The Celtic Literature Collective

The Ossian Poems
Lays from the Book of the Dean of Lismore

Title Author
I've seen the household of Finn. Ossian
Long are the clouds this night above me. Ossian
Once on a time when Finn my loved. Ossian
Cath Finntraga: The Battle of Ventry. Ossian
Feeble this night is the power of my arm. Ossian
Here have I seen the Feine. Ossian
Urnuidh Oisain: Ossian's Prayer. Ossian
Fainesoluis: The Sunbeam. Ossian
And now that he had fallen thus
'Twas yesterday week. Ossian
Bs Dhiarmaid: The Death of Diarmaid. Allan M'Rorie
Cath Gabhra: The Battle of Gabhra. Allan M'Rorie
Rosg Ghuill: Ode to Gaul. Fergus the Bard
Tell us now, Fergus. Fergus the Bard
Bs Chonlaoich: The Death of Conlach. Gilliecallum M'
Bs Fhraoich: Death of Fraoch. Blind O'Cloan
These heads, O Connal, are worthless Connal Cearnach M'Edirskeol
Laiodh na ceann: Lay of the Heads Caoilte Mac Ronan
There lies beneath that mound to the north
GORRY, let us go to Finn
'Twas on a day Finn went to drink
THE expedition of eight I remember
NINE of us once did bind ourselves
SWEET is man's voice in the land of gold
A NOBLE tale of sweetest music
A great fast was made by Finn
'Tis sad that the hill of the Feine
I NOW will tell thee, O Grainne
ONCE on a day there was in Dundalgin

THE author of this is Ossian, the son of Finn:

I've seen the household of Finn.
No men were they of coward race.
I saw by my side a vision
Of the hero's household yesterday.
I've seen the household of Art,
He with the brown-haired son of gentle speech;
No better man I ever saw.
I've seen the household of Finn.
Who ever saw what I have seen?
I've seen Finn armed with Luno's son.
How sad the mournful memory.
I've seen the household of Finn.
Never can I recount the ills
Which now do crown my head.
Do thou free us for ever from pain.
I've seen the household of Finn.

I've seen, etc.

The author of this is Ossian:

Long are the clouds this night above me;
The last was a long night to me.
This day, although I find it long,
Yesterday was longer still
Each day that comes is long to me,
Such indeed was not my wont.
Now is no fight, or battle-field,
No learning noble feats of arms
Without maiden, song, or harp;
No crushing bones or warlike deeds,
No studious learning any more,
No hospitable heart or board,
No soft wooing, and no chase,
In both of which I took delight.
Without the battle-march or fight,
Alas! how sorrowful life's close;
No hunting of the hind or stag,
How different from my heart's desire!
No trappings for our hounds, no hounds.
Long are the clouds this night above me.
No rising up to noble feats,
No mirthful sport as we would wish,
No swimming heroes in our lakes.
Long are the clouds this night above me;
In this great world none is like me,
So sad, how sad my case!
A poor old man now dragging stones.
Long are the clouds this night above me,
The last man of the Feine am I,
The great Ossian, the son of Finn,
Listening to the sound of bells.
Long are the clouds this night above me.
Find, O Patrick, from thy God
What our eternal state shall be.
Freed may we ever be from ill.
Long are the clouds this night above me.

Long are the clouds, etc.

The Author of this is Ossian:

Once on a time when Finn my loved
Went to hunt on the "Fair maids' hill,"
With three thousand nobles of the Feine,
Their shields aloft o'er their heads.
Ossian! thy words are sweet to me,
My blessing on the soul of Finn.
Tell us the number of the deer
That fell on the "Fair maids' hill."
How vigorously we shook our spears.
For never hast thou sung the deer
Slain on the "Fair maids' hill,"
By the hand of Finn of the feasts.
Tell them the tale in full,
My blessing on thy guileless lips.
Had you your dress and your armour
When you went forth to the chase?
We had our dress and our armour
When we went forth to the chase;
There was no Fian amongst us all
Without his fine soft flaxen shirt,
Without his under coat of substance soft,
Without a coat of mail of brightest steel,
The covering for his head adorned with gems,
And in his hand he bore two spears,
Besides a fierce and conquering shield,
And sword that never failed to cleave the skull.
Wert thou to search the universe
Thou would'st not find a braver man than Finn:
Of noblest race and fairest form,
No arm from him could carry victory.
As he went forth to try his snow-white hound
Who 'mongst us all was like to Finn?
Westward we went, an ordered band,
To hunt on the "Fair maids' hill."
O Patrick, pupil of the church's head,
Bright was the sun above us,
As in the midst of us sat Finn.
Eastward and westward sweetly rung,
From hill to hill the voice of hounds,
Arousing boars and harts.
Then Finn and Bran did sit alone
A little while upon the mountain side,
Each of them panting for the chase,
Their fierceness and their wrath aroused.
Then did we unloose three thousand hounds
Of matchless vigour and unequalled strength.
Each of the hounds brought down two deer,
Long ere 'twas time to bind them in their thongs.
That day there fell six thousand deer,
Down in the vale that lies beneath the hill;
There never fell so many deer and roe
In any hunt that e'er till this took place.
But sad was the chase down to the east,
Thou cleric of the church and bells,
Ten hundred of our hounds, with golden chains,
Fell wounded by ten hundred boars:
Then by our hands there fell the boars,
Which wrought the ill upon the plain.
And were it not for blades and vigorous arms,
That chase had been a slaughter.
O Patrick of the holy crosier,
Eastward or westward, hast thou ever seen,
Another chase, in all thy days,
Greater than that of Finn and of the Feine?
This then was the hunt of Finn,
Thou son of Alpin of the holy relics,
More than thy howling in the church
Do I love to toll the day.

Once on a time, etc.

Cath Finntraga: The Battle of Ventry

The author of this is Ossian:

Once on a time as Patrick of the holy crook
Betook him to his cell,
He sought as his companion
Ossian of gentle mien.

Now let me hear, he said,
Ossian, whose courage has made foes retreat,
Who of all those whom thou ne'er sang'st,
Most vexed the Feine of Finn?

Priest of the spotted crook,
Thy lifetime it would take
To tell in human speech
The glory of the Feine of Finn.

Since without guile thou art,
And now that they are dead, dost live,
Watch thou for ever on,
And tell the deeds done by the Feine.

Should I be spared for fifty years,
Hearing thy music in thy cell
Till my death's day, I could not tell
The noble deeds of the Feine of Finn.
The kingdoms of the earth in all its breadth
Belonged to us on every side.
Tribute we raised from all of them for Finn,
Else filled them with the shout of war.
In this wide earth there was not one
That dared refuse us,
Not ev'n in Alve of the spotted spears,
With all its power and its untold renown.

Would'st thou but tell them now,
Ossian, of the fierce assaults,
Which was the stoutest arm
Among the men that followed Finn.

Thou sett'st me to a painful task,
O Priest, thou pupil of the heavenly king,
I could not till the judgment day,
Tell of the Feine, the men and deeds.

Yet since it so fell out that thou outliv'st them
Ossian of sweet and pleasing songs,
Which would'st thou chuse of all the Feinn,
To stand in battle by thy shield?

Oscar and Caoilte and Gaul,
And Luthy's son, of sharpest swords;
Round Cumhal's son, they well might stand,
No nobler band in battle fought;
Bloody Fargon, son to the king,
And Carroll with the murderous spear;
Dermin, brave and fair, who nothing feared,
And bore his pointed shield aloft,
Coll Caoilte's son, so gentle at the feast;
Corc, a warrior of no tender blows;
Ryno, son to the king;
A band than which no braver fought.
The fair-haired Fillan, who was son to Finn,
And Garry, than whom no bloodier foe;
The guileless Dyrin, Doveran's son,
Hugh, son of Garry of the powerful arm,
I, myself, and Gaul the son of Smail,
And Daire of oaken frame, brave Ronan's son;
The armourer's three sons, men without guile,
Whose ruddy armour gleamed, adorned with gold.
Now that I tell my tale to thee,
Cleric that dwell'st at Port-na-minna,
No man of all the Feine was known to me
But one, to whom all other men must yield.
But, now, do thou be seated in thy chair,
Take up thy pen, we'll number all the host,
The host of brave and noble men
Who came, well-ordered bands, unto the Feine.
Across the sea the King of Lochlin came,
The brown-haired Daire of famous shield,
From Conn to wrest the tribute paid by Erin,
A mournful tale for us and all our host.
Our Feinn had friends who came to give them aid,
Men from the sides of every hill,
Led on by Cairbar of the sinewy arm.
Of these four bauds came safe to land.
Of the Feinn themselves came seven bands,
Three from the east, the half of Erin called from Conn.
The greater number in the battle fell,
But few escaped the bands of Daire donn.
Down with his fleet lay Daire donn
Himself and all his host.
Of these were thirty score
Who ne'er again did see their native land.
There watched them near the shore
Conn Crithear of the well-aimed strokes.
He seized the men of India there,
And raised the king's head on the mountain side.
This famous Conn, the son of Ulster's king,
Aml Dollir, no less famed for warlike deeds,
We left upon the strand,
Drowned in mutual clasp beneath the waves.
Dathach's three sons, no braver men,
Ascending from the place where lay the ships,
Feartan and Kerkal, he with the large round head,
We left their bodies naked on the strand.
Owar, the armed daughter of the King of Greece,
And Forna of the heavy sturdy blows
We left, a vacant grin upon their faces.
We knew no sorrow as we left them there.
Four of the King of Lochlin's sons we left,
Slain by our fierce, resistless arms.
The three Balas from Borrin in the east,
Hardly escaped our murderous blows.
Great as was the king of the world,
Daire donn, with shield of purest white,
We left his body, too, upon the strand,
Slain by the blows of the victorious Feine.
Of all the world's hosts, brave though they were,
None did escape the slaughter
Except the King of France alone,
Who, like a swallow as it grasps the air,
Fled from fear of noble Oscar,
And even once his sole ne'er touched the earth
Until he got to Glenabaltan, as men relate;
Then and there only did he find him rest.
It was on Fintray's strand, down at the sea,
Our people made this slaughter,
Of these, the kings of all the world,
And drank our full of vengeance.
Our fierce and conquering arms
Laid many a noble warrior low;
Many a sword and shield
Lay shattered on the strand,
The strand of Fintray of the port;
Many dead bodies lay upon the earth,
Many a hero with a vacant grin.
Much was the spoil we gathered in the fight,
Patrick, son of noble Alpin,
Even of the Feine themselves, none did escape
The fierce and murderous fight
Except two ordered bands,
Nor were their bodies whole.
The sons of Boisgne made one band of those,
A race, with hands that knew no tender grasp,
Then came the sons of Morn, who with the sons of Smail
Made up the second band.
By thy hand, O noble Priest
In that sore fight, there perished of our Feine
Five well-trained bands
Who left us for the strand.
Thirty luckless bands,
A thousand score in each,
We numbered of the men of Daire donn.
That never reached the waves.
Were I to answer thee, O Priest,
As thou desir'st to hear my every tale,
Down to the time we Gawra's battle fought,
We never lost our power.
Then did we seize the ships;
We took the heavy silver of the king,
The gold, the garments, and the other spoil;
Each half of Erin had its share.
Holy Patrick of the relics,
Shall I meet death within thy house of prayer?
Cover thou my form with earth,
Since thou knowest well my tale.

