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¶1] Viriliter agite, et confortetur cor vestrum omnes qui speratis in Domino.1 The Holy Spirit, the Spirit that is nobler than any spirit,2 the Spirit that has illumined the churches both of the Old and New Testament with the grace of wisdom and prophecy, that is the Spirit which is the author of this utterance through the mouth of the royal prophet David son of Jesse, dicens: Viriliter agite, &c. This is that David who made one hundred and fifty psalms in praise of God; for God had ordained that he should be both king and prophet, ut dicitur: Unxit Samuel David in regem et prophetam3, &c. And the psalm in which that occurs, viz. Viriliter agite, is the thirtieth psalm in the book of psalms, the beginning of which is In te Domine, speravi. And in it he spoke in the person of the people. And that verse has been uttered by three authors. The first author of them was Moses, son of Amran; for Moses said it as he was praying the Children of Israel (to fight) against the Midianites and Amalek,4 viz., the tribes that were opposed to the Children of Israel. The second author was Joshua, son of Nun; for he spoke the same verse, viz. Viriliter agite, as he was leading the people of Israel to pass the river Jordan to fight against the tribes called Canaanites.5 The third author was King David; for David spoke it, viz. Viriliter agite amp;c., as he was praying his people to act bravely against the Philistines. And it is fitting to say it to the (Holy) Spirit,6 as God Himself told the saints to fight against the evil spirits. And that saying applies to both men and women; for there are many people eager to fight, and before they begin to fight they succumb.7 And there are other people who begin to fight, and before they finish they leave off. And there are other people who fight feebly, without weapons; and it is for this reason the psalm says, Viriliter.
¶2] Now, many of the saints and of the righteous of the Old and New Testament have fought manfully and stoutly for God, as did the noble senior whose feast and commemoration is at the period of this season, viz., Colmanus filius Luachaini. It is on the fifteenth of the calends of July,8 according to the day of the solar month, on this day of the week in the present year, that the Christians celebrate the feast and commemoration of Colman son of Luachan. The calends of July, viz., on the night after the feast of the Cross, whence in the Félire9 he is called the bush of gold over borders and the splendid sun over tribes. Or it may be Halloween, viz. Cronan, and that Cronan may be another son of Luachan.10 His relics, however, are still here upon earth with honour and veneration; and though his honour is great today, it will be greater on the day of Judgement when his soul will shine like the sun in heaven in the unity of the saints and holy virgins of the world, in the unity of the patriarchs and prophets, in the unity of apostles and martyrs, in the unity of the Godhead and Manhood of the Son of God, in the unity which is nobler than any unity, the unity of the noble, almighty, Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. We all beseech the mercy of the Trinity, &c.
¶3] Here is told something of his genealogy according to the flesh and of his wonders and miracles from the time that he was born until he went to Heaven. Colman; then, was the son of Luachan, son of Leda, son of Maine, son of Fergus, son of Conall Cremthainne, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, son of Echaid Mugmedon, son of Muredach Tirech, son of Fiachu Srobthine, son of Cairbre Lifechar, son of Cormac Longbeard, son of Art the Solitary, son of Conn of the Hundred Battles, and thenceforward the common pedigree of the race of Conn of the Hundred Battles up to Adam.
¶4] Sic genealogia vera, i.e., Colman son of Luachan, son of Leda, son of Maine, son of Diarmait the Red, son of Colman the Great of Meath, (viz. of the Kings), who was a son of Diarmait son of Cerball, son of Conall Cremthainne, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. And he is
p.7the only patron saint who has hitherto sprung from the race of Colman, as is evident from the song of Bishop Etchen hereafter11. And he is entitled to a scruple every seventh year from every adult of the descendants of Colman, and to a horse from every king.
Colman, however, a precious column12 upholding the firmament, as Colum Cille said13, enduring plagues in this life like faithful Job. Or, again, there is a letter-change in his name, viz., Colmán quasi comlán (perfect), for there is no lack of any goodness in him both in body and soul. Or again, Colmanus quasi columna manus, id est, virtutum, or manus ad calumnias, id est, virtus demicans contra calumnias, id est, oprobria scelerum.
¶5] This now is the pedigree of his mother, namely, Lassar daughter of Caech Rolach, son of Broccan, son of Daniel, son of Daire, son of Goll (from whom are the Hui Guill of Corco Raide), son of Colum, son of Ailill, son of Baan, son of Raide (from whom are the Corco Raide), son of Dathí, son of Fiachara, son of Maine, son of Brión,14 son of Echaid Mugmedón.
¶6] Lassar, now, ideo autem Lasar15 dicebatur, viz. for the brilliancy of her liberality, or for the holy flames that sprang from her, vel propter puchritudinem faciei suae, vel propter placitum imponentis ambo nominati sunt, or for the beauty of her face, or according to the will of God Himself.
¶7] Bishop Etchen,16 however, betrothed his mother to his father at the cross to the west of Tech Lommáin; and it is there the grace of prophecy came over Bishop Etchen, so that he spoke this quatrain, prophesying Colman:
- There will be born of thee, O perfect Lassar,
a son to whom laymen will pay ready tribute,
the pillar of the Children of Colman without hurt
Colman of Lann, son of Luachan.
¶8] Now Luachan had three brothers, viz. Anfossaid, son of Leda, viz., he was ignorant (anfisid) of godliness, or he was so called for his unsteadiness,17 and Lechit, son of Leda, viz., his cet or his will was
p.9like a flagstone (lia) for hardness. Or cét means every beginning, ut dicitur cét-fer; Lechet then, viz., a profitable beginning, for he was the eldest of them. And Cummaine, son of Leda, viz., he always had treasures (máine) in his possession.
Now those men rightfully took up land apart. First, Anfossaid took Clongowny, and from him sprang the Hui Maenachan and the Hui Maelumae, that is to say, they are altogether the people of Clongowny, but the church and half the meadow land belong to the Hui Maenachan in particular. Next, Lechet took Raith Lechet in Cnamros. Cummaine, however, took the old Raith Chuanna, i.e., Raith Chuanna Mór, which had been built by Cuanna himself. Luachan took Less in Daire at the head of Ath Daire, and he dwelt there, and his wife with him. She bore him seven daughters, viz., Brogel and Buidnech and Mongdub and Luache and Luachet and Lessar and Trede, who was the eldest. There were born to him also four sons, viz., Cronan and Ernan and Midna, i.e., medicinâ doctus est; for he was a physician of the body and of the soul; vel quasi medius in ordine nascendi inter filios alios.18 Those children were baptised by pious priests; and those sons were all priests. And at the end of a month they were confirmed; and at the end of seven years they were taken to spiritual directors, and with them they read their psalms and hymns and all the order of the Church. They were preserved in prudence and chastity to the end of fourteen years, without any sullying of body and soul, and thenceforward they offered themselves in virginity19 to the Lord.
¶9] Thereupon they went throughout Ireland into distant lands and took churches and cells in them. First, Cronan and Ernan took a single cell in Slieve Bloom to the west of Ross Finnglaisse, and wolves or birds do not pollute it; and it is a beautiful church made of yew. Midna, however, set up in Rathmore of the Southern Plain in Kerry. Trede and Brogel and Buidnech set up in the church of Clongowny. Trede, however, is so called from her frequent fastings (tredan). Brogel, i.e. a brilliant flame (bréo taitnemach) or she had a white belly (brú gel). Buidnech, however, i.e., hers was the palm of liberality (búaid enig), or everyone was fond of her; or this name was given to her on account of the numerous multitudes (buidne) that fasted with her. Mongdub set up in Craeb Ullann.
p.11She had black hair; or was melancholy (dubach) without the deceit (mangad) of laughter, but her mind fixed on God always. Luache and Luachet in Cell Luache in the land of Leix. Luache, now, viz. she was bright for lóch means bright as well as dark. Luachet, viz. bright road (sét) of righteousness. Lessar, however, viz. for it is profit (less) or cure (leges) of body and soul. And she has another church in Delbna Ethnae (Devlin) in Meath itself. Lessar however (lies buried) in a church in the land of the Húi Ceinselaig. Lochet, now, i.e., with the loud bursting forth of trees. viz. the road is dark with the din of the trees as they burst forth.
¶10] From the time that Colman son of Luachan was in his mother's womb there was neither weariness nor sickness nor wound nor ache nor heaviness nor weakness upon her during that time, as is customary with pregnant women. Primum miraculum, viz., that he was born without wound, without ache, without a pang. On the night, however, when Colman son of Luachan was born in the land of Colman northward of Tech Lommain, that night bishop Etchen came to Tech Lommain. Then on the morrow Lomman took him to bishop Etchen to be baptised; and he was baptised in Tír na Copán, viz., a cup (copán) of water was put over the head of the boy; and in payment of his baptism, Tír na Copán was given to bishop Etchen, and Tír Colmáin was given to Colman son of Luachan for his having been born on it. That night bishop Etchen stayed in Tech Lommain, and when matins had come and the clerics rose up for itthat is to say, Lomman and Bishop Etchenthey heard many marvelous kinds of music around the church on every side; and nothing more marvelous and more melodious had ever been heard by them beforeviz., angels of Heaven making welcome Colman son of Luachan, as on the night of the birth of Christ angels made many marvelous kinds of music around Bethlehem on every side. Then forthwith the grace of prophecy came upon bishop Etchen, so that he spoke the following lay:
- A wonderful birth will be born,
Colman holy and mighty,
safeguard of the children of Niall.
He will be a champion with the strength of holy clerics,
he will be a lofty kindled candle,
kings will be obedient to him.
- He will be pious, he will be benignant,
he will be gentle, he will be merciful,
he will be faithful, holy, holy.
He will be a precious, shining stone,
full of the love of the Trinity,
both flesh and bone.
- He will be lofty, he will be lowly,
he will be a faithful cook20 of many martyrdoms,
he will be great beyond all measure.
He will be a heavy, fiery sword,
he will be an indestructible shield of shelter
against the base black Devil.
- There will be no carnal blemish
of the eight chief sins
in the house of his body.
He will be the innocent single-minded one,
both in body and in holy soul,
without any substance of evil.
- All who keep the covenant will deem him good,
Colman, for his piety,
a master in the cause of knowledge.
He will confound the great kings,
he will destroy tribes and lords,
if they do evil to him.
- Every one will serve
his clan and his race
according to right.
With me he will read books
of every storied scripture
together with the psalter.
- He will take up seven chief cemeteries21
under rules of the Romans,
so that they22 shall not find torture.
Full one hundred and forty-seven
of vast lasting years
will be his royal heroic course,
'twill be no slight life-time.
- Our chief Lord Himself will come23
in the shape of a full-wretched leper
to attend on him.
There will not be born after him
among the heirs of Ireland's isle
no woman's womb will bring forth
a more famous birth.
¶12] From this prophecy which the noble bishop made of him the love and affection for the boy with the people of his mother and father were all the greater. Then the boy was brought up piously and humbly; and wherever he used to be they would hear psalms and choral song, and the sound of the bell at every canonical hour, and the singing of Mass every Sunday, so that people would come to ask: What was the assembly that came here last night? But when they came into the house where he was it seemed to them that fragrant herbs had been scattered all over the house, and yet there was nothing save himself and those who were watching him. And when he had completed three years he set up at a place by himself, viz., Cell Bec (Kilbeg), north-east of Less in Daire, even his own church so long as he was little, whence it is called Little Church (Cell Bec). And many wonders and miracles were performed in it
p.17for him. And he would never go into the habitation or society of many people or the vulgar, or of sons of malediction.
