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

poem 85

Loch Erne

  1. Loch Erne — high its leap!
    was a turbulent pool, without bright tranquillity,
    when first it showed its troubled waters in the north,
    on a radiant evening in harvest.
  2. 5] Fiachu Labraind, with numerous hosts
    extolled beyond every armed squadron,
    unerring hand in use of spears,
    was son to Smirgoll son of Smertha.
  3. Smertha, famed for bloody prowess,
    10] was son to ever-combative Senboth,
    warrior proved in seething carnage,
    son of strong-armed Tigernmas.
  4. The chieftain arrayed the battle of Carmun,
    even Fiachu Labraind — it was a warlike arbitrament-
    15] wherein Eochu Faebuir son of Conmael
    fell ingloriously by treacherous chance.
  5. Fiachu right radiant, he that found Labraind,
    was made king thereafter without division,
    and reigned four and twenty years, 'tis sooth,
    20] till Echaid Mumo slew him.
  6. Four outburstings reckon ye
    in the reign of right-adventurous Fiachu —
    strong drink hath not confounded them together —
    the bursting of the Flesc, the bursting of the Mand,

  7. p.463

  8. 25] The outbreaking of the Labraind from Liathmag
    whence we draw a like name for noble Fiachu:
    the bursting of blameless Loch Erne,
    an imperishable name hath exalted it.
  9. Four battles were won by Fiachu
    30] over high chieftains (a prosperous career);
    the king of Berre set them in array,
    down to the battle of Sliab Belgadain.
  10. The battle of Fairge — enduring the name —
    the battle of radiant Sliab Femin:
    35] loftily he tamed the strife,
    the fierce battle of Gatlach, scene of conflict.
  11. A fourth battle he arrayed thereafter
    against the Erainn, — victory was granted before him:
    he well-nigh obliterated them by his valour,
    40] strong Fiachu, lord of Fobar.
  12. Then the lake burst forth
    under the array, till it quaked with cold,
    in the country, with its pure bright portion,
    where dwelt the red-armed Erainn.
  13. 45] Hence comes the valiant title,
    the name of vast Loch Erne;
    though afterwards there was drowned there
    the gentle comely Erne.

  14. p.465

  15. The chaste Erne, who knew no art of wounding,
    50] the daughter of loud-shouting Borg Bán
    (the warrior was an overmatch for a powerful third)
    the white-skinned son of Mainchin son of Mochu.
  16. The noble Erne, devoid of martial spirit,24
    was chief among the maidens
    in Rath Cruachan, home of lightsome sports:
    women not a few obeyed her will.
  17. To her belonged, to judge of them,
    the trinkets of Medb, famed for combats,
    her comb, her casket unsurpassed,
    60] with her fillet of red gold.
  18. There came to thick-wooded Cruachu
    Olcai with grim and dreadful fame,
    and he shook his beard at the host,
    the sullen and fiery savage.
  19. 65] The young women and maidens
    scattered throughout Cruach Cera
    at the apparition of his grisly shape
    and the roughness of his brawling voice.
  20. Erne fled, with a troop of women,
    70] under Loch Erne, that is never dull,
    and over them poured its flood northward
    and drowned them all together.

  21. p.467

  22. Though it may be from them — 'tis a sure judgment
    in presence of the hosts, and no dubious right, —
    75] it is an imperishable title that it has achieved,
    even the name of noble Loch Erne.
  23. O King, may I have, safe and certain,
    a sure welcome to comfort me!
    may I find it in glorious Heaven,
    80] O thou that didst raise up Loch Erne!