Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Metrical Dindshenchas (Author: [unknown])
- What company asks us the legend
of the Road of Dalo the affable,
of the strong man, unsubdued
till he met the ring of battle in an evil hour?
- 5] Dalo from shielded Scythia,
son of Edlec, head of many chiefs,
was here, busy with plunder and fierce fight,
with raiding and ceaseless ravage.
- Four of them came over sea,
10] the family of puissant Edlec,
fleeing before the green-shielded Scythians,
because hostings were constantly dreaded.
- Dalo, who was unhurt in battle,
and Cannan skilled in stern arts,
15] Cre and Caire a band of kindred,
swift and mighty were the famous four.
- Dalo died when he grew feeble,
when he met trouble and outrage,
so that from him, though low is his resting-place,
20] the Road got its royal name.
- At his ramparts, in a paltry fight in sooth,
fell the warrior Cannan;
this chieftain possessed in the north
Cluain Cannain in Crich Ele.
- 25] Wife of Dala was Ore of the forays,
neither unseemly nor cheerless of mien
till she met betrayal and sorrow in this life
at the Wood rich in blessings.
- Caire was wife of stern Cannan,
30] with a fringe to her poll right red:
at Dun Cairin of a hundred feastings
she met death and surcease.
- This is her just portion
after ceasing from effort and ill-doings,
35] as through her fair maintenance she gained
her dwelling place with its story.
- I have an array of judgments,
of melodies and staves in order fair;
I know the just claim and the cause,
40] even the story of the roads of noble Banba.
- Five roads of Erin with no sinister fame,
the Great Road, the Road of Cualu,
the Road of Dalo strong and cunning,
and the Road of Midluachair:
- 45] The Road of Assal, son of Dor Donn,
in great Conn's great land of Meath,
the fifth Road green of hue:
as for it, not new is its story.
- They were hidden, inaccessible,
50] in the days of Fianna and Fomore,
till the birth of Conn of the hundred fights
the ancient prince's path was not discovered.
- Since Conn the faultless was born
ye can see them and know them;
55] thanks to the five who fixed them,
young men are riding over them.
- There was a ban against going to Temair
to a banquet after sunset by strict custom:
to him that was under ban there was clamour (raised against him)
60] toward the feast of Temair.
- Samain night with its ancient lore
was occasion for new and merry custom:
it was learned in deserts,
in oakwoods, from spirits, and fairy folk.
- 65] Reavers from Meath, many their horses,
gave unequal conflict to Assal:
they pursued the grandson of keen Domblas,
when he found the good smooth sward.
- Midluachair, sprightlier than any treasure,
70] was son to Damairne, fair of form:
Damairne, with special fame in love,
was son of Deccrach, son of Diupaltach.
- The grandson of the king of muttering Brub
Brain Midluachair son of Damairne,
75] a chief with kinsmen in his dwelling,
found the road of the heroes of old.
- Setna Seccderg, hewer of a host,
son of fiery-fierce Durbaide,
a man safe from obscurity or treachery,
80] the druids of Irmumu were round him.
- Fleeing before them (whom he had vexed)
the bright-handed son of Durbaide,
in making for warriors from Temair
found the road of high-hearted Dalo.
- 85] The son of Eogabal skilled in bloody arts,
famed for deeds of valour ever new,
found the road of old battle-weapons
in the land of Cualu of the hosts.
- The rod that divides Erin in two
90] was Escir Riada (the division was made not by a victor's spear),
whose name, held in bright renown,
was the Great Road, greater than any tilled plain.
- Nar son of Oengus Airgthech,
from the land of Umall, strong in horse-chariots,
95] found the Road of the grey-blue blades
before the tribes of the fair-faced Domnanns.
- In this wise were discovered
the roads, the ancient mearings,
as I found their high origin,
100] their traditional rights, their local legends.