¶13] Once upon a time Colman went with a drove of cows as far as the Brosna north-west from Cell Bec. And when he saw the shadow of a man in the water, he went down into it. And it seemed to him like shining mist; and the dumb creatures of the water came to him and performed three races before him in welcoming him as though they said: Welcome to thee, Colman, lord of this water and of the land! we shall serve thee till Doom. Then Colman was a day and a night under water, and came dry out of it, as the apostle Paul was under water.24 During that time the parents were seeking the boy, and were full of anxiety until he was found asleep in the water. Now when his mother came to him she wept tears of joy in his presence and said this:
- My son, beloved is he
when I see him:
my life-time for thine,
after thee I shall not live.
- May my own death come sooner
than the death of my darling,
I shall have rights and tribute
through the power of the holy one.
- God's blessing upon the river
that has not determined thy death,
it has cast thee up . . .
that thou mayst prosper and grow.
- God did not permit a wave of death
to go across thy lip into thy body:
I give thanks to my King
Christ has taken thee under protection.
- The fond boy who was
nine months in my womb
has endured many hours
in the bright Brosna.25
- It has been prophesied of thee
thou shalt be a help to all,
so that a tribe that is not weak shall be
under thy shield in thy protection.
- The pool under which thou hast slept(?),
beyond every pool it shall be thine;
come with me a short while,
my father and my son!
Then Colman came up out of the water towards his parents and thereupon went to Cell Bec. Thereby God's name and Colman's were magnified.
¶15] Another26 story is recorded here. An abdominal disease seized his mother's father, even Caech Rolach, and he said to his daughter: Bring the boy Colman to me and put his hand over my belly. It was so put, and forthwith he was cured. And God's name and Colman's were magnified by that miracle.
¶16] Again, another story is recorded here. Caech Rolach said to his daughter: Bring the boy Colman to me that he may breathe upon my eye, for I can see nothing clearly. The boy Colman was brought to him and breathed upon his eye; and it became sound forthwith, and God's name and Colman's were magnified by that miracle.
¶17] Again, another story is recorded here. Mongdub, Luachan's daughter, set up in Craeb Ullan and she was cook there with Colman. And she would come every Sunday to Lann to hear her brother say Mass and celebrate. And every day she would come half the way from above to do her reading; and Colman would come up so far to give her a lesson, and there they worshiped. Hence that spot is called Adrad Ingine Luacháin (The Worship of Luachán's Daughter) in Croebech Lainne.
¶18] Thereupon at the end of seven years he was taken to a pious confessor, even to bishop Etchen, and with him he read the psalms and the hymns and the whole order of the Church. Then angels would often come as far as the cell in which he was to converse with Colman. And his tutor noticed great grace upon him beyond the other pupils. And envy seized the other pupils against him; and his tutor noticed that, and said to him: My good son, depart now in another direction to do thy reading, and take a blessing. So Colman went to Mochuta to Rahen to read with him.
¶19] Another story is recorded here. The cell behind the yew-wood was given to Colman son of Luachan in lieu of the yew-wood itself which had been taken from him by force (viz. from the yew-wood as far as the cross and the road which is below the cross: and Erechtach, the erenagh of Lann, and Ua hOengusa, the erenagh of Cell Uird, measured it out, and there are twenty-seven feet in it.), to the monks of Lann in expectation of the son of the Church that would go on his pilgrimage
p.21until the outrage to Mochuta and to Colman and to the saints of the wandering, viz., seven hundred seven score seven.27 Unless it be thus fulfilled, Ua Ferchair, and Ua hAedacain and Ua Dercain and all the Culdees to guarantee it till Doom, as well as all the monks of Lismore. Mochuta cecinit, as he was being expelled by Blathmac out of Rathen:
- Ninety-six men,
the number of Blathmac's offspring, no falsehood,
and twice fifteen hundred
Mochuta killed in one day.
- The world has been cast into confusion
by the twelve sons that Blathmac had,
twelve sons with each son
to count them is hard for a son of grace.
- Again the world has been cast into confusion
by the death of a son of every grandson of Blathmac's,
the King who gave them is capable (of bringing it about)
that no memory of Blathmac may be left.28
¶20] When he had arrived at the age of seventeen years, he went into exile from his native land to Mochuta of Lismore in the territory of Munster. Now every night some one in turn used to distribute food to Mochuta's lepers; and it was usual for some of these to grumble and to grieve at the distribution. Then Colman makes the nightly distribution to them like everybody else. Now that night they were all satiated, and were satisfied without grumbling. So on the morrow the lepers ask of Mochuta: Well, now, who distributed our meal to us last night? Colman son of Luachan, said the cleric. Let that same Colman distribute to us every night, said they, for till last night we have never all of us been equally satisfied. Well, now, Colman, said Mochuta, do that! No, said Colman, I fear that he who may not be satisfied will deprive me of heaven. I take it upon myself, said Mochuta, that thou shalt have heaven for it, and thy monks here till Doom, and that Lismore may count
p.23as their exile, and that they shall have the same office here. And there will be no luck upon the distribution unless it be offered to them or unless it be left (to them). Colman binds all that upon Mochuta for himself, and so he washes his hands and makes the distribution to them. Et inde dicitur Colman the Pure-handed from that out. Then to the end of seven years Colman distributes to them, and during that time he reads both Scriptures there.
¶21] Once now a great sickness befals Colman son of Luachan for thirty days; and the monks were sorrowful thereat; and to attend on him they would come every day to the Ibrach of Colman son of Luachan, viz. Colman's cell in Lismore. On a certain day Mochuta himself went with them to visit him; and it was then the end of thirty days, and forthwith on the morrow he was cured. So then Mochuta spoke the quatrains:
- Pure-handed Colman,
great his whiteness,
hand against sins,
love of God of Heaven.
- Darling of the monks,
desire of the lepers,
without any bane
in his soul.
- Soul full of
knowledge and wisdom,
head without obstinacy,
strong to serve29 me.
- Pure strong-limbed cook
of my tasty food,
hospitable, steadfast man,
bright generous cheek.
- The Lord's hand
I beseech over them,
. . .
- A common division
in the presence of all
for the love of heaven
that is the gift of the man.
- Of his own will he has
forsaken comfort for trouble,
from him I depart not
while I am in the body.
¶23] So Colman son of Luachan escapes (death) and grace fills him from top to bottom. However, when he had reached the age of thirty years he asks leave of Mochuta. And the cleric said he would not give him leave to go from him as long as he was in the body save to a place near by in the same district with himself in the middle of Munster. And Colman said he would not go out of the land unless he had leave of him. So then they confirm their union together.
¶24] Then Mochuta sends him to Dungal, son of Maelfothbil, King of Fermoy, who was a friend to Mochuta and to his lepers with frequent alms of food and garment to them. And Mochuta sends fifty monks of his own people with him to Dungal. Now when they had gone far west of Lismore they saw a great band coming towards them, and with them a dead man upon a bier, and they themselves making great lament. Then Colman and that band meet, and Colman asks of them: Who is that dead man with you? Dungal, son of Maelfothbil, say they. Tis to him we have been sent, says Colman son of Luachan. and his death is a disappointment to us, as he was to let us have land. And set him down for a little while that we may see him. So it was done. Now if Dungal were alive, said the company, thou wouldst have got all that. And what ails thee, O holy Colman, that thou dost not ask the Lord to resuscitate him? For God does a greater miracle for thee than that. And we shall serve thee till Doom, and he himself and his offspring will serve thee till Doom. So then Colman spoke these two quatrains:
Then at that Dungal arose forthwith and related to them all his visions beyond. Now through that miracle the glory and honour of Colman son of Luachan was magnified throughout all Munster. Then Dungal gave to Colman one hundred and fifty cows to serve him, and his choice of a place in the land of his tribe and service to his monastery till Doom.
- Dungal young and manly,
thou art a son of the true prince
it is ill for these folk30 that follow me
to carry thee out of thy land.
- O corpse yonder,
arise, come hither!
be thou alive as we are,
let us walk together awhile!
¶26] So at that place Cell Uird is built by Colman son of Luachan, viz. in Fermoy. And it is called Cell Uird because in it the order which Molaise had brought with him from Rome was first set up, for he had helped him to adopt that order in case he should return. Now Colman was there with many wonders and miracles until he had completed forty years both in Munster and here before he went westward, viz. seventeen years here, and seven in Lismore, and
p.27thenceforward in Cell Uird, and fasting throughout Munster and upon Cnoc Brenaind. During that time Colman son of Luachan was a deacon, viz., he first took the order of a monk, and after that the orders of the Church.
¶27] Again, another story is recorded. A year before Mochuta's death Motura, son of the King of Corco Baiscinn, came to him with thirty household-warriors to serve the Lord at Lismore. Their hair was cut and tonsures were shorn on their heads by Mochuta, and they remained one year with him. At the end of the year an angel came to Mochuta and said to him: Those monks have not been permitted to thee, but to a place where they are needed more. Where is that? asked Mochuta. God will show it to them, said the angel; and do thou give them a tongue-less bell, and wherever it will speak, there their resurrection shall be and their service till Doom. Then Mochuta weeps and tells them those tidings and they weep themselves bitterly. And they are given a tongue-less bell, and they fast one night at every church to which they come. And in that wise they wandered around Ireland for seven years, and during all that time their bell never spoke. Then at the end of seven years when they reached Lann, their bell spoke at the spot called Worship of Motura as they were coming to Lann. So they come to Colman, cut down the wood, and make the great causeway from Lann to Tech Laisrenn across the bog of Lann. And they bind it upon Colman that they themselves and their race are to go to Heaven from here till Doom. And it is they who are in the long tomb at the back of the church of Colman son of Luachan. And hence it is the gapped bell of Motura at Lann, and it is really the gapped bell of Mochuta. It is a relic of covenant31 in the place, and it cures many diseases and plagues on men and cattle, viz. by their washing from it, and by its being struck three times around them.
¶28] Another story is recorded here. There were among Motura's people seven sons of Mennan son of Moenan, son of Ferdach, son of Cass, from whom are the Dál Caiss. Now one Easter Monday those sons came to beg of the wife of the erenagh of Lann, and she said that she had neither food nor drink ready. They go out dissatisfied, saying to her: Henceforth may every company be dissatisfied with
¶29] Then he proceeded into the territory of Meath to visit his friend and tutor bishop Etchen. And when he had reached Cell Bec he sees the site for a church upon the brink of the river, for the convenience of fish and water there, viz., at the head of Daire's Ford. So the monks make33 a large wall around that church, and they were weary and tired after it. That night an angel came to Colman and said to him: Though thy toil is great, Colman, 'tis not here thy monks shall be, nor thy own resurrection. Then Colman wept bitterly and said: What harm is there here at all? Said the angel Victor to him: Here one single person only goes to Heaven out of every hundred, but from the place whether thou wilt be taken to-morrow one person out of every hundred goes to Hell. Colman binds that upon the angel Victor, who said, To-morrow deer will come to thee, Colman, to carry thy books and will guide thee westward to Fid Dorcha, and they will make a cemetery for thee there and cut down the trees of the wood. Thus it was done on the morrow, and when the cemetery has been made34 the angel said: There, cleric, is the site of a house (lann) for the sons of Luachan. That shall be its name till Doom, said Colman, even Lann of the Children of Luachan. So then the angel said as follows, to comfort Colman son of Luachan in his sadness:
- Colman of Lann
of the chief of a tribe,
they shall not be tormented
upon whom the soil of his
- Great his toil
before his monks,
of Heaven love him.
- There is not a joint
in his all-white body
which love of the Lord
has not filled completely.
- One only out of every hundred
good for his monks!
shall go to the torment of Hell
no addition will be made.
- That is the portion
whose faith is not right,
who do not attain to holiness
in there body at all.
