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

poem/story 125


¶1] Cell Chorbbáin, a plain whose fame decays not, visited by companies and crowds; to Patrick of Armagh belong its broad confines, an allotment neither scanty nor sterile.

¶2] There are saints, a famous company, nine of them, allies against Mag Breg: so long as their privileges rest on palaces, count ye the host [...] as secure fame.

¶3] When Moling came from Brega's conclave, he settled in the holy perfect church: Srafan, Lucan, and Lugnaid, Muadan, Cerbban, and Conlaid;

¶4] Corbban, surpassing in piety, rests under branches in the church; Baetan, not melancholy of humour, is the ninth of its saints.

¶5] There are nine kings, a martial line, shining in splendour at Cell Nais; Murican moen, unerring of aim, Cerball and wise Cellach,


¶6] Colman, Broen, and the lusty Bran, Find, Faelan, bold Dunchad; at Cell Chorbbain, as I have heard, their soldier-graves were dug.

¶7] There are nine women, fair to see; yonder beside the Cross rest their remains: Sadb and Etain, not meek of mood, Medb and Deccair Der Choisse;

¶8] Aillend and Aine in one tomb, Ailbe and full-modest Aife, Uasal óen-gel, wife of Faelan—many a noble desired her!

¶9] Nine kings, nine queens brought long renown to their meeting-place, with nine saints, the saintliest and the comeliest of Adam's line.

¶10] Many are the kings and the queens and hawklike favourite squires, the clerics and the musicians in array, beside those three bold nines.

¶11] Dear is the city and the sheltered churchyard, where nobles came at early morn; comely is that slender synod, that fair-faced assembly beyond the causeway.

¶12] Every spring, punctual to the hour, came the hosts swiftly, we trow, to brisk unsullen Cerball: good was their church's Lent!

¶13] Gormlaith, ready of speech, open of hand, queen of the king of shining Fomuin, daughter of the king of Traig Tinne, wrought dreadful deeds; Aillend and Cellach of Carman she laid in the church-ground.


¶14] There was no man poor, neither raiding nor mob nor riot, there was no band of poets left portionless, in the reign of bright-haired Cerball.

¶15] Cerball, though prompt of hand, was no boor when he vanquished Cormac, maker of songs; three score hundreds and five fell before the young lord of Etar.

¶16] Five and thirty kings of unfading fame from Leinster of the hundredfold battalions ruled over beautiful Erin, from Etar as far as Arran.

¶17] Fifteen kings, no band of beggars, grasped the helm of red Raigne, from Faelan's day—no beggars' conclave—till the carnage at cold Albe.

¶18] Compare none to Cerball, so long as Brega's land endures; there was none to match him in battle, none to match him in foray nor in fight.

¶19] None was ever so generous, none like him to feed the ravens; before him lived none so fair as he; alas that he is laid untimely under the bending grass!

¶20] After drinking at his feasts, he was stronger than all, three score measures was his share of mead: three score kings, an array hard to vanquish, attended Cerball bedward.

¶21] He was an adept in the tongue of the Féni, a student diligent of memory, a seer and an accomplished poet, a ready scholar in music.


¶22] He was a man of prowess unstinting, a king that roved unafraid, a cavalier mounted on splendid steeds, a champion disseminating the Church's Law.

¶23] When he joined in stubborn strife he would hurl a biting dart; after Mass, it was his wont to show his skill in chess.

¶24] Thrice seven years, without poverty, the rule of Cerball [...] of Carman possessed our Leinster among us, till he came to the church's soil.

¶25] There are three names current throughout vocal Banba: the sage of Liamain, a right pleasant saying; Caemgen, the high-born, who disciplines them; Brigit of Leinster, from her great church.