless;
Twixt his throat and chin
Straying scarlet berries
Touched with red his skin.

Oft, that sight recalling,
Findabar would cry:
"Ne'er was half such beauty,
Naught its third came nigh!"

To the bank he swam, and to Ailill was thrown, with its berries, the
tree's torn limb:
"Ah! how heavy and fair have those clusters grown; bring us more," and
he turned to swim;
The mid-current was reached, but the dragon was roused that was guard
to that rowan-tree;
And it rose from the river, on Fraech it rushed: "Throw a sword from
the bank!" cried he.
And no man on the bank gave the sword: they were kept by their fear of
the queen and the king;
But her clothes from her Finnabar stripped, and she leapt in the river
his sword to bring.
And the king from above hurled his five-barbed spear; the full length
of a shot it sped:
At his daughter it flew, and its edge shore through two tresses that
crowned her head:
And Fraech in his hand caught the spear as it fell, and backward its
point he turned.
And again to the land was the spear launched well: 'twas a feat from
the champions learned.
Though the beast bit his side as that spear was cast, yet fiercely the
dart was flung,
Through the purple robe of the king it passed, through the tunic that
next him clung!

Then up sprang the youths of the court, their lord in danger they well
might deem,
But the strong hand of Fraech had closed firm on the sword, and
Finnabar rose from the stream.
Now with sword in his hand, at the monster's head hewed Fraech, on its
side it sank,
And he came from the river with blade stained red, and the monster he
dragged to the bank.
Twas then Bree's Dub-lind in the Connaught land the Dark Water of
Fraech was named,
From that fight was it called, but the queen and the king went back to
their dun, ashamed!

"It is noble, this deed we have done!" said Maev: "'Tis pitiful,"
Ailill cried:
"For the hurt of the man I repent, but to her, our daughter, shall woe
betide!
On the morrow her lips shall be pale, and none shall be found to aver
that her guilt,
When the sword for his succour to Fraech she gave, was the cause why
her life was spilt!
Now see that a bath of fresh bacon broth be prepared that shall heal
this prince,
And bid them with adze and with axe the flesh of a heifer full small to
mince:
Let the meat be all thrown in the bath, and there for healing let
Fraech be laid!"
And all that he ordered was done with care; the queen his command
obeyed.

Then arose from Fraech's trumpets complaining,
As his men travelled back to the dun;
Their soft notes lamentation sustaining,
And a many their deaths from them won;

And he well knew its meaning;
And, "Lift me, my folk,"
He cried, "surely that keening
From Boand's women broke:
My mother, the Fairy, is nigh."

Then they raised him, and bore him
Where wild rose the sound;
To his kin they restored him;
His women pressed round:

And he passed from their sight out of Croghan;
For that night from earth was he freed,
And he dwelt with his kin, the Sid-Dwellers
In the caverns of Croghan's deep Sid.[FN#11]


[FN#11]  Pronounced Sheed; Sid is the fairy mound.


All at nine, next morrow,
Gazed, for back he came,
Round their darling pressing
Many a fairy dame:

Brave he seemed, for healing
All his wounds had got;
None could find a blemish,
None a sear or spot.

Fifty fairies round him,
Like in age and grace;
Like each form and bearing;
Like each lovely face.

All in fairy garments,
All alike were dressed;
None was found unequal;
None surpassed the rest.

And the men who stood round, as they neared them,
Were struck with a marvellous awe;
They were moved at the sight, and they feared them,
And hardly their breath they could draw.

At the Liss all the fairies departed,
But on Fraech, as they vanished, they cried:
And the sound floated in of their wailing,
And it thrilled through the men, and they sighed.

Then first that mournful measure,
"The Ban-Shee[FN#12] Wail," was heard;
All hearts with grief and pleasure
That air, when harped, hath stirred.


[FN#12]  Spelt "Ban Side," the fairy women.


To the dun came Fraech, and the hosts arose, and welcome by all was
shown:
For it seemed as if then was his birth among men, from a world to the
earth unknown!
Up rose for him Maev and King Ailill, their fault they confessed, and
for grace they prayed,
And a penance they did, and for all that assault they were pardoned,
and peace was made.
And now free from all dread, they the banquet spread, the banqueting
straight began:
But a thought came to Fraech, and from out of his folk he called to his
side a man.

"Now hie thee," he said, "to the river bank, a salmon thou there shalt
find;
For nigh to the spot where in stream I sank, it was hurled, and 'twas
left behind;
To Finnabar take it, and bid her from me that the salmon with skill she
broil:
In the midst of the fish is the ring: and none but herself at the task
must toil;
And to-night, as I think, for her ring they call ": then he turned to
the feast again,
And the wine was drunk, and the revellers sunk, for the fumes of it
seized their brain,
And music and much of delights they had; but the king had his plans
laid deep,
"Bring ye all of my jewels," he cried-on the board they were poured in
a dazzling heap.
"They are wonderful, wonderful!" cried they all: "Call Finnabar!" said
the king;
And his daughter obeyed, and her fifty maids stood round in a lovely
ring.
My daughter," said Ailill, "a ring last year I gave thee, is't here
with thee yet?
Bring it hither to show to the chiefs, and anon in thy hand shall the
gem be set."
"That jewel is lost," said the maid, "nor aught of the fate of the ring
I know!"
Then find it," said Ailill, "the ring must be brought, or thy soul from
thy limbs must go!"

"Now, nay!" said they all, "it were cruel
That such fate for such fault should be found:
Thou hast many a fair-flashing jewel
In these heaps that lie scattered around!"
And said Fraech: "Of my jewels here glowing
Take thy fill, if the maid be but freed;
'Tis to her that my life I am owing,
For she brought me the sword in my need."

"There is none of thy gems that can aid her,"
Said Ailill, "nor aught thou canst give;
There is one thing alone that shall save her;
If the ring be restored, she shall live!

Said Finnabar; "Thy treasure
To yield no power is mine:
Do thou thy cruel pleasure,
For strength, I know, is thine."

"By the god whom our Connaught land haileth,
I swear," answered Ailill the king,
"That the life on thy lips glowing faileth,
If thou place in my hand not the ring!"
And that hard," he laughed softly, "the winning
Of that jewel shall be, know I well;
They who died since the world had beginning
Shall come back to the spot where they fell
Ere that ring she can find, and can bear it
To my hand from the spot where 'twas tossed,
And as knowing this well, have I dared her
To restore what for aye hath been lost!"

"No ring for treasure thus despised,"
She said, "exchanged should be;
Yet since the king its worth hath prized,
I'll find the gem for thee!"

Not thus shalt thou fly," said the king, "to thy maid let the quest of
the ring be bid!"
And his daughter obeyed, and to one whom she sent she told where the
ring was hid:

"But," Finnabar cried, "by my country's god I swear that from out this
hour,
Will I leave this land, and my father's hand shall no more on my life
have power,
And no feasting shall tempt me to stay, no draughts of wine my resolve
shall shake!"
"No reproach would I bring, if as spouse," said the king, "thou a groom
from my stalls would'st take!
But that ring must be found ere thou goest! "Then back came her maid,
and a dish she bore:
And there lay a salmon well broiled, as sauce with honey 'twas
garnished o'er:
By the daughter of Ailill herself with skill had the honey-sweet sauce
been made.
And high on the breast of the fish, the ring of gold that they sought
was laid.
King Ailill and Maev at the ring gazed hard; Fraech looked, in his
purse he felt:
Now it seemeth," he said, "'twas to prove my host that I left on the
bank my belt,

And Ailill now I challenge
All truth, as king to tell;
What deed his cunning fashioned,
And what that ring befell."

"There is naught to be hidden," said Ailill;
"It was mine, in thy purse though it lay
And my daughter I knew as its giver:
So to river I hurled it away.

Now Fraech in turn I challenge
By life and honour's claim:
Say how from yon dark water
That ring to draw ye came."

"There is naught to be hidden," he answered,
"The first day that I came, on the earth,
Near the court round thy house, was that jewel;
And I saw all its beauty and worth:

In my purse then I hid it; thy daughter,
Who had lost it, with care for it sought;
And the day that I went to that water
Was the news of her search to me brought:

And I asked what reward she would give me,
If the gem in her hand should be placed;
And she answered that I, if I found it,
For a year by her love should be graced.

But not then could the ring be delivered:
For afar in my chamber it lay:
Till she gave me the sword in the river,
We met not again on that day.

'Twas then I saw thee open
My purse, and take the ring:
I watched, and towards the water
That gem I saw thee fling:

I saw the salmon leaping,
The ring it caught, and sank:
I came behind, and seized it;
And brought the fish to bank.

Then I wrapped it up close in my mantle;
And 'twas hid from inquisitive eyes;
And in Finnabar's hand have I placed it:
And now there on the platter it lies!"

Now all who this or that would know
To ask, and praise began:
Said Finnabar, "I'll never throw
My thoughts on other man!"

Now hear her word," her parents cried,
"And plight to her thy troth,
And when for Cualgne's[FN#13] kine we ride
Do thou redeem thine oath.


[FN#13]  Pronounced Kell-ny.


And when with kine from out the east
Ye reach our western land;
That night shall be thy marriage feast;
And thine our daughter's hand."

"Now that oath will I take," answered back to them Fraech, "and the
task ye have asked will do!"
So he tarried that night till the morning's light; and they feasted the
whole night through;
And then homewards bound, with his comrades round, rode Fraech when the
night was spent,
And to Ailill and Maev an adieu he gave, and away to their land they
went.



TAIN BO FRAICH



Part I



LITERAL TRANSLATION


FRAECH, son of Idath of the men of Connaught, a son he to Befind from
the Side: a sister she to Boand.  He is the hero who is the most
beautiful that was of the men of Eriu and of Alba, but he was not
long-lived.  His mother gave him twelve cows out of the Sid (the fairy
mound), they are white-eared.  He had a good housekeeping till the end
of eight years without the taking of a wife.  Fifty sons of kings, this
was the number of his household, co-aged, co-similar to him all between
form and instruction. Findabair, daughter of Ailill and Medb, loves him
for the great stories about him.  It is declared to him at his house.
Eriu and Alba were full of his renown and the stories about him.


To Fraech[FN#14] was Idath[FN#15] father,
A Connaught man was he:
And well we know his mother
Who dwells among the Shee;[FN#16]
Befind they call her, sister
To Boand,[FN#17] the Fairy Queen;
And Alba ne'er, nor Erin,
Such grace as Fraech's hath seen.
Yet wondrous though that hero's grace,
His fairy lineage high,
For years but few his lovely face
Was seen by human eye.


[FN#14]  Pronounced Fraych.

[FN#15]  Pronounced Eeda.

[FN#16]  The Fairies.

[FN#17]  Pronounced with the sound of "owned."


Fraech had twelve of white-eared fairy-cattle,
'Twas his mother those cattle who gave:
For eight years in his home he dwelt wifeless,
And the state of his household was brave;
Fifty princes, whose age, and whose rearing,
And whose forms were as his, with him played;
And his glory filled Alba and Erin
Till it came to the ears of a maid:
For Maev and Ailill's[FN#18] lovely child,
Fair Findabar, 'twas said,
By tales of Fraech to love beguiled,
With Fraech in love would wed.


[FN#18]  Pronounced Al-ill.


After this going to a dialogue with the maiden occurred to him; he
discussed that matter with his people.

"Let there be a message then sent to thy mother's sister, so that a
portion of wondrous robing and of gifts from the Side (fairy folk) be
given thee from her."  He goes accordingly to the sister, that is to
Boand, till he was in Mag Breg, and he carried away fifty dark-blue
cloaks, and each of them was like the back of a black chafer,[FN#19]
and four black-grey, rings on each cloak, and a brooch of red gold on
each cloak, and pale white tunics with loop-animals of gold around
them. And fifty silver shields with edges, and a candle of a
king's-house in the hand of them (the men), and fifty studs of
findruine[FN#20] on each of them (the lances), fifty knobs of
thoroughly burned gold on each of them; points (i.e. butt-ends) of
carbuncle under them beneath, and their point of precious stones. They
used to light the night as if they were the sun's rays.


[FN#19]  The Book of Leinster gives "fifty blue cloaks, each like
findruine of art."

[FN#20]  Pronounced "find-roony," the unknown "white-bronze" metal.


And there were fifty gold-hilted swords with them, and a soft-grey
mare under the seat of each man, and bits of gold to them;
a plate of silver with a little bell of gold around the neck of each
horse.  Fifty caparisons[FN#21] of purple with threads of silver out of
them, with buckles of gold and silver and with head-animals (i.e.
spiral ornaments).  Fifty whips of findruine, with a golden hook on the
end of each of them.  And seven chase-hounds in chains of silver, and
an apple of gold between each of them.  Greaves of bronze about them,
by no means was there any colour which was not on the hounds.


[FN#21]  The word for caparisons is "acrann," the usual word for a
shoe.  It is suggested that here it may be a caparison of leather:
"shoes" seem out of place here.  See Irische Texts, iii.



Seven trumpeters with them with golden and silver trumpets with many
coloured garments, with golden fairy-yellow heads of hair, with shining
tunics.  There were three jesters before them with silver diadems under
gilding.  Shields with engraved emblems (or marks of distinction) with
each of them; with crested staves, with ribs of bronze (copper-bronze)
along their sides.  Three harp-players with a king's appearance about
each of them opposite to these.[FN#22]  They depart for Cruachan with
that appearance on them.


[FN#22]  The word for caparisons is "acrann," the usual word for a
shoe.  It is suggested that here it may be a caparison of leather:
"shoes" seem out of place here.  See Irische Texts, iii. 2. p. 531.


The watchman sees them from the dun when they had come into the plain
of Cruachan.  "A multitude I see," he says, "(come) towards the dun in
their numbers.  Since Ailill and Maev assumed sovereignty there came
not to them before, and there shall not come to them, a multitude,
which is more beautiful, or which is more splendid.  It is the same
with me that it were in a vat of wine my head should be, with the
breeze that goes over them.

"The manipulation and play that the young hero who is in it makes--I
have not before seen its likeness.  He shoots his pole a shot's
discharge from him; before it reaches to earth the seven chase-hounds
with their seven silver chains catch it."

At this the hosts come from the dun of Cruachan to view them.  The
people in the dun smother one another, so that sixteen men die while
viewing them.


They alight in front of the dun.  They tent their steeds, and they
loose the chase-hounds.  They (the hounds) chase the seven deer to
Rath-Cruachan, and seven foxes, and seven hares, and seven wild boars,
until the youths kill them in the lawn of the dun.  After that the
chase-hounds dart a leap into Brei; they catch seven otters.  They
brought them to the elevation in front of the chief rath.  They (Fraech
and his suite) sit down there.

A message comes from the king for a parley with them.  It is asked
whence they came, they name themselves according to their true names,
"Fraech, son of Idath this," say they.  The steward tells it to the
king and queen.  "Welcome to them," say Ailill and Maev; "It is a noble
youth who is there," says Ailill, "let him come into the Liss (outer
court)."  The fourth of the house is allotted to them.  This was the
array of the house, a seven fold order in it; seven apartments from
fire to side-wall in the house all round.  A rail (or front) of bronze
to each apartment; a partitioning of red yew under variegated planing
all.

Three plates of bronze in the skirting of each apartment.  Seven plates
of brass from the ceiling (?) to the roof-tree in the house.

Of pine the house was made; it is a covering of shingle it had
externally.  There were sixteen windows in the house, and a frame of
brass, to each of them; a tie of brass across the roof-light.  Four
beams of brass on the apartment of Ailill and Medb, adorned all with
bronze, and it in the exact centre of the house.  Two rails of silver
around it under gilding.  In the front a wand of silver that reached
the middle rafters of the house.  The house was encircled all round
from the door to the other.[FN#23]


[FN#23]  It should be noted that it is not certain whether the word
"imdai," translated apartments, really means "apartments" or "benches."
 The weight of opinion seems at present to take it as above.


They hang up their arms in that house, and they sit, and welcome is
made to them.

"Welcome to you," say Ailill and Medb.  "It is that we have come for,"
says Fraech.  "It shall not be a journey for boasting[FN#24] this,"
says Medb, and Ailill and Medb arrange the chess-board after that.
Fraech then takes to the playing of chess with a man of their (?)
people.


[FN#24]  This is the rendering in the Yellow Book of Lecan, considered
by Meyer to be the true reading.  The Book of Leinster text gives
"aig-baig," a word of doubtful meaning.  The Eg. MS. has also a
doubtful word.


It was a beauty of a chess-board.  A board of findruine in it with four
ears[FN#25] and edges of gold.  A candle of precious stones at
illuminating for them.  Gold and silver the figures that were upon the
table.  "Prepare ye food for the warriors," said Ailill.  "Not it is my
desire," said Medb, but to go to the chess yonder against Fraech."
"Get to it, I am pleased," said Ailill, and they play the chess then,
and Fraech.


[FN#25]  The "ears" were apparently handles shaped like ears.  The same
word is used for the rings in the cloaks, line 33 above.


His people were meanwhile at cooking the wild animals.  "Let thy
harpers play for us," says Ailill to Fraech.  "Let them play indeed!"
says Fraech.  A harp-bag[FN#26] of the skins of otters about them with
their adornment of ruby (or coral), beneath their adornment of gold and
silver.


[FN#26]  Meyer translates this: "the concave part of the harp."


It is from the music which Uaithne, the Dagda's harp, played that the
three are named.   The time the woman was at the bearing of children it
had a cry of sorrow with the soreness of the pangs at first: it was
smile and joy it played in the middle for the pleasure of bringing
forth the two sons: it was a sleep of soothingness played the last son,
on account of the heaviness of the birth, so that it is from him that
the third of the music has been named.

Boand awoke afterwards out of the sleep.   "I accept," she says, "thy
three sons O Uaithne of full ardour, since there is Suan-traide and
Gen-traide, and Gol-traide on cows and women who shall fall by Medb and
Ailill, men who shall perish by the hearing of art from them."

They cease from playing after that in the palace: "It is stately it has
come," says Fergus.   "Divide ye to us," says Fraech to his people,
"the food, bring ye it into the house."  Lothur went on the floor of
the house: he divides to them the food.  On his haunches he used to
divide each joint with his sword, and he used not to touch the food
part: since he commenced dividing, he never hacked the meat beneath his
hand.

They were three days and three nights at the playing of the chess on
account of the abundance of the precious stones in the household of
Fraech.  After that Fraech addressed Medb.  "It is well I have played
against thee (i.e. have beaten thee)," he says, "I take not away thy
stake from the chess-board that there be not a decay of hospitality for
thee in it."

"Since I have been in this dun this is the day which I deem longest in
it ever," says Medb.  "This is reasonable," says Fraech, "they are
three days and three nights in it."  At this Medb starts up.  It was a
shame with her that the warriors were without food.  She goes to
Ailill: she tells it to him.  "A great deed we have done," said she,
"the stranger men who have come to us to be without food."  "Dearer to
thee is playing of the chess," says Ailill.  "It hinders not the
distribution to his suite throughout the house.  They have been three
days and three nights in it but that we perceived not the night with
the white light of the precious stones in the house."  "Tell them,"
says Ailill, "to cease from the lamenting until distribution is made to
them."  Distribution is then made to them, and things were pleasing to
them, and they stayed three days and three nights in it after that over
the feasting.

It is after that Fraech was called into the house of conversation, and
it is asked of him what brought him.  "A visit with you," said he, "is
pleasing to me."  "Your company is indeed not displeasing with the
household," said Ailill, "your addition is better than your diminution."

"We shall stay here then," says Fraech, "another week."  They stay
after that till the end of a fortnight in the dun, and they have a hunt
every single day towards the dun.  The men of Connaught used to come to
view them.