- Hosts of angels
for great love of him
are for ever chanting
¶31] Then the monks cut down the rest of the wood. Colman however went to bishop Etchen that he might come to him to consecrate his cemetery. So bishop Etchen came and told Colman that he was to receive the noble order of priesthood by him in the following Lent, and Colman accepts this from him. Then there came to him two other Colmans, even Colman Elo and Colman Comraire, that they might go to receive orders from bishop Etchen at the same time. It had been revealed to bishop Etchen that they were on the road towards him, for on that day he had heard angelic music. So then bishop Etchen said:
- To Christ I give thanks.
I see a host of angels
coming to attend on me,
tis a marvelous thing.
- Manifold melodies
of the Kingdom of Heaven reach me,
archangels have spread
over blessed men.
- There shall be a cemetery for archangels
in my famous meadow
to preserve my good service
to Christ I give thanks.
¶33] Then the three Colmans reach Clonfad at the same time and bishop Etchen welcomes them. Then three vats for bathing are made for them altogether lest any of them should go into water used by another; namely, a vat of yew with hoops of yew, and a vat of oak with hoops of willow, and a vat of oak with hoops of yew. Then at the same time the three Colmans go to the vats. Colman Elo goes into the vat of yew with hoops of yew. Next, Colman son of Luachan goes in to the vat of oak with hoops of yew. Lastly, Colman Comraire goes in to the vat of oak with hoops of willow. Then said bishop Etchen: Like that shall be your orders on earth, ye beloved pillars:
p.33he that is in the vat of yew with hoops of yew shall be a bishop with the honors of a bishop; he that is in the vat of oak with hoops of yew shall be a priest with the honors of a bishop; he that is in the vat of oak with hoops of willow shall be a deacon with the dignity of a priest. Then on the morrow orders were conferred upon them in that wise. And that night they remain in Clonfad. Thence bishop Etchen spoke this poem in praise of the Colmans:
- Beloved the three who come hither
to Clonfad of glebes,
if there is delay beyond the proper time
the work cannot be done.35
- The Colmans without stint,
their strength is vast,
they have assumed great power,
for to them it is due.
- Their strength will be union
from this day till Doom,
from their excelling all others
comes prosperity of the tribes.
- Tara shall not be in grief
in near or distant time,
though hard be its fate,
if the three are satisfied.
- The great good Ulsterman
who is fairest in the world,
his is a face in which grace dwells;
nor battle, nor distress shall subdue him.
- He has taken many churches
about the neighbouring land;
he is the great son of a king,
a protection against every strife.
- The curly one from Conaille,
woe to him who opposes him!
He is the learned counsellor,36
he is skilled in every knowledge.37
- He is a shrine38 of one hundred mysteries,
his heart is beyond all,
his abode without dread
shall be honored till Doom.
- My own dear foster-son
from Cluain Colmáin Moir,
happy those to whom he is a protection,
he is the head of our host.
- He is a star with grace
whence the world is bright,
beloved strength without guile,
grace has filled him in his course.
- Though their ranks are unequal,
they shall be equally high in Heaven,
there is not one of them that is not generous
as to food and drink.
- The son of Luachan of the cloaks
has excelled everyone,
great Erin possesses none who
is more generous or better.
- Welcome the company
from the west and from east
in my chamber without sorrow
beloved are the three!
¶35] So then they made their union in Heaven and on earth, even the three Colmans and bishop Etchen and Mochua son of Nemann, and thereupon they went to their own churches. And the three Colmans had taken orders at the same time as Mochua. So that thenceforth Lann and Clonfad and Tech Mochua are one church, that is, Lann is the west of the church, and the centre of the church is Clonfad and the east of the church is Tech Mochua. Then many monks came to Colman son of Luachan and prostrated themselves before him; and they offer him the service of their clans and kindred till Doom.
¶36] Another story is recorded here. Colman son of Luachan went to beg land of Anfossaid son of Leda, who gave him nothing, but laughed at him. Thy successors till Doom shall be vessels of mockery and laughter, said Colman, and thy land and heritage shall serve me till Doom. And Colman said further that every host in which any of his descendants should be would be defeated till Doom,39 unless every man were on top of his right ear,40 even in punishment for the mockery he had made of Colman, 'tis therefore Colman left this to them. And from him41 the Hui Manchain and the Hui Maelumae are descended, and they are all of them folk of Cluain.
¶37] Again he begged of Lechet from whom the Hui Lechet at Lann are descended, who said: Thou shalt have naught of my land save the site of one house. From this day onwards till Doom thou shalt not possess more than one house. said Colman, and thy land and thy heritage shall serve me. Then he begged of Cummine son of Leda (from whom the Sons of Airechtach are descended, who are erenaghs of Lann) who said: My whole land is thine, my beloved son, for I
p.37have no heir myself. Thou shalt have an heir, said Colman, and he shall be heir to me till Doom. However, the monks said: Handsome (cúanna) and strong (brígach) is the couple, even Cumaine son of Leda and Brig daughter of Comgall, King of Delbna Mór. If they had a son, it were meet that he should be named Cuanna. Thus it shall be, said Colman. Then that night the couple became one and a son was conceived, and at the end of nine months he was born and taken to Colman son of Luachan to be baptized. And he was named Cuanna, and a fit of fondness seized the cleric for the boy, and he said: Just put the boy into the bosom of my soft cowl, a fit of fondness for him has seized me. He was put there, and the little boy took hold of the cleric's cowl with both his hands, and then Colman said: This little man is better than the men who refused to give land to me. So then he said:
So in that wise Colman son of Luachan blessed Cuanna. 'Tis in peace now you part, said the monks to Colman. This child shall ever be a prince of peace, and his successor after him, saith Colman.
- Better the man than the men,
I am glad at the reason for it,
to Christ I give thanks for
the man who takes hold of us.
- He holds me and I shall hold him,
he will be the foundation of our family,
then will he be a beloved chief,
this day it is a young stranger.42
- A blessing on the womb
that conceived him on earth,
my blessing on thee thyself
shall follow thee for a great while.
- The headship of my churches
and of my broad land
shall be with thy offspring after me,
without deceit or fraud.
- Dour violent Anfossaid
and fierce Lechet
shall serve thee here,
thy work shall be in readiness.
- Thou shalt not die till
thou art a withered old man,
then though shalt go to Heaven,
that will be thy fate.
- Without destruction on thy offspring
so long as I shall be in Heaven,
theirs shall be the church for a great while
better the man than the men.
¶39] There were two tribes in Fid Dorcha before Colman son of Luachan came there, viz., the Hui Dubain of the Wood and the Hui
p.39Dubain of the Plain. They both together came to Colman and granted him service both in death and life, and their land to be his own for ever. And from that time onward they have been the glebal family in Lann. And the king granted him their freedom till Doom from himself and from every king after him till Doom, as regards tax to king and chief. These are the places of the Hui Dubain, viz., Less na Fingaile with its two small lisses, and Less Duban behind Less Grucáin, and Less Droignein from Less Grucáin hitherward, and Rua Mor Corracan, and Cluain Dam, and Tulach Lín down from Cell Choca (?) hitherward, and Tech Conan, viz., Conan son of Fiachra, son of Duban, son of Ailill, from whom are the kindred of Ailill in Fartullagh, and Raith Criti, and Raith Inraith, and Raith in Uisce, and Raith in Midg, and Craeb Ullan, and Raith Spelan with its oakbushes, and Gortin Grogin, and Tír na Leice above it, and Tech meic Conba, and Raith Cairech, and Less na Con to the east of it, and Cluain Maeil, and Loch Corr, and Tir Baethan, and Tulach Ruad, and all these to be the property of Colman son of Luachan and of the Lord till Doom, (free) from king and from tax of chief and of tribe.
¶40] Another story is recorded here. There was at Lann a famous goldsmith of the community of Tech Conan; Anniaraid was his name. He had made a bridle with gold and with silver for the king of Offaly, and carries it southward to sell it. There, however, on his arrival, it chanced that Mac Coisemanaig was being hanged, which seemed a strange thing to Anniaraid. However, Anniaraid said to the king: That yonder is a brother of mine; let him not be hanged! Thou shalt have twelve cows for the bridle, or the criminal, said the king. My choice is the criminal, said the goldsmith. Together they come from the south, even the goldsmith and Mac Coisemnaig. After having been asked for it, Mac Coisemnaig gives the price of his bridle to the goldsmith, viz., Rath Spelan, with its brake of acorns, for the twelve cows which had been offered to him for the his bridle; for he preferred giving it to Anniaraid to being killed himself. Anniaraid, however, gives it to God and to Colman till Doom.
¶41] Another story is recorded here about Anniaraid, the goldsmith of the monastery of Tech Conan. He had a bull who liked as well to cover the mares (graig) of Maelsechlainn as cows, whence he was called Grogin. Now on a certain day as Grogin was coming home from Port Innsi na Cairrge homewards, he went astray in the field of
p.41Mac Coisemnaig. However, Mac Coisemnaig came to make the round of his fields, and found Grogin in them, and chases him so that he broke his legs. Anniaraid reports this to Maelsechlainn. Now this was the judgement which Maelsechlainn gave, that the land on which the bull had broken his legs should be given to Anniaraid in payment for Grogin. Whence from that time forth it has been called the Little Field of Grogin. Anniaraid, however, gave it to God and to Colman till Doom. As regards the Tír na Leice, the King of Meath gave it to Colman for driving the demons who had been visiting it, for they had destroyed much in the land. Tech Conan, however is the abbot's house of Colman mac Luachain, and no one is entitled to anything from it except Colman's coarb. For Colman's thumb is in the tomb in front of the abbot's house, and on every Sunday night there is a service of angels there. In the same way, however, Rath Cridi and Achad an Phubaill, for Colman's tent (puball) was there, and they are all exempt from tax of the king and chief and tribe as well.
¶42] Then a great church was built at Lann by Colman son of Luachan, and the makings of a great feast were collected by him to have his church blessed by noble bishops. So the feast was made, and many holy men were gathered to it to bless the church, even bishop Conchraid and bishop Etchen, and Colman Elo was the third bishop. On that night Fursa the Pious also came to Lann, and so in that wise the feast was consumed; and on the morrow they all confirmed their union with Fursa, and they all blessed the church and the cemetery as well. Then Colman son of Luachan said: My monks under thy safeguard, Fursa! says Colman. I accept it, says Fursa, if they will come to me in my cemetery. They shall so come, said Colman, for thou shalt have a cemetery in the midst of my own cemetery here at Lann. So let it be, said Fursa, and it shall count as a pilgrimage to thy monks who are buried there like any cemetery of mine. My monks under thy protection also, bishop Etchen! says Colman son of Luachan. I accept them, says bishop Etchen, if they will come to me. They shall come, says Colman, for thou shalt have a cemetery here. So let it be, says bishop Etchen; it shall count as a pilgrimage to thy monks buried there as it is wont to be in Clonfad. My monks under your safeguard also, Colman Elo and Colman Comraire. says Colman son of Luachan. We
p.43accept it, say they, if only they will come to us. They shall come, says Colman, for one-third of my own cemetery shall be yours. So in that wise they divided the cemetery in three, viz., the third around Fursa's tomb to belong to Fursa himself, and the third around bishop Etchen's tomb to belong to bishop Etchen himself. The rest of it, however to belong to the three Colmans with the other holy men who had made union and covenant with them, even Lomman and Samthann and the three Hermits and Ua Suanaig and Mochuta and Maedoc and all the holy men of Ireland who had been at Drumcet, so that thus the church of Colman son of Luachan is a church of covenant to his monks, and Heaven (is assured) to them in it. Then on the morrow, Fursa also blessed the whole church.
