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

poem 46

Tipra Sen-Garmna

  1. The Well of Sen-Garman, with its chip of wood,
    what is the old tale to tell of it?
    and whence comes another name,
    the bloodstained Field of Criblach?
  2. 5] Whence this Field is named,
    and the Well of Sen-Garman,
    I shall declare to you — excellent feat! —
    the cause whence the names arise.
  3. Sen-Garman of the Mount of Mac Sin,
    10] from Loch Lein out of Irluachair,
    many roads the beldame traversed;
    since she was not young she was skilled in many feats.
  4. She made a foray southward by the wave,
    wherein she wrought the heaped slaughter of Crochdond:
    15] a noble aftermath she reaped thereto,
    the sack of Cathair Comfossaid.
  5. Thereafter she went onward to the north,
    the fierce woman, furious, right grim:
    she smote the lusty shielded man,
    20] Gannan, in his home in Caisle.

  6. p.245

  7. Onward she went — joyous exploit! —
    to Mongfind, Find's fostermother,
    and burnt the children, whereby she won fame,
    at enduring Noid Dromma Bertach.
  8. 25] Onward she came without disguise;
    she reached the mound of the men of Femen,
    and slew Dub Roit of the rout
    in his own home at Formael.
  9. Sen-Garman and her fortunate son
    30] joined in ravage15:
    there they made fair alliance
    with gentle Criblach from Cruachan.
  10. Son to Criblach was Crimthann Cass:
    he was no shirker in the mêlée:
    35] as for his compeer, he was strong
    in wisdom, was the son of Sen-Garman.
  11. The force of nine was in Criblach
    where she mingled in the strife;
    and the force of nine likewise,
    40] with martial renown, in Sen-Garman.
  12. The two of them had the force of twice nine men,
    (doings without concealment, without respite:)
    the terror of four nines likewise,
    this their united force possessed.
  13. 45] A surprise for Find was the declaration
    of the bold four complete,
    that in his time reaving undismayed
    should be wrought by them in Erin.

  14. p.247

  15. Thereupon Find himself pursues them
    50] till they went from the land;
    and they found no place of refuge
    on plain, on sea, nor on firm land.
  16. Till on a day they found there
    a spring of water, a cool stream,
    55] just issuing from the earth,
    though unfamiliar to Sen-Garman.
  17. Garman lays down her son
    after fatigue and after fighting;
    Slechtaire of the forays turns
    60] toward the well for a space.
  18. He sets to cleansing the dwelling
    stoutly, right boldly;
    he flings from him out from its wall
    the clay thereof and high-piled gravel.
  19. 65] Thereafter he came out again
    and hid not his secret:
    he found a shelter against the assault of the army of Find,
    a great house under the dry earth.
  20. The bold four came
    70] toward the ancient dwelling;
    secretly they brought to their shelter
    plenty of game and wild stock.
  21. They went on a day upon Luachair
    though it was an infringement of utter seclusion:
    75] they see coming down a road I know not
    a young warrior whom they did not recognize.

  22. p.249

  23. Ossin, he it was;
    alas for the meeting, that it was not tardy!
    they come to blows without parley:
    80] they carry him with them to their chief abode.
  24. One day Ossin was in the house yonder;
    in rigid bondage:
    Crimthand Coel son of Criblach
    gave him a noble spear-shaft to plane.
  25. 85] Ossin planed his shaft for him
    shamefacedly and reluctantly;
    he fitted the bright spear without difficulty
    as Crimthand directed.
  26. Ossin made covertly
    90] a ball of the shavings of the spear-shaft:
    he cast it from him from his finger-tips
    out on the water of the spring.
  27. On a time Find was at the ford
    at close of day in the twilight;
    95] and he saw the shavings coming towards him
    down the bosom of pure, bright Fele.
  28. He caught it in his hand — famous act!
    his spirit was strengthened within him:
    "Ossin is the maker!" saith each man,
    100] "whatever the spot whence it was thrown."

  29. p.251

  30. All the warriors went forth
    up the river, to its source:
    they see a silent hole in the ground,
    the place where was Sen-Garman's home.
  31. 105] They take their spears to them;
    they cast aside their cloaks;
    they set to digging up the earth,
    till Sen-Garman saw them.
  32. Criblach got away from them
    110] in spite of the hundred armed warriors:
    the noble Find slew her apart
    in the west at Airer Criblaige.
  33. Slechtaire fled a short way
    by another road wandering through the land:
    115] he went from them as the wind might go,
    the vigorous lion, wise and proud.
  34. Find went (it was a famous exploit)
    after the son of Sen-Garman:
    the king of the Fianna far famed held him in pledge
    120] in the west, at Berre of the blows.
  35. Crimthand advanced through the warriors
    and hard was his path:
    Find caught him treacherously apart,
    Crimthand Coel son of Criblach.

  36. p.253

  37. 125] Sen-Garman he fetched from underground,
    (it was no sure path) after fresh toil:
    he set her head in the noose of a gad;
    her body is put in the well.
  38. Currech left not, it is heard,
    130] a son who should increase the strong brood,
    except the messenger unprosperous,
    Slechtaire son of Sen-Garman.
  39. This is the authentic legend
    and these were the doings
    of the crew who fared on the foray,
    135] who bound Ossin under the spring.

  40. p.255