Ossian, since thou art wearied now,
Make thy peace, that thou may'st die,
Take up thy prayer and ask for mercy,
Early each day call on thy God,
And when, on the judgment day, thou readiest Sion,
Where all men shall be gathered,
May Michael, Mary, and the Son of God
Take thee kindly by the hand.

May the Twelve Apostles, with their song, of praise,
Each holy cleric, and each prophet,
Me save from hell,
For I've been very sinful in my day.

Once on a time...

The author of this is Ossian:

Feeble this night is the power of my arm,
My strength is no more as it was;
No wonder though I should mourn,
Poor old relic that I am;
Sad that such should be my lot,
Beyond all men who tread the earth,
Wearily dragging stones along
To the church on the hill of the priest.
1 have a tale which I would tell
Regarding our people, O Patrick:
Listen to Finn's prediction.
Shortly ere thou cam'st, O Priest,
The hero was to build a fort,
On Cuailgne's bare and rounded hill.
He laid it on the Feine of Fail
Materials for the work to get.
Two-thirds of all his famous fort
He laid upon the sons of Morn;
The other third he laid on me,
And on the other sons of Ikusgne.
I answered, but not aright,
The son of Cumhal, son of Trenmor.
1 said I would cast off his rule,
And would submit to him no more.
Then for long Finn held his peace,
The hero hard to vanquish,
He who knew no guile nor fear,
When my answer he had heard,
His words to me were these,
The words of Finn, prince of the Feine:
Thou shalt be dragging stones awhile
Ere to thy mournful home thou goest.
Then did I rise up in wrath,
From Cumhal's son of bloody sword.
There followed me of all the Feine,
The fourth battalion, hardy and brave.
Then was I long with the Feine,
On all things I my judgment gave.
Many were there with me then,
But now, alas, I'm feeble, feeble;
I was counsellor to the Feine,
In all emergencies, how feeble.
How many men that do not know
That on this earth I'm feeble, feeble.
This night my body's frame is feeble,
Patrick, I believe thy words.
My hands, my feet, and head,
All of them are feeble, feeble.

Feeble, etc.

The author of this is Ossian:

Here have I seen the Feine,
I have seen Conan and Gaul,
Finn, and Oscar my son,
Ryno, Art, and brown-haired Diarmad,
Brave M'Luy, he of noble mien,
The red-haired Garry, also Hugh the less,
Hugh Garry's son, who never quailed,
The three Finns, and with them Fead,
Glass and Gow and Garry,
The long-haired Galve, and the impetuous Conan;
Gaul and Crooin, Gaul's son,
Socach, the son of Finn, and Bran;
Caoilte, the son of warlike Ronan,
Who swiftest ran, and leaped o'er valleys,
The readiest to scatter gold,
One of them of sweetest voice;
Bayne, son of Brassil of the swords,
The son of Cromchin, son of Small,
And Oscar, sons of powerful Garry,
The three Balas, and the three Skails,
Three battalions from Glenstroil,
Three bands from Monaree;
Caoilte's seven sons best trained to fight;
The three named Glass from Glassrananseir;
The three Beths from Cnokatidurd,
Three of unfailing excellence;
Deach Fichid's son from Borruinn mor,
Of them who always conquered.
Here have I seen the Feine
Whose liberal hand did music buy,
Ranged around Ossian and Finn,
Traversing valleys to dispense their gold.
Fearton and brave Carroll were there,
Who never fought but where they won.
I sing them, and generous Felan,
All of whom here have I seen.
Here have I seen.

Urnuidh Oisain: Ossian's Prayer

The author of this is Ossian, the son of Finn.

Tell us, O Patrick, what honour is ours,
Do the Feine of Ireland in heaven now dwell?

In truth I can tell thee, thou Ossian of fame,
That no heaven has thy father, Oscar, or Gaul.

Sad is the tale thou tellest me, Priest,
I worshipping God while the Feine have no heaven.

Shalt thou not fare well thyself in that city,
Though ne'er should thy father, Caoilte, and Oscar be there?

Little joy would it bring to me to sit in that city,
Without Caoilte, and Oscar, as well as my father.

Better see the face of heaven's son each day,
Than all the gold on earth, were it thine to possess.

Tell us, thou Priest of the Holy city, the tale;
In return I'll recount thee the battle of Gaura.

If the tale of that city thou desir'st, old man,
No thirst, no hunger, want, reproach are there.

Who are heaven's sons? more noble are the Feinn:
Are they hard of heart? have thou mercy, Cleric;

Unlike them are the Feine, unlike them altogether,
Never on the green plain did they seek the chase.

For thy love's sake, Patrick, forsake not the heroes
, Unknown to heaven's King, bring thou in the Feinn.

Though little room you'd take, not one of your race,
Unknown to heaven's King, shall get beneath his roof.

How different Mac Cumhail, the Feinn's noble king,
All men, uninvited, might enter his great house.

Sad is that, old man, and thy life's close so near,
That thou should'st so unjustly judge of my great king.

Better the fierce conflict of Finn and his Feinn,
Than thy holy master, and thyself together.

Mournful, poor old man, that thou should'st folly speak,
Better God for a day than all of Erin's Feinn.

Though few be my days, and my life's close near,
Patrick defame not the nobles of clan Boisgne.

Thou can'st never tell, Ossian, son to the Queen,
How different your nobles from those of my Lord.

Were even Conan living, the least of the Feinn,
He would not suffer thy insolence, Cleric.

Speak not thus, Ossian, savage are thy words,
Take thee now thy rest, and guide thee by my rule.

Did'st thou see the fight, and the noble banners,
Never would'st thou think that of the glory of the Feinn.

Ossian, Prince's son, 'twill be thy soul's great loss
That thou now think'st only of the battles of the Feinn.

Did'st thou hear the hounds, and the sounds of the hunt,
Thou would'st rather be there than in the holy city.

That is sad, old man, if the glory of the chase
lie greater than all which Heaven above can yield.

Say not so, Patrick, empty are thy words,
Indeed and in truth, better Finn and the Feinn.

By thy hand, Boisgne's son, not empty are my words,
Better is one angel than Finn and the Feinn.

Were I only now as I was at Gaura's fight,
I would punish thy reproach of Erin's noble Feinn.

Thy pride is all gone, for all thy future days,
None are now left of thy band but thyself.

Were my men in life I'd not hear thy howling,
And I'd make thee to suffer in return for thy talk.

Though all of these yet lived, and were now joined together,
I'd still not speak only of the Feinn's seven bands.

Seven times the number that thou hast of priests,
Fell all in battle by Oscar alone.

Thou'rt now in thy last days, old and senseless man,
Cease now thy speaking, and come away with me;
Did'st thou see the men of cowls, Finn's son, in Alve,
Thou would'st not as thou dost reproach the men of heaven.

No less was our great band, when we were met in Taura,
Reproachful are the words thou speak'st of the great king,
I will forgive thee, Cleric, although thou dost not tell


Fainesoluis: The Sunbeam

The author of this is Ossian.

I know a little tale of Finn,
A tale that we should not despise,
Of Cumhal's son, the valorous,
Which our memory still preserves.
Once we were a little band,
At Essaroy, of gentle streams,
Near the coast was under sail,
A currach, in which sat a maid;
Fifty men stood by the King,
Brave in any fight or field,
Sad for them who faced their right arm,
For we ruled in every land.
All of us rose up in haste,
Save Finn of the Feine and Gaul,
To welcome the boat as it sped,
Cleaving the waves in its course.
It never ceased its onward way
Until it reached the wonted port.
Then when it had touched the land,
The maid did from her seat arise,
Fairer than a sunbeam's sheen,
Of finest mould and gentlest mien.
Then before this stranger maid,
We stood and showed courtesy;
"Come to the tent of Finn with us."
With grace she all of us salutes;
'Twas Cumhal's son himself replied,
And salutes her in return.
Then did the King of noblest mien
Ask of the maid of fairest face,
"Whence is it thou hast come, fair maid?
Give us now in brief thy tale."
"The King of the land beneath the waves,
My father is, such is my fate,
Through all lands where the sun revolves,
Thee and thy men I long have sought."
"Princess, who hast searched each land,
Youthful maid of beauteous form,
The reason why thou cam'st so far,
Tell us now, and tell us all"
"If thou be Finn, I ask defence,"
So now did speak the youthful maid,
"Thou of soft speech, and purest race,
Grant me protection, grant it now."
Then spoke the wise and knowing King,
"Tell us now from whom thou flee'st;
Protection I thee grant, fair maid,
'Gainst every man that dares thee hurt,"
"There comes in wrath across the sea,
Swift in pursuit, a warrior brave,
The well-armed son of Soreha's King,
He whose name is Daire the fierce.
I laid me under heavy bonds
That Finn should from the sea me have,
But that his wife I ne'er should be,
Though famed his beauty and his deeds."
Then Oscar spoke, of hasty speech,
The warlike conqueror of Kings,
"Though Finn should not thy pledge sustain,
Never shalt thou with him wed."
Then do we see borne by his steed
A hero of unequalled size,
Travelling with speed across the sea,
Following the maiden in her course;
His helmet close about the head
Of this brave and dauntless man;
His right arm bore a round black shield,
The surface of its back engraved;
A heavy, large, broad-bladed sword,
Tightly bound, hung by his side;
He comes in attitudes of fence,
As where we stood he swift approached;
Two javelins, with victory rich,
Rest on the shoulder of his shield;
For strength, for skill, for bravery,
Nowhere could his match be found.
A hero's look,the eye of a king
Shone in that head of noblest mould,
Ruddy his face, his teeth pearl-white,
No stream ran swifter than his steed.
Then did his steed bound on the shore,
And he in whom we saw no fear.
Of us did fifty warriors then
Approach him as he came to us;
Fear of the hero as he neared us
Filled the bravest of them all.
Now as he landed from the waves,
Our famous King the question put,
"Can'st thou tell me now, fair maid,
Is that the man of whom thou spak'st?"
"I know him well, Finn Cumhal's son,
Nor does his coming bode you good;
Me he will rudely strive to seize,
Despite thy strength, O noble Finn."
Then Oscar and Gaul arose,
The fiercest of all in the fight,
Near to the men they firmly stood,
Between the giant and our chief.
The well-formed warrior then approached,
In rage sustained by his great strength,
The maid he rudely bears away,
Though by Finn's shoulder she had stood.
The Son of Morne then hurled his spear,
With wonted force, as he bore off;
No gentle cast was that, in truth,
The hero's shield was split in twain.
The wrathful Oscar then did shake
The red- dyed belt from his left arm,
And killed the hero's prancing steed,
A deed most worthy of great fame,
Then, when the steed fell on the plain,
He on us turned in fiercest wrath,
And battle does, the onset mad,
With all our fifty warriors brave.
On the same side with me and Finn,
The fifty stood in front of him:
Yet though they oft stood firm in fight,
His arm did now them force to yield.
Two blows, and only two he gave,
With vigour to each sep'rate man,
When we were stretched upon the earth,
Each man of us with whom he fought.
Three vanquished nines he tightly bound,
Ere from the furious fight he ceased.
Firmly the three smalls' usual tie
On each of these he firmly placed.
Then did the manly Gaul advance,
The conquering hero to assail.
Whoe'er he was could see them then,
The struggle and the fight were fierCe.
Then did Mac Morne slay with his arm
The King of Soreha's son, most strange!
Sad was the coming of the maid,
Now that the brave in fight had fallen.
And now that he had fallen thus,
Beside the sea, a sad event,
She of the land beneath the waves,
With Finn and his Feine remained a year.
Flann, son of Morne, in battle brave,
Was killed, it is a piteous tale;
None of all our men escaped,
Whose body was not full of wounds,
Except my noble Father, Finn,
The generous friend of all distressed.
And now at last the deed is done.
Of Finn this little tale I know.
I know a little tale of Finn.
* * *
As our fifty warriors brave
Were now subject to his arms,
Helpless were we in his hands,
Our precious rights were all now lost.
His sword without a single check,
Did hack our bodies and our shields.
Any fighting like to his,
In my day never have I seen.
We buried then close to the fall
This noble, brave, and powerful man.
And on each finger's ruddy point
A ring was placed in honour of the King.
For ten long years his conquering arms,
To the victor did the King forbid;
For all that time the son of Morne
Was healing with Finn of the Feine.

