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

poem 4

Inber n-Ailbine

  1. O men of Muired, bright honour
    among any headstrong company!
    I shall tell you in my warm dwelling
    the cunning story of Ailbine.
  2. 5] There was once a prince far-famed3 who rowed
    north of undivided Ireland:
    he was pilot of every brilliant band in his day,
    Ruad son of valiant Rigdonn.
  3. He fared on a lucky journey, a choice without dispute,
    10] of the morn-slumbering sea early and late;
    to converse with his friend the Norseman,
    a right brave journey it was to Norway.
  4. He came with three boats, splendid and bright,
    it was a vessel ever terrible;
    15] they stopped short, thence came cause of grief
    on the shoulders of the open sea.
  5. They had no power to stir on any side,
    firm was the strong durance:
    into the mighty main without shrinking
    20] went noble Ruad the smiter.

  6. p.29

  7. When he hastened to cut loose the ship in truth
    through the salt depths of the sea's treacherous waters,
    he found, in the secret spot he swam to,4
    nine female forms, fair and firm.
  8. 25] They said to him in pure clear strains
    it was they who had arrested him
  9. ...
    30] ...
    nine women of them, excellent and strong;
    hard it was to approach them.
  10. He slept nine nights with the women
    without gloom, without tearful lament,
    35] under the sea free from waves
    on nine beds of bronze.
  11. Though a woman of them was with child by him,
    he went from them on no unlucky course
    it was a leave misused
    40] on condition that he should come back again.
  12. When she had let him go to his noble comrades,
    he rowed with the companies (?) of his strong host
    he was a good fosterling of a good family
    till he reached Norway of pure valour.

  13. p.31

  14. 45] When they arrived in the east across the sea
    with luck and with high renown,
    they remain seven years seeking fame
    with his friend triumphant.
  15. Thereafter Ruad of the spears went his way
    50] across the waters, the noble youth keen and slender,
    from the east over the strong pure billows of the sea,
    till he reached the level plain of Erin.
  16. False was the lawful prince:
    it was no right judgment nor honourable act,
    55] not to go to the women across the smooth water,
    in the same way as he promised.
  17. When the lordly chieftain touched land southward
    at the plain of Muired of the lowland steads
    with unclouded fame for stern strength,
    60] men heard the martial strain.
  18. That was the song of those tuneful women
    in their pure mellow sweet-sounding speech,
    as they pursued Ruad with the spear point
    over the impetuous clear-streaming tide.
  19. 65] They sailed a boat of flawless metal,
    (it was no ... black hull of mourning)
    nine of them, fierce, radiant, and bright,
    to high Inber Ailbine.

  20. p.33

  21. An evil deed then wrought
    70] a woman of them, with no unconscious burden,
    even the slaying of the son of Ruad strong and good,
    and her very own son.
  22. She made a cast with her son, worse than any crime,
    (it was a stain on his house for him on earth)
    75] she hurled him out in fair combat
    so that he died the death.
  23. Then said that loud-voiced host,
    whom fierce Ruad .... possessed,
    all of them astounded at the open crime
    80] "Dreadful, dreadful was the deed!"
  24. Hence comes (a title free from envy)
    the name (not in deceit however)
    of the river, whose fame we conceal not,
    even as we tell you, O men!
  25. 85] If the name of your plain (pleasant pride!)
    be the title long free from blame of combat,
    it is called from the stout pillar
    Muiredach son of Cormac.
  26. Or if the instructed prefer
    90] to have an eye to glorious deeds of pride,
    they shall call it the blooming land, a good that is not dumb,
    from Moriath wife of Labraid.

  27. p.35

  28. Labraid the Mariner with terrible limbs
    came with a huge mail-clad people,5
    95] ... the bloody plain, a man of war:
    she was his wife, the youthful Moriath.
  29. Moriath, great honour she deserved about the spot
    with the host that cleared her woods:
    when she was attacked, she was no coward,
    100] as is related, O men!

  30. p.37