¶43] Then also came to him the descendants of his grandfather's brothers, viz. the children of Forannan son of Leda Find son of Maine, and they offer their services to him till Doom, and they give him a steading of their own land as a gospel-tax, even Lena. And a church is built there by Colman son of Luachan, and he often used to spend some time in it among his monks in the east.
¶44] Again, at a certain time when Colman son of Luachan went to Lena in Hui Forannan to look after his monks and his church, then the king of Ireland chanced to be at Dun Leime ind Eich, with a festering thorn in his foot, so that[...]a sinew in it. And that king was Domnall, son of Aed, son of Ainmire, son of Congal Cennmagair, son of Setna, son of Fergus, son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. Then for a year he was in that fort suffering from speechlessness,43 nor could the physicians of Ireland help him. Now when he heard that Colman son of Luachan was in his own church at Lena, the king sends for him and says to him: Thine own award to thee! and heal my foot, for thou art able to do so, and God performs a more difficult miracle than that for thee. So Colman prays over the foot, and he says: Put thy foot upon this stone, and the thorn which is in thy foot has permission to go into it. Thus then it was done, and forthwith the foot was healed.
¶45] Now six kings of this race had held Tara one after another without any one of the race of Colman Mór and Diarmait son of
p.45Cerball having been in Tara during that time, viz., Ainmire son of Setna and his two sons, even Aed and his two sons, viz., Maelcaba and Domnall, and the two sons of Maelcaba. Then Domnall gave Dun Leime ind Eich to Colman (and Colman builds a church there and a cemetery, and he used often to be there, and he spent three lents in Colman's Cave on the rock behind the fortress, his face towards the Boyne) and the seventeen steadings which had served Domnall and every other king before him, and two hunting-hawks that he had; and their freedom till Doom from the brothers of his grandfather, viz., the Children of Forannan and of Aed Find and Maine (and Colman himself was a son of Luachan, son of Leda, son of Maine), and Colman said: Whichever king transgress this freedom till Doom, he shall lose one hundred times as much of his own territory and of his land. And Colman said further: The King of Tara shall lose one hundred times as much when he shall ask tax or custom from them; and every battle in which any of them may be shall be broken upon him, if they44 are carried off by force. Then Colman said: Whoever seizes one of those, he shall be taken45 to the King of Tara, who shall give seven cows for him unless he obtain him for a less price, and he lets (him) out from the top of his head,46 and he shall not be opposed to the end of seven years and that head shall not be struck off him till Doom, and he shall be a night of slaughter. And he gave freedom till Doom to his people, both to the churches here, with their people, and to the churches in Hui Forannan, with their folk of service in the east, viz., seventeen steadings, and (he gave) the three churches that are in them to Colman. And ever since that time the chiefs of the Hui Forannan and the men of their steadings are bound to be buried at Lann. And thenceforth they are in the churches in the east, and stewards from Lann in the churches of the east, viz., the Hui Braenan and the Hui Maelbethad of the people of Lann, i.e., they are the smiths of Lann from Tulach Lonain. For guarding the privileges of the church they are entitled to one third of the clothes of the dead in the east, and to one third of the winding-sheet.
¶46] Again, another story is recorded here. One day on a summer
p.47morning at the hour of tierce when Colman was in his church at Less Dochuinn, the cows of the steadings escaped towards the calves, and the calves were running towards them; and when Colman saw that, he plants his staff on a stone between them and rebuked them; and the calves cannot move out of that place, nor can the cows go towards them from the other side. In that way then they remain until midday, when all arose. And its site is still on the stone. And that stone is midway between Cuillenn Mór and Cuillenn Bec. And again God's name and Colman's were magnified through that miracle. Hence from that time onwards it is called the staff that is between the cows and the calves, and staff of the boys had been its name before that miracle, for being in the hand of the boys. It is a relic which should be in Hui Forannan in the churches.
¶47] At a certain time the King of Fartullagh came to him, even Onchu son of Saran, and prostrated himself before him and asked a boon of Colman son of Luachan, viz. that Colman might give him the Host before he went towards futurity, and Colman grants him that, viz. that he should not die without his being present at his death. And Onchu said: O cleric, why dost thou not ask for children for me that they may serve thee till Doom? Then Colman said:
- Thou shalt have a famous son,
O Onchu without stint;
he will be a fosterling, he will be a good monk
to pure-handed Colman of Lann.
¶48] At a certain time Colman son of Luachan went to Dun na Cairrge in Meath. Then Onchu son of Saran had died a week before in Inis na Cairrge. Colman went to him and said to him: Surely we had pledged that thou shouldst not die until I had given thee the Host. And Colman pours three waves out of the Findfaidech47 upon his head. Thou art at liberty to arise out of the sleep of death as thou wast at the age of thirty years; for now thou art an old man. So then they made the following colloquy:
- Onchu, lift thy head
among the warriors of Erin;
long has been thy sleep, be not dejected!
a full week hast thou been under thy one cloak.48
- Come to me, take my hand,
thou brilliant son of Luachan,
that I may confide to thee, a deed without stint,
much of the marvels I have seen.
- First tell me this
say something of thy adventures
was it exit of mind,
or severance of body and soul?
- My soul was taken from me afar
past dreadful terrible hell
towards the heaven of the glorious King
who is without concealment, without decay.
- Where there is health and peace
and joy without grief,
music without cessation, without sin,
life without death, without peril.
- Youth without age ever,
radiant light, immortality, virtuousness,
the presence of the King of the seven heavens,
the one Son of the maiden Mary.
- What has brought thee back hither?
Tell us something of thy adventures!
worse is this land than the land beyond,
O son of Saran, O thou of noble race.
- Son of Luachan, of brilliant disposition,
of the race of Conall Cremthainne,
this is why I have been allowed to return to my house;
in honour of thee and of Airmedach.
- Airmedach, Suibne likewise,
the sons of Colman son of Diarmait,
the Lordfair fame
has put them under the lake, O Onchu!
- What wilt thou give me in obedience to me,
pure-shaped, generous Onchu?
Shall it be gentle fair service?
shall it be bog or land?
- To thee my service has been granted
both in life and death,
tax besides and toll and tribute to
thee, O Colman son of Luachan!
- What is the amount of the fair tribute,
both of wealth and noble treasures?
tell uscause without blemish
lest it become a matter of strife.
- Seven loaves from every serf,
a scruple for each horse, for each young calf,
a hundred horses from each fosterlinga gentle condition
a necklace, bridle and spancel.
from every stout strong hearth
both near and afar; a suckling
from every gentle-woman
unless false chieftains come.
- Tithes from the profit of each one
that shall be without anxiety, without poverty;
a cloak from every royal warrior,a brilliant act
a linen shirt from every old woman.
- A lump of iron from every smith, a pleasant call,
so long as there shall be a dwelling in Erin;
a horse for every thigh to thee besides
at the end of seven fair-blossoming years.
- To thee, Colman, at every time
cows, swine, steeds, oxen
and sheep together,
horses, carts, and their load.
- Thy own will to thee, holy cleric,
pure-handed excellent son of Luachan,
that they may come according to the rule
of Lann every single year.
- The blessing of man, the blessing of God,
may they be upon thee altogether,
upon thy children, upon thy race without sorrow,
may calamity never come to them,
a blessing upon thy sense and thy fame,
a blessing upon thyself, O Onchu.
- Bless thou the island, O man,
O holy Colman, O cleric;
for the dwelling is not far from thy land,
so that its abode may be stable.
- Luck of milk and of plenteous ale,
triumph of counsel in every affair,
triumph of conceptionfame with prosperity,
triumph of raid hence, triumph of hosting
- Three fills of my bell of cold water
to be cast out of it against hosts
neither Norsemen nor Gael will invade
thy island against that.
- The tithes of the island without reproach,
and its alms of food and raiment,
besides every chattel as is just,
which is brought to thee to full-great Lann.
- So long as people in it are obedient to me
both near and afar,
there shall not be scarcity of food anywhere
in thy noble island, O Onchu.
- The righteous perfect Children of Onchu
and the descendants of Maelodran,
the Devil shall not carry off one of them
while they are perfect or repentant.
My severe piety over every spot
for a protection with me, O Onchu.
¶50] So then Colman blessed the land of Dun na Cairrge without. Thereupon the people of Carric asked him to leave a well of fresh water with them. So Colman plants his staff in the meadow of Carric and twirls it about, and he said: This spot is permitted to have in it a famous well till Doom. Forthwith a stream of water sprang forth there, so that henceforth its name has been Colman's Well, and it heals many diseases and pestilences if one fast near it. This rock was ever a place of the kings of Fartullagh until the daughter of Conchubar's son came, viz., the wife of Concubar ua Maelsechlain, whom the king carried off by force, as well as the queen of the king of Fartullagh, viz., CuChaille son of Dublaide, so that it was outraged, that is to say, its king was dethroned and the place forfeited to the queen of Meath; for she is the first woman that took it, and all the rest following her thence onward, and it is not subject to the king of Fartullagh. And Colman is entitled to tithes from it in the same way whoever be in it, for 'tis he who blessed it. And Colman is entitled to the tithes of the fortress outside Port na hInse, for 'tis he who traced a circle with his staff around it as he was blessing it. And there is luck of milk and ale and every other food there ever, and triumph of conception and triumph of raid and triumph of hosting henceforward till Doom. And tithes of sea and of wells in the same way, for 'tis he blessed them all. And Mominoc is entitled to tithes from Inis Locha Maige Uath, for he has blessed it, and it belongs to the chief of the Hui Tegtechan to be upon the hurdle of assembly, with the cup in his hand, and to the Hui Domnan to guard the King of Fartullagh, viz., they are folk of the western steading.
¶51] Now on a certain day Colman was in Carric when the kings of the country came to him to hear him saying mass and celebrate.
p.55After mass they all make the round of the cemetery when they heard a cry near the sheep close by them. At that all look and see wolves running towards them. O Colman, by thy power, says the queen, save my sheep for me, and thou shalt have a ewe-lamb of them every year. Then Colman rebuked the wolves, and they stand still in that spot. So God's name and Colman's were magnified through that miracle. And the queen said to Colman: Sing a prayer to me now for the protection of the sheep against wolves. Then Colman said: Sing this quatrain around them morning and night, and the wolves shall not devour them till Doom.
- My sheep,
may they be in the possession of the one man!
in the possession of Colman son of Luachan,
so that my sheep may be whole and sound.
Now whomever will sing that around his sheep, wolves will not destroy them; wherefore Colman is entitled to a ewe-lamb from every flock in Ireland for preserving them from wolves.
¶52] Then on a certain occasion the great gathering of Druim Cet was held by the Kings of Ireland around Colum Cille. Then everyone came to it from every direction. However, the last three who reached it after everyone else were the three great Colmans of Meath, and dark was the night when they arrived. And hence there was no material for fire or for a hut for them. Then that news was brought to Colum Cille, and a welcome was sent to them from him, and a call was made on the holy men of Ireland, even (to supply) a log from each fire and a rod and wisp from each hut for the three great Colmans of Meath. In that wise then those things were brought to them. Then on the morrow the saints of Ireland asked of Colum Cille: What manner of clerics are the three Colmans for whom thou hast solicited us last night? Then said Colum Cille: Though this is a great gathering of Ireland's saints here to-day, I declare before God that the gathering of those three Colmans in heaven will not be less than this gathering; and I declare before the Trinity, if the heavens were to fall down upon the surface of the earth, that those three Colmans would raise them up again with their hands to their natural station. Then every one of the saints of Ireland thought little of his own strength in comparison with that testimony which Colum Cille had given of them. Hence the saints of Ireland besought the three Colmans for a covenant; and they consented to make that
p.57covenant with them. And thereupon in the presence of Colum Cille the covenant is made, so that thenceforward there is a covenant of their monks with the saints of Ireland, viz., with all those who had come to the great gathering of Druim Cet.