And now that he had fallen thus,

And now that he had fallen thus,
Beside the sea, a sad event,
She of the land beneath the waves,
With Finn and his Feine remained a year.
Flann, son of Morne, in battle brave,
Was killed, it is a piteous tale;
None of all our men escaped,
Whose body was not full of wounds,
Except my noble Father, Finn,
The generous friend of all distressed.
And now at last the deed is done.
Of Finn this little tale I know.
I know a little tale of Finn.
As our fifty warriors brave
Were now subject to his arms,
Helpless were we in his hands,
Our precious rights were all now lost.
His sword without a single check,
Did hack our bodies and our shields.
Any fighting like to his,
In my day never have I seen.
We buried then close to the fall
This noble, brave, and powerful man.
And on each finger's ruddy point
A ring was placed in honour of the King.
For ten long years his conquering arms,
To the victor did the King forbid;
For all that time the son of Morne
Was healing with Finn of the Feine.

The author of this is Ossian, the son of Finn.

'Twas yesterday week
I last saw Finn;
Ne'er did I see
A braver man;
Teige's daughter's son,
A powerful king;
My fortune, my light,
My mind's whole might,
Both poet and chief.
Braver than kings,
Firm chief of the Feinn.
Lord of all lands,
Leviathan at sea,
As great on land,
Hawk of the ah",
Foremost always.
Generous, just,
Despised a lie.
Of vigorous deeds,
First in song.
A righteous judge,
Firm his rule.
Polished his mien,
Who knew hut victory.
Who is like him
In fight or song?
Resists the foe,
In house or field.
Marble his skin,
The rose his cheek,
Blue was his eye,
His hair like gold.
All men's trust,
Of noble mind.
Of ready deeds,
To women mild,
A giant he,
The field's delight.
Best polished spears,
No wood like their shafts.
Rich was the King.
His great green bottle,
Full of sharp wine,
Of substance rich.
Excellent he
Of noble form,
His people's head,
His step so firm,
Who often warred.
In beauteous Banva,
Three hundred battles
He bravely fought.
With miser's mind
From none withheld.
Anything false
His lips ne'er spoke.
He never grudged,
No, never Finn;
The sun ne'er saw King
Who him excelled.
The monsters in lakes,
The serpent by land,
In Erin of saints,
The hero slew.
Ne'er could I tell,
Though always I lived,
Ne'er could I tell
The third of his praise.
But sad am I now,
After Finn of the Feinn!
Away with the chief,
My joy is all fled.
No friends 'mong the great,
No courtesy.
No gold, no queen,
No princes and chiefs.
Sad am I now,
Our head ta'en away!
I'm a shaking tree,
My leaves all gone.
An empty nut,
A reinless horse,
Sad, sad am I,
A feeble kern.
Ossian I, the son of Finn,
Strengthless in deed.
When Finn did live
All things were mine.
Seven sides had the house
Of Cumhal's son.
Seven score shields
On every side.
Fifty robes of wool
Around the King.
Fifty warriors
Filled the robes.
Ten bright cups
For drink in his hall.
Ten blue flagons,
Ten horns of gold.
A noble house
Was that of Finn.
No grudge nor lust,
Babbling nor sham;
No man despised
Among the Feinn.
The first himself,
All else like him.
Finn was our chief,
Easy his praise,
Noblest of Kings.
Finn ne'er refused
To any man,
Howe'er unknown;
Ne'er from his house
Sent those who came.
Good man was Finn,
Good man was he.
No gifts e'er given
Like his so free.

'Twas yesterday week.

Bs Dhiarmaid: The Death of Diarmaid

The author of this is Allan M'Rorie.

Glenshee, the vale that close beside me lies,
Where sweetest sounds are heard of deer and elk,
And where the Feinn did oft pursue the chase,
Following their hounds along the lengthening vale.
Below the great Ben Gulbin's grassy height
Of fairest knolls that lie beneath the sun,
The valley winds. Its streams did oft run red,
After a hunt by Finn and by the Feinn.
Listen now while I detail the loss
Of one, a hero in this gentle band:
'Tis of Ben Gulbin, and of generous Finn,
And Mac O'Duine,i in truth a piteous tale.
A mournful hunt indeed it was for Finn,
When Mac O'Duine, he of the ruddiest hue,
Up to Ben Gulbin went, resolved to hunt
The boar,2 whom arms had never yet subdued.
Though Mac O'Duine, of brightest burnished arms,
Did bravely slay the fierce and furious boar,
Yet Finn's deceit did him induce to yield;
And this it was that did his grievous hurt.
Who among men was so beloved as he?
Brave Mac O'Duine, beloved of the schools;
Women all mourn this sad and piteous tale
Of him who firmly grasped the murderous spear.
Then bravely did the hero of the Feinn
Rouse from his cover in the mountain side,
The great old Boar, him so well known in Shee,
The greatest in the- wild boar's haunt e'er seen.
Glad now was Finn, the man of ruddiest hue,
Bencath Ben Gulbin's soft and grassy side;
For swift the boar now coursed along the heath;
Great was the ill came of that dreadful hunt.
'Twas when he heard the Feinn's loud ringing shout,
And saw approach the glittering of their arms,
The monster waken'd from his heavy sleep,
And stately moved before them down the vale.
First, to distance them he makes attempt,
The great old boar, his bristles stiff on end,
These bristles sharper than a pointed spear,
Their point more piercing than the quiver's shaft.
Then Mac O'Duine with arms well pointed too,
Answers the horrid beast with ready hand:
Away from his side there rushed the heavy spear,
Hard following on the course the boar pursued.
The javelin's shaft fell shivered into three,
The shaft recoiling from the boar's tough hide.
The spear hurled by his warm red-fingered hand
Ne'er penetrated the body of the boar.
Then from its sheath he drew his thin-leaved sword,
Of all the arms most crown'd with victory;
Mac O'Duine did there the monster kill,
While he himself escaped without a wound.
Then on Finn of the Feinn did sadness fall,
And on the mountain side he sat him down;
It grieved his soul that generous Mac O'Duine
Should have escaped unwounded by the boar.
For long he sat, and never spake a word,
Then thus he spake, although 't be sad to tell,
"Measure, Diarmad, the boar down from the snout,
And tell how many feet 's the brute in length."
What Finn did ask he never yet refused;
Alas! that he should never see his home.
Along the back he measures now the boar,
Light-footed Mac O'Duine of active step.
"Measure it the other way against the hair,
And measure, Diarmad, carefully the boar."
It was indeed for thee a mournful deed.
Youth of the sharply-pointed piercing arms.
He went, the errand grievous was and sad,
And measured for them once again the boar.
Th' envenomed pointed bristle sharply pierced
The sole of him, the bravest in the field.
Then fell and lay upon the grassy plain
The noble Mac O'Duine, whose look spoke truth;
He fell and lay along beside the boar,
And there you have my mournful, saddening tale.
There does he lie now wounded to the death,
Brave Mac O'Duine, so skilful in the fight;
The most enduring ev'n among the Feinn,
He lies upon the knoll I see on high,
The blue-eyed hawk that dwelt at Essaroy,
The conqueror in every sore-fought field,
Slain by the poisoned bristle of the boar.
Now does he lie full stretched upon the hill,
Brave, noble Diarmad Mac O'Duine!
Slain, it is shame! victim of jealousy.
Whiter his body than the sun's bright light,
Redder his lips than blossoms tinged with red;
Long yellow locks did rest upon his head,
His eye was clear beneath the covering brow,
Its colour mingled was of blue and grey;
Waving and graceful were his locks behind,
His speech was elegant and sweetly soft;
His hands the whitest, fingers tipped with red;
Elegance and power were in his form,
His fair soft skin covering a faultless shape,
No woman saw him but he won her love.
Mac O'Duine crowned with his countless victories,
Ne'er shall he raise his eye in courtship more,
Or warriors' wrath give colour to his cheek;
The following of the chase, the prancing steed,
Will never move him, nor the search for spoil.
He who could bear him well in every fight,
Has now us sadly left in that wild vale.


Cath Gabhra

The author of this is Allan M'Rory.

To-night my mourning is great,
Thou tonsured priest whom I love,
While I reflect on the fight,
With red-tree Cairbar we fought,
Son to great Cormaig O'Cuinn,
Woe to the Feinn whom he seized;
A king who ne'er shunned the fight,
And feared not the face of man.
The Feinn to a man did serve,
Finn and the good race of Conn,
Till the day of Cairbar Roy;
Nor evil nor weakness fear'd.
Brave Cairbar his people addressed,
Deceitful indeed was the speech.
In battle would he choose to fell.
The Feinn and he together,
Ere even as a King he'd live
With Erin beneath the Eeinu.
Barrin then spoke boldly out,

Remember Muckrey and Art;
How your great ancestors fell,
Resisting the Feinn's deceit;
Remember their cruel bonds,
Remember their pride and guile;
And that we ne'er knew of war,
But such as was stirr'd by Mac Cil.

Then did the race of Conn resolve,
In counsel with Cairbar Hoy,
That they'd at once assail us,
And the whole of us destroy.
They'd have days of joy and feasting,
Great Alvin cleared of the Feinn.
Then would all grief be dead,
Nor could they a tax demand.
Fiercely and bravely we fought,
That fight the fight of Gaura;
There did fall our noble Feinn,
Sole to sole with Ireland's kings.
From India far in the east,
To Fodla here in the west,
The kings did all own our sway,
Till the battle of Gaura was fought.
But since that horrid slaughter,
No tribute nor tax we've raised.
Nor to us was tribute due,
Save by part of Erin's soil.
Many were there on the earth
Of the folk who felt no grief.
To both sides how great the loss,
When we each other did destroy,
Should strangers fierce come over,
And seize on beauteous Erin.

