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

section 17

Now this was the hour and time when Colum Cille of the noble devotion had gone to the smooth-bordered country of Alba, to bless it and better it lastingly. And after he had duly replenished the fair Alba, his coracle was steered by Colum Cille in a path as straight as a sword. And he had not been long on the unexplored abyss, when he saw a monster furious, surly, hideously tall, broad-breasted, armed with a sting, hugeheaded, wide-mawed. And a wondrous great fear seized the honourably judging son of Fedlimid at the sight of it. And it made for lofty Colum, for it was minded to swallow with excessive eagerness the coracle with Colum and his clerks.


And Colum Cille prayed earnestly to Senach the ancient smith, for he was mother's son to Colum Cille; and this is how Senach was, with a sparkling flickering charge (of metal) lifted between the strong legs of his tongs. And a warning sign appeared to him at that moment, and it was shown to him, how that the son of his mother was in this great necessity; and he made a cast in the direction of Colum Cille from Doire Brosca to the western ocean between Erin and Alba. And this is the place where the valiant charge lighted, to wit, in the mouth of the monster, and slew it with a single blow.

And Colum Cille prayed God that, as the monster had followed them when alive, so it might follow them after it had been slain to a chief harbour of Ireland. And when Colum and his clerks came into port, the monster came to land at the same time with them. And it was cut up by the clerks, and the charge was extracted from it forthwith. And the charge was taken to Senach to his forge; and he made from it three wonder-working halidoms of great potency, to wit, the Glunan (little knee) of Senach, the Gerr curaig (short thing of the coracle), and the polished carved bell of Naile; for it was the industrious Senach who gave to Tigernach of the long fair sides the noble bell; for it was this which had the name of Tigernach's Glasan (little grey thing). And Tigernach gave the broad bell to Molaise to be in his kitchen on the stone; and in its honour a meal for a hundred would be found in the kitchen. And this was the bell of the bequest and of the pillow, which Molaise had at the time of his death, and was a bird of dignity to Naile, and of his election in place of Molaise in presence of the sacred Lough of Erne; and it became Naile's holy bell thenceforth, as was declared in making known its miracles.

    1. The bell of Naile, great its virus,
      I will tell of its wondrous works on earth;
      Listen to me each one of you,
      While I extol its miracles.
    2. Many the services of its monks
      Both (for) heaven and earth,
      Great the revenue of the proper bell,
      Great its nobleness and honour.

    3. p.142

    4. Great its inheritance and its right,
      Great its tribute from every race;
      Since Senach made it,
      Great its wondrous works on the earth.
    5. Senach hurled the strong charge
      Towards Colum of the churches,
      The hideous fierce monster died,
      With its naked feet, great head, and blemished body.
    6. The monster follows them to the harbour,
      Colum and his company as they moved;
      It comes forth in their wake, (though) dead,
      After the cast of Senach.
    7. Then was it cut up by Colum,
      The monster with the hideous body;
      He took thence to Senach
      The charge from the breast of the monster.
    8. Three fair halidoms were made
      By Senach from the charge, 'twas gracious,
      Senach's 'Glunan' the first offspring,
      And the strong 'Gerr curaig'.
    9. This bell, the bell of great Naile,
      Is the third relic of them, as appears;
      Here, as is evident to you,
      Are halidoms the most potent on earth.
    10. To Tigernach gave Senach
      The bell, he gave it from the pass(?);
      Tigernach's 'Glasan ' prevalently
      Is its name with everyone in general.
    11. Tigernach gave to Molaise
      The bell, great was its beauty,
      The bell of Molaise's kitchen,
      And the bell which he bequeathed in his sickness.
    12. When it was in the kitchen due,
      The bell which was royal as far as Rome,
      From heaven a meal for a hundred, great its force,
      Would be obtained from it every night.