It was a trouble with Fraech not to have a conversation with the
daughter: for that was the profit that had brought him.  A certain day
he starts up at the end of night for washing to the stream.  It is the
time she had gone and her maid for washing.  He takes her hand.  "Stay
for my conversing," he says; "it is thou I have come for."  "I am
delighted truly," says the daughter; "if I were to come, I could do
nothing for thee."  "Query, wouldst thou elope with me?" he says.

"I will not elope," says she, "for I am the daughter of a king and a
queen.  There is nothing of thy poverty that you should not get me
(i.e. thy poverty is not so great that thou art not able to get me)
from my family; and it shall be my choice accordingly to go to thee, it
is thou whom I have loved.  And take thou with thee this ring," says
the daughter, "and it shall be between us for a token.  My mother gave
it to me to put by, and I shall say that I put it astray."  Each of
them accordingly goes apart after that.

"I fear," says Ailill, "the eloping of yon daughter with Fraech, though
she would be given to him on solemn pledge that he would come towards
us with his cattle for aid at the Spoil."  Fraech goes to them to the
house of conversation.  "Is it a secret (cocur, translated "a whisper"
by Crowe) ye have?" says Fraech.  "Thou wouldest fit in it," says
Ailill.

"Will ye give me your daughter?" says Fraech.  "The hosts will clearly
see she shall be given," says Ailill, "if thou wouldest give a dowry as
shall be named."  "Thou shalt have it," says Fraech.  "Sixty black-grey
steeds to me, with their bits of gold to them, and twelve milch cows,
so that there be milked liquor of milk from each of them, and an
ear-red, white calf with each of them; and thou to come with me with
all thy force and with thy musicians for bringing of the cows from
Cualgne; and my daughter to be given thee provided thou dost come" (or
as soon as[FN#27] thou shalt come).  "I swear by my shield, and by my
sword, and by my accoutrement, I would not give that in dowry even of
Medb."  He went from them out of the house then.  Ailill and Medb hold
a conversation.  "It shall drive at us several of the kings of Erin
around us if he should carry off the daughter.  What is good is, let us
dash after him, and let us slay him forthwith, before he may inflict
destruction upon us."  "It is a pity this," says Medb, "and it is a
decay of hospitality for us."  "It shall not be a decay of hospitality
for us, it shall not be a decay of hospitality for us, the way I shall
prepare it."


[FN#27]  This is Thurneysen's rendering ("Sagen aus dem alten Irland,"
p. 121).


Ailill and Medb go into the palace.  "Let us go away," says Ailill,
that we may see the chase-hounds at hunting till the middle of the day,
and until they are tired."  They all go off afterwards to the river to
bathe themselves.

"It is declared to me," says Ailill, "that thou art good in water.
Come into this flood, that we may see thy swimming."  "What is the
quality of this flood?" he says.  "We know not anything dangerous in
it," says Ailill, "and bathing in it is frequent."  He strips his
clothes off him then, and he goes into it, and he leaves his girdle
above.  Ailill then opens his purse behind him, and the ring was in it.
 Ailill recognises it then.  "Come here, O Medb," says Ailill.  Medb
goes then.  "Dost thou recognise that?" says Ailill.  "I do recognise,"
she says.  Ailill flings it into the river down.

Fraech perceived that matter.  He sees something, the salmon leaped to
meet it, and caught it in his mouth.  He (Fraech) gives a bound to it,
and he catches its jole, and he goes to land, and he brings it to a
lonely[FN#28] spot on the brink of the river.  He proceeds to come out
of the water then.  "Do not come," says Ailill, "until thou shalt bring
me a branch of the rowan-tree yonder, which is on the brink of the
river: beautiful I deem its berries."  He then goes away, and breaks a
branch off the trees and brings it on his back over the water.  The
remark of Find-abair was: "Is it not beautiful he looks?"  Exceedingly
beautiful she thought it to see Fraech over a black pool: the body of
great whiteness, and the hair of great loveliness, the face of great
beauty, the eye of great greyness; and he a soft youth without fault,
without blemish, with a below-narrow, above-broad face; and he
straight, blemishless; the branch with the red berries between the
throat and the white face.  It is what Find-abair used to say, that by
no means had she seen anything that could come up to him half or third
for beauty.


[FN#28]"Hidden spot" (Windisch


After that he throws the branches to them out of the water.  "The
berries are stately and beautiful, bring us an addition of them."  He
goes off again until he was in the middle of the water.  The serpent
catches him out of the water.  "Let a sword come to me from you," he
says; and there was not on the land a man who would dare to give it to
him through fear of Ailill and Medb.  After that Find-abair strips off
her clothes, and gives a leap into the water with the sword.  Her
father lets fly a five-pronged spear at her from above, a shot's throw,
so that it passes through her two tresses, and that Fraech caught the
spear in his hand.  He shoots the spear into the land up, and the
monster in his side.  He lets it fly with a charge of the methods of
playing of championship, so that it goes through the purple robe and
through the tunic (? shirt) that was about Ailill.

At this the youths who were about Ailill rise to him.  Find-abair goes
out of the water and leaves the sword in Fraech's hand, and he cuts the
head off the monster, so that it was on its side, and he brought the
monster with him to land.  It is from it is Dub-lind Fraech in Brei, in
the lands of the men of Connaught.  Ailill and Medb go to their dun
afterwards.

"A great deed is what we have done," says Medb.  "We repent," says
Ailill, "of what we have done to the man; the daughter however," he
says, "her lips shall perish [common metaphor for death] to-morrow at
once, and it shall not be the guilt of bringing of the sword that shall
be for her.  Let a bath be made by you for this man, namely, broth of
fresh bacon and the flesh of a heifer to be minced in it under adze and
axe, and he to be brought into the bath."  All that thing was done as
he said.  His trumpeters then before him to the dun. They play then
until thirty of the special friends of Ailill die at the long-drawn (or
plaintive) music.  He goes then into the dun, and he goes into the
bath.  The female company rise around him at the vat for rubbing, and
for washing his head.  He was brought out of it then, and a bed was
made.  They heard something, the lament-cry on Cruachan.  There were
seen the three times fifty women with crimson tunics, with green
head-dresses, with brooches of silver on their wrists.

A messenger is sent to them to learn what they had bewailed.  "Fraech,
son of Idath," says the woman, "boy-pet of the king of the Side of
Erin."  At this Fraech heard their lament-cry.

Thirty men whom King Ailill loved dearly
By that music were smitten to die;
And his men carried Fraech, and they laid him
In that bath, for his healing to lie.

Around the vat stood ladies,
They bathed his limbs and head;
From out the bath they raised him,
And soft they made his bed.

Then they heard a strange music;
The wild Croghan "keen";
And of women thrice fifty
On Croghan were seen.

They had tunics of purple,
With green were they crowned;
On their wrists glistened silver,
Where brooches were bound.

And there neared them a herald
To learn why they wailed;
"'Tis for Fraech," was their answer,
"By sickness assailed;

'Tis for Fraech, son of Idath,[FN#29]
Boy-darling is he
Of our lord, who in Erin
Is king of the Shee!"[FN#30]

And Fraech heard the wail in their cry;


[FN#29]  Pronounced Eeda.

[FN#30]  The Fairies.


"Lift me out of it," he says to his people; "this is the cry of my
mother and of the women of Boand."  He is lifted out at this, and he is
brought to them.  The women come around him, and bring him from them to
the Sid of Cruachan (i.e. the deep caverns, used for burial at
Cruachan).

They saw something, at the ninth hour on the morrow he comes, and fifty
women around him, and he quite whole, without stain and without
blemish; of equal age (the women), of equal form, of equal beauty, of
equal fairness, of equal symmetry, of equal stature, with the dress of
women of the fairies about them so that there was no means of knowing
of one beyond the other of them. Little but men were suffocated around
them.  They separate in front of the Liss.[FN#31] They give forth their
lament on going from him, so that they troubled[FN#32] the men who were
in the Liss excessively.  It is from it is the Lament-cry of the Women
of the Fairies with the musicians of Erin.


[FN#31]  The Liss is the outer court of the palace.

[FN#32]  "Oo corastar tar cend," "so that they upset, or put beside
themselves."  Meyer takes literally, "so that they fell on their backs"
(?)


He then goes into the dun.  All the hosts rise before him, and bid
welcome to him, as if it were from another world he were coming.

Ailill and Medb arise, and do penance to him for the attack they had
made at him, and they make peace. Feasting commenced with them then at
once. Fraech calls a servant of his suite:

"Go off," he says, "to the spot at which I went into the water.  A
salmon I left there--bring it to Find-abair, and let herself take
charge over it; and let the salmon be well broiled by her, and the ring
is in the centre of the salmon.  I expect it will be asked of her
to-night."  Inebriety seizes them, and music and amusement delight
them.  Ailill then said: "Bring ye all my gems to me."  They were
brought to him then, so that the were before him.  "Wonderful,
wonderful," says every one.  "Call ye Find-abair to me," he says.
Find-abair goes to him, and fifty maidens around her.  "O daughter,"
says Ailill, "the ring I gave to thee last year, does it remain with
thee?  Bring it to me that the warriors may see it.  Thou shalt have it
afterwards."  "I do not know," she says, "what has been done about it."
 "Ascertain then," says Ailill, "it must be sought, or thy soul must
depart from thy body."

"It is by no means worth," say the warriors, "there is much of value
there, without that."  "There is naught of my jewels that will not go
for the maid," says Fraech, "because she brought me the sword for
pledge of my soul."

"There is not with thee anything of gems that should aid her unless she
returns the ring from her," says Ailill.

"I have by no means the power to give it," says the daughter, "what
thou mayest like do it in regard to me."  "I swear to the god to whom
my people swear, thy lips shall be pale (literally, shall perish)
unless thou returnest it from thee," says Ailill.  "It is why it is
asked of thee, because it is impossible; for I know that until the
people who have died from the beginning of the world.  Come, it comes
not out of the spot in which it was flung."  "It shall not come for a
treasure which is not appreciated,"[FN#33] says the daughter, "the ring
that is asked for here, I go that I may bring it to thee, since it is
keenly it is asked."  "Thou shalt not go," says Ailill; "but let one go
from thee to bring it."


[FN#33]  This is Windisch's rendering (Irische Texte, I. p. 677: s.v.
main).


The daughter sends her maid to bring it.

"I swear to the god to whom my territories swear, if it shall be found,
I shall by no means be under thy power any longer though I should be at
great drinking continually." (?)[FN#34]  "I shall by no means prevent
you from doing that, namely even if it were to the groom thou shouldst
go if the ring is found," says Ailill.  The maid then brought the dish
into the palace, and the broiled salmon on it, and it dressed under
honey which was well made by the daughter; and the ring of gold was on
the salmon from above.


[FN#34]  "dian dumroib for sar-ol mogreis." Meyer gives "if there is
any one to protect me." The above is Crowe's rendering.


Ailill and Medb view it.  After that Fraech looks at it, and looks at
his purse.  "It seems to me it was for proof that I left my girdle,"
says Fraech.  "On the truth of the sovereignty," says Fraech, "say what
thou did'st about the ring."  "This shall not be concealed from thee,"
says Ailill; "mine is the ring which was in thy purse, and I knew it is
Find-abair gave it to thee.  It is therefore I flung it into the Dark
Pool.  On the truth of thine honour and of thy soul, O Fraech, declare
thou what way the bringing of it out happened."

"It shall not be concealed on thee," says Fraech.  "The first day I
found the ring in front of the outer court, and I knew it was a lovely
gem.  It is for that reason I put it up industriously in my purse.  I
heard, the day I went to the water, the maiden who had lost it
a-looking for it.  I said to her: 'What reward shall I have at thy
hands for the finding of it?'  She said to me that she would give a
year's love to me.

"It happened I did not leave it about me; I had left it in the house
behind me.  We met not until we met at the giving of the sword into my
hand in the river.  After that I saw the time thou open'st the purse
and flungest the ring into the water: I saw the salmon which leaped for
it, so that it took it into its mouth.  I then caught the salmon, took
it up in the cloak, put it into the hand of the daughter.  It is that
salmon accordingly which is on the dish."

The criticising and the wondering at these stories begin in the house
hold.  "I shall not throw my mind on another youth in Erin after thee,"
says Find-abair.  "Bind thyself for that," say Ailill and Medb, "and
come thou to us with thy cows to the Spoil of the Cows from Cualnge;
and when thou shalt come with thy cows from the East back, ye shall wed
here that night at once and Find-abair."  "I shall do that thing," says
Fraech.  They are in it then until the morning.  Fraech sets about him
self with his suite.  He then bids farewell to Ailill and Medb.  They
depart to their own territories then.



TAIN BO FRAICH



PART II


Unto Fraech it hath chanced, as he roved from his lands
That his cattle were stolen by wandering bands:
And there met him his mother, and cried, "On thy way
Thou hast tarried, and hard for thy slackness shalt pay!
In the Alps of the south, the wild mountains amid,
Have thy children, thy wife, and thy cattle been hid:
And a three of thy kine have the Picts carried forth,
And in Alba they pasture, but far to the north!"

"Now, alack!" answered Fraech, "what is best to be done?"
"Rest at home," said his mother, "nor seek them my son;
For to thee neither cattle, nor children, nor wife
Can avail, if in seeking thou losest thy life;
And though cattle be lacking, the task shall be mine
To replace what is lost, and to grant thee the kine."

"Nay, not so," answered Fraech, "by my soul I am sworn,
That when cattle from Cualgne by force shall be torn
To King Ailill and Maev on my faith as their guest
I must ride with those cattle for war to the west!"
"Now but vainly," she said, "is this toil on thee cast;
Thou shalt lose what thou seekest", and from him she passed.

Three times nine of his men for that foray were chosen, and marched by
his side,
And a hawk flew before, and for hunting, was a hound with a
hunting-leash tied;

To Ben Barchi they went, for the border of Ulster their faces were set:
And there, of its marches the warder, the conquering Conall they met.
Fraech hailed him, the conquering Conall, and told him the tale of his
spoil;
"'Tis ill luck that awaits thee," said Conall, "thy quest shall be
followed with toil!
"'Twill be long ere the goal thou art reaching, though thy heart in the
seeking may be."
"Conall Cernach,[FN#35] hear thou my beseeching said Fraech, "let thine
aid be to me;
I had hoped for this meeting with Conall, that his aid in the quest
might be lent."
"I will go with thee truly," said Conall: with Fraech and his comrades
he went.


[FN#35]  Pronounced Cayr-nach.


Three times nine, Fraech and Conall before them,
Over ocean from Ireland have passed;
Through the Land of North Saxony bore them,
And the South Sea they sighted at last.
And again on the sea billows speeding,
They went south, over Ichtian foam;
And marched on: southward still was their leading:
To the land where the Long-Beards have home:
But when Lombardy's bounds they were nearing
They made stand; for above and around
Were the high peaks of Alpa appearing,
And the goal that they sought had been found.

On the Alps was a woman seen straying, and herding the flocks of the
sheep,
"Let our warriors behind be delaying," said Conall, "and south let us
keep:

'Twere well we should speak with yon woman, perchance she hath wisdom
to teach!"
And with Conall went Fraech at that counsel; they neared her, and held
with her speech.

"Whence have come you?" she said: "Out of Ireland are we,"
Answered Conall: "Ill luck shall for Irishmen be
In this country," she cried, "yet thy help I would win;
From thy land was my mother; thou art to me kin!"

"Of this land we know naught, nor where next we should turn,"
Answered Conall.; "its nature from thee we would learn."
"'Tis a grim land and hateful," the woman replied,
"And the warriors are restless who forth from it ride;
For full often of captives, of women and herd
Of fair kine by them taken is brought to me word."

"Canst thou say what latest spoil," said Fraech, "they won?"
"Ay," she said, "they harried Fraech, of Idath[FN#36] son
He in Erin dwelleth, near the western sea;
Kine from him they carried, wife, and children three
Here his wife abideth, there where dwells the king,
Turn, and see his cattle, yonder pasturing."


[FN#36]  Pronounced Eeda.


Out spoke Conall Cernach;[FN#37] "Aid us thou" he cried:
"Strength I lack," she answered, "I can only guide."
"Here is Fraech," said Conall, "yon his stolen cows":
"Fraech!" she asked him, "tell me, canst thou trust thy spouse?"
"Why," said Fraech, "though trusty, doubtless, when she went;
Now, since here she bideth, truth may well be spent."
"See ye now yon woman?" said she, "with your herd,
Tell to her your errand, let her hear your word;
Trust in her, as Irish-sprung ye well may place;
More if ye would ask me, Ulster reared her race."


[FN#37]  Pronounced Cayr-nach.


To that woman they went, nor their names from her hid;
And they greeted her; welcome in kindness she bid:
"What hath moved you," she said, "from your country to go?"
"On this journey," said Conall, "our guide hath been woe:
All the cattle that feed in these pastures are ours,
And from us went the lady that's kept in yon towers."
"'Tis ill-luck," said the woman, "that waits on your way,
All the men of this hold doth that lady obey;
Ye shall find, amid dangers, your danger most great
In the serpent who guardeth the Liss at the gate."

"For that lady," said Fraech, "she is none of my
She is fickle, no trust from me yet did she win:
But on thee we rely, thou art trusty, we know;
Never yet to an Ulsterman Ulster was foe."

"Is it men out of Ulster," she said, "I have met?"
"And is Conall," said Fraech, "thus unknown to you yet?
Of all heroes from Ulster the battle who faced
Conall Cernach is foremost." His neck she embraced,
And she cried, with her arms around Conall: "Of old
Of the conquering Conall our prophets have told;
And 'tis ruin and doom to this hold that you bring;
For that Conall shall sack it, all prophecies sing."

"Hear my rede," she told him: "When at fall of day
Come the kine for milking, I abroad will stay;
I the castle portal every eve should close:
Ye shall find it opened, free for tread of foes:
I will say the weakling calves awhile I keep;
'Tis for milk, I'll tell them: come then while they sleep;
Come, their castle enter, all its wealth to spoil;
Only rests that serpent, he our plans may foil:
Him it rests to vanquish, he will try you most;
Surely from that serpent swarms a serpent host!"

"Trust us well," answered Conall, "that raid will we do!
And the castle they sought, and the snake at them flew:
For it darted on Conall, and twined round his waist;
Yet the whole of that castle they plundered in haste,
And the woman was freed, and her sons with her three
And away from her prison she went with them free:
And of all of the jewels amassed in that dun
The most costly and beauteous the conquerors won.

Then the serpent from Conall was loosed, from his belt
It crept safely, no harm from that serpent he felt:
And they travelled back north to the Pictish domains,
And a three of their cattle they found on the plains;
And, where Olla Mae Briuin[FN#38] his hold had of yore,
By Dunolly their cattle they drove to the shore.


[FN#38]  Pronounced "Brewin."


It chanced at Ard Uan Echach,[FN#39] where foam is hurled on high,
That doom on Bicne falling, his death he came to die:
'Twas while the cows were driven that Bicne's life was lost:
By trampling hooves of cattle crushed down to death, or tossed;
To him was Loegaire[FN#40] father, and Conall Cernach chief
And Inver-Bicne's title still marks his comrades' grief.


[FN#39]  Pronounced "Ard Oon Ay-ha,"

[FN#40]  Pronounced "Leary."


Across the Stream of Bicne the cows of Fraech have passed,
And near they came to Benchor, and there their horns they cast:
'Tis thence the strand of Bangor for aye is named, 'tis said:
The Strand of Horns men call it; those horns his cattle shed.