Ossian, what would Finn have done
Were burdens laid on Erin?

By thy hand, most holy Priest,
There were none in all fair Banva,
Save a few aged heroes,
And some younger untried men;
What king might there plant his foot,
Could Fodla have for taking.
No fight, no conflict he'd need,
No stratagem nor struggle.

Eastward we sent ambassadors,
To Fatha of Con's great son;
That he might lead us on,
To seize on Erin's kingdom.

Great grief had now come on yon,
From Tara's loud-spoken King:
New reason had ye given
Why all of you should perish.

Ossian, tell us now the tale,
When ye fought that sturdy fight
. Did thy son in battle die,
Or had he speech when you him found?

I bent me over valiant Oscar,
Soon as was the slaughter o'er;
Caoilte too did bend him o'er
His seven valiant sons;
Each living man among the Feinn
Bent him o'er his own dear friends.
Some of them had still their speech,
From others life had parted.
Priest of the crosier white,
Whoever saw that slaughter,
Tis an everlasting grief,
Erin's nobles thus to die.
Many were the hard round shields,
Many precious coats of mail,
And lifeless warriors on the field.
Nor would our people grieve for this
Were they not a vanquished race.
Little from that field was left us,
Save a king's or chieftain's spoil.
There found I my own dear son
Laid, on his left arm resting,
His shattered shield beside him,
While his hand still grasped his sword;
Flowed swiftly through his harness.
My spear I rested on the earth,
And o'er him stood as he lay;
Then thought I, O tonsured Priest,
What, now lonely, I could do.
Oscar towards me now turns,
'Twas for me a grievous scene;
Forth to me he stretched his hand,
Wishing I should him approach.
Then my dear son's hand I seized,
And cried out with a bitter cry.
Forward from that time till now,
In this world I've useless been.
Thus to me my own son said,
As life was fast departing,

Thanks to the powers above,
That thou'st escaped, dear father.

Nothing do I tell but truth,
A word I could not answer.
Then approached the noble Caoilte,
Who to visit Oscar came.
Gently did Mac Ronain say,

How find'st thou thyself, dear friend?

Just as thou would'st have me be,
Going to a better world.

Cairbar Roy's spear had pierced,
'Neath the navel, red-armed Oscar;
The arm of Caoilte up to its bend,
Followed in its course the spear.
Caoilte did deeply search the wound,
And well saw how all stood there.
The wound was through to the back,
Torn by the murderous spear.
Mac Ronain gave a loud shriek,
And, fainting, fell to the earth.
Then spake Caoilte, the warrior brave,
Recovering from his faint,

Dear Oscar, no more art thou ours;
Thou and the Feinn must part,
So part must the Feinn with war,
Conn's race the tribute shall raise.

We had been thus a brief space,
Thou priest, the son of Alpin,
When leaving the slaughter we saw,
All of Fail's Feinn now living,
There were but two thousand men,
The old and the young together,
And none unwounded returned,
Even of these hundred score.
Nine wounds them grievously pierced,
There were few of them with less.
Then raised we the noble Oscar,
Aloft on the shafts of our spears;
To a fair green knoll we bore him,
That we his dress might remove.
Of his body one hand's breadth
Was not whole, down from his hair,
Till you reached the sole of his foot,
Save his face, and that alone.
The entrails, the liver, the spleen,
Each draining the body till day.
The sons of the Feinn did then
To a fair knoll them betake;
His own son did no man mourn,
Nor did he mourn his brother:
As they saw how lay my son,
All, all did mourn for Oscar.
Thus was it with us a while,
Watching the fair-skinned hero,
When we saw approach at noon
Finn Mac Cumhail, mac Treinvor.
From the fierce slaughter escaped,
A third of the Feinn still lived,
When they laid the sons of Boisgne
Upon their biers, the fight being o'er.
With gashed limbs the men were halt,
The chiefs a dreadful sight.
We saw the standard of Finn
Raised on the shaft of a spear,
Which from the slaughter they bore;
Gladly to meet it we went.
All of us saluted Finn,
But no salute was returned,
As he climbed the warrior's hill,
Where deadly-armed Oscar lay.
When by Oscar Finn was seen,
As o'er him sadly he bent,
He turned to him his face,
His grandfather saluting.
Then did my Oscar thus speak
To him who was first of us all:

In death I have my desire,
Noble Finn of pointed arms.

Sad it is, my brave Oscar,
Thou good son of my own son;
After thee I'm but feeble,
And after Erin's brave Feinn.
The heavy curse of Art aenir
Is on us to our great grief,
From the east it me pursued,
Following me along the field.
Farewell to battle and fame,
Farewell to the victor's spoils,
Farewell to the many joys,
Which in this body I've had.

When Oscar had heard Finn's wail,
Convulsive pangs did him seize.
Both of his hands he stretched forth,
And his soft fair eyelid fell.
From us then Finn turned away,
And shed many bitter tears.
But for Oscar and for Bran,
Never did he shed a tear.
There was none but Finn and I,
Greater than him of the Feinn.
Then did the men give three shrieks,
Which rung through fair Erin all.
Five score hundred, ten hundred and ten.
There were who belonged to us,
Of the Feinn dead on the field,
The number was nothing less.
No lie it is that double,
With Erin's king, great tale,
Perished on the other side,
Of Erin's well-armed men.
Finn cheerful or peaceful never
Was from that down to his death;
Since that fight it touched him sore
That our kings should want their land.
Ever since Gaura's battle
My speech has lost all its power.
No night or day has e'er passed
Without a sigh for each hour.


Rosg Ghuill: Ode to Gaul

The author of this here is Fergus the Bard.

High-minded Gaul,
Who combats Finn,
A hero brave,
Bold in assault,
His bounty free,
Fierce to destroy.
Beloved of all,
Gaul, gentle, brave,
Son of great Morn;
Hardy in war,
His praise of old,
A comely man,
King, soldierly, free,
Of no soft speech,
No lack of sense,
Cheerful as great:
In battle's day
He moved a prince;
Though soft his skin,
Not soft his deed,
Of portly mould,
A fruitful branch,
His heart so pure,
He trains the young.
'Bove mountains high
Rises in victory,
We ever fear
When he assails.
I tell you Finn,
Avoid the man,
Terror of Gaul
Should make yon quail;
Soothe him rather,
Better than fight.
Skilful and just,
He rules his men,
His bounty wide,
A bloody man,
First in the schools,
Of gentle blood,
And noble race,
Liberal, kind,
Untired in fight,
No prince so wise,
Brown are his locks,
Marble his skin,
Perfect his form,
All full of grace,
Fierce to exact,
When aught is due,
In vigour great,
Of fairest face,
No king like Gaul.
I tell thee Finn,
His strength as waves
In battle's crash,
Princely his gait,
Comely his form,
Gaul's skill'd fence
No play when roused.
Ready to give,
Dreadful his strength,
Manly his mould,
Soldierly, great,
Ne'er could I tell
His grace and power;
A fearful foe,
Ready his hands,
Conceal'd his wrath,
A cheerful face.
Like murmuring seas,
Rushed to the fight,
A lion bold,
As great in deed,
Powerful his arm,
Choice amidst kings.
Joyful his way,
His teeth so white.
'Tis he that wounds,
The greatest foe.
His purpose firm,
A victor sure,
Desires the fight,
In history learn'd,
Warrior bold,
Sharp is his sword,
Contemptuous Gaul,
Plunders at will.
A fearless man,
Wrathful he is,
Dreadful in look,
Leopard in fight,
Fierce as a hound,
Of women loved.
A circle true
E'er by him stood.
He hurls his dart,
No gentle cast.
Soft are his cheeks,
In blossom rich,
Of beauteous form,
Unchanged success;
No stream so swift
As his assault,
Mac Morn more brave,
Than any told,
Of powerful speech,
It far resounds,
He's truly great,
Liberal, just,
Does not despise,
Yet firm resolves,
Gentle, yet brisk,
Forsakes no friend,
In fight of kings,
No powerless arm.
There, fierce his mien,
And strong his blow.
When roused his wrath,
He 's third of the chase.
Noble Mac Cumhail,
Soothe and promise,
Give peace to Gaul,
Check wrath and guile.

During my day,
Whate'er it be,
I'd give without guile,
A third of the chase.

Let's hear no more,
Soft dost thou speak,
Finn's love to Gaul,
And third of the hounds.

Gaul, leave thy wrath,
With us have peace,
Now without grudge,
Thou'st of Finn's forest third.

That will I take,
Fergus, dear friend,
My wrath is gone,
No more I ask.

Friend without guile,
Lips thin and red,
Bounty and strength,
Shall win thee praise.

High-minded Gaul.

The author of this is Fergus the Bard.

Tell us now, Fergus,
Bard of Erin's Feinn,
How did fare the day
In Gawra's furious fight.
Not good, son of Cumhail,
The tidings from Gawra's fight.
Dear Oscar lives no more,
He who bravely fought;
Caoilte's seven sons are gone,
With the commons of Alvin's Feinn.
The youth of the Feinn have fallen,
All in their warlike robes.
Mac Luy too is dead,
With six of thy father's sons.
Fallen are the youth of Alvin,
Dead are the Feinn of Britain.'
Lochlin's king's son is dead,
Who came to give us aid,
He of the manly heart,
And arm at all times strong.
Tell them now, O Bard,
My son's son, my delight,
How it was that Oscar
Hewed the helmets through.
It would be hard to tell,
'Twould be a heavy task,
To number all that fell,
Slain by the arms of Oscar.
No swifter is a cataract,
Or hawk in sweeping stoop,
Or rapids rushing fast,
Than in that fight was Oscar.
You saw him, last of all,
Like leaves in windy weather,
Or like a noble aspen,
When hewers strike its stem.
When Erin's King he saw,
Still living 'midst the fight,
Oscar swift approached him,
As waves break on the strand.
When Cairbar this observed,
He shook his hungry spear,
And through him drove its point.
Chiefest of all our griefs!
Yet Oscar did not quail,
But made for Erin's King;
With force he aimed a blow,
And smote him with his sword
. Then Art mac Cairbar fell,
Struck with the second blow.
So 'twas that Oscar perished,
With glory, as a King.
Fergus the bard am I,
I've travelled every land,
I grieve after the Feinn,
To have my tale to tell.