¶53] However when Colman son of Luachan came to Lann, bishop Conchraid was there in Tir an Disirt before him. Then when he heard the sound of Colman's bell he came towards him49 and said to him: Welcome to thee, Colman! This wood shall serve thee till Doom, even Fid Dorcha, and we shall serve thee till Doom. Thus then it was done, and thereupon Conchraid stayed with Colman like any other disciple. On a certain occasion he agrees to do homage to Colman and his monks, viz. his monks and he himself to be with50 their oxen. And he was a long time with them in Cluain Dam, and hence it has been called Cluain Dam (Meadow of Oxen) ever since.
¶54] Now on one occasion one of those oxen is stolen from Conchraid. He went upon its track with his bell in his hand, and each time he went off its track his bell sounded,51 and so they continued until they reached Caill Cellan in Fartullagh. And there he came upon the thieves skinning his ox. And Conchraid demanded it of them and the thieves gave it to him. And the cleric said to it: It is permitted to thee to rise. Forthwith the ox rose up. When the thieves saw that they are going to prostrate themselves before him. No, said Conchraid, prostrate yourselves before my beloved tutor, even Colman. To Colman then they prostrate themselves and give their services till Doom. Said Colman to Conchraid: Now choose another place! Then ask the site of a house for me of Conall so that I may build a church there, and we shall serve thee in it till Doom. Thus it was done, and Conall gave the site of a house to Colman son of Luachan, whence Colman's House in Upper Fartullagh is so named. That church they bless together; and they free it from the chieftain's tax. And Colman leaves Conchraid in it as his substitute, so that it had belonged to Colman from that time onward. According to others Conchraid came thither with Colman and was not already there before him; and it was after going thence that he set up in Tir in Disirt. And Colman said: We do not permit thee to be there,
p.59Conchraid, so that it was then he asked a site of Conall. And some say that the bell which was in Conchraid's hand as he tracked his ox is that which is in Cluain Mescan in Ulster. And it is still called the bell of Colman's oxen.
¶55] Again, upon a certain time the steward of Conall son of Suibne came to Luachan to demand victuals of him. And Luachan had but one sieve of barley-seed; and he said: We have not got what you demand of him. But the steward said that they would all be put into the sea or fire unless they found three hundred wheaten cakes with their condiment of butter and milk. And Colman said: It is permitted to thee to be swallowed up by the earth. And forthwith the earth swallowed the steward as he went towards his lord to stir him up against Colman, so that ever since hounds52 have been[...]ing on his head. And when he saw that he began to flee,53 and dread seized all the people; and they said: Woe to him who shall consume thy food, Colman; and 'tis not we who shall consume it. And for a long time afterwards it was a form of cursing54 one another among them, viz. May the death of Cú Mend carry thee off! as the earth swallowed Loegaire when he was disobedient to Patrick.
¶56] However, his mother said to Colman: My good son, help us, for we are in a great plight. Colman went to the mill with his sack upon him, as Colum Cille took the sack upon him to the stone which is in the refectory at Iona55 (Maelblatha is its name, and there is luck upon every food that is upon it). Now on his arrival there was Conall's corn under the mill and it was wheat. Colman ordered it to cease, for he was in great haste(?); but the steward would not do it at his bidding. Then put it in, said the cleric, and we will put (ours in) on this side, and God will divide for us. They did thus, and Colman put his hand against the mill and turned it lefthandwise, so that thenceforward it has been Mullingar (Wry Mill). And God exchanged the corn so that Colman had wheat and the steward barley. So God's name and Colman's were magnified through the miracle.
¶57] Now when Colman came from the ford to the mill southward
p.61Christ Himself came to him in the shape of a leper to test his mercifulness, and asked a handful of him for God's sake. That much were little for God's sake, said Colman; and he gives him a large handful out of the sack. Another handful to me for God's sake! says the leper. He gives it him, and thus they continue while there was anything in the sack, and Colman bestows a blessing with the meal upon the leper. Thereupon Colman went from him. The leper calls him back, and gives him all the meal and his blessing with him, as Christ came to Martin to ask him for his mantle, and Martin gave Him half of it, and the other half about himself, and had He asked for the whole, Martin would have given it to Him.
¶58] He went onward to his house and set the sack upon the floor. My dear son, says his mother, that sack is small and the behest is great; and it is hard to feed a king therefrom. Only begin to bake, says he, and God will put something into the sack; as Brigit said to the druid's wife56 when she had but the making of one churning and a half, and Brigit brought half the making of her churning every time out of the store-house until the whole hamper was full of butter. Thus did God bless a little food. Then three hundred cakes were baked from the sack, and it was still full. Where is the condiment now? says his mother, for I have nought but the milking of one cow. God will increase it, says he, and do thou only churn it. So it was done; and there came condiment for three hundred cakes out of it. Where now, says the mother, is a drink worthy of a king with those things? So he blessed the buttermilk, and out of it came a mass of curds for every cake. He likewise blessed the whey and it becomes milk. Where now is a horse upon which this food may be carried to the king? for we have not got one. Then they heard a stag in Tulach ind Oiss. It is permitted to the stag which makes this noise, says Colman, to carry it. So the stag came with its hind, and they lie down before them, and then a cart is put upon them and the food upon that, (and it is carried) to Dun Bri hitherward, as the two wild animals came to convey Patrick's body to the church when he had died.57 When the hosts saw that, they report it to Conall saying: The wild
p.63animals which neither thy hounds nor thy horses can overtake are serving Colman of their own will. Then fear58 seized Conall, and he attempted to flee. Then the point of the sword cleaves to the quilt, and the quilt cleaves to the floor, and his limbs become distorted and the fortress falls [...] 59 as the Sloping Fort of Tara fell when Patrick met with disobedience in it. For it is in the time of Loegaire son of Niall that the fort fell, and in the time of Patrick, and it was not the judgement of the woad that destroyed it.60
¶59] Then Colman came to him and said: Here I have food for thee, Conall. Tis I that will give food to thee till Doom, said Conall, and neither thou nor thy successor shall give it to me. Then Conall prostrated himself to Colman and said to him: Thy own will to thee, Colman, and help me out of this strait! Say thyself, said Colman, what it is to be. This fort to thee, said Conall, with its mill and the river below. So that is Muilenn Dee and its fish-weir with it. Then that was made known to Arnan son of Eogan and to Ultan and to Mac Liag; and they caused a great mist from the north and east to hide the land from him. Then Colman son of Luachan said: Arnan and Ultan and Mac Liag cause this mist to spite me; but its evil will fall upon them. Their lands will be bog and wilderness till Doom and their churches will be waste; and henceforth foxes shall be their priests, and their clerics shall be wolves, and red-handed men shall be in their abbots' seats, and sway over their monks shall belong to other churches till Doom. My sight is not clear now, said Colman; (I see) but two places, Bordgal and Lemchaill. They shall be thine, said Conall, and choose thyself seventeen steadings with them in this tribe in which I am, and search it,61 viz., in Hui Thigernain. Tis then Conall asked of Colman son of Luachan to bless the site of a fortress for him after his fortress had been taken from him; and Colman said: Come with me then and I will bless a better fortress for thee. Together they go to Ruba Conaill to spite Arnan and Ultan, so that their church might be a passage for the hounds and attendants of the fortress for ever.
¶60] Then Colman son of Luachan makes a circle with his staff around that brake, and leaves as a blessing on it triumph of raid and
p.65of hosting and of counsel till Doom. Conall, however, said to Colman: That is good, cleric; and thou shalt have a cow from every capture, and a horse and dress from every hosting, and with it tithes of every food here always. Luck of food here also! saith Colman.
¶61] Then he goes westward into the land of Ui Thigernain to Uachtor Comartha, and there builds a church and sleeps that night, and on the morrow celebrates mass in it. And he had no bell with him to sound (the summons for) hearing his mass, so that then the Finnfaidech of Colman mac Luachain was sent down to him from heaven, and the mark of its rim is still there in the stone. So the bell was struck by them. The water, however, which was brought to him out of the river Colman spilt from the bell upon the ground of the church without, so that thenceforth it has been a spring of fresh water. And God's name and Colman's were magnified by that miracle. And that church has been exempt from the king's taxes from that time till now.
¶62] Then he chooses Tír Fráich and Tír Mór and Baile Ua Dungalen and Ua Lothrachan and Baile Ua Fothatan and Duma Bolg and Baile Ua Diman and Less na Findan and Inis Conchada with Cnoc Domnallan, and other raths up to seventeen with them. Conall granted him their freedom from the brothers of his grandfather till Doom, as Domnall son of Aed, son of Ainmire had done before. Then Colman went to Cell Bec, where he had again great welcome and food. And neither the Ui Gusan nor the Ui Thigernan are obliged to provision the King of Meath in Cró-inis, but only in Ruba Conaill; nor yet should troops be billeted upon them in Cró-inis, except what[...]out from Ruba Conaill. And their free steadings are more numerous than their unfree steadings. And their winter-beef or their lenten food should not be consumed in any other place than Ruba Conaill. And the chief of the Ui Gusan is entitled to the tax of the strangers in the tribe, and half the tax of tribesmen from the King of Meath. The coarb of Colman, however is entitled to a horse and dress from every king who takes the kingship of Ui Thigernain always, and to a seat by his side. Unless he give that to him he shall decay or die early.
¶63] Now at a certain time Ethgen son of Tigernan, son of Aed Sláne, son of Diarmait, son of Cerball, son of Fergus, son of Conall Cremthainne, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, came to him and
p.67granted him service till Doom; and he brought his daughter to read with him, even Ronat daughter of Ethgen. It is she who lies buried in the church of Ui Muca below, and it belongs to Colman from ground to sky, and his is the headship always. And every year a bushel of every kind of corn from it at lent in the spring. And in consideration of this service Colman gave him a steading for every one of his sons till Doom. And Colman said: Any one of them who shall turn on me, he shall have no issue to be kings of his tribe till Doom, and hell and shortness of life to him. Colman said further: May none spring from him but shoemakers and comb-makers, or people of that kind.
¶64] At a certain time again the steward of the Ui Airmdaig, Maelodran son of Faillen, went and prostrated himself to Colman son of Luachan; and he would bring him many alms of food and dress. And Conall was angry thereat and put Maelodran in fetters for it. However, when Colman heard that, he went with thirteen men to seek him. And when he had come to Port na hInse, Conall said that no boat should be brought out to him. And Colman said: The Lord is equally powerful upon water and land, and if He wills that we be drowned, His will is our will. And Colman blessed the lake and struck it before him with his staff. And it seemed to them that it was a shining mist, and they went across with dry feet as Moses the son of Amram went through the Red Sea with his people behind him.
¶65] However, when Conall was told this he said to his people: Whoever of you rises before Colman will be expelled62 out of the land, nor shall he get that place63 till Doom. But when Colman came into the house Flann son of Onchú, son of Saran, rose up with thirteen other men, all except only Flann's foster-son who did not rise up before them64 at all. Then Colman pronounced sentence of decay upon the foster-sons of Flann's descendants, unless every foster-son would pay him his scruple of gold. And Colman spoke the following quatrains:
- Flann son of Onchú
is my friend,
the flavour of the hyacinth
shall never go out of him.
- Lann of the lands,
no feeble remnant,
what Conall utters
does not disturb it.
- The number of men
who rose up before us
shall reign65 of his descendants66
in the land after Conall.
- Thirteen men
who dared heavy trouble,
the terror of a full one hundred
upon him with that number.67
- Triumph of the spoil
upon thee through . . .
nor death shall be his.
- The judgement of my verse
does not come against us,
thou shalt die under
my cloak, O Flann.
