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

poem 1


Rath Esa

  1. Here settled, as we believe,
    after coming to a goal eagerly sought,
    the daughter of Eochaid Airem
    and of Etain the noble.
  2. 5] Esa was the name of the maid,
    from her is Rath Esa called:
    a hundred of every sort of beast without abatement
    were brought by her, it was a choice tribute.
  3. Midir's fosterling the fair woman was
    10] with wine and mead to drink;
    nine years did the maiden spend
    at Bri Leith with the spirit of a handmaid.
  4. In spite of Eochaid Airem
    Midir bore off the festive Etain
    15] from Fremand, though bright of brow;
    so she left mournful Banba.
  5. Said Codal of the withered foot:
    "Ye need not to search for her;
    in Bri Leith is the beginning of our search;
    20] 'tis thither she has gone a-wooing."
  6. By the side of Eochaid Airem
    came the hosts of noble Erin
    from Fremand, though bright of brow,
    to sack bright Bri Leith.

  7. p.5

  8. 25] Nine years were they about that sacking;
    its speed was none too great.
    Midir at this forcible entry,
    he was busy destroying the work.
  9. After the sack of the fairy fort
    30] there came fifty hardy men,
    (shapely was that tribe)
    to talk with the lance-bearing kings.
  10. Then were brought on a Wednesday
    ('twas a famous tale, I have heard)
    35] to Eochaid, in form like Etain,
    thrice fifty women, excellent might!
  11. From them he chose out
    his own right pure daughter;
    false was the declaration Midir made
    40] that this was the bargain agreed upon.
  12. She it was bare Mes Buachalla
    mother of friendly Conaire,
    (it was a subtle ... affair),
    she reared her to be over Eber's high race.
  13. 45] When Eochaid went again
    to sack bright Bri Leith,
    he bore off his wife, having reunited with her,
    from Midir–glorious feat!
  14. 'Twas then he demanded
    50] his honour–fine from Midir–
    did Eochaid the upright, the fair and strong–
    and obtained it after award by law.

  15. p.7

  16. This is the fourfold demand
    that Eochaid Airem made,
    55] with many a distinguished company,
    with tale of shields and swords:
  17. To build a causeway across the bog of Lamraige,
    to plant a wood growing wild over Brefne,
    to clear stones from the Bottoms of great Mide,
    60] and to set rushes over Tebtha.
  18. "O daughter, demand of me,"
    said Eochaid; "tell me now
    which fortress of my fortresses thou desirest,
    and it shall be bestowed on thee by me."
  19. 65] Then it was she chose
    Rath Esa, a precinct with a fair lawn,
    a seat whence she would keep watch,
    whence she might see the three fortresses.
  20. The Mound of Brug of the roads,
    70] one of three fortresses built aright, fit for a hundred,
    Duma Giall in Tara,
    fair Dun Crimthaind in Howth.
  21. Then was the Rath bestowed
    by Eochaid–a word without delusion–
    75] with everything she demanded
    with plenty of treasures therein.
  22. Midir after the expiry of truce
    came about the bold award
    to Eochaid once more,
    80] about the same just business.

  23. p.9

  24. Midir prayed the noble prince
    for the strong keep where was begotten1
    Sigmall, his daughter's son,
    who dwells in noble Sid Nenta.
  25. 85] Ogniad was his mother's name;
    she was daughter to Midir;
    not evil was her disposition
    though she knew not rule nor law.
  26. Etain of the bright brows was borne
    90] to the West, though proud was her birth,
    with the head of Eochaid Airem;
    so she was in Sid Nenta beyond the water.
  27. In the West is the mistress of numerous hosts
    with Sigmall,–a fairy place without delusion–
    95] with the valorous grandson of Midir;
    and she has not returned hither.

  28. p.11