To his home travelled Fraech, with his children, and
And his cattle, and there with them lived out his life,
Till the summons of Ailill and Maev he obeyed;
And when Cualgne was harried, he rode on the Raid.



TAIN BO FRAICH



PART II


LITERAL TRANSLATION

It happened that his cows had been in the meanwhile stolen.  His mother
came to him.  "Not active (or "lucky") of journey hast thou gone; it
shall cause much of trouble to thee," she says.  "Thy cows have been
stolen, and thy three sons, and thy wife, so that they are in the
mountain of Elpa.  Three cows of them are in Alba of the North with the
Cruthnechi (the Picts)."  "Query, what shall I do?" he says to his
mother.  "Thou shalt do a non-going for seeking them; thou wouldest not
give thy life for them," she says.  "Thou shalt have cows at my hands
besides them."  "Not so this," he says: "I have pledged my hospitality
and my soul to go to Ailill and to Medb with my cows to the Spoil of
the Cows from Cualnge."  "What thou seekest shall not be obtained,"
says his mother.  At this she goes off from him then.

He then sets out with three nines, and a wood-cuckoo (hawk), and a
hound of tie with them, until he goes to the territory of the
Ulstermen, so that he meets with Conall Cernach (Conall the Victorious)
at Benna Bairchi (a mountain on the Ulster border).

He tells his quest to him.  "What awaits thee," says the latter, "shall
not be lucky for thee.  Much of trouble awaits thee," he says, "though
in it the mind should be."  "It will come to me," says Fraech to
Connall, "that thou wouldest help me any time we should meet." (?)  "I
shall go truly," says Conall Cernach.  They set of the three (i.e. the
three nines) over sea, over Saxony of the North, over the Sea of Icht
(the sea between England and France), to the north of the Long-bards
(the dwellers of Lombardy), until they reached the mountains of Elpa.
They saw a herd-girl at tending of the sheep before them.  "Let us go
south," says Conall, "O Fraech, that we may address the woman yonder,
and let our youths stay here."

They went then to a conversation.  She said, "Whence are ye?"  "Of the
men of Erin," says Conall.  "It shall not be lucky for the men of Erin
truly, the coming to this country.  From the men of Erin too is my
mother.  Aid thou me on account of relationship."

"Tell us something about our movements.  What is the quality of the
land we have to come to?"  "A grim hateful land with troublesome
warriors, who go on every side for carrying off cows and women as
captives," she says.  "What is the latest thing they have carried off?"
says Fraech.  "The cows of Fraech, son of Idath, from the west of Erin,
and his wife, and his three sons.  Here is his wife here in the house
of the king, here are his cows in the country in front of you."  "Let
thy aid come to us," says Conall.  Little is my power, save guidance
only."  "This is Fraech," says Conall, and they are his cows that have
been carried off."  "Is the woman constant in your estimation?" she
says.  "Though constant in our estimation when she went, perchance she
is not constant after coming."  "The woman who frequents the cows, go
ye to her; tell ye of your errand; of the men of Ireland her race; of
the men of Ulster exactly."

They come to her; they receive her, and they name themselves to her,
and she bids welcome to them.  "What hath led you forth?" she says.
"Trouble hath led us forth," says Conall; "ours are the cows and the
woman that is in the Liss."

"It shall not be lucky for you truly," she says, "the going up to the
multitude of the woman; more troublesome to you than everything," she
says, "is the serpent which is at guarding of the Liss."  "She is not
my country-name(?)," says Fraech, "she is not constant in my
estimation; thou art constant in my estimation; we know thou wilt not
lead us astray, since it is from the men of Ulster thou art."  "Whence
are ye from the men of Ulster?" she says.  "This is Conall Cernach
here, the bravest hero with the men of Ulster," says Fraech.  She
flings two hands around the throat of Conall Cernach.  "The destruction
has come in this expedition," she says, "since he has come to us; for
it is to him the destruction of this dun has been prophesied.  I shall
go out to my house,"[FN#41] she says, "I shall not be at the milking of
the cows.  I shall leave the Liss opened; it is I who close it every
night.[FN#42]  I shall say it is for drink the calves were sucking.
Come thou into the dun, when they are sleeping; only trouble.  some to
you is the serpent which is at the dun; several tribes are let loose
from it."


[FN#41]  "To my house" is in the Egerton MS. only.

[FN#42]  "Every night" is in the Egerton MS. only.


"We will go truly," says Conall.  They attack the Liss; the serpent
darts leap into the girdle of Conall Cernach, and they plunder the dun
at once.  They save off then the woman and the three sons, and they
carry away whatever was the best of the gems of the dun, and Conall
lets the serpent out of his girdle, and neither of them did harm to the
other.  And they came to the territory of the people of the Picts,
until they saw three cows of their cows in it.  They drove off to the
Fort of Ollach mac Briuin (now Dunolly near Oban) with them, until they
were at Ard Uan Echach (high-foaming Echach).  It is there the gillie
of Conall met his death at the driving of the cows, that is Bicne son
of Loegaire; it is from this is (the name of) Inver Bicne (the Bicne
estuary) at Benchor.  They brought their cows over it thither.  It is
there they flung their horns from them, so that it is thence is (the
name of) Tracht Benchoir (the Strand of Horn casting, perhaps the
modern Bangor?).

Fraech goes away then to his territory after, and his wife, and his
sons, and his cows with him, until he goes with Ailill and Medb for the
Spoil of the Cows from Cualnge.



THE RAID FOR DARTAID'S CATTLE



INTRODUCTION


This tale is given by Windisch (Irische Texte, II. pp. 185-205), from
two versions; one, whose translation he gives in full, except for one
doubtful passage, is from the manuscript in the British Museum, known
as Egerton, 1782 (dated 1414); the other is from the Yellow Book of
Lecan (fourteenth century), in the library of Trinity College, Dublin.

The version in the Yellow Book is sometimes hard to read, which seems
to be the reason why Windisch prefers to translate the younger
authority, but though in some places the Egerton version is the fuller,
the Yellow Book version (Y.B.L.) often adds passages, some of which
Windisch has given in notes; some he has left untranslated.  In the
following prose version as much of Y.B.L. as adds anything to the
Egerton text has been translated, with marks of interrogation where the
attempted rendering is not certain: variants from the text adopted are
placed below the prose version as footnotes.  The insertions from
Y.B.L. are indicated by brackets; but no note is taken of cases where
the Egerton version is fuller than Y.B.L.

The opening of the story (the first five lines in the verse rendering)
is in the eleventh century Book of the Dun Cow: the fragment agrees
closely with the two later texts, differing in fact from Y.B.L. in one
word only.  All three texts are given in the original by Windisch.

The story is simple and straightforward, but is a good example of fairy
vengeance, the description of the appearance of the troop recalls
similar descriptions in the Tain bo Fraich, and in the Courtship of
Ferb.  The tale is further noticeable from its connection with the
province of Munster: most of the heroic tales are connected with the
other three provinces only. Orlam, the hero of the end of the tale, was
one of Cuchulain's earliest victims in the Tain bo Cualgne.



THE RAID FOR DARTAID'S CATTLE



FROM THE EGERTON MS. 1782 (EARLY FIFTEENTH-CENTURY), AND THE YELLOW
BOOK OF LECAN (FOURTEENTH-CENTURY)


EOCHO BEC,[FN#43] the son of Corpre, reigning in the land of
Clew,[FN#44]
Dwelt in Coolny's[FN#45] fort; and fostered sons of princes not a few:
Forty kine who grazed his pastures gave him milk to rear his wards;
Royal blood his charges boasted, sprung from Munster's noblest lords.
Maev and Ailill sought to meet him: heralds calling him they sent:
"Seven days hence I come" said Eocho; and the heralds from him went.
Now, as Eocho lay in slumber, in the night a vision came;
By a youthful squire attended, rose to view a fairy dame:
"Welcome be my greeting to you!" said the king: "Canst thou discern
Who we are?" the fairy answered, "how didst thou our fashion learn?"
"Surely," said the king, "aforetime near to me hath been thy place!"
"Very near thee have we hovered, yet thou hast not seen my face."
"Where do ye abide?" said Eocho. "Yonder dwell we, with the Shee:[FN#46]
"In the Fairy Mound of Coolny!" "Wherefore come ye hereto me?"
"We have come," she said, "a counsel as a gift to thee to bring!"
"Speak! and tell me of the counsel ye have brought me," said the king.
"Noble gifts," she said, "we offer that renown for thee shall gain
When in foreign lands thou ridest; worship in thine own domain;
For a troop shall circle round thee, riding close beside thy hand:
Stately it shall be, with goodly horses from a foreign land!"
"Tell me of that troop," said Eocho, "in what numbers should we ride? "
Fifty horsemen is the number that befits thee," she replied:


[FN#43]  Pronounced Yeo-ho Bayc.

[FN#44]  Cliu, a district in Munster.

[FN#45]  Spelt Cuillne, in Y.B.L. it is Cuille.

[FN#46]  The Fairies, spelt Sidh.


"Fifty horses, black in colour; gold and silver reins and bits;
Fifty sets of gay equipment, such as fairies well befits;
These at early dawn to-morrow shall my care for thee provide:
Let thy foster-children with thee on the road thou makest ride!
Rightly do we come to help thee, who so valiantly in fray
Guardest for us soil and country!" And the fairy passed away.

Eocho's folk at dawn have risen; fifty steeds they all behold:
Black the horses seemed; the bridles, stiff with silver and with gold,
Firmly to the gate were fastened; fifty silver breeches there
Heaped together shone, encrusted all with gold the brooches were:
There were fifty knightly vestments, bordered fair with golden thread:
Fifty horses, white, and glowing on their ears with deepest red,
Nigh them stood; of reddish purple were the sweeping tails and manes;
Silver were the bits; their pasterns chained in front with brazen
chains:
And, of fair findruine[FN#47] fashioned, was for every horse a whip,
Furnished with a golden handle, wherewithal the goad to grip.


[FN#47]  Pronounced "findroony."



Then King Eocho rose, and ready made him; in that fair array
Forth they rode, nor did they tarry till they came to Croghan[FN#48] Ay.
Scarcely could the men of Connaught bear to see that sight, amazed
At the dignity and splendour of the host on which they gazed;
For that troop was great; in serried ranks the fifty riders rode,
Splendid with the state recounted; pride on all their faces glowed.
"Name the man who comes!" said Ailill; "Easy answer!" all replied,
Eocho Bee, in Clew who ruleth, hither to thy court would ride":
Court and royal house were opened; in with welcome came they all;
Three long days and nights they lingered, feasting in King Ailill's
hall.
Then to Ailill, king of Connaught, Eocho spake: "From out my land
{50} Wherefore hast thou called me hither?" "Gifts are needed from thy
hand,"
Ailill said; "a heavy burden is that task upon me laid,
To maintain the men of Ireland when for Cualgne's kine we raid."


[FN#48]  Pronounced Crow-han.



Eocho spoke: "What gift requirest thou from me?" "For milking-kine,"
Ailill said, "I ask"; and Eocho, "Few of these indeed are mine!
Forty sons of Munster's princes have I in my halls to rear;
These, my foster-sons, beside me m my troop have journeyed here;
Fifty herdsmen guard the cattle, forty cows my wards to feed,
Seven times twenty graze beside them, to supply my people's need."

"If, for every man who follows thee as liege, and owns a farm,
Thou a cow wilt yield," said Ailill, "then from foes with power to harm
I will guard thee in the battle!" "Keep then faithfully thy vows,"
Eocho said, "this day as tribute shall to Croghan come the cows."

Thrice the sun hath set and risen while they feasting there abide,
Maev and Ailill's bounty tasting, homeward then they quickly ride:
But the sons of Glaschu met them, who from western Donnan came;
Donnan, from the seas that bound it, Irross Donnan hath for name;
Seven times twenty men attacked them, and to battle they were brought,
At the isle of O'Canàda, fiercely either party fought;
With his foster children round him, Eocho Bec in fight was killed,
All the forty princes perished, with that news the land was filled;
All through Ireland lamentation rose for every youthful chief;
Four times twenty Munster princes, weeping for them, died of grief.

Now a vision came to Ailill, as in sleep he lay awhile,
or a youth and dame approached him, fairer none in Erin's Isle:
"Who are ye?" said Ailill; "Conquest," said the fairy, "and Defeat
"Though Defeat I shun," said Ailill, "Conquest joyfully I meet."
"Conquest thou shalt have!" she answered: "Of the future I would ask,
Canst thou read my fate?" said Ailill: "Light indeed for me the task,"
Said the dame: "the kine of Dartaid, Eocho's daughter, may be won:
Forty cows she owns; to gain them send to her thy princely son,
Orlam, whom that maiden loveth: let thy son to start prepare,
Forty youths from Connaught with him, each of them a prince's heir:
Choose thou warriors stout and stately; I will give them garments
bright,
Even those that decked the princes who so lately fell in fight:

Bridles, brooches, all I give thee; ere the morning sun be high
Thou shalt count that fairy treasure: to our country now we fly."

Swiftly to the son of Tassa sped they thence, to Corp the Gray:
On the northern bank of Naymon was his hold, and there he lay;
And before the men of Munster, as their champion did he stand:
He hath wrought-so runs the proverb-evil, longer than his hand.
As to Corp appeared the vision: "Say," he cried, "what names ye boast!"
"Ruin, one is called," they answered; "one, The Gathering of the Host!"
An assembled host I welcome," answered them the gray Corp Lee;
"Ruin I abhor": "And ruin," they replied, "is far from thee;
Thou shalt bring on sons of nobles, and of kings a ruin great":
"Fairy," said Corp Lee, the Gray one, "tell me of that future fate."

"Easy is the task," she answered, "youths of every royal race
That in Connaught's land hath dwelling, come to-morrow to this place;
Munster's kine they hope to harry, for the Munster princes fell
Yesterday with Connaught fighting; and the hour I plainly ten:
At the ninth hour of the morning shall they come: the band is small:
Have thou valiant men to meet them, and upon the raiders fall!
Munster's honour hath been tarnished! clear it by a glorious deed!
Thou shalt purge the shame if only in the foray thou succeed."

"What should be my force?" he asked her: "Take of heroes seven score
For that fight," she said, "and with them seven times twenty warriors
more:
Far from thee we now are flying; but shall meet thee with thy power
When to-morrow's sun is shining; at the ninth, the fated hour."

At the dawn, the time appointed, all those steeds and garments gay
Were in Connaught, and they found them at the gate of Croghan Ay;
All was there the fay had promised, all the gifts of which we told:
All the splendour that had lately decked the princes they behold.
Doubtful were the men of Connaught; some desired the risk to face;
Some to go refused: said Ailill, "It should bring us to disgrace

If we spurned such offered bounty": Orlam his reproaches felt;
Sprang to horse; and towards the country rode, where Eocho's daughter
dwelt:
And where flows the Shannon river, near that water's southern shore,
Found her home; for as they halted, moated Clew[FN#49] rose high before.


[FN#49]  Spelt Cliu.


Dartaid met them ere they halted, joyful there the prince to see:
All the kine are not assembled, of their count is lacking three!"
"Tarry not for search," said Orlam, "yet provision must we take
On our steeds, for hostile Munster rings us round. Wilt home forsake,
Maiden? wilt thou ride beside us?" "I will go indeed," she said.
Then, with all thy gathered cattle, come with us; with me to wed!
So they marched, and in the centre of their troop the kine were set,
And the maiden rode beside them: but Corp Lee, the Gray, they met;
Seven times twenty heroes with him; and to battle they must go,
And the Connaught nobles perished, fighting bravely with the foe:
All the sons of Connaught's princes, all the warriors with them died:
Orlam's self escaped the slaughter, he and eight who rode beside:
Yet he drave the cows to Croghan; ay, and fifty heifers too!
But, when first the foe made onset, they the maid in battle slew.
Near a lake, did Eocho's[FN#50] daughter, Dartaid, in the battle fall,
From that lake, and her who perished, hath been named that region all:
Emly Darta is that country; Tain bo Dartae is the tale:
And, as prelude, 'tis recited, till the Cualgne[FN#51] Raid they hail.


[FN#50]  Pronounced Yeo-ho.

[FN#51]  Pronounced Kell-ny.



THE RAID FOR DARTAID'S CATTLE



LITERAL TRANSLATION


The Passages that occur only in the Yellow Book (Y.B.L.) are indicated
by being placed in square brackets.


EOCHO BEC, the son of Corpre, king of Cliu, dwelt in the Dun of
Cuillne,[FN#52] and with him were forty fosterlings, all sons of the
kings of Munster; he had also forty milch-cows for their sustenance. By
Ailill and Medb messengers were sent, asking him to come to a
conference. "[In a week,"][FN#53] said Eocho, "I will go to that
conference;" and the messengers departed from him.


[FN#52]  The eleventh century MS., the Leabhar na h-Uidhri, which gives
the first four lines of this tale as a fragment, adds here as a note:
"this is in the land of the O'Cuanach": apparently the O'Briens of
Cuanach.

[FN#53]  At Samhuin day (Egerton).


One night Eocho lay there in his sleep, when he saw something approach
him; a woman, and a young man in her attendance.  "Ye are welcome!"
said Eocho.  ["Knowest thou us?"] said she, "Where hast thou learned to
know us?"  "It seems to me as if I had been near to you."  "I think
that we have been very near to one another, though we have not seen
each other face to face!"  "In what place do ye dwell?" said Eocho.
"Yonder in Sid Cuillne (the fairy mound of Cuillne)," said she.  "And,
wherefore have ye come?"  "In order to give thee counsel," said she.
For what purpose is the counsel," said he, "that thou givest me?"

"Something," she said, "that will bring thee honour and renown on thy
journey at home and abroad.  A stately troop shall be round thee, and
goodly foreign horses shall be under thee."[FN#54]  "With how many
shall I go?" said Eocho.  "Fifty horsemen is the number that is
suitable for thee," she answered.


[FN#54]  Y.B.L. adds a passage that Windisch does not translate: it
seems to run thus: "Unknown to thee is the half of what thou hast met:
it seems to us that foreign may be thy splendour"(?)


"To-morrow in the morning fifty black horses, furnished with bridles of
gold and silver, shall come to thee from me; and with them fifty sets
of equipment of the equipment of the Side; and all of thy
foster-children shall go with thee; well it becomes us to help thee,
because thou art valiant in the defence of our country and our soil."
Then the woman left him.

Early in the morning they arise, there they see something: the fifty
black horses, furnished with bridles of gold and silver tied fast to
the gate of the castle, also fifty breeches of silver with
embellishment of gold; and fifty youths' garments with their edges of
spun gold, and fifty white horses with red ears and long tails,
purple-red were all their tails and their manes, with silver bits
(?)[FN#55] and foot-chains of brass upon each horse; there were also
fifty whips of white bronze (findruine), with end pieces of gold that
thereby they might be taken into hands.[FN#56]


[FN#55]  co m-belgib (?) Windisch translates "bridles," the same as
cona srianaib above.

[FN#56]  Y.B.L. adds, "Through wizardry was all that thing: it was
recited (?) how great a thing had appeared, and he told his dream to
his people."


Then King Eocho arises, and prepares himself (for the journey): they
depart with this equipment to Cruachan Ai:[FN#57] and the people were
well-nigh overcome with their consequence and appearance: their troop
was great, goodly, splendid, compact: [fifty heroes, all with that
appearance that has just been related.

"How is that man named?" said Ailill.  "Not hard, Eocho Bec, the king
of Cliu."  They entered the Liss (outer court), and the royal house;
welcome was given to them, he remained there three days and three
nights at the feasting.]