Bs Chonlaoich: The Death of Conlach

This tale is by Gilliecallum M' an Olave:

I have heard a tale of old,
A tale that should make us weep;
'Tis time to relate it sadly,
Although it should fill us with grief.
Rury's race of no soft grasp,
Children of Connor and Connal;
Bravely their youth did take the field,
In Ulster's noble province.
None with joy returned home
Of Banva's proudest heroes.
For as they once more tried the fight,
Rury's race did win the day.
There came to us, fierce his mien,
The dauntless warrior, Conlach,
To learn of our beauteous land,
From Dunscaichi to Erin.
Connor spoke thus to his men,
"Who's prepared to meet the youth,
And of him to take account;
Who will take no refusal?"
Then the strong-armed Connal went,
Of the youth to take account;
The end of their fight was this,
Conlach had bound Connal.
Yet the hero did not halt,
Conlach, brave and vigorous,
He bound a hundred of our men,
It is a strange and mournful tale.
To the hounds' great chief a message
Was sent by Ulster's wise king,
To sunny, fair Dundalgin,
The old, wise fort of the Gael,
That stronghold of which we read,
And the prudent daughter of Forgan.
From thence came he of great deeds
To sec our generous king;
To know of Ulster's great race,
There came to us the red branch Cu,
His teeth like pearl, cheeks like berries.
"Long," said Connor to the Cu, "
Has been thine aid in coming,
While Connal, who loves bold steeds,
Is bound and a hundred more."
"Sad for me to be thus bound,
Friend, who could'st soon unloose me."
"I couldn't encounter his sword,
And that he has bound brave Connal."
"Refuse not to attack him,
Prince of the sharp, blue sword,
Whose arm ne'er quailed in conflict.
Think of thy patron now in bonds."
When Cuchullin of the thin-leaved sword
Heard the lament of Connal,
He moved in his arm's great might
To take of the youth account.
"Tell us now that I have come,
Youth who fearest not the fight,
Tell us now, and tell at once,
Thy name, and where 's thy country?"
"Ere I left home I had to pledge
That I should never that relate;
Were I to tell to living man,
For thy love's sake I'd tell it thee."
"Then must thou with me battle do,
Or tell thy tale as a friend.
Choose for thyself, dear youth,
But mind, to fight me is a risk.
Let us not fight, I pray thee,
Brave leopard, pride of Erin,
Boldest in the battle field,
My name I would tell unbought."
Then did they commence the fight,
Nor was it the fight of women.
The youth received a deadly wound,
He of the vigorous arm.
Yet did Cuchullin of battles,
The victory on that day lose.
His only son had fallen, slain,
That fair, soft branch, so gentle, brave.
"Tell us now," said skilful Cu,
"Since thou art at our mercy,
Thy name and race, tell us in full,
Think not to refuse thy tale."
"Conlach I, Cuchullin's son,
Lawful heir of great Dundalgin,
It was I thou left'st unborn,
When in Skiathi thou wast learning.
Seven years in the east I spent,
Gaining knowledge from my mother;
The pass by which I have been slain
Was all I needed still to learn."
Then does the great Cuchullin see
His dear son's colour change;
As of his generous heart he thinks,
His memory and mind forsake him;
His body's excellency departs,
His grief it was destroyed it;
Seeing as he lay on the earth
The rightful heir of Dundalgin;
Where shall we find his like,
Or how detail our grief?

I have.

Bs Fhraoich: Death of Fraoch

The author of this is the Blind O'Cloan.

'Tis the sigh of a friend from Fraoch's green mound,
'Tis the warrior's sigh from his lonely bier,
'Tis a sigh might grieve the manly heart,
And might make a maid to weep.
Here to the east the cairn, where lies
Fraoch Fitheach's son of softest locks,
Who nobly strove to favour Mai,
And from whom Cairn Fraoch is named.
In Cruachan east a woman weeps,
A mournful tale 'tis she laments;
Heavy, heavy sighs she gives
For Fraoch mac Fithich of ancient fame.
She 'tis, in truth, who sorely weeps,
As Fraoch's green mound she visits oft;
Maid of the locks that wave so fair,
Mai's daughter so beloved of men.
This night Orla's soft-haired daughter,
Lies side by side with Fraoch mac Fithich.
Many were the men who loved her,
She, of them all, loved Fraoch alone.
Mai is filled with bitter hate,
As the love of Fraoch she learns.
His body got its grievous wounds,
Because with her he'd do no wrong;
She doomed him to a bitter death:
Judge not of women by her deed,
Grief 'twas that he should fall by Mai,
Yet I'll relate it without guile. A sigh.

A rowan tree stood in Loch Mai,
Ve see its shore there to the south;
Every quarter every month,
It bore its fair, well-ripened fruit;
There stood the tree alone, erect,
Its fruit than honey sweeter far;
That precious fruit so richly red,
Did suffice for a man's nine meals;
A year it added to man's life,
The tale I tell is very truth.
Health to the wounded it could bring,
Such virtue had its red-skinned fruit.
One thing alone was to be feared
By him who sought men's ills to soothe:
A monster fierce lay at its root,
Which they who sought its fruit must fight.
A heavy, heavy sickness fell
On Athach's daughter, of liberal horn;
Her messenger she sent for Fraoch,
Who asked her what 'twas ailed her now.
Mai said her health would ne'er return,
Unless her fair soft palm was filled
With berries from the deep cold lake,
Gleaned by the hand of none but Fraoch.
"Ne'er have I yet request refused,"
Said Fithich's son of ruddy hue;
"Whate'er the lot of Fraoch may be,
The berries I will pull for Mai."
The fair-formed Fraoch then moved away
Down to the lake, prepared to swim.
He found the monster in deep sleep,
With head up-pointed to the tree. A sigh.

Fraoch Fithich's son of pointed arms,
Unheard by the monster, then approached.
He plucked a bunch of red-skinned fruit,
And brought it to where Mai did lie.
"Though what thou did'st thou hast done well,"
Said Mai, she of form so fair,
"My purpose nought, brave man, wilt serve,
But that from the root thou'dst tear the tree."
No bolder heart there was than Fraoch's,
Again the slimy lake he swam;
Yet great as was his strength, he couldn't
Escape the death for him ordained.
Firm by its top he seized the tree,
And from the root did tear it up:
With speed again he makes for land,
But not before the beast awakes.
Fast he pursues, and, as he swam,
Seized in his horrid maw his arm.
Fraoch by the jaw then grasped the brute,
'Twas sad for him to want his knife:
The maid of softest waving hair,
In haste brought him a knife of gold.
The monster tore his soft white skin,
And hacked most grievously his arm.
Then fell they, sole to sole opposed,
Fraoch mac Fithich, he and the beast,
'Twere well that they had never fought.
Fierce was the conflict, yet 'twas long,
The monster's head at length he took.
When the maid what happened saw,
Upon the strand she fainting fell.
Then from her trance when she awoke,
In her soft hand she seized his hand:
"Although for wild birds thou art food,
Thy last exploit was nobly done."
'Tis from that death which he met then,
The name is given to Loch Mai;
That name it will for ever bear,
Men have called it so till now. A sigh.

They bear along to Fraoch's green mound
The hero's body to its grave.
By his name they call the glen,
Sad for those he left behind.
Cairn Laive is the hill beside me,
Close by it many a happy day
The hero lived, of matchless strength,
The bravest heart in battle's day.
Lovely those lips with welcomes rich,
Which woman liked so well to kiss;
Lovely the chief whom men obeyed,
Lovely those cheeks like roses red,
Than raven's hue more dark his hair,
Redder than hero's blood his cheeks;
Softer than froth of streams his skin,
Whiter it was than whitest snow;
His hair in curling locks fell down,
His eye more blue than bluest ice;
Than rowans red more red his lips,
Whiter than blossoms were his teeth;
Tall was his spear like any mast,
Sweeter his voice than sounding chord;
None could better swim than Fraoch,
Who ever breasted running stream.
Broader than any gate his shield,
Joyous he swung it o'er his back;
His arm and sword of equal length,
In size he like a ship did look.
Would it had been in warrior's fight
That Fraoch, who spared not gold, had died;
'Twas sad to perish by a Beast,
'Tis just as sad he lives not now.
'Tis the sigh.

The author of this is Connal Cearnach M'Edirskeol.

These heads, O Connal, are worthless;
Though thou must have blooded thine arms.
These heads thou bear'st upon that withe,
Can'st tell their owners, now thy spoil?

Daughter of Orgill of the steeds,
Youthful Evir, so sweet of speech,
'Twas to avenge Cuchullin's death,
That I took these numerous heads.

Whose is that hairy, black, great head,
With cheeks than any rose more red,
That which hangs highest thy left arm,
The head whose colour has not changed?

That head the king of swift steeds own'd,
Said Cairbar's son of vigorous lance;
In vengeance for my foster son,
I took that head and bore it far.

What head is that I see beyond,
Covered with smooth, soft, flowing hair,
His eye like grass, his teeth like bloom,
His beauty such as none is like?

Manadh, the man that own'd the steeds,
Aoife's son, who plunder'd every sea;
I left his trunk 'reft of its head,
I slew his people, every man.

What head is that I see thee grasp,
Great Connal of the gentle streams;
Since that Cuchullin now is dead,
Whom to avenge him did'st thou take?

'Tis the head of Mac Fergus of steeds,
He in extremity so bold,
My sister's son from the tall tower,
His head I from his body wrenched.

What fair-haired head is that to the east,
Whose hand might well have seized the heads;
Well did I know his voice of old,
For he and I were friends awhile ?

Down there it was the Cu did fall,
His body cast in fairest mould;
Cu, son of Con, of poets' king,
Among the last I took his head.

What two heads are those farthest out,
Great Connal of the sweetest voice;
Of thy great love hide not from me
The names of them so dark in arms?

'Tis Laoghar's head and that of Cuilt,
The two who fell pierced by my arms;
One of them had Cuchullin struck,
Hence his red blood my weapons dyes.

What two heads are those to the east,
Great Connal of the famous deeds;
Alike the colour of their hair,
Than hero's blood more red their cheeks?

Cullin the handsome, and Cunlad brave,
Two who e'er triumphed in their wrath;
Evir, their heads are to the east,
I left their bodies streaming red.

What are those six hideous heads
I see in front facing the north;
Blue in the face, their hair so black,
From which thou turn'st thy look, brave Connal?

These are six of Cuchullin's foes,
Calliden's sons, who triumphed oft;
These are now the senseless six
Who all, full armed, fell by my hand.

Great Connal, father to a king,
What is that head, noblest of all;
How bushy the golden yellow locks,
Covering it with so much grace ?

The head of M'Finn, M'Eoss the red,
The son of Cruith, slain by my stroke;
Evir, he was king, chief of them all,
In Leinster of the spotted swords.

Great Connal, now please change thy tale,
Tell us the number slain by thine arm,
Of all the noble famous men,
In vengeance for the head of Con?

Ten and seven score hundred men,
I tell the truth, the number is,
That fell by me, all back o'er back,
Fruit of my bravery and power.

Connal, tell how the women feel
In Innisfail, the Cu being dead;
Do they sadly, sorely mourn,
Now that like me themselves have grief?

O Evir, what am I to do,
Now that my Cu is ta'en away;
My foster-son of fairest form,
Now that he 's left me desolate?

O Connal, lay me in my grave,
And raise my stone o'er that of Cu;
In grief I'll soon from this depart,
Let my lips touch Cu's lips in death.

Evir am I, of fairest form,
No vengeance can me satisfy;
In tears no pleasure I can find,
'Tis sad that I am left behind.


Laiodh na ceann: Lay of the Heads

The author of this is Caoilte Mac Ronan.

