Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Metrical Dindshenchas (Author: [unknown])
- O thou that enterest the plain of Medb,
thy lays shall be fully remembered;
declare to the king of the rath, in my poor dwelling,
the story of Ath Luain of the goodly champions!
- 5] Ath Luain, what is the haunch that lies buried there?
whence comes the sure-clear name?
it was called Ath Mor, free from the craven spirit of defeat,
till it came by a change of appellation.
- A queen, strong in the prowess of a famous host,
10] gained the sovereignty of strong Connaught,
whose bitter name, spread far and wide,
was Medb daughter of Eochu Fedlech.
- Mate to the noble maiden, I ween,
was the son of Ross Ruad of Rairiu
15] (it was an honoured name over crumbling Bairenn),
Ailell son of Mata of Muresc.
- Three queens there were of fiery force
who had right comely consorts;
they had rights over a third of hearth and having:
20] theirs were not unions of a moment.
- Ailell, who was not unwise, was husband to Medb:
Macha lorded over Cimbaeth in like fashion:
Art, whose skill of spear was faultless,
was husband to Medb Lethderg of Liamain.
- 25] They performed deeds of daring
more than all the exalted kings:
thus, by labours of a host, was built
Emain, by Macha Mongruad.
- The feast of Tara, sore was the strife,
30] with plenty of feats and wonted riot,
was brought to impotent abasement
by Medb of the Gaileoin, with her pure beauty.
- The noble daughter of Eochu Fedlech, ruler of Fal,
Medb from cold inviolate Ednech,
35] in truth the fence of death never closed upon
a woman that was richer in store of lordly substance:
- Except for her being in want of the bull
that belonged to the king of Macha wild with mead:
even as her noble husband reproached her,
40] the son of the king of Leinster, the warrior-prince.
- Medb (out of her own household she was fit for war)
went raiding Cualnge of the hundreds,
when she fared on a path of peril against a warrior,
and bore off the wife of Conall Cernach.
- 45] When they had plundered pleasant Cualnge
by proud and pitiless doings
they changed their goal, to entrap
the bull of Daire son of Fiachru.
- The Dun Bull of Cualnge, comely was the splendid brute
50] was in the Heifer's Glen:
round him they drew a ring of reavers,
and made the Cattle-Raid to catch him.
- The people of Banba suffered hurt through the comely hero,
whose home was death and savagery:
55] he bound them in galling chains
for the space of three winter months.
- To many a band, to many a hundred of harmless people,
the host of Cruachan, eminent in fame,
brought death and dismay
60] by wide-spread sorrow for all afflictions.
- After Candlemas (rough was their herding)
came the unvanquished bull
to Cnoc Tarbga, dense resort of the people:
it was a dwelling of dread for many a man.
- 65] They made a proudly-matched pair,
the Dun Bull of Cualnge and the White-Horn,
before the eyes of a host (a wealthy dwelling)
about the rough-flanked hill of Tarbga.
- They fought a fierce combat on miry ground
70] on the seventh day of spring:
and the White-Horn fell therein
by the wild-wood bull of Sliab Fuait.
- Hence is named Tarbga in the north,
in a martial land excelling in kine,
75] from the battle of the beasts (pleasant path),
about which there were conflicts, noble sir!
- The Dun Bull scattered his bones and his body;
he bore each limb to a famous spot;
he carried with him to Ath Mor, where they abide,
80] his chine and his thigh.
- The noble name clung to it perpetually
thenceforth, Ath Luain of the vessels:
though if was once Ath Mor, with no soft and kindly beauty,
the chine gave it a new name, valiant sir!
- 85] The White Bull's hoof through treacherous crime
is at Lough Dige (Dige was a noble chief):
his two ribs a brilliant exploit,
the mighty Dun Bull bore to Mucfind.
- He bore his heart to Dun Cromm:
90] a fortress against frenzy was the great Dun Bull:
he strode with his haunch afar
to the noble tribe of Asal Abrat.
- He carried his buttock across his back, across his mane,
to Inis Glas of the bridles:
95] (they were wonders for a blind man almost to see)
he carried his cheek to Lecan.
- These are the famous fragments
left by the vast Dun Bull, of fierce Emain
of the White Bull of Cruachan with the spreading horns,
100] who was torn in fragments.
- On every spot where he bore a piece of him
abides its name thenceforward:
till the day of Doom it enjoys fair fame
beyond the haven of any ford, excellent sir!
- 105] O sinless Christ, love thou me
for the sake of Mary thy mother!
O King of this people that goeth toward death
thou art more exalted than any man!