[FN#57]  Egerton here gives "Ailill and Medb made them welcome;" it
omits the long passage in square brackets.


"Wherefore have I have been invited to come?" said Eocho to Ailill: "To
learn if I can obtain a gift from thee," said Ailill; "for a heavy need
weighs upon me, even the sustenance of the men of Ireland for the
bringing of the cattle from Cualgne."

"What manner of gift is it that thou desirest?" said Eocho.  "Nothing
less than a gift of milking-kine," said Ailill.  "There is no
superfluity of these in my land," said Eocho; "I have forty
fosterlings, sons of the kings of Munster, to bring them up (to
manhood); they are here in my company, there are forty cows to supply
the needs of these, to supply my own needs are seven times twenty
milch-cows [there are fifty men for this cause watching over them].

"Let me have from thee," said Ailill, "one cow from each farmer who is
under thy lordship as my share; moreover I will yield thee assistance
if at any time thou art oppressed by superior might."  "Thus let it be
as thou sayest," said Eocho; "moreover, they shall come to thee this
very day."

For three days and three nights they were hospitably entertained by
Ailill and Medb, and then they departed homewards, till they met the
sons of Glaschu, who came from Irross Donnan (the peninsula of Donnan,
now Mayo); the number of those who met them was seven times twenty men,
and they set themselves to attack each other, and to strive with each
other in combat, and [at the island of O'Conchada (Inse Ua Conchada)]
they fought together.  In that place fell the forty sons of kings round
Eocho Bec, and that news was spread abroad over all the land of
Ireland, so that four times twenty kings' sons, of the youths of
Munster, died, sorrowing for the deaths of these princes.

On another night, as Ailill lay in his sleep, upon his bed, he saw some
thing, a young man and a woman, the fairest that could be found in
Ireland.  "Who are ye?" said Ailill.  "Victory and Defeat are our
names," she said.  "Victory indeed is welcome to me, but not so
Defeat," said Ailill.  "Victory shall be thine in each form!" said she.
 ["What is the next thing after this that awaits us?" said Ailill.
"Not hard to tell thee," said she] "let men march out from thy palace
in the morning, that thou mayest win for thyself the cattle of Dartaid,
the daughter of Eocho.  Forty is the number of her milch-cows, it is
thine own son, Orlam mac Ailill, whom she loves.  Let Orlam prepare for
his journey with a stately troop of valiant men, also forty sons of
those kings who dwell in the land of Connaught; and by me shall be
given to them the same equipment that the other youths had who fell in
yon fight, bridles and garments and brooches; [early in the morning
shall count of the treasure be made, and now we go to our own land,"
said she].

Then they depart from him, and forthwith they go to [Corp[FN#58] Liath
(the Gray),] who was the son of Tassach.  His castle was on the bank of
the river Nemain, upon the northern side, he was a champion of renown
for the guarding of the men of Munster; longer than his hand is the
evil he hath wrought.  To this man also they appeared, and "What are
your names?" said he: "Tecmall and Coscrad (Gathering of Hosts, and
Destruction)," said they.  "Gathering of Hosts is indeed good," said
Corp Liath, "an evil thing is destruction": "There will be no
destruction for thee, and thou shalt destroy the sons of kings and
nobles": "And what," said Corp Liath, "is the next thing to be done?"


[FN#58]  The Egerton MS. gives the name, Corb Cliach.


"That is easy to say," they said;[FN#59] "each son of a king and a
queen, and each heir of a king that is in Connaught, is now coming upon
you to bear off cows from your country, for that the sons of your kings
and queens have fallen by the hand of the men of Connaught.  To-morrow
morning, at the ninth hour they will come, and small is their troop; so
if valiant warriors go thither to meet them, the honour of Munster
shall be preserved; if indeed thine adventure shall meet with success."


[FN#59]  Y.B.L. gives the passage thus: "Assemble with you the sons of
kings, and heirs of kings, that you may destroy the sons of kings and
heirs of kings."  "Who are they?" said Corp Liath.  "A noble youth it
is from Connaught: he comes to yon to drive your cows before him, after
that your young men were yesterday destroyed by him, at the ninth hour
of the morning they will come to take away the cows of Darta, the
daughter of Eocho."


"With what number should I go?" he said. "Seven times twenty heroes
thou shouldest take with thee," she replied, ["and seven times twenty
warriors besides"]: "And now" said the woman, "we depart to meet thee
to-morrow at the ninth hour."

At the time (appointed), when morning had come, the men of Connaught
saw the horses and the raiment of which we have spoken, at the gate of
the fort of Croghan, [even as she (the fairy) had foretold, and as we
have told, so that at that gate was all she had promised, and all that
had been seen on the sons of kings aforetime], and there was a doubt
among the people whether they should go on that quest or not.  "It is
shame," said Ailill, "to refuse a thing that is good"; and upon that
Orlam departed [till[FN#60] he came to the house of Dartaid, the
daughter of Eocho, in Cliu Classach (Cliu the Moated), on the Shannon
upon the south (bank).


[FN#60]  Egerton Version has only "towards Chu till he came to the home
of Dartaid, the daughter of Eocho: the maiden rejoiced," &c. From this
point to the end the version in the Yellow Book is much fuller.


[There they halted], and the maiden rejoiced at their coming: "Three of
the kine are missing."  "We cannot wait for these; let the men take
provision on their horses, [for rightly should we be afraid in the
midst of Munster.  Wilt thou depart with me, O maiden?" said he.  "I
will indeed go with thee," said she].  "Come then thou," said he, "and
with thee all of thy cows."

[Then the young men go away with the cows in the midst, and the maiden
was with them; but Corp Liath, the son of Tassach, met them with seven
times twenty warriors to oppose their march.  A battle was fought], and
in that place fell the sons of the kings of Connaught, together with
the warriors who had gone with them, all except Orlam and eight
others,[FN#61] who carried away with them the kine, even the forty
milch-cows, and fifty heifers, [so that they came into the land of
Connaught]; but the maiden fell at the beginning of the fight.


[FN#61]  Y.B.L. inserts Dartaid's death at this point: "and Dartaid
fell at the beginning of the fight, together with the stately sons of
Connaught."


Hence is that place called Imlech Dartaid, (the Lake Shore of Darta),
in the land of Cliu, [where Dartaid, the daughter of Eocho, the son of
Corpre, fell: and for this reason this story is called the Tain bo
Dartae, it is one of the preludes to the Tain bo Cualnge].



THE RAID FOR THE CATTLE OF REGAMON



INTRODUCTION


The two versions of this tale, given by Windisch in the Irische Texte,
II. pp. 224-238, are from the same manuscripts as the two versions of
the Raid of the Cattle of Dartaid; namely the Yellow Book of Lecan, and
the Egerton MS. 1782.  In the case of this tale, the Yellow Book
version is more legible, and, being not only the older, but a little
more full than the other version, Windisch has translated this text
alone: the prose version, as given here, follows this manuscript,
nearly as given by Windisch, with only one addition from the Egerton
MS.; the omissions in the Egerton MS. are not mentioned, but one or two
changes in words adopted from this MS. are mentioned in the foot-notes
to the prose rendering.

The whole tone of the tale is very unlike the tragic character of those
romances, which have been sometimes supposed to represent the general
character of old Irish literature: there is not even a hint of the
super-natural; the story contains no slaughter; the youthful raiders
seem to be regarded as quite irresponsible persons, and the whole is an
excellent example of an old Celtic: romance with what is to-day called
a "good ending."



THE RAID FOR THE CATTLE OF REGAMON



FROM THE YELLOW BOOK OF LECAN

(A MANUSCRIPT OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY)


When Ailill and Maev in the Connaught land abode, and the lordship held,
A chief who many a field possessed in the land of Connaught dwelled:
A great, and a fair, and a goodly herd of kine had the chieftain won:
And his fame in the fight was in all men's word; his name was Regamon.
Now seven daughters had Regamon; they dwelt at home with their sire:
Yet the seven sons of King Ailill and Maev their beauty with love could
fire:
All those seven sons were as Mani[FN#62] known; the first was as Morgor
hailed,
For his love was great: it was Mingar's fate that in filial love he
failed:
The face was seen of the mother-queen on the third; and his father's
face
Did the fourth son show: they the fifth who know cannot speak all his
strength and grace:
The sixth son spoke, from his lips the words like drops of honey fell:
And last came one who all gifts possessed that the tongue of a man can
tell;
For his father's face that Mani had, in him was his mother seen;
And in him abode every grace bestowed on the king of the land or the
queen.


[FN#62]  Pronounced Mah-nee.


Of the daughters of Regamon now we speak: two names those maidens bore:
For as Dunnan three ever known shall be; Dunlaith[FN#63] was the name
for four:
And in Breffny's land is the Ford Dunlaith, and the fame of the four
recalls;
The three ye know where the Dunnan's flow in western Connaught falls.
With Fergus, Ailill and Maev were met: as at council all conferred;
"It were well for our folk," thus Ailill spoke, "if the lord of that
cattle-herd,
That strays in the fields of Regamon, would tribute to us pay:
And to gain that end, let us heralds send, to his burg who may make
their way,
And bear to our court that tribute back; for greatly we soon shall need
Such kine when we in the time of war our hosts shall have to feed;
And all who share in our counsels know that a burden will soon be mine,
When the men must be fed of Ireland, led on the Raid for the
Cuailgne[FN#64] Kine!"
Thus Ailill spoke; and Queen Maev replied, "The men to perform that task
Right well I know; for our sons will go, if we for their aid but ask!
The seven daughters of Regamon do the Mani in love now seek:
If those maidens' hands they can gain by the deed, they will heed the
words we speak."
To his side King Ailill has called his sons, his mind to the youth he
shows.
"Best son," says Maev, "and grateful he, from filial love who goes!"
And Morgor said, "For the love that we owe, we go at our sire's behest:"
"Yet a greater reward," thus Mingar spake, "must be ours, if we go on
this quest!
For naught have we of hero-craft; and small shall be found our might;
And of valiant breed are the men," said he, "with whom we shall have to
fight.


[FN#63]  Pronounced Dun-lay.

[FN#64]  Pronounced Kell-ny.


As men from the shelter of roof who go, and must rest in the open field,
So thy sons shall stand, if they come to a land where a foe might be
found concealed!
We have dwelt till now in our father's halls, too tenderly cared for
far:
Nor hath any yet thought, that to us should be taught the arts that
belong to war!"

Queen Maev and Ailill their sons have sped, away on the quest they went,
With seven score men for the fight, whom the queen for help of her sons
had sent:
To the south of the Connaught realm they reached, the burg that they
sought was plain
For to Ninnus land they had come, and were nigh to the Corcomroe domain.
"From our band," said Mani Morgor, "some must go, of that burg to learn
How entrance we may attain to win, and back with the news return
We must test the strength of the maidens' love!" On Mingar the task was
set,
And with two beside him, he searched the land, till three of the maids
they met:
By springs of water they found the maids, drew swords, and against them
leapt!
"O grant our lives!" was the maiden's cry, "and your lives shall be
safely kept!"
"For your lives," he said, "will ye grant a boon, set forth in three
words of speech?"
"At our hands," said she, "shall granted be, whatever thy tongue shall
teach;
Yet ask not cattle; those kine have we no power to bestow, I fear":
"Why, 'tis for the sake of the kine," he said, "that all of us now are
here!"

"Who art thou then?" from her faltering broke: "Mani Mingar am I," he
replied;
I am son to King Ailill and Maev: And to me thou art welcome," the
maiden cried;
"But why have ye come to this land?" said she: For kine and for
brides," he said,
Have we come to seek: And 'tis right," said she, such demands in a
speech to wed:
Yet the boon that you ask will our folk refuse, and hard will your task
be found;
For a valiant breed shall you meet, I fear, in the men who guard this
ground!"
"Give your aid," he said, "then as friends: But time," said she, "we
must have for thought;
For a plan must be made, e'er thy word be obeyed, and the kine to thy
hands be brought:
Have ye journeyed here with a force of men? how great is the strength
of your band?"
"Seven score are there here for the fight," he said, "the warriors are
near at hand!"
"Wait here," said she; "to my sisters four I go of the news to tell:
"And with thee we side!" all the maidens cried, "and we trust we shall
aid thee well,"

Away from the princes the maidens sped, they came to their sisters four,
And thus they spoke: "From the Connaught land come men, who are here at
your door;
The sons of Ailill and Maev have come; your own true loves are they!"
"And why have they come to this land?" they said; "For kine and for
brides, they say,
Have they come to seek:" "And with zeal their wish would we joyfully
now fulfil
If but powers to aid were but ours," they said, "which would match with
our right good will:

But I fear the youths in this burg who dwell, the plans that we make
may foil;
or far from the land may chase that band, and drive them away from
their spoil!"
"Will ye follow us now, with the prince to speak?" They willingly gave
consent,
And together away to the water-springs the seven maidens went.
They greeted Mani; "Now come!" said he, "and bring with you out your
herds:
And a goodly meed shall reward your deed, if you but obey my words;
For our honour with sheltering arms is nigh, and shall all of you
safely keep,
Ye seven daughters of Regamon!" The cattle, the swine, and sheep
Together the maidens drove; none saw them fly, nor to stay them sought,
Till safe to the place where the Mani stood, the herd by the maids was
brought.

The maidens greeted the sons of Maev, and each by her lover stood;
And then Morgor spoke: "Into twain this herd of kine to divide were
good,
At the Briuin[FN#65] Ford should the hosts unite; too strait hath the
path been made
For so vast a herd": and to Morgor's word they gave heed, and his
speech obeyed.
Now it chanced that Regamon, the king, was far from his home that day,
For he to the Corco Baiscinn land had gone, for a while to stay;


[FN#65]  Pronounced Brewin.


With the Firbolg[FN#66] clans, in debate, he sat; and a cry as the
raiders rode,
Was behind him raised: to the king came men, who the news of that
plunder showed:
Then the king arose, and behind his foes he rode, and o'ertook their
flight,
And on Mani Morgor his host pressed hard, and they conquered his men in
the fight.
"To unite our band," thus Morgor cried, "fly hence, and our comrades
find!
Call the warriors back from the cattle here, and leave the maids behind;
Bid the maidens drive to our home the herd as far as the Croghan Fort,
And to Ailill and Maev of our perilous plight let the maidens bear
report."
The maidens went to the Croghan Fort, to Maev with their news they
pressed:
"Thy sons, O Maev, at the Briuin Ford are pent, and are sore distressed,
And they pray thee to aid them with speed": and Maev her host for the
war prepared,
With Ailill the warriors of Connaught came; and Fergus beside them
fared,
And the exiles came, who the Ulster name still bore, and towards that
Ford
All that host made speed, that their friends in need might escape from
the vengeful sword.


[FN#66]  Pronounced Feer-bol.


Now Ailill's sons, in the pass of that Ford, had hurdles strongly set:
And Regamon failed through the ford to win, ere Ailill's troops were
met:
Of white-thorn and of black-thorn boughs were the hurdles roughly
framed,
And thence the name of the ford first came, that the Hurdle Ford is
named;

For, where the O'Feara[FN#67] Aidne folk now dwell, can ye plainly see
In the land of Beara[FN#68] the Less, that Ford, yet called Ath[FN#69]
Clee Maaree,
In the north doth it stand; and the Connaught land divideth from
Corcomroe;
And thither, with Regamon's troops to fight, did Ailill's army go.


[FN#67]  Pronounced O'Fayra Ain-ye.

[FN#68]  Pronounced Bayra.

[FN#69]  Spelt Ath Cliath Medraidi. Ath is pronounced like Ah.


Then a truce they made; to the youths, that Raid who designed, they
gave back their lives;
And the maidens fair all pardoned were, who had fled with the youths,
as wives,
Who had gone with the herd, by the maids conferred on the men who the
kine had gained:
But the kine, restored to their rightful lord, in Regamon's hands
remained;
The maiden band in the Connaught land remained with the sons of Maev;
And a score of cows to each maiden's spouse the maidens' father gave:
As his daughters' dower, did their father's power his right in the cows
resign,
That the men might be fed of Ireland, led on the Raid for the
Cualgne[FN#70] Kine.
This tale, as the Tain bo Regamon, is known in the Irish tongue;
And this lay they make, when the harp they wake, ere the Cualgne Raid
be sung.


[FN#70]  Pronounced Kell-ny.



THE RAID FOR THE CATTLE OF REGAMON



LITERAL TRANSLATION


In the time of Ailill and Medb, a glorious warrior and holder of land
dwelt in the land of Connaught, and his name was Regamon.  He had many
herds of cattle, all of them fair and well-shaped: he had also seven
daughters with him.  Now the seven sons of Ailill and Medb loved these
(daughters): namely the seven Maine, these were Maine Morgor (Maine
with great filial love), Maine Mingar (Maine with less filial love),
Maine Aithremail (Maine like his father), Maine Mathremail (Maine like
his mother), Maine Milbel (Maine with the mouth of honey),[FN#71] Maine
Moepert (Maine too great to be described), Maine Condageb-uile (Maine
who combined all qualities): now this one had the form both of father
and mother, and had all the glory that belonged to both parents.


[FN#71]  The name of Maine Annai, making an eighth son, is given in
Y.B.L., but not in the Egerton MS.


The seven daughters of Regamon were the three Dunann, and the four
Dunlaith;[FN#72] from the names of these is the estuary of Dunann in
western Connaught, and the Ford of Dunlaith in Breffny.


[FN#72]  So Egerton, which Windisch follows here; the reading of Y.B.L.
is Dunmed for the daughters, and Dumed for the corresponding ford.


Now at a certain time, Ailill and Medb and Fergus held counsel
together.  "Some one from us," said Ailill, "should go to Regamon, that
a present of cattle may be brought to us from him; to meet the need
that there is on us for feeding the men of Ireland, when the kine are
raided from Cualgne."  "I know," said Medb, "who would be good to go
thither, if we ask it of them; even the Maine; on account of their love
for the daughters."

His sons were called to Ailill, and he spoke with them.  "Grateful is
he, and a better journey does he go," said Maev, "who goes for the sake
of his filial love."  "Truly it shall be that it is owing to filial
love that we go," said Mani Morgor.  "But the reward should (also) for
this be the better," said Mani Mingar; "it stands ill with our heroism,
ill with our strength.

It is like going from a house into the fields, (going) into the domains
or the land of foes.  Too tenderly have we been brought up; none hath
let us learn of wars; moreover the warriors are valiant towards whom we
go!"

They took leave of Ailill and Medb, and betook themselves to the quest.
 They set out, seven times twenty heroes was the number, till they were
in the south of Connaught, in the neighbourhood of the domain of
Corcomroe[FN#73] in the land of Ninnus, near to the burg.  "Some of
you," said Mani Morgor, "should go to find out how to enter into the
burg; and to test the love of maidens."  Mani Mingar, with two others,
went until he came upon three of the maidens at the water-springs, and
at once he and his comrades drew their swords against them.  "Give life
for life!" said the maiden.  "Grant to me then my three full words!"
said Mani Mingar.  "Whatever thy tongue sets forth shall be done," said
the maiden, "only let it not be cows,[FN#74] for these have we no power
to give thee."  "For these indeed," said Mani, "is all that now we
do."[FN#75]


[FN#73]  Properly "Coremodruad," the descendants of Modh Ruadh, third
son of Fergus by Maev; now Corcomroe in County Clare.

[FN#74]"Only let it not be cows" is in the Egerton MS. alone.

[FN#75]  "That we do" is Egerton MS. (cich indingnem), Y.B.L. has
"cechi m-bem."


