Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Metrical Dindshenchas (Author: [unknown])

poem 4

Temair IV

  1. This world, transient its splendour!
    perishable gathering of an hundred hosts;
    deceitful to describe is the multitude of delights,
    save only the adoration of the King of all things.
  2. 5] Perished is every law concerning high fortune,
    crumbled to the clay is every ordinance;
    Temair, though she be desolate to-day,
    once on a time was the habitation of heroes.
  3. There was no exhaustion of her many-sided towers,
    10] where was the assembly of storied troops;
    many were the bands whose home was
    the green-soiled grassy keep.
  4. It was a stronghold of famous men and sages,
    a castle like a trunk with warrior-scions,
    15] a ridge conspicuous to view,
    in the time of Cormac grandson of Conn.
  5. Fair is the title that protects it,
    the name he chose [to mark it out] among cities;
    the Fort of Crofind, pen of victory,
    20] excels Boand, millstone of combat.

  6. p.31

  7. When Cormac was among the famous
    bright shone the fame of his career;
    no keep like Temair could be found;
    she was the goal of the world's road.
  8. 25] Strong before hosts was the might
    of this king who used to ride through Temair;
    better for us than tribes unnumbered
    is the tale of his household retinue.
  9. The great house with thousands of soldiers
    30] was not obscure to posterity;
    the shining fort with the choicest of the illustrious,
    seven hundred feet was its measure.
  10. Fierce folly did not hold sway over it,
    nor strictness of harsh wisdom;
    35] it was not too small for separation,
    six times five cubits was its height.
  11. Nine walls it had, fierce fight could not demolish,
    with nine ramparts round about them;
    with noble equipment of the noble scions,
    40] it was a fort illustrious and impregnable.
  12. The dwelling of the king, King over Erin,
    was a refuge, a keep, a fortress,
    whereon was poured out the sparkling wine,
    there were thrice fifty chambers in it.

  13. p.33

  14. 45] Thrice fifty heroes with coronets,—
    (it was a castle not foolish and brawling)
    that was the tale, according to the counts of fortresses,
    in every chamber of the number.
  15. Goodly was the throng in this wise,
    50] the gold gleamed from their weapons;
    thrice fifty stately couches there were,
    and fifty men to each shining couch.
  16. Seven cubits, an honest reckoning,
    before the crowded warlike company,
    55] with blazing torches burning,
    that was the measure of the hearth.
  17. Other seven, I have heard,
    made in truth a brightness beyond denial,
    majestic, notable, noble,
    60] beautiful chandeliers of brass.
  18. This sunny shining citadel,
    festive, martial, with cask-staves,
    therein, amid radiant hospitality,
    were doors twice seven in number.
  19. 65] This was the right of that king—
    a vessel from which that host would drink,
    a vast capacity was the full content thereof,
    three hundred draughts there were in that vessel.

  20. p.35

  21. Harmonious and stately was the carouse
    70] of the fiery chieftains and noblemen;—
    there were none neglected of the number;
    three hundred cupbearers dispensed the liquor.3
  22. Nine times fifty beakers to choose from;
    their abundance was a case of choice
    75] except what was carbuncle, clear and strong,
    all was gold and silver.
  23. Thrice fifty steaming cooks,
    in attendance unceasingly,
    with victuals, an abundant supply,
    80] on the jolly kings and chieftains.4
  24. Fifty noble stewards
    with the well-guarded honourable prince,
    fifty festive spruce lackeys,
    with [each] fifty of kingly champions.
  25. 85] Fifty men standing
    guarded the sturdy wolf,
    as long as the king was a-drinking,
    to ward off mischances for him.
  26. It was glory to the prince that was greatest,
    90] every day [his retinue] was more numerous;
    thirty hundreds whom he kept in attendance
    the son of Art counted daily.

  27. p.37

  28. The chief company of the good genuine poets
    who declared the rule of their assembly,
    95] along with the professors of every art in general,
    'tis certain whatever that company says is not folly.
  29. Let us tell in full tale the household
    of the house of Temair for posterity;
    this is their right number,
    100] thirty thousands in all.
  30. When Cormac was in Temair,
    beyond all high prowess for his great might,
    a kingly equal to the son of Art Oenfer
    was not to be found among the men of the world.
  31. 105] Cormac, fair of form,
    was the firm set foundation of the kingdom;
    he was born of white-skinned Echtach,
    [he was] son of the daughter of Ulc Acha.
  32. Since Solomon was a-searching
    110] who was better than all progenies together,
    has any progeny like Cormac
    enjoyed the world?

  33. p.39