Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Metrical Dindshenchas (Author: [unknown])
- This world, transient its splendour!
perishable gathering of an hundred hosts;
deceitful to describe is the multitude of delights,
save only the adoration of the King of all things.
- 5] Perished is every law concerning high fortune,
crumbled to the clay is every ordinance;
Temair, though she be desolate to-day,
once on a time was the habitation of heroes.
- There was no exhaustion of her many-sided towers,
10] where was the assembly of storied troops;
many were the bands whose home was
the green-soiled grassy keep.
- It was a stronghold of famous men and sages,
a castle like a trunk with warrior-scions,
15] a ridge conspicuous to view,
in the time of Cormac grandson of Conn.
- Fair is the title that protects it,
the name he chose [to mark it out] among cities;
the Fort of Crofind, pen of victory,
20] excels Boand, millstone of combat.
- When Cormac was among the famous
bright shone the fame of his career;
no keep like Temair could be found;
she was the goal of the world's road.
- 25] Strong before hosts was the might
of this king who used to ride through Temair;
better for us than tribes unnumbered
is the tale of his household retinue.
- The great house with thousands of soldiers
30] was not obscure to posterity;
the shining fort with the choicest of the illustrious,
seven hundred feet was its measure.
- Fierce folly did not hold sway over it,
nor strictness of harsh wisdom;
35] it was not too small for separation,
six times five cubits was its height.
- Nine walls it had, fierce fight could not demolish,
with nine ramparts round about them;
with noble equipment of the noble scions,
40] it was a fort illustrious and impregnable.
- The dwelling of the king, King over Erin,
was a refuge, a keep, a fortress,
whereon was poured out the sparkling wine,
there were thrice fifty chambers in it.
- 45] Thrice fifty heroes with coronets,
(it was a castle not foolish and brawling)
that was the tale, according to the counts of fortresses,
in every chamber of the number.
- Goodly was the throng in this wise,
50] the gold gleamed from their weapons;
thrice fifty stately couches there were,
and fifty men to each shining couch.
- Seven cubits, an honest reckoning,
before the crowded warlike company,
55] with blazing torches burning,
that was the measure of the hearth.
- Other seven, I have heard,
made in truth a brightness beyond denial,
majestic, notable, noble,
60] beautiful chandeliers of brass.
- This sunny shining citadel,
festive, martial, with cask-staves,
therein, amid radiant hospitality,
were doors twice seven in number.
- 65] This was the right of that king
a vessel from which that host would drink,
a vast capacity was the full content thereof,
three hundred draughts there were in that vessel.
- Harmonious and stately was the carouse
70] of the fiery chieftains and noblemen;
there were none neglected of the number;
three hundred cupbearers dispensed the liquor.3
- Nine times fifty beakers to choose from;
their abundance was a case of choice
75] except what was carbuncle, clear and strong,
all was gold and silver.
- Thrice fifty steaming cooks,
in attendance unceasingly,
with victuals, an abundant supply,
80] on the jolly kings and chieftains.4
- Fifty noble stewards
with the well-guarded honourable prince,
fifty festive spruce lackeys,
with [each] fifty of kingly champions.
- 85] Fifty men standing
guarded the sturdy wolf,
as long as the king was a-drinking,
to ward off mischances for him.
- It was glory to the prince that was greatest,
90] every day [his retinue] was more numerous;
thirty hundreds whom he kept in attendance
the son of Art counted daily.
- The chief company of the good genuine poets
who declared the rule of their assembly,
95] along with the professors of every art in general,
'tis certain whatever that company says is not folly.
- Let us tell in full tale the household
of the house of Temair for posterity;
this is their right number,
100] thirty thousands in all.
- When Cormac was in Temair,
beyond all high prowess for his great might,
a kingly equal to the son of Art Oenfer
was not to be found among the men of the world.
- 105] Cormac, fair of form,
was the firm set foundation of the kingdom;
he was born of white-skinned Echtach,
[he was] son of the daughter of Ulc Acha.
- Since Solomon was a-searching
110] who was better than all progenies together,
has any progeny like Cormac
enjoyed the world?