"Who art thou?" said she: "Mani Mingar, son of Ailill and Medb," said
he: "Welcome then," she said, "but what hath brought with you here?"
"To take with us cattle and maidens," he said: "'Tis right," she said,
"to take these together; (but) I fear that what has been demanded will
not be granted, the men are valiant to whom you have come." "Let your
entreaties be our aid!" he said.  "We would desire," she said, "that it
should be after that counsel hath been taken that we obey you."

"What is your number?" said she: "Seven times twenty heroes," he said,
"are with us."  "Remain here," she said, "that we may speak with the
other maidens": "We shall assist you," said the maidens, "as well as we
can."

They went from them, and came to the other maidens, and they said to
them: "Young heroes from the lands of Connaught are come to you, your
own true loves, the seven sons of Ailill and Medb."  "Wherefore are
they come?" "To take back with them cattle and wives." "That would we
gladly have, if only we could; (but) I fear that the warriors will
hinder them or drive them away," said she.  "Go ye out, that ye may
speak with the man."  "We will speak with him," they said.  The seven
maidens went to the well, and they greeted Mani.  "Come ye away," he
said, "and bring your cattle with you.  That will be a good deed.  We
shall assist you with our honour and our protection, O ye daughters of
Regamon," said he.[FN#76]  The maidens drove together their cows and
their swine, and their sheep, so that none observed them; and they
secretly passed on till they came to the camp of their comrades.  The
maidens greeted the sons of Ailill and Medb, and they remained there
standing together.  "The herd must be divided in two parts," said Mani
Merger, "also the host must divide, for it is too great to travel by
the one way; and we shall meet again at Ath Briuin (the Ford of
Briuin)."  So it was done.


[FN#76]  Windisch conjectures this instead of "said the warriors,"
which is in the text of Y.B.L.


King Regamon was not there on that day.  He was in the domain of Corco
Baiscinn,[FN#77] to hold a conference with the Firbolgs.  His people
raised a cry behind him, message was brought to Regamon, and he went in
pursuit with his army.  The whole of the pursuing host overtook Mani
Morgor, and brought defeat upon him.


[FN#77]  In the south-west of Clare.


"We all," said Mani, "must go to one place, and some of you shall be
sent to the cattle to summon the young men hither, and the maidens
shall drive the cattle over the ford to Cruachan, and shall give Ailill
and Medb tidings of the plight in which we are here."  The maidens went
to Cruachan, and told all the tale.  "Thy sons are at Ath Briuin in
distress, and have said that help should be brought to them."  The men
of Connaught with Ailill, and Medb, and Fergus, and the banished men of
Ulster went to Ath Briuin to help their people.

The sons of Ailill had for the moment made hurdles of white-thorn and
black-thorn in the gut[FN#78] of the ford, as defence against Regamon
and his people, so that they were unable to pass through the ford ere
Ailill and his army came; so thence cometh the name Ath Cliath
Medraidi[FN#79] (the Hurdle Ford of Medraide), in the country of Little
Bethra in the northern part of the O'Fiachrach Aidne between Connaught
and Corcomroe. There they met together with all their hosts.


[FN#78]  Literally "mouth."

[FN#79]  Ath Cliath oc Medraige, now Maaree, in Ballycourty parish, Co.
Galway (Stokes, Bodleian Dinnshenchus, 26).  It may be mentioned that
in the Dinnshenchus, the cattle are said to have been taken "from
Dartaid, the daughter of Regamon in Munster," thus confusing the Raids
of Regamon and Dartaid, which may account for O'Curry's incorrect
statement in the preface to Leabhar na h-Uidhri, p. xv.


A treaty was then made between them on account of the fair young men
who had carried off the cattle, and on account of the fair maidens who
had gone with them, by whose means the herd escaped.  Restitution of
the herd was awarded to Regamon, and the maidens abode with the sons of
Ailill and Medb; and seven times twenty milch-cows were given up, as a
dowry for the maidens, and for the maintenance of the men of Ireland on
the occasion of the assembly for the Tain bo Cualnge; so that this tale
is called the Tain bo Regamon, and it is a prelude to the tale of the
Tain bo Cualnge. Finit, amen.



THE DRIVING OF THE CATTLE OF FLIDAIS



INTRODUCTION


The Tain bo Flidais, the Driving of the Cows of Flidais, does not, like
the other three Preludes to the Tain bo Cualnge, occur in the Yellow
Book of Lecan; but its manuscript age is far the oldest of the four, as
it occurs in both the two oldest collections of Old Irish romance, the
Leabbar na h-Uidhri (abbreviated to L.U.), and the Book of Leinster
(abbreviated to L.L.), besides the fifteenth century Egerton MS., that
contains the other three preludes.  The text of all three, together
with a translation of the L.U. text, is given by Windisch in Irische
Texte, II. pp. 206-223; the first part of the story is missing in L.U.
and is supplied from the Book of Leinster (L.L.) version.  The prose
translation given here follows Windisch's translation pretty closely,
with insertions occasionally from L.L.  The Egerton version agrees
closely with L.L., and adds little to it beyond variations in spelling,
which have occasionally been taken in the case of proper names.  The
Leabhar na h-Uidhri version is not only the oldest, but has the most
details of the three; a few passages have, however, been supplied from
the other manuscripts which agree with L.U. in the main.

The whole tale is much more like an old Border riding ballad than are
the other three Preludes; it resembles the tone of Regamon, but differs
from it in having a good deal of slaughter to relate, though it can
hardly be called tragic, like Deirdre and Ferb, the killing being taken
as a matter of course.  There is nothing at all supernatural about the
story as contained in the old manuscripts, but a quite different'
version of the story given in the Glenn Masain Manuscript, a fifteenth
century manuscript now in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, gives
another complexion to the tale.

The translation of this manuscript is at present being made in the
Celtic Review by Professor Mackinnon; the version it gives of the story
is much longer and fuller than that in the Leabhar na h-Uidhri, and its
accompanying manuscripts.  The translation as printed in the Celtic
Review is not as yet (July 1905) completed, but, through Professor
Mackinnon's kindness, an abstract of the general features of the end of
the story may be given here.

The Glenn Masain version makes Bricriu, who is a subordinate character
in the older version, one of the principal actors, and explains many of
the allusions which are difficult to understand in the shorter version;
but it is not possible to regard the older version as an abridgment of
that preserved in the Glenn Masain MS., for the end of the story in
this manuscript is absolutely different from that in the older ones,
and the romance appears to be unique in Irish in that it has versions
which give two quite different endings, like the two versions of
Kipling's The Light that Failed.

The Glenn Masain version commences with a feast held at Cruachan, when
Fergus and his exiles had joined their forces with Connaught as a
result of the murder of the Sons of Usnach, as told in the earlier part
of the manuscript.  At this feast Bricriu. engages in conversation with
Fergus, reproaching him for his broken promises to the Ulstermen who
had joined him, and for his dalliance with Queen Maev.  Bricriu, who in
other romances is a mere buffoon, here appears as a distinguished poet,
and a chief ollave; his satire remains bitter, but by no means
scurrilous, and the verses put into his mouth, although far beneath the
standard of the verses given to Deirdre in the earlier part of the
manuscript, show a certain amount of dignity and poetic power.  As an
example, the following satire on Fergus's inability to keep his
promises may be cited:--


Fergus, hear thy friend lamenting!
Blunted is thy lofty mind;
Thou, for hire, to Maev consenting,
Hast thy valour's pride resigned.

Ere another year's arriving,
Should thy comrades, thou didst vow,
Three-score chariots fair be driving,
Shields and weapons have enow!

When thy ladies, bent on pleasure,
Crowd towards the banquet-hall,
Thou of gold a goodly measure
Promised hast to grant to all!

Ill to-night thy friends are faring,
Naught hath Fergus to bestow;
He a poor man's look is wearing,
Never yet was greater woe!


After the dialogue with Fergus, Bricriu, with the poets that attend
him, undertakes a journey to Ailill the Fair, to obtain from him the
bounty that Fergus had promised but was unable to grant.  He makes a
fairly heavy demand upon Ailill's bounty, but is received hospitably,
and gets all he had asked for, as well as honour for his poetic
talents.  He then asks about Ailill's wife Flidais, and is told about
her marvellous cow, which was able to supply milk to more than three
hundred men at one night's milking.  Flidais returns from a journey, is
welcomed by Bricriu, who produces a poem in honour of her and her cow,
and is suitably recompensed.

A long conversation is then recorded between Flidais and Bricriu in
which Bricriu extols the great deeds of Fergus, supplying thereby a
commentary on the short statement at the beginning of the older
version, that Flidais' love to Fergus was on account of the great deeds
which had been told her that he had done.  Flidais declares to Bricriu
her love for Fergus, and Bricriu, after a vain attempt to dissuade the
queen from her purpose, consents to bring a message to Fergus that
Flidais and her cow will come to him if he comes to her husband's
castle to seek her. He then returns to Connaught laden with gifts.

The story now proceeds somewhat upon the lines of the older version.
Bricriu approaches Fergus on his return, and induces him to go in the
guise of an ambassador to Ailill the Fair, with the secret intention of
carrying off Flidais.  Fergus receives the sanction of Maev and her
husband for his errand, and departs, but not as in the older version
with a few followers; all the Ulster exiles are with him.  Dubhtach, by
killing a servant of Maev, embroils Fergus with the queen of Connaught;
and the expedition reaches Ailill the Fair's castle.  Fergus sends
Bricriu, who has most unwillingly accompanied him, to ask for
hospitality; he is hospitably received by Ailill, and when under the
influence of wine reveals to Ailill the plot.  Ailill does not, as in
the older version, refuse to receive Fergus, but seats him beside
himself at a feast, and after reproaching him with his purpose
challenges him to a duel in the morning.  The result of the duel, and
of the subsequent attack on the castle by Fergus' friends, is much as
stated in the older version, but the two stories end quite differently.
 The L.U. version makes Flidais assist in the War of Cualgne by feeding
the army of Ailill each seventh day with the produce of her cows; she
dies after the war as wife of Fergus; the Glenn Masain version, in the
"Pursuit of the Cattle of Flidais," makes the Gamanrad clan, the
hero-clan of the West of Ireland, pursue Maev and Fergus, and rescue
Flidais and her cow; Flidais then returns to the west with Muiretach
Menn, the son of her murdered husband, Ailill the Fair.

The comparison of these two versions, from the literary point of view,
is most interesting.  The stress laid on the supernatural cow is
peculiar to the version in the later manuscript, the only analogy in
the eleventh century version is the semi-supernatural feeding of the
army of Ireland, but in this it is a herd (buar), not a single animal,
that is credited with the feat, and there is really nothing
supernatural about the matter; it is only the other version that
enables us to see the true bearing of the incident.  The version in the
Glenn Masain Manuscript looks much more ancient in idea than that in
the older texts, and is plainly capable of a mythic interpretation.  It
is not of course suggested that the Glenn Masain version is ancient as
it stands: there are indeed enough obvious allusions in the text to
comparatively late works to negative such a supposition, independently
of linguistic evidence, but it does look as if the author of the
eleventh century text had a super natural tale to work upon, some of
whose incidents are preserved in the Glenn Masain version, and that he
succeeded in making out of the traditional account a story that
practically contains no supernatural element at all, so that it
requires a knowledge of the other version to discover the slight trace
of the supernatural that he did keep, viz. the feeding of the army of
Ireland by the herd (not the cow) of Flidais.

It is possible that the common origin of the two versions is preserved
for us in another place, the Coir Annam, which, though it as it stands
is a Middle Irish work, probably keeps ancient tradition better than
the more finished romances.  In this we find, following Stokes'
translation, given in Irische Texte, III. P. 295, the following
entries:--

"Adammair Flidaise Foltchain, that is Flidais the Queen, one of the
tribe of the god-folk (the Tuatha de Danaan), she was wife of Adammair,
the son of Fer Cuirp, and from her cometh the name Buar Flidaise, the
Cattle of Flidais.

"Nia Segamain, that is seg (deer) are a main (his treasure), for in his
time cows and does were milked in the same way every day, so that he
had great wealth in these things beyond that of all other kings.  The
Flidais spoken of above was the mother of Nia Segamain, Adammair's son,
for two kinds of cattle, cows and does, were milked in the days of Nia
Segamain, and by his mother was that fairy power given to him."

It seems, then, not impossible that the original legend was much as
stated in the Coir Annam, viz. that Flidais was a supernatural being,
milking wild deer like cows, and that she was taken into the Ulster
Cycle and made part of the tale of Fergus.

This adoption was done by an author who made a text which may be
regarded as the common original of the two versions; in his tale the
supernatural character of Flidais was retained.  The author of the L.U.
version cut out the supernatural part, and perhaps the original embassy
of Bricriu; it may, however, be noted that the opening of the older
version comes from the L.L. text, which is throughout shorter than that
in L.U., and the lost opening of L.U. may have been fuller.  The author
of the Glenn Masain version kept nearer to the old story, adding,
however, more modern touches.  Where the new character of Bricriu comes
from is a moot point; I incline to the belief that the idea of Bricriu
as a mere buffoon is a later development.  But in neither version is
the story, as we have it, a pre-Christian one.  The original
pre-Christian idea of Flidais was, as in the Coir Annam, that of a
being outside the Ulster Cycle altogether.



THE DRIVING OF THE CATTLE OF FLIDAIS


FROM THE LEABHAR NA H-UIDHRI (ELEVENTH-CENTURY MS.), THE BEGINNING AND
A FEW ADDITIONS FROM THE BOOK OF LEINSTER (TWELFTH CENTURY)


A land in West Roscommon, as Kerry known of old,
Was ruled by Ailill Fair-haired; of him a tale is told:
How Flidais,[FN#80] Ailill's[FN#81] consort, each week, and near its
end,
To Ro's great son, to Fergus, her herald still would send;
'Twas Fergus' love she sought for; the deeds by Fergus done,
In glorious tales recited, had Flidais' fancy won.


[FN#80]  Pronounced Flid-das.

[FN#81]  Pronounced Al-ill.


When Fergus fled from Ulster, and Connaught's land he sought,
To Ailill, king of Connaught, this tale of love he brought:
"Now give me rede," said Fergus, "how best we here should act,
That Connaught's fame and honour by none may stand attacked;
Say, how can I approach them, and strip thy kingdom bare,
And yet the fame of Ailill, that country's monarch, spare?"
"'Tis hard indeed to teach thee," cried Ailill, sore perplexed;
"Let Maev come nigh with counsel what course to follow next!"

"Send thou to Ailill Fair-haired to ask for aid!" said Maev,
"He well may meet a herald, who comes his help to crave
Let Fergus go to crave it: no harm can there be seen;
And better gifts from Ailill shall Fergus win, I ween!"


So forth to Ailill Fair-haired went Fergus, son of Ro;
And thirty, Dubhtach[FN#82] leading, he chose with him to go;
And yet another Fergus his aid to Fergus brought;
Mac Oonlama[FN#83] men called him; his sire one-handed fought.


[FN#82]  Pronounced Doov-ta.

[FN#83]  Spelt Mac Oenlama, son of the one-handed one.


Beside the Ford of Fenna, in Kerry's north they came,
They neared the hold, and from it rang welcome's loud acclaim:
"What quest," said Ailill Fair-haired, "hath brought these warriors
here?"
"Of Ailill, son of Magach, we stand," they said, "in fear;
A feud we hold against him; with thee would fain abide!"
"For each of these," said Ailill, "who Fergus march beside,
If they were foes to Connaught, for long they here might stay,
And ne'er till peace was granted, I'd drive these men away:
For Fergus, naught I grant him a tale of him men tell
That Fergus 'tis whom Flidais, my wife, doth love too well!"

"It is kine that I ask for," said Fergus, "and hard is the task on me
set:
For the men who have marched here beside me, the means to win life I
must get."
"I will give no such present," said Ailill," thou comest not here as my
guest:
Men will say, 'twas from fear that I gave it, lest my wife from my arms
thou should'st wrest:
Yet an ox of my herds, and some bacon, if thou wilt, shall my hand to
thee give;
That the men who have marched here beside thee on that meat may be
stayed, and may live!"

"I eat no bread thus thrown me!" fierce Fergus straight replied:
"I asked a gift of honour; that gift thine hand denied."
"Avoid my house," said Ailill in wrath, "now get thee hence!
"We go indeed," said Fergus; "no siege we now commence:
Yet here," he cried, "for duel beside yon ford I wait,
If thou canst find a champion to meet me at thy gate."

Then up and answered Ailill: "'Tis mine this strife must be
And none shall hurt mine honour, or take this task from me:
None hold me back from battle!"--the ford for fight he sought:
"Now Dubhtach, say," said Fergus, "to whom this war is brought!
Or thou or I must meet him." And Dubhtach said, "I go;
For I am younger, Fergus, and bolder far with foe."

To the ford for the battle with Ailill he hies,
And he thrust at him fiercely, and pierced through his thighs;
But a javelin by Ailill at Dubhtach was cast,
And right through his body the shaft of it passed:
And a shield over Dubhtach, laid low in the dust,
Spread Fergus; and Ailill his spear at him thrust;
And through Fergus' shield had the spear made its way,
When Fergus Mae Oonlama joined in the fray,
And his shield he uplifted, his namesake to guard;
But at Fergus Mac Oonlama Ailill thrust hard,
And he brake through the fence of Mac Oonlama's shield;
And he leaped in his pain; as they lay on the field,
On his comrades he fell: Flidais forth to them flew,
And her cloak on the warriors to shield them she threw.

Then against all the comrades of Fergus turned Ailill the Fair-haired
to fight,
And he chased them away from his castle, and slew as they scattered in
flight;
A twenty he reached, and he slew them: they fell, on that field to
remain;
And but seven there were of that thirty who fled, and their safety
could gain:
They came to the palace of Croghan, they entered the gates of that hold,
And to Maev and to Ailill of Connaught the tale of the slaughter they
told.

Then roused himself King Ailill, of Connaught's land the king,
With Maev to march to battle, their aid to friends to bring:
And forth from Connaught's kingdom went many a lord of worth,
Beside them marched the exiles who gat from Ulster birth:
So forward went that army, and reached to Kerry's land,
And near the Ford of Fenna they came, and there made stand.

While this was done, the wounded three
Within the hold lay still,
And Flidais cared for all, for she
To heal their wounds had skill.

To Ailill Fair-Haired's castle the Connaught host was led,
And toward the foeman's ramparts the Connaught herald sped;
He called on Ailill Fair-haired to come without the gate,
And there to meet King Ailill, and with him hold debate.
"I come to no such meeting," the angry chief replied;
"Yon man is far too haughty: too grossly swells his pride!"

Yet 'twas peaceful meeting,
So the old men say,
Ailill willed; whose greeting
Heralds bore that day.
Fergus, ere he perished,
First he sought to aid
He that thought who cherished
Friendship's claims obeyed:
Then his foe he vainly
Hoped in truce to bind:
Peace, 'tis said, was plainly
Dear to Connaught's mind!

The wounded men, on litters laid,
Without the walls they bore
To friendly hands, with skill to aid,
And fainting health restore.

At the castle of Ailill the Fair-Haired the Connaught-men rushed in
attack,
And to win it they failed: from his ramparts in defeat were his foes
driven back:
For long in that contest they struggled, yet naught in the fight they
prevailed -
For a week were the walls of the castle of Ailill the Fair-Haired
assailed,
Seven score of the nobles of Connaught, and all of them warriors of
might,
For the castle of Ailill contended, and fell as they strove in the
fight.