I set me off to rescue Finn,
To Taura of the joyful streams;
With arms sure of victory,
To Cormac, son of Art Aonir.
I will not put forth my strength,
Though bloody and light of foot,
Until that with the Feinn of Fail,
We have reached the shore, of Loch Foyle.
Then did we slay the mighty hero,
When we had slain Cuireach,
We killed a mighty warrior
When we had killed their leader.
We bore his head up to the hill,
Which lies above Buadhamair.
Then indeed I had my triumph,
For I made a total havoc.
For the hero's sake I slew
A man in every town in Erin.
Then indeed 1 had my triumph,
For I made a total havoc.
For the hero's sake I brought
Grief into every house in Erin.
Then indeed I had my triumph,
For I made a total havoc.
The calves I slew with the cows,
Whom I found in all fair Erin.
Then indeed I had my triumph.
For I made a total havoc.
The doors on which the red wind blew,
I threw them each one widely open.
Then indeed I had my triumph,
For I made a total havoc.
The fields all ripe throughout the land,
I set them then a blazing brightly.
Then indeed I had my triumph,
For I made a total havoc.
In my day there won't be seen
Either mill or kiln in Erin.
Then it was they loosed against me
The horse of Albin and of Erin.
My fleetness gave me victory,
Until I reached Ifos illirglass.
Then I westward took my way
To Taura, although great the distance;
Not one horse of all the troop
Had Taura reached so soon as I did.
In Taura then I gave that day
The wife of him who cared not for her.
I gave the wife of him who cared not,
To him who cared for his as little;
In noble Taura then I gave
The wife of Cairbar to Cormac.
The wife of Cormac also gave,
Just as I had done, to Cairbar.
The king's sword then I firmly seized,
A sword of matchless power and virtue;
My own sword, fit for little now,
I left it in the sheath of Cormac.
Then I passed me quickly over,
And from the door-keeper got his garment.
From whence it happened, it is true,
I became candlestick to Cormac.
Then did I many strange things do,
In presence of the King of Erin.
"Though ye may wonder at my speech,
Caoilte's two eyes are in my candlestick."
"Say thou not so," said noble Finn,
The fair-haired prince of all the Feinn;
"Though I may now thy prisoner be,
Cast not reproach upon my people,
Such is not Caoilte's noble nature,
Nought he does but what is generous.
He would not hold a servile candle
For any gold that earth may yield."
Then did I draw forth his drink
For the excellent, manly king.
Four steps, one after the other,
I went along with him to serve him.
Then I betook myself to his right,
'Twas one source of my sharp sorrow;
I gave him of my own free will
"Strange that he should give me this,"
Said the clever, well-formed king.
"The music smells of Caoilte's own skin,
This mournful, unharmonious dirge."
"Do not thou say so, O King,"
Said I, in his servant's garb;
"These are boastful words thou speak'st.
'Tis worthy of one loving music."
"By my hand, most noble Caoilte,
As Finn has been the Feinn's great chief,
Though, as I am, no pledge I'll give
To the men of Alb' or Erin."
As I plainly saw he knew me,
I now did boldly ask of Cormac,
"Thou wilt tell me how I may
Freedom purchase for my patron."
"Thou shalt not have Finn made free,
I say, on any one condition,
Save this condition, noble Caoilte,
One thou never can'st fulfil;
That thou should'st obtain for me
Of all wild animals a pair,
Then to thee I'd give thy patron,
So soon as thou such pledge redeem'st."
I seized upon the pleasing words
Of Cormac Mac Airt Inir,
That he would freedom give the king
So soon as I fulfilled such promise.
When I had thus by promise bound
Erin's noble fair-haired king,
Though I had a trying task,
I set off to keep the agreement.
From Taura I a journey took,
A journey over all the land.
I gathered in the flocks of birds,
Though they were so very scattered.
And two fine tall and long-clawed ospreys,
And ravens from Fee ya von;
Two wild ducks from Loch a Sellin,
Two crows down from Slieve Cullin,
Two wild oxen brought from Borrin,
Two swans I brought from Dobhran gorm,
Two owls from the wood of Faradrum,
Two polecats from Coiltie creive,
On the side of Druma Dabhran.
Two otters also I took with them,
From the rock of Donavan doivin,
Two gulls from the strand of Loch Lee,
Two rualls from Port Lairge,
Four woodpeckers from Brosna ban,
Two plovers from Carrig dunan,
Two eachts from Eachta ard,
Two thrushes from Letter Lomard,
Two wrens from Dun Aoife,
Two yeinyeachs from Corrie dhn,
Two herons from Corrin Cleith,
Two gledes from Magh a Foyle,
Two eagles from Carrig nan clach,
Two hawks from Ceindeach forest,
Two sows from Loch Meilghe,
Two water-hens from Loch Earn,
Two moor-fowls from Monadh maith,
Two sparrow-hawks from Dulocha,
Two stone-chats from Magh Cullin,
Two tomtits from Magh Fualainn,
Two caschans from Glen Gaibhle,
Two swallows from the Old Abhla,
Two cormorants from Dublin,
Two wolves from Crotta cliath,
Two blackbirds from Traigh dha bhan,
Two roe from Luachair Ir,
Two pigeons from Ceis Charran,
Two plovers from Letter roy,
Two starlings from Taura the green,
Two rabbits from Sith dubh donn,
Two wild boars from Cluaidh chur,
Two cuckoos from Drum a daive,
Two grey birds from Laigheande,
Two lapwings from Lanan Furrich,
Two woodcocks from Craobh maidh,
Two hawks besides from Sliabh gld,
Two grey mice from Limerick,
Two otters from the Boyne,
Two larks from Monadh mor,
Two bats from the cave of Cno,
Two badgers from the lands of Ullanach,
Two cornrails from Shannon valley,
Two water- wagtails from Bruach Eire,
Two curlews from the sea of Galway,
Two hares from Muirtheimhne,
Two eagles from the wood of Luaraidh,
Two hinds from Sith Buy,
Two yeiseadachs (peacocks) from Magh Mall,
Two cith ceaceachs from Cnamh choille,
Two yellow-hammers from Bruach Bru,
Two eels from the Black Water,
Two goldfinches from Sliabh da eun,
Two cathails from Bray an Turla,
Two birds of prey from Magh builg,
Two coloured swallows from Granard,
Two fierce ospreys from Gruing,
Two redbreasts from the Great wood,
Two llwrachs from Dun nam bare,
Two rock cod from Cala cairge,
Two whales from the great sea,
Two eels from Loch M'Lennan,
Two yearrgarts from Magh nan Eilean,
Two little birds (wrens) from Mias a chuil,
Two fine roe from Glen Smoil,
Two cows from Achadh Maigh Moir,
Two swift otters from Loch Con,
Two wild cats from the cave of Cruachain,
Two sheep from Sith Doolan gil,
Two sows of the sows of Mac Lir;
A ram and a red nimble sheep
I brought with me from Ennis.
I brought with me a horse and mare
Of the fine stud of Mananan;
A bull and cow in calf from Drumcan,
These I had from Muirn Munchain.
Ten hounds of the hounds of the Feinn
Did Cormaig insolently require.
Whatever thing he asked of me,
I brought it with me as I came.
When I had them all collected,
And brought them to one plain,
And sought to have them in control,
They all of them did scatter widely.
The raven flew away to the south,
A cause to me of much vexation;
I caught it in Glen da bhan,
By the side of deep Loch Lurgan.
The duck did also me forsake,
Nor was it easier to take it;
Over swift and swollen streams,
I chased it to Achin dughlas.
Then I seized it by the neck,
Although it was not very willing.
I took this duck along with me
That I might liberate Finn from Corntaig.
Of all the ills that I have met,
During all my life on earth,
Never shall my heart forget
This, till my body is in the grave:
How I strove along to drive them,
Travelling over hills and ditches,
That with them I soon might reach him;
While he still held Finn in bonds,
And thought that I could never find them;
And if I could but find him these,
Then was he bound to give him freedom.
This race that I had swiftly run,
Was such as no man ran before me.
Then I brought them all to Taura,
To the chief who ruled the palace;
Then had I further much to suffer,
That night was to me very grievous.
Within the town there was a stronghold,
To which by nine doors there was entrance.
Cormaig 'twas gave me the house,
As I now was very wearied.
Where I saw that they were placed
In the narrow, horrid dungeon;
Then came a loud and vigorous scream
From the throats of all the gathering.
There was a little ray of light
Reached them in through fifty openings.
Every door was closely shut,
Nor was the case an easy one;
They mournfully shut closely up,
While I as sadly was excluded.
My heart did now pour out its grief,
Watching by the doors till morning.
Though great the evil I had suffered,
As before they flew so swiftly,
Not one I suffered to escape
Till the day rose in the morning.
The name men gave to this great rabble
Was " Caoilte's rabble," and no wonder.
To see them standing side by side,
For when Finn did get his freedom,
All of them did scatter widely;
No two nor three of all did go
From Taura in the same direction.
My own swiftness and Finn's escape
Was a miracle from heaven;
The three great things to me which happened
Were these and gathering that host.
It is security for my fame,
I believe in Christ, and in this,
Though great my gathering for Finn,
I have nought of which to boast.
Though long my leap to the east,
In Taura of the Fenian heroes,
Long was my leap to the west,
In Taura, twenty hundred feet,
Agile then was my leap,
Which amongst strangers I did take,
While the point of my foot alone yielded,
Slow is now any expedition I make. I set me off.

No author's name given:

There lies beneath that mound to the north
Mac Cumhal's son, in battle firm.
Of Dearg's daughter the white-tooth'd son,
In wrath who never harshly spoke.
There lies beneath that mound to the south
Mac Conn's son, his skin like bloom,
The man who never met his match,
Whose arm in fight dealt no soft blows.
There lies beneath that mound to the east
Oscar, so brave, famous in deeds.
Though the Clan Morn were famous men,
He counted them of little weight.
There lies beneath that mound to the west
The man by women thought so fair,
M'Ronan for his beauty famed,
Beneath the mound to the west he lies.
Beneath the mound that is below me
Lies he so famed for ugly pate;
Conan, in every virtue rich,
Beneath the mound below me lies.

There lies.

GORRY, let us go to Finn

GORRY, let us go to Finn,
A service which we do not like,
To ask of him the head of Gaul,
That we may lay it down to rest.
I am unwilling to go,
Since I hear not aught of the head,
And that we cannot have revenge,
For the head of the great Mac Morn.
Whether thou willest or not, I will,
Said the great but foolish Conan;
I will slay all the men I can
In vengeance for the yellow-haired Gaul.
Let us kill the three princes of the Feinn,
As we can't slay Finn himself.
Speak, Gorry, speak quickly out,
Let us be found at once on their hands.
Thou shalt kill great Ossian M'Finn,
Dyre shall kill the dauntless Caoilte,
Let them have us all assault.
I shall show no foolish softness,
Gentleness doesn't suit with Finn;
Though in our arms we all should fall,
We will have no help from Gaul;
If Finn is there his strength will be there,
Let us send Finn down to his grave.
True and guileless are the words
Which to thee I speak, Gorry.


