Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Metrical Dindshenchas (Author: [unknown])

poem 5


  1. Behold the grave of martial Niall
    over the hill-side keen, ..., strong
    here, by the side of the track of the hosts
    he found a cold couch in the soil.
  2. 5] Niall, son of Eochu, whose is the grave,
    went seven times swiftly across the main;
    he extended the heritage of Conn
    till he was slain above the surf of the Ictian sea.
  3. When the grim folk said from the rampart,
    10] "We desire to look on the king that owns us,"
    uprose thereupon the prince erect,
    the being that was proudest under heaven.
  4. Eochu, that was the name of the man
    of the numerous Leinstermen, a hand of venom;
    15] in the side of Niall, the white-shouldered,
    he lodged his spear, in presence of the hosts.
  5. Though the Leinsterman achieved yonder,
    in concert with the violent grasping Saxons,
    the slaying of the king after his great voyage,
    20] strange the wonder that was wrought there.
  6. Whenas trouble or danger came upon them
    he would be raised aloft (potent the treasure):
    it was a true king's act after doom of death,
    the breaking of seven battles before his face.

  7. p.39

  8. 25] A just word spake Niall,
    when he was slain on the sea by stealth,
    in the spot where Niall's tomb was built,
    that their hostages should be dismissed homeward.
  9. Thereafter they were sent free
    30] over the green stormy sea (wild its warfare)
    hostages of the Saxons (they were a great and comely company)
    hostages of the Franks, hostages of the Romans from the south.
  10. Westward from Tara came
    the warrior band of his warlike powerful retinue:
    35] thence was called, after grief and beating of breasts,
    great Ochan of the following of Niall.
  11. There parted in high Ochan
    one from another the noblest in rank,
    Leinstermen, Munstermen, (he caused them grief)
    40] men of Connaught, men of Ulster, the Fir Lí and Fir Luirg.
  12. A hero united them, who was king;
    not weak was his frame in this world:
    it was a short space from Niall assembly of waves
    till came the blessed Faith of God.
  13. 45] His sons thereafter divided
    the island of Art, who was a wonder of a man,
    it is to them their hostages shall be brought
    so long as clouds shall be round the white sun.

  14. p.41

  15. The two Conalls, Eogan in the north,
    50] Fiachu, Cairpre, Mane the gentle,
    Enna, who was the rallying-point of the host,
    it got Loegaire for king.
  16. The King that brought them under the silence of earth,
    woe to him that worships him not in his lifetime!
    55] he divided the Red Sea in two parts,
    it was through fear of the Lord's folk.
  17. The children of the son of Cairenn, who stride through the battlefield,
    to whom men were obedient altogether,
    against the multitude of young men and horses
    60] none could succour them save the Son of God.
  18. After them came to the East a weapon-loving champion,
    Dathi who was headstrong in his day;
    not weak was his muster at the meeting-place;
    he divided the world in two.
  19. 65] The descendant that is best above the bright-hued soil6
    of all that sprang from Niall (splendid assembly),
    is Colum Cille, who possessed Iona,
    the noblest living man that is in the house of God.

  20. p.43