¶66] Thus he blessed him and said: A king's bedfellow68 shall spring from thee to-day till Doom. Then Colman demanded Maelodran to be released for him, but did not obtain it from Conall. However, Colman said: Wherever I shall be at nocturns to-night, there Maelodran will be. That is not the word of a cleric, said Conall. That night Maelodran breaks his chains and escapes to Lann. However, on the morrow Conall came after him to Lann and said: Give me my prisoner, Colman! Thou shalt have instead of him the Kingship of Ireland for thyself and for thy offspring till Doom, said Colman. That is not sensible, said Conall. Who else shall hold the Kingship of Ireland but my offspring? Thou shalt have heaven for thyself, said Colman, and heaven to thy successors till Doom. No, said Conall, I am looking forward to heaven as it is. Grant heaven to me and to each representative of my descendants,69 said the prisoner, and I submit to being killed. If thou prefer to escape safe, said Colman, thou shalt go, and spears will not be able to do aught to thee. No, said Maelodran. Put thy head under my cloak! said Colman. And he put it there,
p.71and then all the rewards of heaven were revealed to him, and he saw Colman son of Luachan awaiting him yonder and bidding him welcome. Hence Maeldran said:
- 'I see,' said the fetter one
'a thing most wonderful to you
this Colman, who is (here) with you,
awaiting me in Heaven.'
- Mocholmóc70 the dignified
with all his bounty,
I cannot tell a tithe of all
the good he does.
- Nobel is his power,
he has prescribed many psalms
for ousting plagues of pestilences,
for resuscitating the dead.
- His piety, his humility,
though I speak of it at all times
all that is between earth and heaven
is full of dignitymarvelous that!
- If heaven should fall upon the earth
so that not
holy Colman would lift it
back into its station.
- If this whole world were mine
with its kingship this day,
I should barter it for beholding
the Kingdom I see.
¶68] Then Maelodran was killed in front of the cemetery of Colman son of Luachan, so that he is the first dead person buried at Lann. Colman, however, grew angry on account of having been outraged, and he lifted his face straight towards the heavenly host, and after a long time he said sadly and perspiring: If the Son of the Maiden were to allow it, yonder island out of which thou hast come to outrage me has leave to sink down into the lake till Doom. Its horses, however, and its victorious chariotsthe earth has leave to swallow them up wherever they are. And thus it happened forthwith.
¶69] On the morrow, however, Conall went in order to slay Colman son of Luachan in revenge for his people. Now that was revealed to Colman, and he tells it to his people. Save us from him, said they, for thou art able to do that. So Colman blessed the air; and thereupon a mist came from heaven, and the king went wandering astray from Loch Ennell to Tech Nadfráich in Bregia.71 It seemed to him that he had come to Lann, and it further seemed to them72 that
p.73Loch Ennell was the Boyne in Bregia. However, that night the sons of Aed Sláne came to him, even Blathmac and Diarmait and Cernach Sotal, his three sons. Two of them, however, had seized the kingship of Tara, namely Blathmac and Diarmait. And they stormed the house in which he was and wrought a slaughter of his people in the house. He himself escaped to the shore of the Boyne. He was put into a vat, and the mouth of another vat was put on the top of it, and thereupon they were dragged out so that Maelumae son of Forannan, son of Aed Find, son of Maine, a tenant73 of Colman's son of Luachan and the son of his grandfather's brother found him and killed him at Liss Dochuinn in revenge for the outrage upon Colman regarding the prisoner Maelodran. It is then Conall said: May every king who holds Tara after me avenge me upon there, i.e., mayest thou be one of the two spears(?) of the King of Tara till Doom!
¶70] Then Maelumae came to Colman with the report of the story as it had all happened. Colman, however, said to him: Triumph of deeds of war and of victory upon thy successor without his being killed in them,74 nor shall any of thy descendants ever be slain in revenge for Conall, and it shall be a successor of thine who proclaims the King of Tara till Doom, so that his mind shall henceforth be upon Ireland and Ireland's mind upon him, if only the king be proclaimed by him (viz.75 The kingship and headship of Ireland to thee, O king!
upon thee, saith the King as he makes a cast at him, hast thou brought Conall Guthbinn with thee? And thus it should be done, the king to be at the foot of the Pillar-stone of the Hostages above, and the man of the Hui Forannan upon the flag-stone below, an open horsewhip in his hand so as to save himself as best he can from the cast, provided that he do not step forth from the flagstone). The king who shall slay a descendant of thine shall decay or die an early death, unless his steed and his dress be given to him for it. A hundred times as many men as thou hast the king of Tara shall lose when he shall demand tax or custom from thee, and he shall be routed in every battle in which one of thy descendants may be if he carried him forcibly with him.
¶71] Again, on a certain occasion, Colman son of Luachan went to perambulate the Toidiu of Moling of Luachair. And he did perambulate it, and thence proceeded to Great Ferns of Maedoc. Now when he came to the refectory he found on his arrival the steward dead in the refectory. Crob Criad was his name. Then the disciples of Colman son of Luachan asked for a foot-washing and said: There is a noble cleric in the refectory; let his feet be washed! Now that is told to Maedoc, who said in great wrath: If he who is here is a cleric, do ye yourselves resuscitate the steward for him, and he shall wash his feet. The news of that reached Colman son of Luachan, who was ashamed that he should be attacked like this, and he said: If it please the Son of the Virgin to save me from this attack, he shall come to us. Now a little boy was in grief by the side of the corpse, and Colman asked him: What trouble (dochairt) is on thee, little boy? I have good cause for it, said he, for my father is dead here before me. He has leave to rise to wash our feet; and I care not if thine own name henceforth be Dochartach.
¶72] Now Maedoc is told of that, and he comes himself with all his monks in fear and great joy towards Colman son of Luachan, and they prostrate themselves before him so that their heads touch the ground, on account of the outrage done to him, viz. that he should have been made to blush. And Maedoc and his monks with him weep for it, and they make their union and their covenant in heaven and on earth, even Colman and Maedoc. And on the morrow Maedoc said: Well now, Colman son of Luachan, he whom God has given to thee rather than to us shall go with thee; we shall not deprive thee of thy triumph. Thus then it was done; and Colman gives him the same office here, so that these are the Ui Dochartaig at Lann, viz. they are the descendants of Crob Criad with Maedoc, viz. that is their surname in the south. He made three divisions of drink, viz. a first, a second, and an after-drink, without any of them being fit for them, and three divisions of the bread, viz. wheat and barley and oats, though none of them was fit for them. It is therefore Colman spoke these two quatrains to Dochartach:
- Man of three bakings, man of three brewings,
gloomy dark hell to him:
the King of the universe is grateful
to each one with his one baking.
- 'Tis thus I have practiced
a common division in my house:
the same food for every one
make thou for us, my man.
¶73] On a certain occasion Murchad son of Aimedach, son of Conall Guthbinn, asked his soulfriend Cassan the priest of Domnach Mór: What is it that deprives the offspring of Colman the Great son of Diarmait of the Kingship of Tara and of Ireland, O cleric? saith he. How is it, O son, said the same priest, that thou doest not know it? However, I do not know it, said Murchad. So long as the curse of Colman son of Luachan clings to the race of Conall Guthbinn, they shall not be in the Kingship of Tara. Is there a help in store for us out of this, O cleric? said Murchad. There is indeed, said Cassan the priest, if thou make peace with Colman son of Luachan. What would that peace be? said Murchad. To do Colman's will, said the priest. So Murchad came to Colman and prostrates himself before him, and at his behest fasts three days and three nights. And Colman blesses him and his son, even Domnall son of Murchad, son of Diarmait, son of Airmedach, son of Conall Guthbinn, son of Suibne, son of Colman the Great, son of Diarmait the Red, son of Fergus Wry-mouth, son of Crimthann, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. And through that blessing of Colman's Domnall obtained the Kingship of Tara. And he gave to Colman increase of territory and land and freedom till Doom to his monks, both for the churches here with their monks and for his churches in Ui Forannain with their monks, i.e., seventeen steadings and the three churches that are in them to be ever free for Colman.
¶74] These are the steadings which Domnall gave to Colman here, viz. Ros Dullenn and Ard Cain and Raithin na Brechmaige and Les an Phobuil and Raith Drocan and Dun Senchada and Ard Nessan and Les Conin and Raithin na Gabann with Ard Mucada and Les Glinne and Raith Donnchada and Ard Mor and Lethchluain and Ros Omna and Les na Huama at Cluain Gilla Finain and Les na Moga with Tulach an Oiss and Raithin an Phupaill is its name to-day and Baile Asidtaand these to be free till Doom. Seventeen steading they are, just as Conall Guthbinn gave him seventeen steadings. However, the land of his father's brother, viz. Raith Lechet and Cluain Gamna and Senraith Lis an Daire, these Conall Guthbinn himself gave to Colman.
¶75] Again, on a certain occasion Colman son of Luachan and
p.79Maeltuile and Ua Suanaig came from Clonard. Night overtakes them at Raith Cosemnaig and they are not let in till morning. Then on the morrow Cosemnach's wife came to them with a jug of milk, whence is the saying: The draught of milk of the owner of this fortress shall never exceed the measure of a jug. The clerics utter the following lay. Ua Suanaig said (Fidmuine was his baptismal name):
- By the will of the
King of stars,' said blessed Fidmuine,
'I leave hatred upon Coisemnacha bright union
with his seven brothers.'
Maeltuile spoke this quatrain below:
- May his successors never dwell
in this fortress till Doom!
. . .
O holy Christ may it be fullfilled!
Henceforth the service of that steading belongs to Colman, for it is empty of its own inheritors unless they do Colman's will in serving him monastery.
- My curse till Doom
upon Coisemnach with his fortress,
upon his offspringa report that goes forth in song76
so long as heaven and earth exist.
¶76] Again, on a certain occasion the three Colmans of Meath set out to go to Rome of Latium. Then an innumerable host came with them on account of the excellence of the company. Now when they had come to the Alps the wall of Rome appeared to them there. So then they spoke the following poem:
- We give thanks to the King of stars;
yonder is Rome, the great church;
we have made a choice bargain,
if it is today
- Small is the toil to him that comes,
he obtains mercy through it;
'tis mercy in Christ without torture
to grant Heaven for a small matter.
- The people of the west of the loved world
shall obtain mercy in His house,
if they spend their lives without guile,
without spoil, without theft, without constant wrath.
- Without parricide, without harsh overbearing,
without gluttony, without greed, without lust,
without sadness, without trouble, without desire,
but firmly rooted in the Trinity.
- The greater is the reward of everyone
upon the dun yellow earth;
his blameless honour is all the better
for fasting upon the flag-stones of Peter's tomb.
- I shall not depart from Rome on any condition
until I perform thirty fasts,
that I may obtain Heaven for myselfcause without a groan
and for everyone who shall be in my cemetery.
- After that the soil of Peter's and Paul's tombs
and the soil of Gregory's grave
shall be carried by us verily
in loads to Ireland.
- We have come hither safely
without pestilence, without the death of a single man;
welcome now death without blemish,
to Christ our thanks are due.
¶77] In that wise then they acted so that the three Colmans found great respect and honour at Rome. And there the great testimony was pronounced of them which Colum Cille had pronounced on a certain occasion of the three Colmans at the great gathering of Drum Cet.77 And thereupon the three Colmans were forty days and nights in Rome. And they collected soil of Peter's tomb and of the tomb of every other apostle and of every great saint that is in Rome, and took it with them to Ireland. So they came back to Ireland to the port of Dublin. On the morrow, however, Colman Elo and Colman Comraire went to Lathrach Briuin. Colman son of Luachan, however, went to Glasnevin to sleep upon the tomb of Mobi the Board-faced. Now when Colman son of Luachan had come into Mobi's refectory, the steward came to him, even Crom Deroil and bade him welcome and spoke as follows. (However, the monks did not recognize Colman son of Luachan, but he did, ut dixit:)
- Hail to him into whose house he has come,
the noble young pilgrim,
Colman of Lann of pure splendour,
the head of Colum Cille's yoke.
