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

poem 59

Loch Riach

  1. Loch Riach — who was Riach to whom it belongs? —
    commonly famous for its hue:
    know ye who was Riach
    who scatters the battle, surrounded by shields?
  2. 5] Four kings there were in the plain
    who drove steeds, — it was not for long:
    Caimell and cruel Etar,
    Casta and Riach of the bright cheeks.
  3. A noble daughter had fair Caimell,
    10] cruel Etar had a daughter too,
    Celbil Fair-lips, womanly the name,
    and Land Half-red — that was her name among the host.
  4. Casta woos one — it was no famous action:
    Riach woos in his turn:
    15] the women are refused them
    at the meeting that led to their undoing.
  5. Then the men of the South declared
    battle, as all know, against the men of the North;
    thence came their destruction —
    20] alas for the cause that brought it to pass!

  6. p.327

  7. They set the battle in this wise,
    even in the form of lofty warlike stags:
    none escaped from the battle, with its treacherous leaders18
    save one of the four, after their undoing.
  8. 25] Fair Caimell is slain in the battle,
    and cruel Etar is slain:
    Casta is slain there beside him;
    both their armies are slain together.
  9. None escaped after their undoing
    30] out of the battle — it was no famous action —
    save only fierce mountainous Riach,
    whose name clave to the lake to designate it.
  10. At the spot where their heads were brought
    in the glen beside Druim Sam,
    35] a spring rises there, to reward search:
    it boils over wall and plain.
  11. Riach builds a house over it:
    great enough, I ween, was its evil power:
    he put a door across the mouth thereof:
    40] strong though it was, it availed not.
  12. Once on a time, when the water was not sealed up,
    and he was away in the house meanwhile,
    the well boiled up mightily —
    that was the history of the men's drowning.

  13. p.329

  14. 45] A thousand men who were in the keep
    it drowned speedily, 'tis certain;
    and it drowned Riach of the victories:
    they lie all together in the lake.
  15. In the place where the dead men rotted
    50] under the waters of Ler, with their numerous wounds,
    the colour of each man's blood in turn
    is the colour that the lake acquired.
  16. All the sheep in Erin were plunged therein
    every seventh year, — it was a lasting custom:
    55] white they were when they entered the lake,
    famously red they stepped forth.
  17. The Sheep's Thorn, that stands above it
    overshadowing the spot, excellent of colour,
    and the Ford of the fair Sheep
    60] are named from this, both of them, — it is a grace.
  18. Fot, from whom in truth Mag Fot is named,
    was famous on the Road of the Kings:
    this Fot, — comely was his host —
    was bailiff in charge of the lake.
  19. 65] Mess Alluda and noble Ruathar
    went early side by side
    to dye their sheep crimson therein,
    and the lake drowned them beneath its waters.

  20. p.331