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

poem 84

Loch Ri

  1. This lake that shallops stir,
    though it be now a lake under a stormy flood,
    was once a plain blooming with whitethorn,
    till it was inundated by the waters of a lake.
  2. 5] Its name was Mag Airbthen, laden with blackberries,
    free from storm and gloomy skies,
    until Ri, reddener of the young shoot, settled
    on its green-topped harvest-bearing hill.
  3. Once on a time there came out of the west
    10] the sons of Mairid, with thousands of hostages,
    lordly were the prolific chieftains
    with galleys full of wealth.
  4. To Belach Liac of the bright warriors
    each of them followed his fellow:
    15] Eochaid of the slender spears pressed on
    till he reached the Brug in Brega of the blows.
  5. Eochaid we leave on one side
    because his story has spread far and wide: —
    how the furious outburst of Loch Lindmuine
    20] wrought the ruin of his shapely form.

  6. p.453

  7. Ri came, with a spear across his back,
    to the midst of green Mag Find;
    upon it Ri of the raths, fierce in onset,
    brought his cavalcade in loose order.
  8. 25] The plain was called in turn Tir Oenaig Midir
    and Mag Find, with triumphs of rich winnings;
    it is now a land guarded by saints
    since the destruction of Oenach Oengusso.
  9. Ill-pleased was Midir at that host
    30] grazing their kine on that spot,
    so he brought upon them every plague that he threatened
    for three hours he slept not sound.
  10. He afflicted them with continual wailing
    their kine and oxen he killed in the first hour,
    35] their horses — no sudden destruction —
    he slew in the second hour.
  11. Midir came to them, in the next place,
    from Donncholg in the south:
    the noble righteous prince of Feine warned them
    40] to be gone with all speed;
  12. Or that he would dispense a mess of death
    among the seemly orderly host,
    if they should tarry — pleasure without flaw —
    near his Sid, and his noble field.

  13. p.455

  14. 45] "There remains not alive
    one of our horses in our dwelling,"
    said Ri of Fuat with his men,
    "to carry our chattels from thy presence."
  15. "I have a horse for you hard by,"
    50] said Midir, right sternly,
    "to carry your substance, great amount,
    persons and property alike."
  16. "In the spot where ye shall let loose on the plain
    the beautiful robust pack-horse,
    55] on the
    of the plain he must not shed
    his water, far from the herdsman."
  17. "He must not stir, with your numbers of chieftains,
    to roam or to stray:
    he must not lie down, west or east,
    60] under your charge, till far on your journey."
  18. "Send him from you speedily,
    after loosing his heavy load:
    let his bridle be left on his head
    that he may come home without fraud or neglect."
  19. 65] "If so be he should stale under your charge,
    the fiery horse with the heavy load,
    I will not pardon it — great the punishment,
    ye shall rue loan and lending."

  20. p.457

  21. "He will destroy thy children, he will throw them from him,
    70] he will drown thy portion, thy kingdom:
    it shall be a stormy lake after a number of days,
    that shall bury in violent wise the mighty throng."
  22. As to what Mider said, well for thee, Rí,
    if it turn out as we say:
    75] but everything that Midir forbade
    happened to him, and no good report came of it.
  23. The horse staled without delay after the journey,
    and contrived to stray:
    it came home in the west,
    80] and left its bridle behind.
  24. The stale of the ruthless intractable horse
    found bottom under the damp earth,
    so that a sluice was needed over its bed
    to confine it and to dam it wholly.
  25. 85] Rí the mighty well,
    he builds his house about it,
    the generous man sets up in truth, look you,
    his bed to the west over the spring.
  26. Thirty years he lived over it
    90] in his bed — no hard couch,
    till it burst with noise from its bonds
    on the eve of a Monday at Lugnasad.
  27. Then it drowns Rí completely
    and destroys his fair children:
    95] it brought them under the silent ebb-tide in his house,
    it drowned his wife and his household.

  28. p.459

  29. It spread abroad without pause,
    it was a rolling sea at violent war,
    it poured forth all its stormy waters
    100] over yellow-brown Mag Airbthen.
  30. Hence is named in every place
    Loch Ri — let not its name be hid!
    since Ri with keen endeavour perished
    beneath stormy wave and heavy waters.
  31. 105] Years a hundred and eleven after the birth of Christ,
    not false the reckoning, was the bursting forth of Loch Rí,
    higher than every summit:
    it was a fitting appellation, it was a heavy water.

  32. p.461