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

poem 62

Loch Dergderc

  1. Daily I celebrate this lake,
    swiftly I weave the lore of legend:
    a lake not shrunk and scanty at summer-tide,
    whose name is Dergderc strong and vast.
  2. 5] I have heard of a king of pure strength
    ruling here over the land of Tuath-Mumu;
    a prop of his people, notable for goodly shape,
    Eochaid son of opulent Luchta.
  3. Luchta son of Lugair of the lake
    10] son of bright Lugaid Lamfind,
    son of tall
    son of heroic Leo Lamfata,
  4. Son of Smirdub, son of gentle Molach,
    son of Gaeth Golach, son of Ingaeth,
    15] son of Cormac Corach (thou hearest),
    son of Ailill Laebchuire,
  5. Son of Ruad, son of eager Marthene,
    son of Find, son of wealthy Sithchend,
    son of Galach, whose wrath I provoke not,
    20] son of noble Riagall, who was a ruler,
  6. Son of Eoin Brec, lord over territories (hearken!),
    son of Ith and son of Breogan,
    son of doughty Brath (good renown),
    of the race of Gaedel ever fair.

  7. p.341

  8. 25] The history of Eochaid, — no sordid giver,
    has been spread abroad far and wide:
    for his illustrious pedigree
    is no sordid preface.
  9. A king more generous with his splendid treasures
    30] never held Clare of the hundreds:
    in every conflict he was a "beetle of havoc"
    till he was found laid low at Findchora.
  10. There came a poet of Ulster (sordid greed
    without reason) on his continual questing,
    because he had heard (choice his exploits!)
    there was none in Erin to whom Eochaid would say nay.
  11. A single eye had the King of Druim Derg
    — he was the kindly one-eyed man of the red sword:
    terrible the treacherous business that brought from home
    40] the son of Athglo, to demand it.
  12. "Give me thine eye grey and bright,"
    said the surly malignant druid:
    "thou among all men art specially distinguished
    by fame for generosity among the Gaels."
  13. 45] "Thou shalt have, without reproach for deceit,
    what thou seekest, O Ferchertne!"
    said the warrior of wounding weapons,
    "though that is the hard request."

  14. p.343

  15. The King of Clare and Codal put
    50] (it was a deed of dread and of horror)
    his finger under his grey ball-like eye,
    so that it lay on the palm of mac Athglo.
  16. He said, upbraiding him as he went, —
    (he had extinguished all vast generosity)
    55] "of all men it is I that have checked thee:
    thy one remaining eye hath satisfied my importunity."
  17. As to Eochaid, however, he was not unguided;
    he went thence on a right fortunate road
    to seek water cold and pure,
    60] till he found a lonely unfrequented spot.
  18. One blameless man alone takes charge
    of the high-born man brig-lit and splendid:
    there was but one in a hundred that would receive
    the high king with peaceful welcome.
  19. 65] The sagacious man who was his guide
    sought out every rush-bed in turn:
    he deemed, by rule of harmless sorcery,
    that there would be help in pure water.
  20. "Long life to thee, O king far-ruling,
    70] free from danger and treacherous crime!
    there is not to be had here for precious treasure
    the means to wash thy face, noble sir."

  21. p.345

  22. Eochaid approached the rush-bed;
    he was not awkward, he was not indiscreet:
    75] following his hand, as he plucked up the rushes without violence,
    came the spring, the water of a fountain.
  23. To stanch the blood (this is true),
    the gracious king's eye is bathed
    from the spring of the secret waters,
    80] round which hung a threat of mortal import.
  24. Eochaid put his head without offence
    firmly under the spring thrice:
    so that the deep hole was red and gory
    with the king's blood, champion of famous compacts.
  25. 85] Eochaid, marvellous in hospitality, received
    through the might of the King of the high sun
    (a happy mystery — best of all abundance) —
    two bright clear-shining eyes.
  26. As Eochaid of Assal looked
    90] on the pool with its shower of drops,
    he said, by a sudden impulse, the mighty man,
    "Dergderc (Red-pool) is thy proper name."
  27. Hence comes — it was an appropriate title —
    the name of the pleasant lake,
    95] when meet with a murmur — mark!
    the spring and the broad lake.

  28. p.347

  29. Hence was fought, without quarter,
    the battle at the fence of Findchora:
    shock of battle — of the fierce spearmen
    100] a sad subject is that final hour.
  30. To the King who suffered, better than any prince,
    let not my earnest supplication be scanty!
    that I may reign with the King of the bright winds,
    whom the hero of the lake-waters assails not.20
  31. 105] Here is the legend, with series of exploits,
    of Loch Dergderc of the conquests,
    even as we found in books
    the precious knowledge of the noble lake.

  32. p.349