Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Metrical Dindshenchas (Author: [unknown])
- On a morning the Hound of the Smith
was on the strong rampart of Dun Delga
keeping cold watch for combat,
to pursue hosts on the march.
- 5] And he saw the cold cliff-bound sea
covered with a monstrous marvellous host
the man of devices paid no heed
in flocks, in great droves.
- They filled the sea-plain with their gathering
10] the bright-winged enormous host:
they sang a joyless strain
on their ceaseless rapid course.
- It was a world of grief to hear
their calling, and their hoarse cries:
15] full loathly and uncomely
was the sight of their black forms.
- Thrice three fifties in the flock;
full plain to see was their multitude:
black as long-lived scaldcrow
20] the cowl of each dusky bird.
- Gross their bodies and their legs:
they paddled the sea with their feet:
long as a sail on the thwarts
were the wings of each bird, past dispute.
- 25] Handbreadths thrice seven displays
the beak of each cruel bird:
seven cubits of the forearm I counted
in the girth of their necks.
- Against them turned fierce valour!
30] the Hound of battles and encounters:
the fiery hero slew them with his sling,
with frenzy and fury.
- Thereupon he slew them all entirely,
the evil formidable fowls,
35] across every inlet, with fulness of fame,
to the last surviving raven.
- He severed its neck from its shoulders;
he bathed his hands in its blood;
the cunning hero wove each mystic sign;
40] he laid the bill on the ancient rock.
- Hence is it called the Raven's Bill,
(every secret meaning is seen by reference to an exploit)
from the deed of the Hound that slept not
(long the measure) any early morning.