Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Táin Bó Cúalnge from the Book of Leinster (Author: [unknown])

section 18

Cú Chulainn was seized by great depression that day for that he fought single-handed on the Foray of Cúailnge. And he ordered his charioteer Láeg to go to the men of Ulster and bid them come to defend their cattle. And great dejection and weariness took possession of Cú Chulainn

"And ... Chulainn", translating ST

and he uttered these verses:


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Cú Chulainn

¶1] Go forth from me, O Láeg. Let the hosts be roused. Tell them for me in strong Emain that each day in battle I am weary, and I am wounded and bloody.

¶2] My right side and my left—hard to appraise either of them. It was no physician's hand which smote them [gap: text untranslated/extent: 1 line].

¶3] Tell noble Conchobor that I am weary, wounded sore in my side. Greatly has Dechtire's dear son, he of many retinues, changed in appearance.

¶4] I am here all alone guarding the flocks, not only do I not let them not go, but neither can I hold them. In evil plight I am and not in good, as I stand alone at many fords.

¶5] A drop of blood drips from my weapon. I am sorely wounded. No friend comes to me in alliance or to help, my only friend is my charioteer.

¶6] If but few sing here for me, a single horn rejoices not. But if many horns make music, then the sound is sweeter.

¶7] This is a proverb known to many generations: a single log does not flame. But if there were two or three, their firebrands would blaze.

¶8] A single log is not easily burnt unless you get another to kindle it. One man alone is treacherously dealt with. A single millstone is ineffective.

¶9] Have you not heard at every time that one man alone is treacherously dealt with? I speak truth. But what cannot be endured is the harrying of a great army.

¶10] However few the band, care is spent on them. The provision for an army is not cooked on a single fork—that is a similitude for it.

¶11] I am alone before the host at the ford by the end of Tír Mór. I was outnumbered when attacked by Lóch together with Bodb, according to the prophecies of Táin Bó Regomna.


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¶12] Lóch has mangled my hips; the shaggy, russet she-wolf has bitten me. Lóch has wounded my liver; the eel has overthrown me.

¶13] With my spearlet I warded off the she-wolf and destroyed her eye. I broke her legs at the beginning of this mortal combat.

¶14] Láeg sent Aífe's spear downstream, a swift (?) cast. I threw the strong, sharp spear by which Lóch mac Emonis perished.

¶15] Why do not the Ulstermen give battle to Ailill and the daughter of Eochu? While I am here in sorrow, wounded and bloody as I am.

¶16] Tell the great Ulstermen to come and guard their drove. The sons of Mága have carried off their cows and divided them out amongst them.

¶17] I pledge a pledge which holds, and has been fulfilled. I pledge by the honour of the Hound, that not one shall come to me as I stand alone.

¶18] But vultures are joyful in the camp of Ailill and Medb. Sad are the cries [gap: text untranslated/extent: 1 word] at their shout on Mag Muirthemne.

¶19] Conchobor comes not forth until his numbers be sufficient. While thus he is not joyful, it is harder to reckon his anger.

That is the Fight of Lóch Mór mac Mo Femis with Cú Chulainn on the Foray of Cúailnge.