Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Life of Mac Creiche (Author: [unknown])

chapter 18


They all in general approved as good every thing that the wise man spake; and Blathmac said that great were the miracles and mighty works which had been done there. ‘That is true indeed,’ said Mac Creiche, ‘and that shall be the name of this ridge till doom, Druim na Ferta (i.e. ridge of the mighty works); and this loch below shall be Loch Broicsige (i.e. loch of the broicsech) till doom.’ And the clerks made their alliance and union together, and Mac Creiche made a monument and place of worship there, and his tributes and cumals were brought to him; and he began to bid farewell to the land, and to enumerate his tributes; and this is what he said: ‘Good is the journey we have come to this land to help it; and well will it be for them, if they fully pay my tributes to myself and to my successors afterwards in turn till doom, and ill if they do not do so.’


And he spoke this lay:

    1. 'Good is the journey on which we have come
      By the will of the fair Ruler,
      To help the host of the Fermacaig
      From land to land.
    2. The 'broicsech' was devouring them
      Greater than any ill;
      A huge strange dreadful monster,
      It could not be repelled.
    3. Máeldala and Mac Aiblen
      And Blathmac of the holy body,
      And the saints of the land


      Could not repel it from them.
    4. The saints pronounced
      Their answer hastily:
      'Forsake ye all the land
      We cannot repel it.'
    5. The chiefs of the Fermacaig asked
      Of soft white Blathmac:
      'Shall our hope be on help,
      And is it destined for us?'
    6. ‘Go to Ailbe's bosom son,’
      Said Blathmac forcibly;
      'It is he without deceit
      Repulses the plague from you.
    7. It is to him God has granted,
      The fair Ruler permitted it,
      Every pestilence and conflict
      To expel from your land.'
    8. The chiefs of the Fermacaig set out
      Southwards to seek me,
      To help and relieve them;
      This journey was profitable.
    9. They found me on the level plains
      On the brink of Loch Lein;
      As if they had been my own monks,
      They bowed to me devoutly.
    10. They all said to me,
      The fair comely host:
      'Give thine own judgment, O holy clerk,
      Come and help us.'
    11. They all promised to me,
      Men, children, women,
      A scruple from every man,
      And all to be under my tribute.

    12. p.86

    13. They gave me God as surety for them,
      True is the cause,
      To fulfil till doom
      The judgment I gave.
    14. {paragraph 69}
    15. I come with them thence
      Across the streamy Shannon;
      They enter, true it is,
      Into the land side by side.
    16. All the people of the land
      Come to us to meet us,
      And bow down to me,
      Men, children, women.
    17. The monster came behind them
      Onto the weir unhindered,
      They go behind my back
      And I take my bell..
    18. I entreat great Jesus,
      And He checked the monster;
      A ball came out of the bell,
      And entered its maw.
    19. Its strong belly burned,
      Fair was the mystery;
      Without deceit, conceal it not,
      Its venom went back.
    20. Backwards it turned
      To the very loch;
      When it reached the brink,
      It leapt into the middle of it.
    21. It plunged beneath the loch.
      The city (i.e. the citizens) had come dejectedly.
      (Then) all the host offer
      Thanksgiving for its defeat.
    22. It came onto the loch again
      Standing erect, it was a horror,
      All the host cried out;
      Alas, their cry was sad.

    23. p.87

    24. While the monster was
      Thus standing erect,
      I entreat the God of heaven,
      That help may come to me.
    25. I hurl a cast at it,
      Because I was furious,
      With the covering of my tonsure;
      It settled on its head.
    26. It began to drown it,
      My skull-cap, a course of grace;
      It was plain to everyone
      Like a great fair cauldron.
    27. It crushed it in its twisted coils
      Into the loch relentlessly,
      Without the monster rising
      Against anyone till doom.
    28. {paragraph 70}
    29. The hosts bow down to me,
      Men, children, women,
      They grant to me diligently
      My own judgment as to tribute.
    30. There is given to me then
      From the fair comely host
      Tribute every third year,
      As homage to my relic.
    31. His horse and his armour
      Shall come to me from the chief;
      There shall be to thee henceforth
      Every good in return for it.
    32. My little perpetual scruple
      To me God has granted,
      No untimely corpse shall be borne
      From the house on which it is.
    33. A penny is the tax of my bell
      Which I brought from Rome;
      It is to be paid according to rule
      Every year by them.

    34. p.88

    35. I leave pre-eminence of chief
      On the land itself,
      Pre-eminence of king and steward,
      While they are at my will.
    36. Pre-eminence of queen and steward,
      Pre-eminence of clerk in his church,
      Pre-eminence of beauty and horsemanship,
      Pre-eminence in drink at all times.
    37. I bequeath corn and milk
      In the land where I stand;
      I bequeath mast and heavy crops,
      While they pay my tribute.
    38. I bequeath pre-eminence of valour
      To their loyal warriors;
      While they pay my tribute,
      Their pledge shall not be taken.
    39. The prayer of my steward,
      The water from my holy bell,
      It is they which at every gap
      Repel from them pestilence and plague.
    40. Three sounds of my bell
      Before you in hard battle;
      If ye but perform its command,
      Ye shall carry with it every victory.
    41. {paragraph 71}
    42. The first calf, the first lamb, the first kid,
      The first piglet of a sow in sty,
      I claim of the host of the Fermacaig;
      I say what is not false.
    43. I leave to their king
      To rise up before my bell;
      He shall fade in weakness,
      Unless he rise up quickly.
    44. Every plague and every sickness,
      And every dread fiery pestilence,


      I will repel from their cattle,
      While they pay my tribute.
    45. From their men and their women,
      From their very posterity
      I will repel these plagues,
      While they are at my will.
    46. Everyone of them who obeys me
      Shall be at the right hand of the living God;
      They shall all go to heaven,
      Both men and women
    47. If they maintain the valiant tribute,
      Each one of whom it is due,
      I will maintain them renownedly
      On the lasting world.
    48. I will be a mangling monster,
      If they play me false;
      I will be opposedly against them,
      If they spoil my increase.
    49. I give thanks to God;
      The monster, a cruel mystery,
      To me was granted
      That it should never return.
    50. I give thanks to God
      (Because of) my skull-cap for ever,
      How it was cast over the monster,
      So that it did not attack anyone.
    51. Though it was (only) grey cloth,
      My skull-cap, a course of grace,
      Joyfully enfolds the monster
      Like a fair great cauldron.
    52. Every one of the land who raises
      My bell of the gracious course
      Over his knee with falsehood,
      I bequeath to him that he shall decay.

    53. p.90

    54. My years are seven score years
      To the gracious feast of candles;
      I give thanks to God
      For what I shall receive of good.'



So that this is the Life of Mac Creiche up to this point, copied by the poor friar Michael O'Clery in the convent of the friars of Donegal, May 11, 1635, from the copy which the same friar wrote in the convent of Ennis in Thomond in June 1634, from a book which Melaghlin O'Callannan wrote at Cell Maelodrain for the coarb of Mac Creiche in the year of Christ 1524.