- His strength is vast in Heaven,
a cleric he is with whom are clerics;
the church in which he will be a single night
will be holy, will be frequented ever.
- He is one of the three just Colmans
of the race of great Colman of Meath;
all the saints of Ireland at Drum Cet
besought their union.
- He will sleep on Mobi's tomb;
he will recite a prayer for us three times
in Glasnevina skillful strengthening,
hail to him whom he has come!
¶79] That night, then, Colman son of Luachan lies upon the tomb of Mobi the Board-faced. On the morrow, however, Colman blessed the whole church and left the palm of speech to the steward, and that no company should ever part from him dissatisfied. Then Colman son of Luachan goes thence to Lathrach Briuin to the other Colmans, and from there they went to Finnen, for he was their tutor (and stayed with him) to the end of three years at the cross to the north of the church. Again they went from there to Miliuc. And Colman son of Luachan went thence to Drong Faechnig, where a service of angels is revealed to him. Then he asks Drong from the king. Domnall son of Murchad was king there, and he gave him Drong with its land in freedom till Doom. And Colman blessed it and left Baetan the Briton as his substitute in it. That was Uidrin, a deacon in rank and a priest for dignity and reputation. And he was one of the seven disciples who went with him to Rome, viz. Uidrin son of Aramail, son of Duban, son of Fiachra, son of Ailill, from whom the race of Ailill in Fartullagh are descended. And he was one of the seven who had gone with him to Rome, and he lies buried in Cell Uidrin at the head of Ross Omna eastward in the plain. So then Colman said as follows:
- Baetan of the Britons, a mouth that utters judgements,
may it be luck of profit!
he shall be in my church with its brilliance
- High Drong Faechnig
with its prosperous, rich land
with Luachan's son a time will be
when it shall be full of angels.
- May God protect it from raid of foreigners,
from the death of man!
may each oakwood around it be a shelter
- In it there will be from me a noble deacon
without particle of blame,
my holy censor,a solid understanding
my head of baptism.
¶81] Now Colman stays forty nights in Drong and blesses it and comes thence to Daire Aidnen fleeing from the shouts of the rabble, and he performs seven masses there under the trunk of a single oak, so that its name has been Colman's Oak ever since. Then the wolves of the oak-wood went towards him and licked his shoes, wagging their tails after the manner of faithful dogs (i.e. of domestic dogs) and lay
p.85down before him. And he said to them: Be ye here ever, and on the day when my name is brought to you for intercession, that day you are permitted not to kill anyone.
¶82] Then Colman son of Luachan went to Tech Colmain to Conchraid and there spent forty nights of Lent with carefully chosen food and ale (whence the successors of Colman should be at Tech Colmain at that period); having there a roll of bread buttered below as well as on the top, and ale all that time. Thence Colman went to Lann Mic Luachain with the load of seven men of the soil of Rome and of the tombs of the apostles. Now that night Lassar, his mother, commits a pious theft to magnify[...] around the house of the Lord, viz. she takes the full of her bag of soil of Rome to the kindred of her brothers, even to the Ui Guill and Ui Dimma to Tech Lommain. That was at once revealed to Colman, and he said: Thou shalt not be deprived of Heaven for this, woman, for thou dost it with good intention; but that soil will be no use to them, but here only. Grant Heaven to them here! said she. No, said Colman, for I do not like to deprive Lomman of his monks, except as hornless dun cattle in a fold are wont to be, viz. let them come hither first and Heaven to them here. Then Lassar weeps bitterly with tears of blood, and the soil of Rome and of the twelve apostles was thereupon scattered in every direction in the cemetery of Lann, so that it is a burial in the soil of Rome for each one who has been buried there from that onward.
¶83] Again, a certain story is recorded here. Colman Elo and Colman son of Luachan made an exchange of staffs at Rome, and Colman Elo made a distinction between them, viz., a covering of a hood with dark-blue lashes around his own staff, so that his own grace might accompany his staff. Hence a cloak has been around it every since. It is troublesome to seek a dress for it always, said Colman son of Luachan. Though it be troublesome, said Colman Elo, I shall give a reward for iteven Heaven to him who shall make seven cloaks for it as they shall be needed. Whence it is called the hooded staff.
¶84] Again, on a certain occasion when his monks were reaping wheat at Cross na Truma, he noticed that they were sad, for it was the day on which the fair of Teltown is being held. Then he prayed so that forthwith angels came to him from Heaven. At the turning-stone
p.87between (sic) the cross from Adrad Motura above, that is where Colman was. And the angels ran three races for him, so that thenceforward it has been called the Fair of Lann. And Colman son of Luachan left that whoever has a limb broken there, if he go alive under Loch Anninn he will at once come out safe and sound.
¶85] Again, on a certain occasion Ciaran of Clonmacnois went to Colman son of Luachan to ask union and headship78 of him. And that was revealed to him and he did not wish it. However, Colman sent a swarm of demons in the shape of wasps at Cross na Truma, so that they could not pass it except with their faces on the ground. It is a cleric to whom we go. 'Tis he who does this to us. Let one of us go to him and ask him to help us. Thus it was done and he sends the wasps under ground. Hence Cross na Truma is so called. Again God's name and Colman's were magnified through that miracle. Then Ciaran offers union to Colman, who refuses it and said: I shall acknowledge no earthly head save Mochuta only (viz. he was his foster-father), nor shall my people after me.
¶86] Again at a certain time Cinaed son of Oengus, King of Offaly, fell in love with the wife of the King of Tara and came to meet her to Goirtin of Tír Bandála in Fid Dorcha, and no one but his jester with him. She came accompanied only be her handmaid. Then the men coupled the two horses. Cinaed put his horse under the protection of Colman son of Luachan, while the jester put his under the protection of Oengus mac in Óc. Then came thieves and took the horse of the jester,79 while Cinaed's horse seemed to them the trunk of an alder. The name of God and of Colman were again magnified by that miracle. Now the King of Meath was told that his wife had gone to a tryst with the King of Offaly to Goirtin of Tír Bandála in Fid Dorcha. Thereupon then the King of Meath came after her to that field in order to kill her. And his people seized each other by the hand round about the field. And Cinaed son of Oengus saw that and thought it a great danger and said: We put ourselves in the safeguard of Colman son of Luachan against this danger, and if he save us we shall be under tribute to him till Doom.
p.89That was bound upon Cinaed, who forthwith arose, and he and his jester were turned into the shape of two stags. The queen, however, and her handmaid were turned into the shape of two fawns. And thereupon they escaped safely from the hosts, and neither hounds nor spears could do aught to them. And God's name and Colman's were magnified by that miracle.
¶87] Cinaed afterwards came to Lann bringing his horse with him for Colman son of Luachan. And there they made a covenant, and Colman leaves to the men of Offaly till Doom triumph of horses and of warriors and of clerics, and beauty of their women together with handsomeness of their men, and beauty of their kings exceeding theirs, and that every successor of his should be dreaded like the king of a province, and the daughter of the King of Ireland should not deem it a small thing to sleep with him, and that defeat should always precede him if he rode upon a gelding on the day of battle. However, a tribute was fixed for him80 from Cinaed and each one after him till Doom, viz., a scruple for every adult in his land and a sheep from every owner of a steading, and the horse and dress of the king himself every third year till Doom. And Colman ordained that this tribute should be fasted for unless it were given without that, viz., that the king who did not give it should decay or die early, ut dicitur:
- The wife of Teltown's
king upon a time bestowed her love
upon the stalwart King of Offaly, the stately successor of Ross,
Cinaed son of Oengus.
- That Cinaed comes from the south to his fair love,
he and his jester
'twas a noble cavalcade
to hold converse with the high-queen.
- A day and a night they spent together,
the king and the beautiful queen:
there stealthily and all alone
they gave themselves up to lust and . . .
- The King of Meath of . . .
sets out swiftly after his wife
until they surrounded
the king and queen.
- When they behold the troops of the king
around the field in which they had misbehaved,
they bind their proper safeguard
upon Colman of populous Lann.
- Colman the bold performed
many marvelous miracle:
he put the king and his beloved jester
in the shape of two young stags.
- He performed another miracle,
none of his miracles was finer
he changed the queen and her fair bondmaid
into the shape of two fawns.
- The two horses which they had brought with them from the south,
the king and his right clever royal jester,
they let them both loose up the mountain
in disorder, in their wild career.
- They put the horse of the dusky jester
under the protection of the Troublesome People;81
they put the horse of the noble king
in the true safeguard82 of Colman.
- Through the evil, insecure safeguard,
foreigners seized the jester's horse;
they left the horse of Barrow's king,
thinking it was the trunk of a heavy alder tree.
- Through the safeguard of the saint the horse
of the king of the broad and fair Liffey escaped;
the enemies took the track of the (other) horse:
they were of one company and of one yoke.
- Colman saves them all,
both horse and man,
which was ensnaring them,
without strife or without disgrace.
- 'The horse which thou thyself
hast saved from stout foes of the mountain,
come, gentle Colman, behind my back,
upon the horse which is worth the price of a bondmaid.'
- Righteous Colman left it
that if he were upon a muzzled gelding,
no hard combats should be won
against the generous king of fair Offaly.
- He left it to them
the beauty of their women should be upon their sons,
that the terror of a king of the province after a slaughter should be
upon the King of mighty Offaly.
- Cinaed promised everything that was proper:
he promised tribute; he promised friendship;
to him it was truly promised that
he should not be without the dress of a high-king.
- He blessed the whole land,
both women and sons in their numbers,
so long as they should be obedient with love
to Colman son of Luachan.
- They would have found danger shortly,
if Colman had not come to their rescue,
as they were talking together of love
at the meeting of their first love.
¶89] A certain story is recorded here. The King of Tara, even Domnall son of Donnchad, son of Murchad, married the daughter of the King of
p.93Offaly and promised her a great bride-price, viz., four score cows, two score at once, and two score not later than the next May-day. So at the time for which it had been promised, the woman demanded her bride-price; and nothing was found for her but land instead of her cows. She agreed to take the land if it were near her soul-friend, even Colman of Luachan. So then Caille na hIngie was given to her from the head of Áth in Daire to the tomb of bishop Aed in Fartullagh. Then the woman gives it all to Colman for ever. Colman, however, puts a monk of his community into it, even Uidrin, son of Aramail. Hence are Cell Uidrin in Caille na hIngine and Less na Con above there and Cell Uidrin below.
¶90] At a certain time Aed Róin, King of Leinster, forcibly seized a plough-team of Mocholmoc's from Clonard; and Mocholmoc fasted against him for it, and then distributed the limbs of that son of a curse among the saints of Ireland, all accept only his membrum virile. However, the king said, mocking him: To whom has Mocholmoc given my membrum virile? said he. Now, when Mocholmoc heard that, he said: Let us go to Lann to Colman son of Luachan, that he may keep that limb from us. Thus it was done; and at Lann Mocholmoc and and Colman son of Luachan make a union and exchange of their two bells, which were both called Findfaidech. However, Colman said: The limb which is in my charge will come first to be exhibited to thee, for it was last to be numbered.