"'Tis sure that with omen of evil this castle was sought by our folk!"
Thus Bricroo,[FN#84] the Poisonous Scoffer, in mockery, jeering them,
spoke:
"The taunt," answered Ailill Mae Mata, "is true, and with grief I
confess
That the fame of the heroes of Ulster hereafter is like to be less,
For a three of the Ulstermen's champions in stress of the fight have
been quelled;
And the vengeance we wait for from Ulster hath long been by Ulster
withheld;
As a pillar of warfare each hero, 'twas claimed, could a battle sustain;
Yet by none of the three in this battle hath a foeman been conquered,
or slain!
In the future for all of these champions shall scorn and much mocking
befall:
One man hath come forth from yon castle; alone he hath wounded them
all--
Such disgrace for such heroes of valour no times that are past ever saw,
For three lords of the battle lie conquered by mannikins, fashioned of
straw!"


[FN#84]  Spelt Bricriu.  The usual epithet of Bricriu, "Bricriu of the
Poison Tongue," is indicated in the verse rendering.


"Ah! woe is me," said Bricroo, "how long, thus stretched on ground,
The length of Father Fergus hath here by all been found!
But one he sought to conquer; a single fight essayed,
And here he met his victor, and low on land is laid."

Then rose the men of Ulster a hardy war to wage,
And forward rushed, though naked, in strong and stubborn rage:
Against the castle gateway in wrathful might they dashed,
And down the shattered portal within the castle crashed.
Then close by Ulster's champions was Connaught's battle formed;
And Connaught's troops with Ulster by might the castle stormed;
But fitly framed for battle were men whom there they met,
Wild war, where none showed pity between the hosts was set:
And well they struck; each hero commenced with mighty blows
To crush and slay, destruction was heaped by foe on foes.

Of the wounding at length and the slaughter all weary the champions had
grown,
And the men who the castle of Ailill had held were at length over
thrown:
Of those who were found in that castle, and its walls had defended so
well,
Seven hundred by warriors of Ulster were smitten to death, and they
fell:
And there in his castle fell Ailill the Fair-haired, and fighting he
died,
And a thirty of sons stood about him, and all met their death by his
side.

The chief of those who perished, by Ailill's side who stood
Within his hold, were Noodoo;[FN#85] and Awley[FN#86] named the Good;
And Feeho[FN#87] called the Broad-backed; and Corpre Cromm the Bent;
An Ailill, he from Breffny to help of Ailill went;
A three whose name was Angus-fierce was each warrior's face;
Three Eochaid, sea-girt Donnan[FN#88] had cradled erst their race;
And there fell seven Breslen, from plains of Ay[FN#89] who came;
And fifty fell beside them who all had Donnell's name.


[FN#85]  Spelt Nuado.

[FN#86]  Spelt Amalgaid.

[FN#87]  Spelt Fiacho.

[FN#88]  Irross Donnan, the promontory of Donnan (now Mayo).

[FN#89]  Mag Ai, a plain in Roscommon.


For to Ailill the Fair-Haired for warfare had marched all the
Gamanra[FN#90] clan,
And his friends from the sea-girded Donnan had sent to his aid every
man;
All these had with Ailill been leaguered, their help to him freely they
brought,
And that aid from them Ailill. took gladly, he knew that his hold would
be sought;
He knew that the exiles of Ulster his captives from prison would save,
And would come, their surrender demanding; that Ailill mac Mata and Maev
Would bring all Connaught's troops to the rescue: for Fergus that aid
they would lend,
And Fergus the succour of Connaught could claim, and with right, as a
friend.


[FN#90]  Spelt Gamanrad.


Hero clans in Erin three of old were found;
One in Irross Donnan, oceans Donnan bound,
Thence came Clan Gamanra; Deda's warlike clan
Nursed in Tara Loochra[FN#91] many a fighting man.
Deda sprang from Munster; far in Ulster's north
Oft from Emain Macha Rury's[FN#92] clan went forth:
Vainly all with Rury strove to fight, the twain
Rury's clan hath vanquished; Rury all hath slain!


[FN#91]  Temair Luachra, an ancient palace near Abbeyfeale, on the
borders of the counties of Limerick and Kerry. "Tara," as is well
known, is a corruption of Temair, but is now established.

[FN#92]  Spelt Rudraige.


Then rose up the warriors of Ulster, the hold they had conquered to
sack;
And the folk of Queen Maev and King Ailill followed close on the
Ulstermen's track:
And they took with them captives; for Flidais away from her castle they
tore;
And the women who dwelt in the castle away to captivity bore:

And all things therein that were precious they seized on as booty; the
gold
And the silver they seized, and the treasures amassed by the men of
that hold:
The horns, and the goblets for drinking, the vats for the ale, and the
keys,
The gay robes with all hues that were glowing lay there for the raiders
to seize:
And much cattle they took; in that castle were one hundred of milk
giving kine;
And beside them a seven score oxen; three thousand of sheep and of
swine.

Then Flidais went with Fergus, his wedded wife to be;
For thus had Maev and Ailill pronounced their high decree:
They bade that when from Cualgne to drive the kine they went,
From those who then were wedded should aid for war be sent.
And thus it fell thereafter: when Ireland went that Raid,
By milk from cows of Flidais, the lives of all were stayed;
Each seventh day she sent it; and thus fulfilled her vows,
And thus the tale is ended, men tell of Flidais' Cows.

Then, all that Raid accomplished, with Fergus Flidais dwell
And he of Ulster's kingdom a part in lordship held:
He ruled in Mag I Murthemne[FN#92], yea, more than that, he won
The land where once was ruler Cuchulain, Sualtam's son:
And by the shore of Bali thereafter Flidais died,
And naught of good for Fergus did Flidais' death betide:
For worse was all his household; if Fergus aught desired,
From Flidais' wealth and bounty came all his soul required.

In the days that followed, when his wife was dead,
Fergus went to Connaught; there his blood was shed:
There with Maev and Ailill he a while would stay;
Men had made a story, he would learn the lay!
There he went to cheer him, hearing converse fair:
Kine beside were promised; home he these would bear:
So he went to Croghan, 'twas a deadly quest,
There he found his slaughter, death within the west:
Slain by jealous Ailill, Fergus low was laid:
Flidais' tale is ended: now comes Cualgne's Raid!


[FN#92]  Pronounced Maw Moortemmy



THE DRIVING OF THE CATTLE OF FLIDAIS



LITERAL TRANSLATION


Flidais was the wife of Ailill Finn (the Fair-haired) in the district
of Kerry.[FN#93]  She loved Fergus the son of Rog on account of the
glorious tales about him; and always there went messengers from her to
him at the end of each week.


[FN#93]  Kerry is the district now called Castlereagh, in the west of
the present county of Roscommon.


So, when he came to Connaught, he brought this matter before[FN#94]
Ailill: "What[FN#95] shall I do next in this matter?" said Fergus: "it
is hard for me to lay bare your land, without there being loss to thee
of honour and renown therewith."  "Yes, what shall we do next in the
matter?" said Ailill; "we will consider this in counsel with Maev."
"Let one of us go to Ailill Finn," (said Maev), "that he may help us,
and as this involves a meeting of some one with him, there is no reason
why it should not be thyself who goest to him: the gift will be all the
better for that!"


[FN#94]  i.e. Ailill of Connaught.

[FN#95]  This sentence to the end is taken from the Egerton version,
which seems the clearer; the Book of Leinster gives: "What shall I do
next, that there be no loss of honour or renown to thee in the matter?"


Then Fergus set out thereon, in number thirty men; the two Ferguses
(i.e. Fergus mac Rog, and Fergus mac Oen-lama) and Dubhtach; till they
were at the Ford of Fenna in the north of the land of Kerry.  They go
to the burg, and welcome is brought to them.[FN#96]  "What brings you
here?" said Ailill Finn.  "We had the intention of staying with you on
a visit, for we have a quarrel with Ailill the son of Magach."


[FN#96]  The Book of the Dun Cow (Leabhar na h-Uidhri) version begins
at this point.


"If it were one of thy people who had the quarrel, he should stay with
me until he had made his peace. But thou shalt not stay," said Ailill
Finn, "it has been told me that my wife loves thee!"  "We must have a
gift of cows then," said Fergus, "for a great need lies on us, even the
sustenance of the troop who have gone with me into exile."  "Thou shalt
carry off no such present from me," he said, "because thou art not
remaining with me on a visit.  Men will say that it is to keep my wife
that I gave thee what thou hast required.  I[FN#97] will give to your
company one ox and some bacon to help them, if such is your pleasure."
"I will eat not thy bread although offered (lit. however)," said
Fergus, "because I can get no present of honour from thee!"


[FN#97]  L.L. and Egerton make the end of this speech part of the
story: "There was given to them one ox with bacon, with as much as they
wished of beer, as a feast for them."


"Out of my house with you all, then!" said Ailill.

"That shall be," said Fergus; "we shall not begin to lay siege to thee
and they betake themselves outside.

"Let a man come at once to fight me beside a ford at the gate of this
castle!" said Fergus.

"That[FN#98] will not for the sake of my honour be refused," said
Ailill; "I will not hand it (the strife) over to another: I will go
myself," said he.  He went to a ford against him.  "Which of us," said
Fergus, "O Dubhtach, shall encounter this man?"  "I will go," said
Dubhtach; "I am younger and keener than thou art!"  Dubhtach went
against Ailill.  Dubhtach thrust a spear through Ailill so that it went
through his two thighs.  He (Ailill) hurled a javelin at Dubhtach, so
that he drove the spear right through him, (so that it came out) on the
other side.


[FN#98]  The end of the speech is from L.L.: the L.U. text gives the
whole speech thus: "For my honour's sake, I could not draw back in this
matter."


Fergus threw his shield over Dubhtach.  The former (Ailill) thrust his
spear at the shield of Fergus so that he even drove the shaft right
through it.  Fergus mac Oen-laimi comes by.  Fergus mac Oen-laimi holds
a shield in front of him (the other Fergus).  Ailill struck his spear
upon this so that it was forced right through it.  He leaped so that he
lay there on the top of his companions.  Flidais comes by from the
castle, and throws her cloak over the three.

Fergus' people took to flight; Ailill pursues them.  There remain
(slain) by him twenty men of them.  Seven of them escape to Cruachan
Ai, and tell there the whole story to Ailill and Medb.

Then Ailill and Medb arise, and the nobles of Connaught and the exiles
from Ulster: they march into the district of Kerry Ai with their troops
as far as: the Ford of Fenna.

Meanwhile the wounded men were being cared for by Flidais in the
castle, and their healing was undertaken by her.

Then the troops come to the castle.  Ailill Finn is summoned to Ailill
mac Mata to come to a conference with him outside the castle.  "I will
not go," he said; "the pride and arrogance of that man there is great."

It was,[FN#99] however, for a peaceful meeting that Ailill mac Mata had
come to Ailill the Fair-haired, both that he might save Fergus, as it
was right he should, and that he might afterwards make peace with him
(Ailill Fair haired), according to the will of the lords of Connaught.


[FN#99]  This passage is sometimes considered to be an interpolation by
a scribe or narrator whose sympathies were with Connaught.  The passage
does not occur in the Book of Leinster, nor in the Egerton MS.


Then the wounded men were brought out of the castle, on hand-barrows,
that they might be cared for by their own people.

Then the men attack him (Ailill Finn): while they are storming the
castle, and they could get no hold on him, a full week long went it
thus with them.  Seven times twenty heroes from among the nobles of
Connaught fell during the time that they (endeavoured) to storm the
castle of Ailill the Fair-haired.

"It was with no good omen that with which you went to this castle,"
said Bricriu.  "True indeed is the word that is spoken," said Ailill
mac Mata.  "The expedition is bad for the honour of the Ulstermen, in
that their three heroes fall, and they take not vengeance for them.
Each one (of the three) was a pillar of war, yet not a single man has
fallen at the hands of one of the three!  Truly these heroes are great
to be under such wisps of straw as axe the men of this castle!  Most
worthy is it of scorn that one man has wounded you three!"

"O woe is me," said Bricriu, "long is the length upon the ground of my
Papa Fergus, since one man in single combat laid him low!"

Then the champions of Ulster arise, naked as they were, and make a
strong and obstinate attack in their rage and in the might of their
violence, so that they forced in the outer gateway till it was in the
midst of the castle, and the men of Connaught go beside them.  They
storm the castle with great might against the valiant warriors who were
there.  A wild pitiless battle is fought between them, and each man
begins to strike out against the other, and to destroy him.

Then, after they had wearied of wounding and overcoming one another,
the people of the castle were overthrown, and the Ulstermen slay seven
hundred warriors there in the castle with Ailill the Fair-Haired and
thirty of his sons; and Amalgaid the Good;[FN#100] and Nuado; and
Fiacho Muinmethan (Fiacho the Broad-backed); and Corpre Cromm (the Bent
or Crooked); and Ailill from Brefne; and the three Oengus Bodbgnai (the
Faces of Danger); and the three Eochaid of Irross (i.e. Irross Donnan);
and the seven Breslene from Ai; and the fifty Domnall.


[FN#100]  "The Good" is in the Book of Leinster and the Egerton text,
not in the Leabhar na h-Uidhri: the two later texts omit Nuado.

For the assembly of the Gamanrad were with Ailill, and each of the men
of Domnan who had bidden himself to come to him to aid him: they were
in the same place assembled in his castle; for he knew that the exiles
from Ulster and Ailill and Medb with their army would come to him to
demand the surrender of Fergus, for Fergus was under their protection.

This was the third race of heroes in Ireland, namely the Clan Gamanrad
of Irross Donnan (the peninsula of Donnan), and (the other two were)
the Clan Dedad in Temair Lochra, and the Clan Rudraige in Emain Macha.
But both the other clans were destroyed by the Clan Rudraige.

But the men of Ulster arise, and with them the people of Medb and of
Ailill; and they laid waste the castle, and take Flidais out of the
castle with them, and carry off the women of the castle into captivity;
and they take with them all the costly things and the treasures that
were there, gold and silver, and horns, and drinking cups, and keys,
and vats; and they take what there was of garments of every colour, and
they take what there was of kine, even a hundred milch-cows, and a
hundred and forty oxen, and thirty hundred of little cattle.

And after these things had been done, Flidais went to Fergus mac Rog
according to the decree of Ailill and Medb, that they might thence have
sustenance (lit. that their sustenance might be) on the occasion of the
Raid of the Cows of Cualgne.  As[FN#101] a result of this, Flidais was
accustomed each seventh day from the produce of her cows to support the
men of Ireland, in order that during the Raid she might provide them
with the means of life.  This then was the Herd of Flidais.


[FN#101]  L.L. and Egerton give "For him used every seventh day," &c.


In consequence[FN#102] of all this Flidais went with Fergus to his
home, and he received the lordship of a part of Ulster, even Mag
Murthemni (the plain of Murthemne), together with that which had been
in the hands of Cuchulain, the son of Sualtam.  So Flidais died after
some time at Trag Bàli (the shore of Bali), and the state of Fergus'
household was none the better for that.  For she used to supply all
Fergus' needs whatsoever they might be (lit. she used to provide for
Fergus every outfit that he desired for himself).  Fergus died after
some time in the land of Connaught, after the death of his wife, after
he had gone there to obtain knowledge of a story.  For, in order to
cheer himself, and to fetch home a grant of cows from Ailill and Medb,
he had gone westwards to Cruachan, so that it was in consequence of
this journey that he found his death in the west, through the jealousy
of Ailill.


[FN#102]  L.L. and Egerton give "thereafter," adopted in verse
translation.


This, then, is the story of the Tain bo Flidais; it[FN#103] is among
the preludes of the Tain bo Cualnge.


[FN#103]  This sentence does not occur in the Leabhar na h-Uidhri.  It
is given as in the Egerton version: the Book of Leinster gives "it is
among the preludes of the Tain."



THE APPARITION OF THE GREAT QUEEN TO CUCHULAIN



(TAIN BO REGAMNA)


INTRODUCTION

This tale is given by the same two manuscripts that give the Tain bo
Dartada and the Tain bo Regamon; namely the Yellow Book of Lecan, and
Egerton 1782.  The text of both is given by Windisch, Irische Texte,
II. pp. 239-254; he gives a translation of the version in the Yellow
Book, with a few insertions from the Egerton MS., where the version in
Y.B.L. is apparently corrupt: Miss Hull gives an English translation of
Windisch's rendering, in the Cuchullin Saga, pages 103 to 107.  The
prose version given here is a little closer to the Irish than Miss
Hull's, and differs very little from that of Windisch.  The song sung
by the Morrigan to Cuchulain is given in the Irish of both versions by
Windisch; he gives no rendering, as it is difficult and corrupt: I can
make nothing of it, except that it is a jeering account of the War of
Cualgne.

The title Tain bo Regamna is not connected with anything in the tale,
as given; Windisch conjectures "Tain bo Morrigna," the Driving of the
Cow of the Great Queen (Morrigan); as the woman is called at the end of
the Egerton version.  The Morrigan, one of the three goddesses of war,
was the chief of them: they were Morrigan, Badb, and Macha.  She is
also the wife of the Dagda, the chief god of the pagan Irish.  The
Yellow Book version calls her Badb in this tale, but the account in the
Tain bo Cualnge (Leabhar na h-Uidhri facsimile, pp. 74 and 77), where
the prophecies are fulfilled, agrees with the Egerton version in
calling the woman of this tale the Morrigan or the Great Queen.



THE APPARITION OF THE GREAT QUEEN TO CUCHULAIN


(ALSO CALLED "TAIN BO REGAMNA")



FROM THE YELLOW BOOK OF LECAN (FOURTEENTH CENTURY)


AT Dun Imrid lay Cuchulain,[FN#104] and slept, when a cry rang out;
And in fear he heard from the north-land come ringing that terrible
shout:
He fell, as he woke from his slumber, with the thud of a weight, to the
ground,
From his couch on that side of the castle that the rising sun first
found.
He left his arms in the castle, as the lawns round its walls he sought,
But his wife, who followed behind him, apparel and arms to him brought:
Then he saw his harnessed chariot, and Laeg,[FN#105] his charioteer,
From Ferta Laig who drave it: from the north the car drew near:
"What bringeth thee here?" said Cuchulain: said Laeg, "By a cry I was
stirred,
That across the plain came sounding." "And whence was the cry thou hast
heard?"
"From the north-west quarter it travelled, it crossed the great
Cayll[FN#106] Cooen road!"
"Follow on, on that track," said Cuchulain, "till we know what that
clamour may bode!"


[FN#104]  Pronounced Cu-hoolin.

[FN#105]  Pronounced Layg.

[FN#106]  Spelt Caill Cuan.


At the ford of the Double Wonder, at Ah[FN#107] Fayrta, the car made
stand
For a chariot rattled toward them, from the clay-soiled
Coolgarry[FN#108] land
And before them came that chariot; and strange was the sight they saw:
For a one-legged chestnut charger was harnessed the car to draw;
And right through the horse's body the pole of the car had passed,
To a halter across his forehead was the pole with a wedge made fast:
A red woman sat in the chariot, bright red were her eyebrows twain
A crimson cloak was round her: the folds of it touched the plain:
Two poles were behind her chariot: between them her mantle flowed;
And close by the side of that woman a mighty giant strode;
On his back was a staff of hazel, two-forked, and the garb he wore
Was red, and a cow he goaded, that shambled on before.


[FN#107]  Spelt Ath Ferta, or more fully Ath da Ferta, the ford of the
two marvels.

[FN#108]  Spelt Culgaire.


