Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Lebor na Cert (Author: unknown)

section 7



    1. Benén has stated the rights of the kings of Leinster
      as he found them in the judgement of an author,
      the amount that the king of each tribe
      is entitled to as stipend for his wisdom.
    2. When the high-king of Leinster
      of the green lakes is not king of all Ireland,
      he is to be allowed to lead the van
      into each strong country by the king of temperate Ireland.
    3. Ten slaves to the warrior king of Leinster,
      ten fast dogs with keen sight,
      ten hides washed by the waves,
      ten ships, and ten coats of mail.
    4. Thirty rings, fifty swords,
      a hundred brown horses with sheltering cloths,
      fifty hoods—not mere spoil—
      ten horns, and ten royal mantles.
    5. Six horns, six rings to Uí Fhaeláin,
      six mantles in that place,
      six swift horses with their trappings;
      though it be claimed, it is not by kinship (?).
    6. A hundred horses from him to the chieftain Tomar,
      a hundred cows for a stipend,
      thirty women with large families,
      a hundred swords,—an onerous gift.
    7. Eight ships from the warrior to the prince of Cualu,
      with sails of fine cloth,
      eight horns, eight swords...
      eight tunics, eight gold embroidered mantles.

    8. p.107

    9. Seven shields and seven horses
      to the king of the Fortuatha after drinking a cup of wine,
      seven horns of mead to the ruler,
      seven swords—do not find fault with them.
    10. Six tunics to the king of the Inber,
      six swift bounding stags,
      six coats of mail, six ships,
      and six well-made brown horses.
    11. Seven horses to the fair Uí Fheilmeda,
      fierce devilish men,
      five curved horns, five cloaks,
      and five mantles as you remember.
    12. A hundred cows to the valiant Uí Chendselaig,
      a hundred horses are bestowed upon the tribe,
      ten ships, ten bridles, ten saddles,
      and ten bracelets that are displayed.
    13. Six bracelets are given to the king of Raíriu,
      and reckon too six royal chargers,
      six mantles to be sent to the hero,
      and six slaves to this warrior.
    14. Eight swords, eight drinking-horns
      from the king of valiant Carman,
      eight horses with glossy manes
      to the king of Fothairt Osnada.
    15. Eight horses to Uí Drona in Dind Gabra
      from the king's hand with bounty,
      eight hounds for killing the stag,
      eight swords for battle.
    16. Eight horses to Uí Boirche for their vigour
      —not much for men of their prowess—
      eight horns, eight women whom he has not dishonoured
      and eight spirited slaves.

    17. p.109

    18. Eight horses to the noisy Uí Buide,
      proud, sleek, with fine heads:
      their king is entitled to three rings
      and three sets of chess from the king of Gabal.
    19. The warrior king of Laigse is entitled
      to eight horses, eight ready keen-sighted hounds,
      eight shields by which weapons are scattered,
      eight mantles, eight coats of mail.
    20. Six horses they assign to Uí Chrimthannáin,
      six oxen in good...
      six horns to be in their hands,
      six mantles without error.
    21. Ten shields, ten horns, and ten swords,
      ten rings without error,
      to the king of the race of Failge son of Cathaír
      without reproach—it is good profit.
    22. Those are the stipends of the warriors of Leinster,
      like fair fruit from a pure hand,
      from the high king of Gabal and Gabrán;
      the statement is complete.

Here are the rents and refections of the Laigin

Upon the Foreigners is charged the first part of this rent, seven hundred flitches, seven hundred boars, seven hundred wethers, seven hundred oxen, seven hundred cows, and seven hun- dred cloaks, that is from the Foreigners. Two hundred milch cows, a hundred boars, and a hundred cloaks from the Fortuatha of the Laigin. Síl Fiachach and Síl Rosa Failge pay only the refection of one night to the king of the Laigin, if he goes east to meet the Foreigners or north against the Uí Néill or south against Munster.


But the subject families of their territories render a hundred beeves, a hundred cows, a hundred boars, and a hundred flitches. Two hundred cows, two hundred cloaks, and two hundred oxen from the seven Fothairt. Seven hundred cows, seven hundred boars, seven hundred wethers, and seven hundred beeves, that is from the seven Laígse of the Laigin. Two hundred beeves, two hundred cows, and two hundred cloaks from the Osraige. That is from the free tribes of the Laigin.

The services of scavenging, mending, bathing, and washing the head are provided by the husbandmen of the lowest degrees of the Féni among them. Purple and scarlet, and red thread and grey thread and white wool and madder (?) and bindén are provided by the higher husbandmen. If they abscond, there is double liability on them.

Those rents are paid every third year, besides the chief rent of the king of Ireland ut supra diximus. And of them the sage Benén sang:

    1. Hear, ye warlike Laigin,
      a tradition that is not trivial
      about the worthy rent to which
      the king of Cualu is entitled.
    2. Seven hundred flitches, seven hundred boars,
      seven hundred oxen, seven hundred good wethers,
      seven hundred cloaks, and seven hundred cows
      from the tribes of the Foreigners in one day
    3. He is entitled to a hundred cloaks,
      it is no lie, a hundred boars, a goodly flock,
      and two hundred lively milch cows
      from the kindreds of the Fortuatha
    4. No rent—a fair compact—
      is due from the valiant Uí Chenn-sealaig,
      but only from the sturdy stranger-families
      that use their grass and land

    5. p.113

    6. The valiant Uí Failge pay
      neither cumal nor rent nor tax
      to the king of the Laigin if he goes on a journey,
      save a night's re-fection in hospitality
    7. A hundred beeves and a hundred cows
      are brought to the king by every other tribe,
      a hundred boars and a hundred flitches
      from these subject families
    8. From the Fothairt are due
      two hundred tawny cows,
      two hundred cloaks as tribute and
      two hundred rough oxen for the yoke
    9. Two hundred beeves, a great portion,
      two hundred cloaks, two hundred milch cows,
      two hundred wethers, a good help,
      from the Lagin of Deasgabair
    10. Seven hundred cows from the active Laígse,
      seven hundred boars spread over the tribes,
      seven hundred beeves to the plain of the Laigin,
      seven hundred wethers across the sandy soil
    11. Those are the rents of the tribes of householders
      from the Laigin to their king.
      Let him not be reckoned a sage who will not declare it aright,
      and everyone should hear
    12. The freemen's rents, as they have been proclaimed,
      are those that we have told thus far;
      they are due from the free families
      who occupy land outside (the royal demesne ?)
    13. The subject families, loss without regret,
      who occupy hiss own demesne,
      must bring to the forts
      of the high-king a subject's rent

    14. p.115

    15. The rent that is due from them
      is the service of scavenging,
      the mending of his cloaks, lasting service,
      service of bathing and washing of the head
    16. There are due from the best of them
      scarlet and purple of good strength,
      red thread, white wool,
      I shall not conceal it, yellow madder and bindén
    17. The subject families of base degree
      who abscond to avoid the rent of their land,
      must pay twice as much as they gave
      from the ancestral land
    18. The poet who does not know
      his rents and stipends
      is not strictly entitled to hospitality
      from any provincial king in Ireland
    19. The poet who knows exactly
      both stipend and rent is entitled to respect,
      hospitality and wealth from every king
      to whom he has come. Hearken!