    13. p.143

    14. When Molaise died in the south,
      In Devenish with its fair surface,
      Naile is chosen by heaven,
      To him the bell and his clerks are bequeathed.
    15. The bird of great Naile's dignity,
      To the bell it was a fitting name;
      This is the bell which afterwards chose
      Naile on behalf of God the Creator.
    16. To Naile, true the cause,
      Belongs the bell, and shall do till doom;
      This is the truth of it, stern the judgement,
      From Naile to Senach.
    17. A great share of revenue for the bell
      Did Colum Cille then bestow on him there;
      Decline and death to the children of Conall duly,
      Unless they respond to it in honour.
    18. White-footed Tigernach bestowed
      A great share of revenue for his halidoms,
      For the service of strong Tigernach
      In the noble district of Oriel.
    19. Naile took with him thence
      The bell with Molaise's consent,
      And Molaise bequeathed to the bell
      Pre-eminence of honour in his high place.
    20. Brilliant Naile possessed
      The bell according to rule,
      And with it was baptised the full grown Luan,
      The noble son of Irgalach.
    21. The bell was a father of baptism
      To Luan the prince of valour;


      At the weir, great matter of mirth,
      (Were) Sinell and Tigernach.
    22. Luan came with sixteen men
      To seek his baptism, it is no lie,
      Finnachta and Murchad from outside,
      From whom come the lively Clann Murchaid.
    23. The sixteen men were baptised
      By Naile, it is no lie;
      By permission of Tigernach from the sea,
      And of Sinell and Ronan.
    24. Luan performed a victorious movement,
      Renowned of everyone who heard it,
      He had a salmon in each fork
      Both of foot and long hand.
    25. Then said Flannan of the white skin,
      Son of Lugh: ' Thou hast performed a feat.'
      'There shall be upon him,' said noble Naile,
      'From now till doom the name of Luan.'
    26. From this glorious movement that he made,
      The youth, the subject of baptism,

      (A line wanting in MS.)
      Equally good to him sea and land.
    27. Naile the heavenly said
      In converse with Luan with magnanimity:
      'Thy slender seed will violate, but do not thou violate,
      My tribute, O most lovely Luan.'
    28. Luan of the fair aspect gazed
      On Naile as he uttered the words:
      'What is this tribute which they will violate,
      My seed, O noble young saint?'
    29. 'I claim of thee and of thy seed
      Thy baptism-fee, great its might,
      A tribute from thee and from thy seed afterwards,
      Kingship as a reward to them thereafter.

    30. p.145

    31. An Easter(-offering) of them every third year
      Is part of my tribute, right it is to demand it;
      Decline and death to whoever refuses it,
      May he be a chief of nine (only).
    32. A cow or horse to me as its Easter(-offering)
      From the seed of Luan following it
      My bell claims, true is this,
      Clothing of feet and hands following it.
    33. And a scruple of puberty, better my business,
      I claim of them and of their women,
      Six pennies of white silver,
      Or a penny of gold is my due.
    34. A horn of every hoop of the vat
      My monks further claim of them;
      From vat and tun is this,
      A share of distribution in addition to this horn.
    35. A victorious marriage scruple
      I claim of thy children, (as) I have heard;
      Pre-eminence in children and prosperity
      Shall they have, if I leave (them) my blessing.
    36. If my mighty bell curses
      The couple through disgrace,
      They shall both receive without deception
      Shortness of life and hell.
    37. The first increase of every mare belongs to me,
      I claim it from thy seed, it is a strong course;
      I must have from thy race continually
      The first calf of every butting cow.
    38. The first piglet of every pig is due to me,
      Of the seed of Luan of the combats;
      The first lamb of every sheep of quality
      From thy seed belongs to me, O Luan.
    39. The first sheaf of all new wheat
      Belongs to me before it goes into the store;


      In return for this I grant to the wheat
      Prosperity in rick and in kitchen.
    40. A roll of butter out of every churning, of you
      I claim as my tribute of kine;
      In return for this ye shall have of me
      Pre-eminence in milk and in produce.
    41. A beef of three handfuls from every stern raid,
      I claim of your host at least this much;
      This share is my special due,
      Though few may be captured.
    42. Pre-eminence of victory I give in return
      To the host which pays this beast,
      To the men of Lough Erne I grant
      Pre-eminence in battle and in rising.
    43. I will not let them be wounded with spears,
      As long as they maintain the tribute;
      I will not permit pestilence to enter their land,
      Or raid by neighbour land.
    44. I will not permit any hideous disease
      Or any considerable plague;
      As long as they maintain my due tribute,
      I will do them no evil or injustice.
    45. My blessing from now till doom
      On the seed of Luan, true the cause;
      And let them maintain to me my right tribute
      With piety and humanity.
    46. My curse I give unless they maintain
      To me my royal tribute promptly,
      The curse of Sinell, 'tis a lasting vow,
      The curse of Bricin and of Maedoc;
    47. The curse of vigorous Tigernach
      On thy seed, O magnanimous son,
      The curse of bishop Eogan Finn,
      If the tribute which I claim be violated.