To that woman and man cried Cuchulain, "Ye who drive that cow do wrong,
For against her will do ye drive her!" "Not to thee doth that cow
belong,"
Said the woman; "no byre of thy comrades or thy friends hath that cow
yet barred."
"The kine of the land of Ulster," said Cuchulain, "are mine to guard!"
"Dost thou sit on the seat of judgment?" said the dame, "and a sage
decree
On this cow would'st thou give, Cuchulain?--too great is that task for
thee!"
Said the hero, "Why speaketh this woman? hath the man with her never a
word?"
"'Twas not him you addressed," was her answer, "when first your
reproaches we heard."
"Nay, to him did I speak," said Cuchulain, "though 'tis thou to reply
who would'st claim!"
'Ooer-gay-skyeo-loo-ehar-skyeo[FN#109] is the name that he bears," said
the dame.


[FN#109]  Spelt Uar-gaeth-sceo-luachair-sceo


"'Tis a marvellous name!" said Cuchulain, "if from thee all my answer
must come,
Let it be as thou wishest; thy comrade, this man, as it seemeth, is
dumb.
Tell me now of thine own name, O woman."
"Faebor-bayg-byeo-ill,"[FN#110] said the man.
"Coom-diewr-folt-skayv-garry-skyeo-ooa is her name, if pronounce it you
can!"
Then Cuchulain sprang at the chariot: "Would ye make me a fool with
your jest?"
He cried, as he leapt at the woman; his feet on her shoulders he
pressed,
And he set on her head his spear-point: "Now cease from thy sharp
weapon-play!"
Cried the woman. Cuchulain made answer: Thy name to me truth fully say!"
"Then remove thyself from me!" she answered: I am skilled in satirical
spells;
The man is called Darry I mac Feena[FN#111]: in the country of
Cualgne[FN#112] he dwells;
I of late made a marvellous poem; and as fee for the poem this cow
Do I drive to my home." "Let its verses," said Cuchulain," be sung to
me now!"
"Then away from me stand!" said the woman: "though above me thou
shakest thy spear,
It will naught avail thee to move me." Then he left her, but lingered
near,
Between the poles of her chariot: the woman her song then sang;
And the song was a song of insult. Again at the car he sprang,
But nothing he found before him: as soon as the car he had neared,
The woman, the horse, and the chariot, the cow, and the man disappeared.


[FN#110]  Spelt Faebor-begbeoil-cuimdiuir-folt-seenb-gairit-sceo-uath.

[FN#111]  Spelt Daire mac Fiachna: he is the owner of the Dun of
Cualgne in the Great Tain.

[FN#112]  Pronounced Kell-ny.


At a bird on a bough, as they vanished, a glance by Cuchulain was cast,
And he knew to that bird's black body the shape of the woman had passed:
As a woman of danger I know you," he cried, "and as powerful in spell!"
From to-day and for ever," she chanted, "this tale in yon clay-land
shall dwell!"
And her word was accomplished; that region to-day is the Grella
Dolloo,[FN#113]
The Clay-land of Evil: its name from the deeds of that woman it drew.


[FN#113]  Spelt Grellach Dolluid.


"Had I known it was you," said Cuchulain, "not thus had you passed from
my sight!"
And she sang, "For thy deed it is fated that evil shall soon be thy
plight!"
Thou canst. do naught against me," he answered. "Yea, evil in sooth can
I send;
Of thy Bringer of Death I am guardian, shall guard it till cometh thine
end:
From the Under-world Country of Croghan this cow have I driven, to breed
By the Dun Bull of Darry[FN#114] Mae Feena, the Bull that in Cualgne
doth feed.
So long as her calf be a yearling, for that time thy life shall endure;
But, that then shall the Raid have beginning, the dread Raid of
Cualgne, be sure."


[FN#114]  Spelt Daire mac Fiachna.


"Nay, clearer my fame shall be ringing," the hero replied," for the
Raid:
All bards, who my deeds shall be singing, must tell of the stand that I
made,
Each warrior in fight shall be stricken, who dares with my valour to
strive:
Thou shalt see me, though battle-fields thicken, from the Tain Bo
returning alive!"

"How canst thou that strife be surviving?" the woman replied to his
song,
"For, when thou with a hero art striving, as fearful as thou, and as
strong,
Who like thee in his wars is victorious, who all of thy feats can
perform,
As brave, and as great, and as glorious, as tireless as thou in a storm,
Then, in shape of an eel round thee coiling, thy feet at the Ford I
will bind,
And thou, in such contest when toiling, a battle unequal shalt find."

"By my god now I swear, by the token that Ulstermen swear by," he cried;
"On a green stone by me shall be broken that eel, to the Ford if it
glide:
From woe it shall ne'er be escaping, till it loose me, and pass on its
way!"
And she said: "As a wolf myself shaping, I will spring on thee, eager
to slay,
I will tear thee; the flesh shall be rended from thy chest by the
wolf's savage bite,
Till a strip be torn from thee, extended from the arm on thy left to
thy right!
With blows that my spear-shaft shall deal thee," he said, "I will force
thee to fly
Till thou quit me; my skill shall not heal thee, though bursts from thy
head either eye!"
I will come then," she cried, "as a heifer, white-skinned, but with
ears that are red,
At what time thou in fight shalt endeavour the blood of a hero to shed,
Whose skill is full match for thy cunning; by the ford in a lake I will
be,
And a hundred white cows shall come running, with red ears, in like
fashion to me:

As the hooves of the cows on thee trample, thou shalt test 'truth of
men in the fight':
And the proof thou shalt have shall be ample, for from thee thy head
they shall smite!"
Said Cuchulain: "Aside from thee springing, a stone for a cast will I
take,
And that stone at thee furiously slinging, thy right or thy left leg
will break:
Till thou quit me, no help will I grant thee." Morreegan,[FN#115] the
great Battle Queen,
With her cow to Rath Croghan departed, and no more by Cuchulain was
seen.
For she went to her Under-World Country: Cuchulain returned to his
place.
The tale of the Great Raid of Cualgne this lay, as a prelude, may grace.


[FN#115]  Spelt Morrigan.



THE APPARITION OF THE GREAT QUEEN TO CUCHULAIN



LITERAL TRANSLATION


When Cuchulain lay in his sleep at Dun Imrid, there he heard a cry from
the north; it came straight towards him; the cry was dire, and most
terrifying to him.  And he awaked in the midst of his sleep, so that he
fell, with the fall of a heavy load, out of his couch,[FN#116] to the
ground on the eastern side of his house.  He went out thereupon without
his weapons, so that he was on the lawns before his house, but his wife
brought out, as she followed behind him, his arms and his clothing.
Then he saw Laeg in his harnessed chariot, coming from Ferta Laig, from
the north; and "What brings thee here?" said Cuchulain.  "A cry," said
Laeg, "that I heard sounding over the plains.  "On what side was it?"
said Cuchulain.  "From the north-west it seemed," said Laeg, "that is,
across the great road of Caill Cuan."[FN#117]  "Let us follow after to
know of it (lit. after it, to it for us)," said Cuchulain.


[FN#116]  Or "out of his room." The word is imda, sometimes rendered
"bed," as here by Windisch sometimes also "room," as in the Bruidne da
Derga by Whitley Stokes.

[FN#117]  Lough Cuan was the old name for Strangford Lough.


They went out thereupon till they came to Ath da Ferta.  When they were
there, straightway they heard the rattle of a chariot from the quarter
of the loamy district of Culgaire.  Then they saw the chariot come
before them, and one chestnut (lit. red) horse in it.  The horse was
one footed, and the pole of the chariot passed through the body of the
horse, till a wedge went through it, to make it fast on its forehead.
A red[FN#118] woman was in the chariot, and a red mantle about her, she
had two red eye-brows, and the mantle fell between the two
ferta[FN#119] of her chariot behind till it struck upon the ground
behind her.  A great man was beside her chariot, a red[FN#120] cloak
was upon him, and a forked staff of hazel at his back, he drove a cow
in front of him.


[FN#118]  The above is the Egerton text: the text of Y.B.L. gives "A
red woman there, with her two eyebrows red, and her cloak and her
raiment: the cloak fell," &c.

[FN#119]  It is not known certainly what the ferta were: Windisch
translates "wheels," but does not give this meaning in his Dictionary:
the ferta were behind the car, and could be removed to sound the depth
of a ford.  It is suggested that they were poles, projecting behind to
balance the chariot; and perhaps could be adjusted so as to project
less or farther.

[FN#120]  This is the Egerton text; the Y.B.L. text gives "a tunic
forptha on him the meaning of forptha is unknown.


"That cow is not joyful at being driven by you!" said Cuchulain.  "The
cow does not belong to you," said the woman, "she is not the cow of any
friend or acquaintance of yours."  "The cows of Ulster," said
Cuchulain, "are my proper (care)."  "Dost thou give a decision about
the cow?" said the woman; "the task is too great to which thy hand is
set, O Cuchulain."  "Why is it the woman who answers me?" said
Cuchulain, "why was it not the man?"  "It was not the man whom you
addressed," said the woman.  "Ay," said Cuchulain, "(I did address
him), though thyself hath answered for him:"
"h-Uar-gaeth-sceo-luachair-sceo[FN#121] is his name," said she.


[FN#121]  Cold-wind-and-much-rushes.


"Alas! his name is a wondrous one," said Cuchulain.  "Let it be thyself
who answers,[FN#122] since the man answers not.  What is thine own
name?" said Cuchulain.  "The woman to whom thou speakest," said the
man, "is Faebor-begbeoil-cuimdiuir-folt-scenbgairit-sceo-uath."[FN#123]
 "Do ye make a fool of me?" cried Cuchulain, and on that Cuchulain
sprang into her chariot: he set his two feet on her two shoulders
thereupon, and his spear on the top of her head.  "Play not sharp
weapons on me!"  "Name thyself then by thy true name!" said Cuchulain.
"Depart then from me!" said she: "I am a female satirist in truth," she
said, "and he is Daire mac Fiachna from Cualnge: I have brought the cow
as fee for a master-poem."  "Let me hear the poem then," said
Cuchulain.  "Only remove thyself from me," said the woman; "it is
none[FN#124] the better for thee that thou shakest it over my head."
Thereon he left her until he was between the two poles (ferta) of her
chariot, and she sang to him[FN#125] . . . . . . Cuchulain threw a
spring at her chariot, and he saw not the horse, nor the woman, nor the
chariot, nor the man, nor the cow.


[FN#122]  Y.B.L. corrupt; Egerton version adopted here.

[FN#123]
Little-mouthed-edge-equally-small-hair-short-splinter-much-clamour.

[FN#124]  Not is it better for thee that" is in Egerton alone.

[FN#125]  See the introduction for the omission of the poem.


Then he saw that she had become a black bird upon a branch near to him.
 "A dangerous[FN#126] (or magical) woman thou art," said Cuchulain:
"Henceforward," said the woman, "this clay-land shall be called dolluid
(of evil,)" and it has been the Grellach Dolluid ever since.  "If only
I had known it was you," said Cuchulain, "not thus should we have
separated."  "What thou hast done," said she, "shall be evil to thee
from it."  "Thou hast no power against me," said Cuchulain.  "I have
power indeed," said the woman; "it is at the guarding of thy death that
I am; and I shall be," said she. "I brought this cow out of the
fairy-mound of Cruachan, that she might breed by the Black Bull[FN#127]
of Cualnge, that is the Bull of Daire Mae Fiachna.  It is up to that
time that thou art in life, so long as the calf which is in this cow's
body is a yearling; and it is this that shall lead to the Tain bo
Cualnge."  "I shall myself be all the more glorious for that Tain,"
said Cuchulain: "I shall slay their warriors: I shall break their great
hosts: I shall be survivor of the Tain."


[FN#126]  Windisch is doubtful about the meaning of this word. He gives
it as "dangerous" in his translation; it may also mean "magical,"
though he thinks not. In a note he says that the meaning "dangerous" is
not certain.

[FN#127]  In Egerton "the Dun of Cualnge."


"In what way canst thou do this?" said the woman, "for when thou art in
combat against a man of equal strength (to thee), equally rich in
victories, thine equal in feats, equally fierce, equally untiring,
equally noble, equally brave, equally great with thee, I will be an
eel, and I will draw a noose about thy feet in the ford, so that it
will be a great unequal war for thee."  "I swear to the god that the
Ulstermen swear by," said Cuchulain, "I will break thee against a green
stone of the ford; and thou shalt have no healing from me, if thou
leavest me not."  "I will in truth be a grey wolf against thee," said
she, "and I will strip a stripe[FN#128] from thee, from thy right
(hand) till it extends to thy left."


[FN#128]  This word is left doubtful in Windisch's translation.  The
word is breth in Y.B.L. and breit in Egerton.  Breit may be a strip of
woollen material, or a strip of land; so the meaning of a strip of
flesh seems possible.


"I will beat thee from me," said he, "with the spear, till thy left or
thy right eye bursts from thy head, and thou shalt never have healing
from me, if thou leavest me not."  "I shall in truth," she said, "be
for thee as a white heifer with red ears, and I will go into a lake
near to the ford in which thou art in combat against a man who is thine
equal in feats, and one hundred white, red-eared cows shall be behind
me and 'truth of men' shall on that day be tested; and they shall take
thy head from thee."  "I will cast at thee with a cast of my sling,"
said Cuchulain, "so as to break either thy left or thy right leg from
under thee; and thou shalt have no help from me if thou leavest me not."

They[FN#129] separated, and Cuchulain went back again to Dun Imrid, and
the Morrigan with her cow to the fairy mound of Cruachan; so that this
tale is a prelude to the Tain bo Cualnge.


[FN#129]  All this sentence up to "so that this tale" is from the
Egerton version.  The Yellow Book of Lecan gives "The Badb thereon went
from him, and Cuchulain went to his own house, so that," &c.



TEXT OF LEABHAR NA H-UIDHRI



GIVING THE CONCLUSION OF THE "COURTSHIP OF ETAIN"



INTRODUCTION


The following pages give, with an interlinear word for word[FN#130]
translation, the text of Leabhar na h-Uidhri, page 130 b. line 19 to
the end of page 132 a. of the facsimile.  The text corresponds to the
end of the tale of the Court ship of Etain in vol. i., from page 27,
line 21, to the end of the story; it also contains the poem which is in
that volume placed on page 26, but occurs in the manuscript at the
place where the first line of it is quoted on page 30 of vol. i.


[FN#130]  The Irish idiom of putting the adjective after the noun is
not always followed in the translation.


It is hoped that the text may be found to be convenient by scholars:
special care has been taken to make it accurate, and it has not, with
the exception of the poem just referred to, been published before
except in the facsimile; the remainder of the text of the L.U. version
of the Courtship of Etain, together with the poem, has been given by
Windisch in the first volume of the Irische Texte.

The immediate object of the publication of this text, with its
interlinear translation, is however somewhat different; it was desired
to give any who may have become interested in the subject, from the
romances contained in the two volumes of this collection, some idea of
their exact form in the original, and of the Irish constructions and
metres, as no Irish scholarship is needed to follow the text, when
supplemented by the interlinear translation.  The translation may be
relied on, except for a few words indicated by a mark of interrogation.

The passage is especially well suited to give an idea of the style of
Irish composition, as it contains all the three forms used in the
romances, rhetoric, regular verse, and prose: the prose also is varied
in character, for it includes narrative, rapid dialogue, an antiquarian
insertion, and two descriptive passages.  The piece of antiquarian
information and the resume of the old legend immediately preceding the
second rhetoric can be seen to be of a different character to the
flowing form of the narrative proper; the inserted passage being full
of explanatory words, conid, issairi, is aice, &c., and containing no
imagery.  The two descriptions, though short, are good examples of two
styles of description which occur in some other romances; neither of
these styles is universal, nor are they the only styles; the favour
shown to one or the other in a romance may be regarded as a
characteristic of its author.

The first style, exemplified by the description of Mider's appearance,
consists of a succession of images presented in short sentences,
sometimes, as in this case, with no verb, sometimes with the verb batar
or a similar verb repeated in each sentence, but in all cases giving a
brilliant word-picture, absolutely clear and definite, of what it is
intended to convey.  The second style, exemplified here by the
description of the horses that Mider offers to Eochaid, consists of a
series of epithets or of substantives, and is often imitated in modern
Irish.  These passages are usually difficult to translate, as many
words appear to be coined for the purpose of the descriptions; but, in
the best writings, the epithets are by no means arbitrary; they are
placed so as to contrast sharply with each other, and in many cases
suggest brilliant metaphors; the style being in this respect more like
Latin than English.  Absolutely literal translations quite fail to
bring out the effect of such passages; for not only is the string of
adjectives a distinctively Irish feature, but both in English and in
Greek such metaphors are generally expressed more definitely and by
short sentences.  There is also a third style of description which does
not appear in the prose of any of the romances in this collection, but
appears often in other romances, as in the Bruidne da Derga, Bricriu's
Feast, and the Great Tain; it resembles the first style, but the
sentences are longer, yet it does not give clear descriptions, only
leaving a vague impression.  This style is often used for descriptions
of the supernatural; it may be regarded as actual reproductions of the
oldest pre-Christian work, but it is also possible that it is the
result of legends, dimly known to the authors of the tales, and
represented by them in the half-understood way in which they were
apprehended by them: the Druidic forms may have been much more clear.
Such passages are those which describe Cuchulain's distortions; the
only passage of the character in this collection is in the verse of the
Sick-bed, vol. i. page 77.  Five of the romances in the present
collection have no descriptive passages in the prose; the Combat at the
Ford and the Tain bo Fraich show examples of both the first and the
second form, but more often the first; the Tain bo Regamna, though a
very short piece, also shows one example of each; for the description
of the goblins met by Cuchulain is quite clear, and cannot be regarded
as belonging to the third form.  There is also one case of the second
form in the Tain bo Dartada, and two other cases of the first in the
Court ship of Etain-one in the Egerton, one in the Leabhar na h-Uidhri
version.  The best example of the first style is in the Egerton version
of Etain (vol. i. page 12); the best example of the second is the
description of Cuchulain's horses (vol. i. page 128); a still better
example of contrasts in such a description is in the Courtship of Ferb
(Nutt, page 23).

The piece of regular verse contained in the extract should give a fair
idea of the style of this form of composition.  Description is common
in the verse, and it is in this case a prominent feature.  It may be
noted that lines 8, 16, 23, 26 will not scan unless the present
diphthongs are divided, also that the poem has fewer internal rhymes
than is usual in this regular verse.

The two passages in rhetoric, for so I take them to be, are good
examples of the style.  An attempt has been made to divide them into
lines, but this division is open to criticism, especially as some lines
in one of the two passages cannot be translated, and the translation of
some other lines is doubtful: the division suggested does, however,
appear to me to give a rough metre and occasional rhymes.  It is
possible that, if attention is called to those lines which are at
present untranslatable, something may be done for them.  The verse
translations given in vol. i. pages 27 and 29, give the meaning that I
take the Irish to bear where I can get any meaning at all.

As to the text, the usual abbreviation for n has in general not been
italicized, nor has that for fri; all other abbreviations, including
acht, final n in the symbol for con, and that for or in the recognized
symbol for for, have been italicized.  In the rhetorics, owing to their
difficulty, the abbreviation for n has been italicized throughout; the
symbol for ocus is not italicised. A few conjectures have been
inserted, the text being given as a foot-note; a conjectured letter
supposed to be missing has been inserted in brackets, and a restoration
by Professor Strachan of a few letters where the MS. is torn are
similarly placed in brackets.  The rest of the text is carefully copied
from the facsimile, including the glosses, which are inserted above the
words in the same places that they occupy in the manuscript.



