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

poem 14

Bend Etair I

  1. Etar, forehead to the flood,
    the hundred-strong barrier of the people of Cualu,
    there is no attempt made on Erin
    without a roar of green seas against his shoulder.
  2. 5] His right shoulder fronts the Dothra:
    the Ruirthech dashes wildly against his side,
    onset of the flood-tide, wave of the ebb,
    furious are the seas against the shore.
  3. A number of the poets who were the first
    10] loved a commentary on every song
    in the legend that chanted to them
    the reason why the name of Etar was given.
  4. The warrior's grave overlooks the water
    above the point of the deadly-foolish deed;
    15] the death of Bethi came by the violent folly
    of Aes son of Etair son of Etbaith.
  5. The son of Etbaith whose is the inheritance,
    a great chieftain, known as far as the shores of Alba,
    found a wife

    20] she was Mairg from Sliab Marga.
  6. She was a fit mother of children for him;
    she used to cast a golden chain about him:
    the sea should not drown him while he wore it,
    nor should spear-points of battle be able to wound him.
  7. 25] Thence came the name (not in falsehood
    does every poet in succession relate it
    on this side and that about the sea)
    the pliant Chain of the modest wife of Etar.

  8. p.107

  9. His family were foolish at the first
    30] they were there

    he had a son that was not hers,
    she had a daughter that was not his.
  10. They went over the sounding sea
    for a swimming match
    35] the son who brought about sorrow there
    and the illustrious daughter.
  11. Aes, a mighty wave drowned him,
    his folly betrayed him, — lasting frenzy —
    at the meeting under the wave's roof
    40] with the daughter of Crimthand of Cualu.
  12. There came the beast, an active combat,
    toward them through the level sea:
    the Point of Aes' Head, if it should be seen
    Bethe's Ear is over the Liffey-Pool.
  13. 45] They left a son sound and lusty
    (did Aes and fair trusty Bethe) —
    Dond son of Aes, who loved forays,
    a man whose daughter was Elta.
  14. Elta, fierce plain covered with warriors,
    50] the pure level with hundreds of men
    the grave of the nobles of the Greeks
    behold it in front of Etar!
  15. When Athirne the cruel came
    he abode in the rich mountain:
    55] seven hundred kine, red-eared, pure white,
    he carried off as a gift to him from the Leinstermen.
  16. Boldly came the Leinstermen
    to bring back the tribute;
    eastward to Sliab Etar by the shore
    60] to sack it over the poet.

  17. p.109

  18. Conor mac Nessa came,
    seven hundred with him in fierceness of might,
    to dispute the choice cattle,
    with the red sons of Ross.
  19. 65] Mag Elta was filled with curraghs
    round Conchobar to help him,
    in the straits in which the Ulstermen were;
    they took bright Etar against the Leinstermen.
  20. Messdia, in his boyish strength, gave
    70] the promise — it was a chance shot struck him,
    so that the poet Find drowned him
    as he was drinking a draught from the well.
  21. The Ulstermen shouted when was drowned
    Messdia who was a white-fingered man;
    75] the Ulstermen who were not subdued inflicted defeat
    on the four provinces of the Gaels.
  22. They drank up the pool, a spot not narrow,
    in Mag Find after the great hardships;
    without water flowing in pure streams
    80] was Boyne on the morrow.
  23. It was after the slaughter of the wounded hosts
    he carried off with him his white herd, prize of deeds;
    Athirne went his way and was not hurt
    through the protection of the Ulstermen, O Etar.

  24. p.111