The author of this is ________

'Twas on a day Finn went to drink
In Alve, with his people few;
Six women and six men were there,
The women fair, with whitest skin.
Finn was there and guileless Diarumd,
Caoilte and Ossian too, and Oscar,
Conan the bald, slow in the field,
With the wives of these six men;
Maighinis the wife of dauntless Finn,
The fair-bosomed maid, my own dear wife,
Fair skin Gormlay, of blackest eye,
Naoif, and the daughter of Angus.
When drunkenness had the women seized,
They had a talk among themselves:
They said that throughout all the earth
No six women were so chaste.
Then said the maiden without guile,
"The world is a many-sided heap;
Though pure are ye, they are not few
Women quite as chaste as you."
They had been a short time thus,
When they saw a maid approach,
Her covering a single seamless robe,
Of spotless white from end to end;
The maiden of the pure white robe
Drew near to where M'Cumhal sat.
She blessed the king of guileless heart,
And close beside him there sat down.
Finn asks her to give them her tale,
The handsome maid of whitest hand:
"Maid of the seamless robe, I ask,
What virtue 's in thy spotless veil?"
"My seamless robe has this strange power
That women, such as are not chaste,
Can in its folds no shelter find,
None but the spotless wife it shields." "Give my wife the robe at once,"
Said the bulky, senseless Conan,
"That we may learn what is the truth
Of what the women just have said."
Then Conan's wife does take the robe,
And in vexation pulls it on;
'Twas truly pity it was done,
Her fair- skinned breast was all exposed.
Then when the bald-pate Conan saw
How that the robe shrunk into folds,
He seized in passion his sharp spear,
And with it did the woman slay.
Then the loved Diannad's wife
The robe from Conan's wife did take;
No better did she fare than she,
About her locks it clung in folds.
Then Oscar's wife seized on the robe,
Which looked so long and softly smooth;
But wide and large as were its wings,
The robe her middle did not reach.
Then fair Maighinis took the robe,
And put it also o'er her head;
The robe there creased and folded up,
And gathered fast about her ears.
"Give my wife the robe," said Mac Rea,
"For the result I have no fear,
That we may see, without deceit,
Of her merit further proof."
"I would pass my word for it,
Though I claim not to be learned,
That never have I once transgressed,
I've been faithful aye to thee."
Mac Rea's wife now showed her side,
The robe was then put o'er her head;
Her body was covered, feet and hands,
None of it all was left exposed.
Her bosom then one kiss received
From Mac O'Duine, from Diarmad;
The robe from her he then unfolds,
From her who thus did stand alone.
"Women, give me now my robe,
I am the daughter of Deirg the fierce,
I have done nought to cause me shame,
I only erred with sharp-armed Finn."
"Bear thou my curse, and quick away,"
These were then the words of Mac Cumhail.
On women he denounced a curse,
Because of her who came that day.

'Twas on a day.

THE expedition of eight I remember

THE expedition of eight I remember,
Which oft returns to my mind;
Some of their exploits I'll relate,
Though now my strength is all gone.
Oscar and manly Caoilte were there,
And Mac Luy of ceaseless praise;
Finn and white-toothed Diarmad,
Of the eight heroes these were five.
There were myself and Ryno and Caroll,
A gentle, matchless band;
Bred were we all in Banva's soil,
These were the names of the eight.
When we set forth, true the tale,
'Twas with a proud and manly step.
From Mac Cumhal's fort we set out,
The expedition of eight I remember.
First of all we made for Albain,
'Twas with a struggle we reached it,
There a king fell by Mac Cumhal,
The expedition of eight I remember.
We then strove to get to Sasunn,
Exploits and slayings were there;
Every stronghold was seized by Finn,
The expedition of eight I remember.
To Italy we then carried the battle,
And fiercely fought in its harbours;
triumphs and treaties we had then,
The expedition of eight I remember.
In France did we then make war,
Where we had many great hardships;
Submission and treaties were made,
The expedition of eight I remember.
After that we fought in Spain,
There we had prey and great spoil;
I have traversed the earth in my day,
The expedition of eight I remember.
We next carried war to Britain,
'Twas fearful and full of danger;
Yet did we earn a triumph,
The expedition of eight I remember.
We bore along " Crom nan earn,"
O'er the fierce, stormy sea;
Every land made to us submission,
The expedition of eight I remember.
After it we led the chiefs,
Most gentle and holy Patrick,
Who made their submission to Finn,
The expedition of eight I remember.
Sanctify, O Patrick, my soul,
Thou blessed and privileged man,
For I have sinned in thy sight,
The expedition of eight I remember.

The expedition.

NINE of us once did bind ourselves

NINE of us once did bind ourselves
To find material for a pup's head,
To find material for a dog-pup's head;
Though no attempt was more laborious.
We searched the plain of Leny Leirg,
And Glen Frenich of bloody swords;
True, we found not there one hound
From which we could obtain a pup.
Then did we search a dark, black glen,
A glen of deep corries, full of stones;
True, we found not there one hound
From which we could obtain a pup.
We searched the Sian of Drum Cliff',
Fair after it seemed the plain of Liff;
True, we found not there one hound
From which we could obtain a pup.
We searched in Thurles of liberal hosts,
In Bregian Tara and Dun Dobhran;
True, we found not there one hound
From which we could obtain a pup.
We searched, too, through Glen a Cuaich,
Looking out for something noble;
True, we found not there one hound
From which we could obtain a pup.
We searched Moylena of slopes,
Through Bregian Tara and Kinsale;
True, we found not there one hound
From which we could obtain a pup.
We searehed the whole of Eire,
Men and dogs ranging together;
True, we found not there one hound
From which we could obtain a pup.
Shortly were we thus engaged,
Ourselves, our followers, and friends,
When three battalions were seen,
Sons to the King of Rualay.
Cat-headed one battalion was,
Dog- headed was the one beside it;
The other behind them was white-backed,
Brown the rest, though white the back.
Aloft the mighty javelin shone
Of Finn, hero of bloody strength;
Above his noble, murderous shield,
He bore that spear of hundred fights.
Bright was the glitter of the spear
In the white hand of Finn himself.
Beneath the shield of cheerful Caoilte
Was the javelin, bloody in fight;
The javelin glittering below,
Held by Caoilte of joyful heart.
Beneath his round and handsome shield
Cruinchan's son his javelin bore.
Caoilte gave a loud, far-sounding shout,
In distant Alvin it was heard,
And in Magh Lena of sharp spears,
In Tavar and in Dun Reillin.
'Twas answered loud by Gaul Mac Morn,
The noble chief of Cronwoyn,
Where Faolan, son of Finn, is found,
The Balwas, too, from Borrin.
'Twas answered by Manwoe Breck's two sons,
And by Mac Elle from Uabreck,
Fair Sciath, the son of Daithein Dian,
And Ceall the brave, of sharp-edged arms.
Keangach the bold gave answer too,
And Iolunn of the bloody edge,
And Ceall the brave, of handsome form,
Who ne'er to scandal's tale gave ear.
Pleasing the sound of clashing spears,
Pleasing, too, the hum of warriors,
Of waving banners sweet the sound,
As in morn's frosty wind they rose.
The " Image of the Sun" we raised,
The banner of great Fenian Finn,
Studded all around with gold,
Great was its price as red it gleamed.
We raised "Fulang Duari" aloft,
The banner of great Gaul Mac Morn.
Oft when the javelins were in motion,
'Twas both the first and last to move.
Aloft we raised the "Mincheann Oir,"
Banner of Ryno and his men;
Under its folds were bones and heads
Cloven, and ankles steeped in blood.
The " Cineal chath" we also raised,
The banner of the oaken Faolan;
Finn's son, chief of the Feinn,
Who east with powerful arm his spear.
Then we raised aloft "Dun nimh,"
The banner of Ossian of the brave;
The banner of Mac Ronan, "the Red-hand,"
Whose other side was all adorned.
"Sguab Ghabhaidh," too, we raised aloft,
Banner of the well-armed Oscar,
When the stormy conflict raged,
Oft was " Sguab Ghabhaidh" waving seen.
The " Lia Luinneach" aloft we raised,
The banner of nimble, powerful Diarmaid;
Oft when the men began their march,
'Twas seen to flutter vigorously.
Then was the "Bearn Reubainn" raised,
Banner of Oscar, no saintly sign;
The echo of the glens replied
To its fierce sounds, waving on high.
The " Bloody hand" aloft we raised,
Banner of Mac Luy, and his men;
When the Feinn went forth to fight,
Its place was always in the van.
Then did we fight a bloody fight,
As round the noble Finn we stood,
Round the steel of manly Finn,
First of all the valorous Feinn.
The whole of the Catheads were killed,
The Dogheads we seized to a man;
The whole of the Whitebacks fell
Round dauntless Finn of Alvin.
We found a little hill to the south,
On which was built a double fort;
There indeed we found a hound
From which we could obtain a pup.
The whole of Eire we had searched,
All of us, both men and dogs.
In all its length we could not find
A hundred who could match our nine.


SWEET is man's voice in the land of gold,

SWEET is man's voice in the land of gold,
Sweet the sounds the birds produce,
Sweet is the murmur of the crane,
Sweet sound the waves at Bun Datreor,
Sweet the soft murmuring of the wind,
Sweet sounds the cuckoo at Cas a choin.
How soft and pleasing shines the sun,
Sweet the blackbird sings his song;
Sweet the eagle's voice of Easaroy,
Above the sea of great Mac Morn;
Sweet the cuckoo 'mongst the branches,
Sweet the silence of the crane.
Finn Mac Cumhail is my father,
Who nobly leads the Feinn's seven bands;
When he his hounds lets loose to hunt,
To follow him is truly sweet.


A NOBLE tale of sweetest music

A NOBLE tale of sweetest music,
To Carn Vallar now I'll bring;
That whether others hear or not,
It may be heard by Mac Cumhail.
Mac Cumhail once had a feast
On Almhuin's slope, of finest gold;
O'er the music he presided,
Finn who ever graced the feast.
Brave Oscar and Diarmad were there,
And good Mac Luy, warriors bold;
With other two who ne'er shunned fight,
Conan himself, and with him Oscar.
"Tell me now, my warriors brave,
As at the feast of Finn ye sit,
Which do ye count the sweetest music?"
"The clang of gaming," Conan said,
"The sweetest sounds I ever heard."
Vigorous his arm before the foe,
Yet ne'er a man who more lacked sense.
"The sound of swords drawing on the foe,"
Said he who never spared in fight,
"Cleaving of men's heads and legs,"
The sweetest music Oscar heard.
"The sounds which ever pleased me most,"
Said Diarmad of slow rolling eye,
"That I loved most all my life,
Was woman's voice, as soft she talked."
"My music, thou son of Morn,"
Said Mac Luy of the glittering arms,
"Is leaping 'midst the tumult of my dogs,
As swift upon the deer they gain."
"'Tis this that music is for me,"
Said Finn, the chief of all the host,
"To have my banner in the wind,
Heroes ranged by its golden side."
"When of the bards I had no fear,
Ossian," he said, as still he spoke;
"And when my Feinn were still around me,
Sweet its music in my ears."