TEXT WITH INTERLINEAR TRANSLATION



Fecht n-aile asraracht Eochaid Airem ri Temrach la n-alaind

Another time arose Eochaid Airem. king of Tara on a beautiful day



i n-amsir samrata frisocaib[FN#131] for sosta na Temrach do imcaisiu
maigi Breg,

in time of summer, mounted on heights of Tara for viewing of plain of
Breg,


[FN#131]  A conjecture: MS. fosrocaib= fo-s-ro-od-gaib, an unknown
compound.


boi fo a li ocus fo bluth cach datha.  Am-imracacha inti

was good its colour, and good blossom of every hue.  When looked about
the aforesaid



Eochaid imbi, co acca inn oclaech n-ingnad for sin sossad[FN#132] inna

Eoebaid around him, he saw the young warrior unknown on the height
beside


[FN#132]  A conjecture: MS. tossad.


chomairi.  Fuan corcair imbi, ocus mong or-budi fair co brainni

him.  Tunic purple about him, and hair gold-yellow on him to edges



a da imdae.  Rosc cainlech glas ina chind.  Sleg coicrind ina laim.

of his two shoulders.  Eye lustrous gray in his head.  Spear
five-pointed in his hand.



Sciath taulgel ina laim con gemaib oir forri.  Sochtais Eochaid, ar ni

Shield white-bossed in his hand with gems of gold on it.  Was silent
Eochaid, for not



fitir a bith isin Temraig inn aidehi riam, ocus ni orslaiethe ind lis

he knew of his being in the Tara the night before, and not was opened
the Liss



in trath sin.  Tolluid ar inchaib Eochoda iarsain asbert Eochaid iarom,

at that hour.  He came under protection of Eochaid thereon; said
Eochaid then,



fochen dond laech nad athgenmar.  Is ed doroehtmar or in

welcome to the hero whom we know not.  It is for that we have come,
said the



t-oclaech.  Ni tathgenmar or Eochaid.  Atotgensa chetus ol in

(young) warrior.  We know thee not, said Eochaid.  I know thee indeed,
said the



t-oclaech.  Cia th'ainm seo? ol Eochaid.  Ni airdairc son, ol se,

warrior.  What (is) thy own name? said Eochaid.  Not illustrious that,
said he,



Mider Breg Leith.  Cid dotroacht ol Eochaid.  Do imbert fidcille

Mider of Bri Leith.  What brought thee? said Eochaid.  To play at chess



frit-su ol se.  Am maith se em, ol Eochaid for fithchill.  A fromad

with thee, said he.  I am good myself truly, said Eochaid, at
chess-play.  Its essaying



dun ol Mider.  Ata ol Eochaid, ind rigan ina cotlud, is le in tech

to us! said Mider.  Is, said Eochaid, the queen in her sleep, it is
hers the house



ata ind fithchell.  Ata sund chenae, ol Mider, fidchell nad

where is the chessboard.  There is here yet, said Mider, a chessboard
which is not



messo.  Ba fir on, clar n-argit ocus fir oir, ocus fursunnud cacha

worse.  Was true that, a board of silver and men of gold, and shining
in every



hairidi for sin clar di liic logmair, ocus fer-bolg di figi rond
credumae.

direction on that board of costly stones, and a men-bag of woven chains
of brass.



Ecraid Mider in fidchill iarsin.  Imbir ol Mider.  Ni immer acht

Set out Mider the chessboard thereupon.  Play! said Mider.  Not will I
play, except



di giull ol Eochaid.  Cid gell bias and? ol Mider.  Cumma lim ol

for a stake, said Eochaid.  What stake shall be here? said Mider.
Equal to me, said



Eochaid.  Rot-bia lim-sa ol Mider mad tu beras mo thochell,

Eochaid.  Thou shalt have from me, said Mider, if thou carry off my
stake,



L. gabur n-dub-glas ite cend-brecca, croderga, biruich,

50 horses of dark-gray, and they with dappled heads, blood-red, with
ears pricked high,


bruin-lethain, bolg(s)roin, coss choela, comrassa, faeborda,[FN#133]
femendae,[FN#133]

chests broad, nostrils distended, feet thin, strong, keen, ? vehement,



aurarda, aignecha, so-(a)staidi,[FN#133] so

very high, spirited, easily stopped,



[FN#133]  See Bruidne da Derga (Stokes), 50, 51, faeborda, lit. with an
edge on them; femendae? = Lat. vehemens; soaistidi is the form adopted
by Stokes in his edition of the Bruidne; Egerton MS. gives soastaide.



There is a gap here, a complete column being torn from the manuscript.
The lost part obviously describes the issue of the chess game or games,
and the penalties demanded by Bochaid: what these penalties were is
plain from the succeeding story.  The work of Mider and his folk in
paying these penalties must also have been described: the next column
(Leabhar na h- Uidhri, 131 b. of the facsimile) opens thus:


iarsin doberar uir ocus grian ocus clocha for sin monai.  Fri etna

thereupon is, placed earth and gravel and stones on the bog.  Over
foreheads



dam dano-batar fedmand la firu h-Erind cosind n-aidchi sin, co

of oxen then were yokes among men of Ireland till that very night, when



n-aicces la lucht in t-side for a formnaib.  Dognith

it was seen (tbLat they were) among people of the Mounds on their
shoulders.  It was done



samlaid la Eochaid, conid de ata do som.  Echaid Airem, ar

so by Eochaid, so that hence is to himself (the name of) Echaid Airem,
for



is aice toisech tucad cuing for muinelaib dam do ferand h-Erind.  Is

it is by him first was put yoke on necks of oxen for land of Ireland.
This



ed dino and food ro boi im belaib in t-sluaig oc denam in tocuir:

is then there word which was on lips of the host at making of the
causeway:



Rhetoric--


Cuire illaim,

Put into hand



tochra illaim,

place (it) into hand



aurdairc damrad trathaib iar fuin

noble (are) oxen for hours after sunset



for trom ailges

very heavy request



ni fes cuich les

it is not known to whom (is) gain



cuich amles de thochur dar moin Lamraige.

to whom harm from the causeway over moor of Lamrach.



Ni biad isin bith tochur bad ferr mani bethe oca

There would not be in the world a causeway which is better, if not
(men) had been at



n-descin Forracbad de bochtae and iartain.  Iarsin dolluid

the seeing them.  Was left on that account a breach there thenceforth.
Thereupon came



in rechtaire co Echaid ocus adfet scela in mor fedma, atconnaire

the steward to Echaid, and made known tales of the great serving band,
that he saw



fiadai, ocus asbert nad rabi for fertas in betha cumachta

before him, and said that there was not on the chariot pole of life a
power



dodrosce de.  Am batar for a m-briathraib co n-accatar Mider

that excelled it.  When they were at their talking they saw Mider (come)



chucu.  Ard chustal ocus droch gne fair.  Atrigestar Eochaid,

to them.  High ? girt (he was), and evil face (was) on him.? Rose
?[FN#134] Eochaid,


[FN#134]  This is a possible rendering, taking the word as a deponent
form of atregaim.  It would be more natural to take the word as from
adagur; being equivalent to ad-d-raigestar, and to mean "feared him,"
but this does not agree with Eoebaid's general attitude.


ocus ferais faelti fri.  Is ed dorochtmar ol Mider.  Is toreda ocus is

and gave welcome to him.  It is for that we have come, said Mider.  It
is cruel and is



di-cheill no tai frim, mor decrai ocus mor aingcessa do thabairt form

senseless thou art to me, great hardship and great suffering thy
bestowing on me



adethaind ni bad maith lat chena acht is bairnech mo menma frit.

I used to get what seemed good to thee still but is angry my mind
against thee.



Ni bara fri bure dait-siu on do-gignestar do menma for Eochaid.

Not anger against anger: to thyself the thing that shall choose thy
mind, said Eochaid.



Gebthar dano, ol Mider.  Inn imberam fidchill? for Mider.  Cid gell

It shall be done then, said Mider.  Shall we play at chess? said Mider.
 What stake



bias and? for Eochaid.  Gell adcobra cechtar da lina for

shall be there? said Eochaid.  The stake that wishes each of the two
parties, said



Mider.  Berar tochell n-Echdach alla sin.  Rucais mo

Mider.  Is carried off stake of Echaid in that very place.  Thou hast
carried off my



thocell, for Eebaid.  Mad ail dam no-beraind o chianaib,

stake, said Echaid.  If wish to me (had been) I could have carried it
off long since,



for Mider.  Cacht cid adcobrai form-sa? for Echaid.  Di laim im

said Mider.  Question what wishest thou from myself? said Echaid.  Two
arms about



etain, ocus poc di ol Mider.  Sochtais Echaid la, sodain, ocus asbert,

Etain, and a kiss from her, said Mider.  Was silent Echaid thereon, and
said,



tis dia mis on diu, doberthar dait ani sin.  In

thou shalt come in a month from to-day, (and) shall be given to thee
that very thing.  The



bliadain ria tuidecht do Mider co Echaid do imbert na fidehille boi oc

year before the coming of Mider to Echaid for playing of the chess was
he at



tochmarc etaine, ocus nis n-etad leis.  Is ed ainm dobered Mider

wooing of Etain, and nothing was found by him.  This is the name used
to give Mider



di: befind conide asbert:

to her: fair-haired lady, so that thence he said:



a be find in raga lim

O fair-haired lady, wilt thou come with me



i tir n-ingnad hi fil rind

into a land marvellous, that is music?



Is barr sobarche folt and

(thus) is the top of the head, of primrose the hair there,



is dath snechta corp co ind:

is colour of snow the body to the head:



Is and nad bi mui na tai,

It is there not will be 'mine' or 'thine,'



gela det and, dubai brai,

white teeth there, black eyebrows,



Is li sula lin ar sluag,[FN#135]

is colour of eyes number of our hosts,


[FN#135]  A conjecture by Windisch.  Text gives sluaig the genitive
singular, which does not rhyme.


[FN#136]no is brece is dath sion and cech gruad:

or is many-coloured is hue of foxglove there each cheek:


[FN#136]  The three glosses are interesting.  It may be noted that the
last two certainly follow the word (above the line in which it occurs)
that they seem to gloss: it is therefore probable that the first does
so too; the two lines of a couplet are on the same line in the
manuscript.  It {footnote p. 156} seems then possible that the gloss
"it is many-coloured" refers, not to the foxglove, but to the preceding
line, "the colour of eyes is number of our hosts," and that the writer
of this gloss gave the same meaning to the rather hard description of
the colour of the eyes as is given in the verse translation (vol. i. p.
26), i.e. that the eyes had changing lights and shapes.  We must hope,
for the credit of his taste, that he did not think of the cheeks as
many-coloured or freckled, but his gloss of lossa does not seem happy.
The meaning "growth" is taken from O'Reilly's Dictionary.



no lossa
Is corcair maige cach muin,[FN#137]


or growth?
is purple of a plain each neck,


[FN#137]  A conjecture (Str.), main, treasure, is in the text: this
does not rhyme, nor give good sense; note, however, that muin has no
accent-the text gives one.


no is dath
is li sula ugai luin:

or is hue
is colour of eyes (that of) eggs of a blackbird:



cid cain deicsiu maigi Fail

though pleasant (is) seeing plains of Fal (isle of Destiny)



annam iar gnais maige mair.

a wilderness[FN#138] after knowledge of the Great Plain.


[FN#138]  This meaning for annam is doubtful; the sense of "seldom" is
established for the word; the line possibly means "it will seldom be so
after," &c.


Cid mesc lib coirm inse Fail,

Though intoxicating to you (is) ale of the island Fal,



is mescu coirm tire mair,

is more intoxicating the ale of the country great,



amra tire tir asbiur,

a wonder of a land the land I mention,



ni theit oac and re siun.

not goes a young man there before an old man.



Srotha teith millsi tar tir,

Streams warm (and) sweet through the land,



rogu de mid ocus fin,

choice of mead and wine,



doini delgnaidi, cen on,

men ? handsome, without blemish,



combart cen pecead, cen col.

conception without sin without crime.



Atchiam cach for each leth,

We see all on every side,



ocus ni-conn acci nech;

and yet not sees us anyone



temel imorbais adaim

the cloud of the sin of Adam



do-don-archeil[FN#139] ar araim

encompasses us from reckoning


[FN#139]  From tairchellaim.


A ben dia ris mo thuaith tind,

O woman, if thou wilt come to my people strong,



is barr oir bias fort chind,

it is top of head of gold shall be on thy head,



inue ur, laith, lemnacht la lind

pork unsalted, ale, new milk for drink



rot bia lim and, a be find, a be find.

shall be to thee with me there, O woman fair-haired.



[a gap, 9 letters lost] i atumchotaise om aithech tige rag-sa, [a gap,

thou obtainest me from my master of the house I will go,



[9 letters lost] fetai, ni rag.  Is iarsin dolluid Mider (L.U. 130 a.)
co

canst, not will I go.  It is thereon came Mider to



Echaid, ocus damair a thochell fochetoir co m-beth fôlo acai

Echaid, and yields his stake immediately that may be (cause) of
reproach for him



do Echaid, is airi roic na comada mora, ocus issairi is

to Echaid, it is therefore he paid the great stakes, and on that
account it is (that)



fo anfis con atig a gell.  Conid iarsin giull adrubrad in tan tra

under ignorance that he asked his wager.  So that after that wager it
was said when now



ro boi Mider cona muinter oc ic comad na aidehi, i. in tochor, ocus

was Mider and his folk at paying the stake of the night, that is, the
causeway, and



di-chlochad Midi, ocus luachair Tetbai, ocus fid dar Breg: isse[FN#140]
seo

clearing stones off Meath, and rushes of Tethba and forest over Breg:
it is he this


[FN#140]  Grammar not clear: perhaps the Irish is corrupt (Str.).


an no foclad boi oca muinter amal atbert lebor drom snechta:

what used to say was with his folk as says Book of Drom-snechta:



Rhetoric--



Cuirthe illand:

Put on the field:



tochre illand:

Put close on the field



airderg dararad:

very red oxen:



trom in choibden:

heavy the troop



clunithar fir ferdi.

Which hears ?really-manly



buidni balc-thruim crand-chuir

troops for strong heavy setting of trees



forderg saire fedar

of very red ?oaks[FN#141] are led


[FN#141]  Reading daire for saire.


sechuib slimprib snithib

past them on twisted wattles:



scitha lama:

weary are hands,



ind rosc cloina:

the eye ?slants aside?



fobith oen mna

because of one woman



Duib in digail:

To you the revenge,



duib in trom-daim:[FN#142]

to you the heavy ?oxen


[FN#142]  A conjecture. MS. gives trom-daim.


tairthim flatho fer ban:

splendour of sovereignty over white men:



fomnis, fomnis, in fer m-braine cerpae fomnis diad dergæ

?            ?            ?



fer arfeid solaig

?



fri aiss esslind

?



fer bron for-ti

? sorrow shall, come on the man?



i. more
ertechta inde

?


lamnado luachair

rushes



for di Thethbi

over?two Tethbas



di-chlochad[FN#143] Midi

clearing stones from Meath


[FN#143]  A conjecture.  MS. gives dilecad (Str.)



indracht

?



coich les, coich amles
to whom the benefit, to whom the harm



thocur dar clochach? moin.[FN#144]

causeway over stony moor.


[FN#144]  The last line in the Ms. is t d c m.



Dalis Mider dia mis Fochiallastar (i. rotinoil).  Echaid formna

Mider appointed a meeting for the end of a month.  Echaid assembled
(i.e. collected)troops.



laech la-erend com batar hi Temrach, ocus an ro po dech do fiannaib

of heroes of Ireland so that they were in Tara, and what was best of
champions



h-Erind, cach cuaird imm araile im Temrach immedon ocus a nechtair,

of Ireland, each ring about another, around Tara im the middle, and
outside it



ocus is-tig.  Ocus in ri ocus in rigan immedon in taigi, ocus ind lis

and within.  And the king and the queen in the middle of the house, and
its Liss



iatai fo glassaib, ar ro fetatar do t-icfad fer in mar cumacht.  Etain

shut under locks, for they knew that would comie of insen the great
might.  Etain



boi ocon dail ind aidehi sin forsna flathi, ar ba sain dana disi dal.

was dispensing that night to the princes, for it was meet then for her
pouring (of the wine)



Am batar iarom fora.  m-briathraib, co accatar Mider chucu for

When they were thereon at their talking they saw Mider (come) to them on



lar ind rigthige.  Ba cain som dogres ba caini dana inn aidehi sin.

the floor of the royal palace.  He was fair always, was fairer then on
that night.



Tosbert im mod na slûag ateonnairc.  Sochsit uli iarom ocus

He brought to amazement the hosts that he saw.[FN#145]  Were silent all
thereon, and


[FN#145]  Reading atcondairc (Str.).


ferais in ri faelti fris.  Is ed dorochtmar ol Mider.  An ro gella

the king gave welcome to him.  It is this we have come for, said Mider.
 What was promised



dam-sa or se, tucthar dam.  Is fiach ma gelltar, an ro gellad

to myself, said he, let it be given to me.  It is a debt if a promise
is given,



tucus dait-siu.  Ni imrordusa for Echaid, ani sin co se.

I have given to thee.  Not have I thought on, said Echaid, that very
thing up to now.



Atrugell etain fein dam-sa, ol Mider, ticht uait-siu.

Thou hast promised Etain herself to me, said Mider, message (lit. a
coming) from you.



Imdergthar im Etain la, sodain.  Na imdergthar imut for Mider, ni

There was a blush on Etain thereupon.  Let there be no blush on thee,
said Mider, not



droch banas duit-siu.  Atu-sa, ol si, bliadain oc do chuingid com

evil marriage-feast to thee.  I am myself, said he, a year at seeking
thee with



mainib ocus setaib at aildem in ere, ocus ni tucus-sa

treasures and jewels that are the most beautiful in Ireland and not I
took thee



comad chomarlecud do Echaid.  Ni -la-deoas damsa ce

till there should be permission of Echaid. Not by good-will to me any



dotchotaind.  Atrubart-sa frit-su ol si, conom rire Echaid,

getting thee.  I myself said to thyself, said she, until Echaid gives
me up



nit rius.  Atometha lat ar mo chuit fein, dia nom rire Echaid.

not will I come to thee.  Take me with thee for my own part, if me
Echaid will give up.



Nit ririub immorro, for Echaid, acht tabrad a di laim

Not thee will I give up however, said Echaid, but (I give) a placing of
his two hands



imut for lar in tige, amal ro gabais.  Dogentar for Mider.

about thee on floor of the house, as thou art.  It shall be done! said
Mider.



i. mider
Atetha a gaisced ina laim cli, ocus gabais in mnai fo a leth-oxail dess,

that is, Mider
He took his weapons in his hand left, and took the woman under his
shoulder right,



ocus focois-le for forles in tige.  Conerget in-t-sluaig imon rig

and carried her off over skylight of the house.  Pose up the hosts,
about the king



iar melacht forro, co n-accatar in da ela timchell na Temra.  Is ed

after a disgrace on them, they saw the two swans around Tara.  It is
this,



ro gabsat do sid ar Femun.  Ocus luid Echaid co fomno

they took (the road) to elfmound about about Femun.  And went Echaid
with a troop



fer n-Erend imbi do sith ar Femun i.  sid ban-find.

of men of Ireland about him to elf mound about Femun i.e. elfmound of
the fair-haired women.



B (a si com)[FN#146] arli fer n-Erend, fochlaid each sid [a gap, 12
letters lost]

That was the counsel of the men of Ireland, he dug up each elf-mound.


[FN#146]  The letters in parentheses are a conjecture by Strachan, to
fill up a gap in the manuscript.



tised a ben.  do uadib, Foce [a gap of 13 letters, rest of the version
lost.]

should come his wife to him from them.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Heroic Romances of Ireland, Translated into English Prose and Verse — Volume 2" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home