    48. p.147

    49. Good is my company who would avenge wrong,
      Sinell, Senach of the white body,
      Molaise and strong Tigernach,
      Fergus, Ronan and Comgall.
    50. Fainche, and bishop Eogan Mór,
      Bishop Carthainn, and great Lasar;
      Lo, they arise with me here
      To sanctify my protection.
    51. Great Maedoc is my guarantee,
      Christ is surety between us twice over,
      That herein we may thus fulfil it,
      As long as sun rises over earth.
    52. To my bell belongs Breifne of the roads,
      It is equal to the halidoms of Maedoc;
      Maedoc granted me, and this is sure,
      A circuit every year to my clerks.
    53. Maedoc in his place laid a curse
      On every man of Breifne who should do ill to me,
      To my bell or to my church in the east,
      By way of maintaining their covenant.
    54. Every one of them who shall not protect me,
      Of the men of Breifne, lasting their force,
      I will give to them, and so will Maedoc of the halidoms,
      Shortness of life and hell.
    55. The seed of Luan and the noble men of Breifne.
      That to our clerks should be equally just
      That the seed of Luan should have many hosts,
      I promised with noble Maedoc
    56. Our covenant cannot be changed,
      Our contest cannot be withstood,
      Our household cannot be resisted,
      Mine, and magnanimous Maedoc's.
    57. Molaise strengthened first of all
      This covenant through guidance;
      I strengthened afterwards
      With Maedoc the firmness of our covenant.

    58. p.148

    59. Friendly Bricin promised to me,
      And (so did) Maedoc of the great assemblies,
      Destruction on the men of Breifne of every territory
      For outraging my asylum.'
    60. Said Luan of the white body:
      'What one of my seed does thee ill,
      When thy fair tribute is violated,
      O gentle gracious Naile?'
    61. 'A son shall be born of thee, O noble fair one,
      O lofty Luan of the pleasant arms,
      Cernach (victorious) is his name pursuing raids,
      Seven sons has Cernach.
    62. Some of them will do my will,
      The children of Cernach, who shall be a royal succession;
      (But) by them will the hard tribute be violated,
      By some of the red-sworded progeny.
    63. Stephen, Dalach, lasting their grace,
      Virgil and proud Odar,
      Four heroes of great valour,
      They maintain my fitting tribute.
    64. Maelduin and Caeman the brave
      Will violate my civic (i.e. monastic) tribute;
      They shall receive from me for the matter,
      Disgrace of offspring and of fortune.
    65. I curse from now till doom
      The seed of Maelduin, true the cause;
      Let there not be bom of it, 'tis a right course,
      Anyone to whom belongs country or assembly.
    66. The seed of curly-haired Caeman will make
      An utter destruction of my tribute;
      I will expel them from Magh Lemna
      By (my) curse into Munster.
    67. Cernach will have a son assuredly,
      He will be king without opposition;


      Odar will be his name at his house,
      Of whom will be born the family of Odar.
    68. His seed will inherit the strong kingship,
      They will maintain my tribute for a time;
      I will deprive them of the kingship for the matter,
      When they cease to maintain my tribute.
    69. When my hard tribute is violated,
      Let all my hosts assemble,
      Let them come with me as shields from their homes,
      The maintainers of my covenant.
    70. Let my bells be rung as a shield
      Against the seed of Luan, stern is their misery,
      And the bells of firm Sinell,
      And the bells of white-sided Tigernach.
    71. Let the bells of Molaise be rung then,
      Of Ronan, and Fainche the energetic,
      Against the seed of Luan vigorously,
      To expel them from their fair kingship.
    72. They shall not sit in their illustrious kingship,
      The offspring of Luan, though lively their succession;
      They shall not receive hereafter duly
      Kingship over-country or assembly.
    73. I will be a serpent destroying hosts,
      I am a fire of blood-red coal,
      I am a lion destroying cattle,
      I am a bear for courage.
    74. I am the bear of royal succession,
      I am great lordly Naile;
      To those who injure me, 'tis a strong course,
      Shall be shortness of life and hell.
    75. I am the son of the king of great Munster,
      I am the casket of the scriptures,
      I am the one most potent in couch and place,
      I am the saint chiefest for noble bell.'

      The bell.