A great fast was made by Finn

A great fast was made by Finn,
tell thee now, O tonsured Priest,
Many were the men were there,
Of the Feine of Alba and Erin.
The great Mac Morn did ask
Of the queen of whitest hand, "Did'st thou see so rich a feast
Since thou cam'st 'mongst the Feine of Erin?"
Finn of the Feine himself replied,
Chiefest of all both east and west;
He said she saw a richer feast
Than any Fenian feast in Erin.
We then saw coming from the waves
A warrior tall, manly, fair-haired,
No man was with him but himself,
And a noble man he was.
When he had come near the Feine,
Thus did he mildly, wisely say,
"Come, Finn, come along with me,
And take with thee a hundred men;
Thirty sons of the great Morn,
Let them be the first around thee;
One man and eight of thy own sons,
Take them and Oscar of the Feine's Fians;
Let ten of the sons of Smoil be there,
And twenty of the sons of Ronan;
Let some of Muin's sons be there,
Other ten, not counting Diarmad;
Take with thee Diarmad O'Duine,
He who could either court or hunt,
Both him and Caroll in thy ship;
Let there be ten of men and crew,
Of thy men take with thee nine,
Of those whom thou'dst most like to have;
Besides them all thyself, O Finn,
Thou dauntless and well-armed man.
Take o'er the waves a hundred men
Of those that follow Finn Mac Cumhail,
A hundred shields with golden studs,
For Finn Mac Cumhail, Mac Tranevor.
Take now with thee also, Finn,
The two best hounds that are in Erin;
Bran and Scoileani take them with thee,
The swiftest-footed of the pack.
Have no fear about thee, Finn,"
The tall and cheerful warrior said;
"Let them all be brought in peace,
And trouble not our men or ships."
"Foolish the speech thou now hast made,
Thou man who cam'st amongst us;
Wert thou to approach nearer Finn,
Thy body soon would want its head."
"Little care I for what thou say'st,
Bald-headed Conan of the gibes;
Pity for thy friends that thou art there,
Ugly and feeble as thou art."
"Rise ye up, ye sons of Boisgne,"
Then spoke Conan, so well known;
Each man did seize a hero's arms,
From every side the Fians came fast.
Then fell there slain a son of Finn,
One of the stalwart, white-hand Fians,
A man of Mac Morn's followers too,
A vigorous hand 'midst battle's blows.
"Fergus, now go rouse thee up,
And mingle boldly in the fight;
Ask whether Gaul has aught to give
To Conan, whom he knows so well"
"Let Finn himself then be the judge,"
Said the great Gaul of mighty blows;
"Conan or I shall take his head,
Or else his brains we will dash out."
Fergus, Caol, and thirty are in the glen,
Who never more shall see this earth,
Unknown to all the Feine of Finn.
Sad is my tale, O tonsured Priest.
Much do I weary, valiant Priest,
For now I never see the Feine,
Hunting, as wont, from glen to glen,
With herds of deer on every side.
Much loved I Ossian, son of Finn,
He only never yet forsook me;
But above all the men I saw,
Finn of the feasts I loved most,

A great feast.

'Tis sad that the hill of the Feine

'Tis sad that the hill of the Feine,
Should now by the clerics be held,
And that the songs of men of books
Should fill the halls of clan Baoisgne.
I myself was once in Ruth Cruachan,
Happily beneath thy banks,
I little thought I e'er should find
A priest upon thy summit dwelling.
There would be found my shield and spear,
My dogs and hounds along thy ridge,
Although to-night the Fenian hill
Is under clerics and their crosiers.
Were the sons of Morn alive,
The priestly order soon must quit;
You would find yourselves cut up,
Ye men of the spotted crooks.
Were Mac Luy alive,
With his six heroes bold,
Ere you had quitted the hill
You'd find your garments curtailed.
Were the sons of Ceard alive,
Who never hypocrisy knew,
Neither your bells nor crooks
Would in place of their banners be found.
Were the sons of Muin alive,
Who knew no weakness in fight,
Men would not see thy people
So powerful amidst our hills.
Were the sons of black Garry alive,
Or Caoilte, who was ever so brave,
Neither the sounds of bells or priests
Would now be heard in Rath Cruachan.
Were red-haired Eyno alive,
And brave Caol, son of Revan,
Thy books would not be so whole,
Oh man, who readest the Bible.
And for all thy hookcd crosiers,
Which have travelled over the earth,
Thy staves would be in splinters,
Were only brave Oscar alive.
Thou of the yellow ' garment,
Who sittest so much at thine ease,
'Tis well for thee that Conan is dead,
Else thou'dst feel the weight of his fist.
Were the blue-eyed hero alive,
Bald Conan, the son of the Feine,
Cleric, though thy office be sacred,
With his fist he'd strike thee down.
Were the son of O'Duine alive,
Thou man of the crooked staff,
Thy staff should be all in shivers,
Smashed at the pillar of stone.
Thou man of the bell, I do think,
If Daoruinn were now in life,
Thy bell would be now in pieces,
Scattered before the pillar.
Were the red point seen, old man,
Of the swift-flying spear of Mac Ronain,
Thy bell would not be faintly sounding,
Thou who sing'st the howling song.
I cannot be joyful now,
I see not Mac Cumhail in life,
I see not Diarmad O'Duine,
I see not Caoilte Mac Ronan.
No wonder though I should be sad,
As I sit on this mound, Patrick.
I see not the son of Luy,
I see not the hero so loved,
I see not Fearluth by my side,
I see not the Fenian Oscar;
I see not warlike exercises,
I see not the noble hounds;
I see not the sons of Smoil,
I see not Gaul of great feats,
I see not the generous Faolan,
I see not with him the Feine.
I see not Fergus, my brother,
So gentle and worthy of praise;
I see not Daire of the songs,
I see not Fathai Canan,
Whose presence filled us with joy;
I see not one of our band,
Whose noise was like thunder in war.
I see neither music nor joy,
I hear not if music there be,
Ere I was laid in my cave
Freely I scattered my gold.
Patrick, I tell thee it now,
If I chose my knowledge to give,
That 'tis not in my power to relate
How much of their joy I have seen.
I and the mass-book clerics,
Are two that can never agree.
Though this night so mournful I am,
I'm sad for the hill of Feine.

'Tis sad.

I NOW will tell thee, O Grainne

I NOW will tell thee, O Grainne,
What I have seen with Mac Cumhail.
The misery I suffer now
I cannot much longer endure.
I have seen sport and rejoicing
'Mongst those who now are despised.
I have seen maidens and men,
I now will tell thee, O Grainne.
Courtesy and cheerfulness too,
I've seen with feasts, steeds, and shouting.
I've seen the violin played,
I now will tell thee, O Grainne.
Great Caoilte and Mac Luy,
A couple who can't he despised,
We oft gained nought by their wrath.
I now will tell thee, O Grainne.
Gaul and Oscar and Ossian,
A brood who did nought by halves;
These all loved us well,
I now will tell thee, O Grainne.
Finn himself of fearless heart,
Whose weleome was always sure,
We've seen him cheerful too,
I now will tell thee, O Grainne.
I have in nine battles been,
To me no joy is now left.
Looking on nought but their graves,
I now will tell thee, O Grainne.
In wrath we crossed over hills,
And over Banva's fierce tops;
Then in singing their praise,
Employment was found for my lips.
We feared for nought in the valleys,
I now will tell thee, O Grainne.
I was both long time and short
Traversing Erin the fair;
We were famous and powerful then,
I now will tell thee, O Grainne.

I now will tell.

ONCE on a day there was in Dundalgin

ONCE on a day there was in Dundalgin,
Cuchullin of the handsome form;
Joy and merriment were his,
All his people were with him.
When from the drinking hall we rose,
We saw the whole of the Feine.
We strove from their hiding-place to raise
The flocks of birds in the two hills.
The most loved thing of all we had
Was the women of Clan Rury province.
The valley we were in was rough,
We drove the birds to its mouth,
In hopes that we might find a hero.
The father of Conlach chased
The birds with handsome Daoruing,
The sweet-spoken noble of Coll in Galway.
The well-formed sling was then used
With skill by great Cuchullin,
He with the arm of well-known strength;
The birds with speed he kills.
The game was then divided,
None was forgotten but Evir.
Evir took wrath for her share, 'Tis true that prudence was lacking.
'Twas promised her in reparation
That she should have the first birds slain,
Killed on the mountain side,
With the skill of the shot for her fired.
As they travelled they came to a place
Where poets were wont to resort;
Each of them wore round his neck
A chain of the purest gold.
The wife of Cuchullin fell in love
With one of our Ulster Fians,
With the willing and handsome friend
Who came from the Ulster bounds.
Evir of the weighty locks asks
Her agreement with Cuchullin,
That she should now have her birds,
Without excuse about them.
Twice or thrice did he shoot at
The wild birds, but missed his aim;
'Twas a victor's leap as he shot
Three shots amongst the birds.
The last blow he had struck ere then
Had pierced his own dear son.
Without joy, or women at feasts,
Had he been, as he sadly mourned.
For a whole year he did nought
But grieve for the hero now dead.
'Twas not tales of the Feine he sought,
But to have that tale rehearsed.
If the story men tell be true,
The Cu never ceased to grieve;
The blossomed branch whom women loved,
Sad and grievous was his state.
It happened at length of a time,
A few of the Feine met together.
Finn himself had joined the hunt,
And sent us in pairs to search.
I myself sat with Garry,
Side by side with the King.
Finn put the question to Garry,
As by the King's side he sat:
"Since that thou wert there,
"I will now pass my word,
Since to me the question thou putt'st,
That mine was the powerful arm
Which gave the first wound to Cumhal."
"That is a cold welcome for me,
Ye sons of Morn, as a follower;
'Tis hard indeed for me to bear,
To know that ye slew my father."
"If that be a cold welcome for yon,
Finn, son of Cumhal from Alvin,
Put aside pretended love,
And show your usual hatred."
"Should I now raise my arm,
Ye hated children of Morn,
I could do all I chose alone,
Without the help of any man."
"Ere ever thou had'st so moved,
Walking in the steps of thy father,
Lightly could we leap o'er streams,
Were it not for the wiles of Cumhal.
'Twas Cumhal got influence o'er us,
'Twas Cumhal oppressed us sore,
'Twas Cumhal that banished us far,
To the land of the stranger away.
Some he sent to Albin fair,
And some to Lochlin the dark,
The third band to Greece the white,
We all from each other were torn.
Sixteen years were we all
Severed from Erin; 'tis truth,
No small calamity was this,
Never each other to see.
The first day we set foot on shore
In Erin's isle, so much loved,
We slew, and it is no lie,
At least sixteen hundred men.
These all were slain by Clan Morn,
Their heroes and their chiefs;
There was not a man of them all
But such as their women would mourn.
With that their castles we seized,
We, the noble Clan of Morn,
Our race did bravely then
Before the men of Erin.
By thy hand, hero of the Feine,
There ne'er was seen, cast or west,
One thing to cloud my eye,
But seeing the slaughter there;
My heart became tender and soft
As I saw the terrible scene.
We all surrounded one house,
In Munster of the red towers;
But such was the strength of the man,
'Twas easier to find than to kill.
They slew on the opposite hill
All that lived of Cumhal's race.
We made a joint and rapid rush
To the house where Cumhal still was;
Each man of us gave a wound
With his spear to the body of Cumhal.
Though it was my lot to be there
At the time that Cumhal was slain,
For the deed which then was done,
Take vengeance now if you will."

Once on a day.