Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Lebor na Cert (Author: unknown)

section 5

The wages and stipends of the Ulaid


The king of the Ulaid first, when he is not himself king of Ireland, is entitled to sit beside the king of Ireland and to be first in his council and retinue so long as he is with the king of Ireland. And when they part, fifty swords, fifty horses, fifty cloaks, fifty hoods, fifty hides (?), fifty coats of mail, thirty bracelets, ten hounds, ten mantles, ten horns, ten ships, twenty handfuls of herbs, and twenty gulls' eggs to the king of the Ulaid—all of that every three years.

The king of the Ulaid distributes a stipend to his kings as follows: twenty horns, twenty swords, twenty hounds, twenty slaves, twenty horses, twenty cloaks, twenty matail, and twenty cumals from the king of the Ulaid to the king of Dál nAraide. Three horses, three slaves, three women, and three ships to the king of Dál Riata. Four ships, four slaves, and four horses to the king of the Airther. Six slaves, six horses, six horns, and six swords to the king of Uí Erca Chéin. Eight horns, eight horses, and eight slaves to the king of Dál mBuinde. Eight slaves, eight horses with silver bridles to the king of Uí Blaithmeic. Two bracelets, ten ships, ten horses, ten bridles, and ten hides(?) to the king of Duibthrian. Eight ships, eight slaves, eight horses, eight horns, and eight cloaks to the king of the Arda. Eight slaves, eight women, eight horses, and eight ships to the king of Leth Cathail. Three horses, three mantles, three horns, and


three hounds to the king of Boirche. Ten horns, ten swords, ten ships, and ten cloaks to the king of Coba. Six horns, ten ships, ten horses, and ten tunics to the king of Muirthemne. And it is to maintain those rights that Benén composed this:
    1. Here are the revenues of the Ulaid
      without penalty or bad origin,
      as stipends are paid yonder
      by the king of blessed Boirche.
    2. When he is not king of all Ireland,
      the king of the hard-smiting Ulaid is entitled,
      when in Tara of the steadings,
      to sit next to the king of Banba rich in cattle.
    3. Fifty swords, fifty shields,
      fifty cloaks, fifty grey horses,
      fifty hoods, fifty hides (?),
      and fifty well-fitting coats of mail;
    4. Thirty bracelets in truth,
      ten hounds and ten mantles,
      ten horns with handsome handles
      and ten fine ships;
    5. Twenty gull's eggs, twenty handfuls
      of herbs from the sea-shore,
      twenty bridles with splendid ornament
      of precious stones;
    6. That is the stipend to which the king
      of populous Cuailnge yonder is entitled
      every third year, no foolish boast,
      from the king of Fótla of heathy wastes.
    7. Twenty horns, twenty swords, twenty hounds
      —it is a burden—twenty slaves,
      care-free gaiety, and twenty horses
      used to hosting;

    8. p.89

    9. Twenty cloaks, no small matter,
      twenty mantles of soft colour,
      twenty horns, and twenty women
      to the valiant king of Dál nAraide.
    10. The stipend of the king of Dál Riata
      is three black horses well trained,
      three women, three full-grown slaves,
      and three stout ships.
    11. The stipend of the king of the Airther
      is four slaves who will not kill (?),
      four fine brown horses,
      and four handsome ships.
    12. The king of Uí Erca Céin is entitled
      to six horses shining in the sun,
      six fighting swords, six horns,
      and six merry slaves.
    13. The king of bright Dál mBuinde is entitled
      to eight horns, eight cups, eight slaves,
      eight valuable women,
      and eight horses for racing.
    14. The stipend of the king of Uí Blaithmic
      is eight comely slaves...,
      eight horses from the mountains, not stolen,
      with bridles of old silver.
    15. The stipend of the king of fierce Duibthrian
      is two bracelets, ten horses,ten bridles,
      ten hides which a host cannot pierce (?),
      and ten ships on Loch Cuan.
    16. The stipend of the king of the Arda
      is eight foreign slaves,
      eight mettlesome horses, eight horns,
      eight cornered cloaks, and eight ships.

    17. p.91

    18. The king of Leth Cathail is entitled
      to eight slaves without hardship, eight women,
      eight brown horses at his fort,
      eight curved horns for passing around.
    19. The valiant king of Boirche is entitled
      to three big horses of mettle,
      three cloaks, three horns,
      and three handsome pure white hounds.
    20. The stipend of the king of victorious Mag Coba is ten horns,
      ten wounding swords,
      ten ships which a host mans,
      and ten gold-bordered cloaks.
    21. The proud king of Muirthemne is entitled
      to six horns for drinking ale,
      ten ships for the warrior of Elga,
      ten horses, and ten red tunics.
    22. Remember every day and night
      the tradition of the kings
      of Cuailnge and Boirche.
      Benén in his time established those rights as they are.

{MS page 199d}

The refections and rents of the tribes of the Ulaid

His first refection is in Ráith Mór Maige Line: that is three hundred beeves and three hundred cloaks from Line. A hundred and fifty oxen from Dál Riata and a hundred and fifty boars; a hundred and fifty cows, and a hundred and fifty cloaks from Semne. Two hundred boars and two hundred cows from the Lathairne. A hundred cows, a hundred cloaks, and a hundred wethers from Crotraige. A hundred cows, a hundred wethers, and a hundred boars from the Brétach. A hundred beeves, a hundred wethers, and a hundred boars from the Fortuatha. A hundred and fifty beeves and a hundred and fifty boars from the Monaig. Three hundred oxen and three hundred cows from Duibthrian. Three hundred boars and three hundred cloaks from Leth Cathail. That is his maintenance from the free tribes apart from his subject tribes.


He has a right also to provision by them of milk, ale and needlework in plenty. And of this Benén sang as follows:

    1. I will proclaim, a noble story,
      the rights of the king of Emain
      and the Ulaid against his battalions
      on Mag Macha.
    2. Three hundred beeves from Mag Line,
      no rash saying,
      and three hundred cows,
      is the faultless judgement awarded by you.
    3. He is entitled to a hundred and fifty
      oxen from Dál Riata and
      a hundred and fifty fat pigs
      that have had no young.
    4. A hundred and fifty splendid cloaks from Semne
      —announce it to all—
      and a hundred and fifty fine cows
      of the herd...
    5. From the bare Lathairne, it is no lie,
      he is entitled to two hundred boars
      with curved tusks,
      and two hundred cows.
    6. From Crotraige of the ships are due
      —remember it—a hundred wethers,
      a hundred cows—may it be no bad herd!—
      and a hundred cloaks.
    7. A hundred wethers,
      a hundred cows from the Brétach,
      a harsh tale, a hundred boars
      in flocks, as I shall declare.

    8. p.95

    9. A hundred wethers from the high Fortuatha,
      a hundred beeves, a hundred boars,
      if he renders them,
      and a hundred cloaks.
    10. A hundred and fifty beeves
      from the Monaig—let it not be slow—
      a hundred and fifty boars
      with straight ...
    11. Three hundred goodly oxen are due
      from Duibthrian,
      and three hundred cows with their ...
      to the king.
    12. Three hundred boars from the tribes of Cathal
      —it is not hard—and three hundred
      goodly cloaks well coloured
      are due in the north.
    13. Those are his rents to maintain him.
      Hear ye, apart from
      the common people,
      what are his rights.