¶91] Then upon a raid into Meath, Aed Róin came as far as Carn Fiachach. Early on the morrow, however, Conall Guthbinn, the King of Meath, came to Colman and told him that news. And Conall had but a small host and Aed Roin had a multitude. Then Colman said to Conall: Do thou march against them and carry my staff with thee in front as a battle-standard, and I shall make it appear as if thou hast three battalions; and either a mist shall come over their eyes or their hands shall be held for thee, said Colman. I prefer, said Conall, that their hands be held. Then every man of Conall's people tied a string of his cloak to the lashes of the cloak of the staff, so that it was a hood over head (whence it is called hooded staff), in order to pledge their safeguard upon it and upon Colman son of Luachan. And the number of their mercenaries was the number of lashes which are upon the cloak of the hooded staff. Thus, then, it was done; and at Faithche Mecnan Aed Dub was slain and
p.95his people slaughtered. And wolves carried his membrum virile to the porch of the church of Colman, who said to them: Carry it to be exhibited to Finnen or to Mocholmoc and to the saints of Ireland. Again, God's name and Colman's were magnified by that miracle.
¶92] Now, Mocholmoc gave a cell in Clonard to Colman son of Luachan. Thereupon, Conall came in obedience to Colman son of Luachan and offered him the great tribute of the people of Bretach henceforward (for it is they who were in his company as his protecting fian in every battle of the Bretach till doom), viz., a scruple from each adult, and a sheep from each steading, and a horse from each captain in every seventh year till doom.
¶93] Again, once upon a time boatmen were upon the sea, and mariners of the sea were calling to them, and they in a whirlpool.83 When they had called upon Colman son of Luachan, they escaped safe to land. And in the same way will everyone who shall pray to Colman in difficulties get complete help from God.
¶94] Again, once upon a time a man went out of battle, and was pursued, and could not walk from weariness. But when he had put spittle of Colman son of Luachan about his legs, neither horses nor men could do aught to him. Whence it is said:84
And again God's name and Colman's were magnified thereby; and everyone who shall sing this as well as he on behalf of whom it is sung shall not be overthrown and shall come safe to his house; and he owes Colman a scruple for it.
- The spittle of Colman son of Luachan
about my bones without decay;
may its protection
save me on all sides!
- To him came holy Colman
in his pure bright shape;
the foot-soldiers who were in pursuit
were driven off thereby.
- May Colman son of Luachan be by
my side before my going on a harsh-hearted raid!
if it should happen to me to go aside,85
may no one carry off my glory!
¶95] Again, on a certain occasion a man went a-hosting after the rest and could not overtake them. However, his enemies came upon him; and each who came to seize him or to slay him, when he had
p.97called upon Colman son of Luachan against them, thought that he was a woman with a babe upon her back. God's name and Colman's were magnified through that miracle.
¶96] Now weakness came to Colman son of Luachan, and when the end of his life was appointed for him, his clerics and his monks came to weep bitterly in his presence, and begged him to allow them to open the earth on his holy relics, that they might be kept among them in an adorned shrine like (the relics of) every other great saint and chief apostle throughout Ireland. Then Colman granted that, so that it might be a comfort of grief to them, and that his relics might be a halidom against every visible and invisible danger.
¶97] However, when he had rested86 three years in the earth, then Fursa the Devout happened to go upon a round throughout Ireland from church to church. Now when he came to Ath in Daire, the bellringer of Lann was striking its bell. Disgrace of bell-ringing upon thy successor! said Fursa. We dare not say anything worse to thee. Then Fursa sat down at Cross Fursa, looking at the wry mill (Mullingar) eastward. 'Tis then he spoke the quatrain:
Forthwith there came to them the common cowherd of Lann, and bids them welcome, and carries news (of their arrival) to the erenagh Cuanu son of Cummaine.
- Two conspicuous tokens
has Lann beyond every shrouded cemetery;
a wry mill for grinding,
and a cloak around its staff.
¶98] Now according to some the first to address Fursa was the steward of the cowled staff; and he did not bid him or his people welcome, so that therefore Fursa left hell to him and to his successor, and disgrace of speech and response and hustling, till Doom, for he had hustled Fursa; nor had he taken the news to the church as the cowherd had done. However, the community of Lann, both priest and erenagh, go out to meet Fursa; and the erenagh brings seven breaths of God87 upon his back, and Fursa leaves him heaven, and wealth, and long life, and that seven words which he might say be fulfilled. Then the erenagh brings the seven breaths of God upon his back as far as the flagstone in front of the abbot's house. Then his wife came with a measure of ale and a measure of milk as far as the flagstone. Fursa leaves luck of milk and of ale till Doom here, and no ill repute is carried beyond it,88
p.99however much there will be. To the erenagh Fursa leaves heaven and wealth and long life, and that his food should never be reproached, provided he would recite a prayer to Fursa at Fursa's flagstone, and that one of every three words he might say should have the authority of a judgement, and that God should grant him every perfection which he might ask for seven times, viz. (by performing) seven fastings upon God in Fursa's name at Fursa's tomb. Now Fursa was waited upon well that night; so he said:
Then on the morrow Fursa blessed the church. However, the monks come to Fursa and beseech him in the name of the Lord that He might take the remains of Colman son of Luachan out of the earth. And thus it is all done. Now tell us, Fursa, said all the monks:89
- I permit the cowherd
to live here happily,
to obtain great mercy
with the Creator after death.
- Hence our offering comes
to Lann of the pious Colmans,
where I find reverence
greater than is due.
- Good has come to this congregation
from my journey to them at this time;
they will be obedient to my rule of devotion;
my own permission is added to theirs.
- 'Thy gentle courteous sons
Then the king starts out of his sleep and remembered the song, and the queen learnt it from him and remembered it, and the rest of the people from her.
¶100] Now he was the most generous cleric in Ireland. That is evident, for even after his death he came to commend his guesthouse to Airechtach son of Muiredach, and made the following song for him; and to an old man in the church Colman said it.
- Let the men of the commandments practice purity
while they are here belowthat is profitable for them.
Let them believe in the Father who rules Heaven,
for 'tis He who rewards every affliction.
- Let them bow their heads under the great Church,
if they wish for grace of the Holy Spirit;
let them worship holy Christ of the crosses
while they are here below in their house.
- Let their bodies embrace pure devotion
in accordance with famous ancient councils,
that they may reach the land of blessed angels
I would prefer their going to Heaven.
- The black world is nothing on this earth
have ye the fear of God from Heaven!
better is the law of pure chastity
before going on this journey, my man.
- It is right to beware of God's vengeance;
woe to him who has resolved to be under wrath!
Do not go to horrible deep Hell,
many are the fierce wails in its lap.
- Next (beware) of breakingthat is the truth of it
the Ten Commandments of God from holy Heaven;
deeds with faith,perfect strength
the possession of the wretched and the strong.
- Another commandment of the highest rank,
which behoves every one whatever else he do:
fasting, praying with reason,
supplications at each Hour . . .
- Giving food to God's poor,
a garment to the nakedit is never false;
his being without cold in the body,
that will endure nine times nine.
- It behoves to offer Sacrifice and glorious Mass,
no feeble constancy with splendour,
before going to receive Christ's body,
without curse three times.
- Say to Airechtach on my behalf
that he do good to God's poor,
for he possesses every good
from the Prince, from the Son of my God.
- Great is the harm that
Christ's guest-house should be neglected;
if it is called Christ's house of fame,
it is as though Christ's were houseless.
- Conceal not truth, I beseech thee!
if thou do,
Let him not turn his back upon his King,
let him not buy the land which he has dreaded.90
- May the guesthouse of the poor prosper
before (his) going into the presence of God from Heaven
there is no better practice in pure devotion,
if that be ever with with thee, O man!
¶101] A certain story is recorded here. Becrachan was one of Colman's monks; and he was another of the seven men that went with him to Rome; and he it is who is buried in Cell Becrachan under the protection of Colman son of Luachan. And that church is free from the tax of king and chief. However the monks of Lann gave it to
p.103Ua Scoil in consideration for his service to the monastery till Doom. The King of Meath is not entitled to demand a troop from Fartullagh to accompany him on his round, except a lad for his horses, when he is in Cró-inis for the purpose of (collecting) the troop to accompany him; and they are not obliged to join a battalion on a day of battle, except with the king and strangers and mercenaries.
¶102] Again, another story is recorded here. Once upon a time the three great Colmans of Meath agree to ward off one third of the host from the King of Tara, provided he were obedient to them, viz. that two battalions should be formed by the men of Meath, and three battalions by the men of Ireland, and one of the three battalions by them, viz. by the three Colmans ofMeath, whence is the quatrain:
- Every evil on sea or land
that comes against Tara of fair possessions,
by the grace of the King of Heaven,
the three Colmans of fair Meath are able to cope with it.
¶103] Now it is evident from these stories about Colman son of Luachan that God thinks no cleric more wonderful than him. For what other cleric in Ireland has gone on a lake without a boat but he?
Again, what cleric is there for whom the earth swallowed at once all those countless numbers, both men and horses and hounds, as they were swallowed at his word alone?
Again, what cleric resuscitated three dead people in imitation of Christ save he?
Again, what cleric is there whose church is a church of the covenant for his own monks except his?
Again, what cleric is there to whom the wild animals rendered obeisance of their own free will except to him?
Again, what other cleric is there for whom by his miraculous power a mill was turned awry but he?
Again, what cleric is there to whom the people of Hell came at his bidding in the shape of wasps but he?
What cleric again is there to whom the people of Heaven came at his bidding, and in his presence ran races perfectly as at a fair?
What cleric again is there to whom Christ came in the shape of a leper at Cross Claman except he only?
What cleric again made wheat out of barley but he only?
What cleric made cream out of whey-water but again he alone?
What cleric swamped an island with its inhabitants under a lake but again he alone?
What cleric again performed wonders and miracles before his birth but he alone?
What cleric is there to whom angels came on the eve of his birth with exquisite music except to him?
Again what cleric is there of whom a prophecy of the grace of God was made before his mother slept with his father, except of him?
Again what cleric slept under a river from one hour to the same hour next day without wetting his garment but he?
¶104] Hue usque signa fiant, &c. No one can relate a tithe of what he did unless his guardian-angel should come or the spirit of his own soul should come back again into his body to make it known. For this is the testimony which Cassan the Priest of Domnach Mor and Maeltuile son of Nochuire and Colum Cille bore as they were praising him: if the heavens should fall upon the earth, God would for his sake renew them again in the same strength. For he was a man pure, sacrificing, acceptable to the Lord of Creation like Abel son of Adam; a chief prophet to foretell the future like Isaiah son of Amoz; the head of the faith and belief of the western world like Abraham son of Terah; the chosen leader of the faithful people through the sea of baptism and of red martyrdom like Moses son of Amram through the Red Sea; a gentle devout psalmist to sing his psalms like David son of Jesse; a man suffering afflictions and tribulations for the sake of the Lord of Creation like Job the afflicted; a choice treasury of the wisdom of God and of His love like Paul the Apostle; a virginal and chaste coarb of the persecuted Church like John the bosom-fosterling; a foremost physician of the body and soul of every faithful one like Luke the evangelist.
¶105] This was his devotional rule: he used to make three divisions of the night, four hours in each division. In the first division he would perform three hundred genuflections, and in the second he would recite the psalms. Again, in the third division he would remove his mind in meditation from earthly things, dwelling on heavenly things. Every day, however, he would celebrate mass and recite fifty psalms between each celebration, and he would baptize and preach and recite many other prayers besides.
¶106] Now when his end was approachingfor there was neither blood nor flesh on him, for he had consumed his life in long fasts and nightly watchesthe holy ancient writings relate that he did not die of a special disease at all, but angels of the Lord came to summon him at the end of his life, saying: O bone Colmane, festina ad nos! that is to say, for though thou art on earth, we behold thee as a rightful citizen in heaven. 'Tis thus then he ended his life, among angelic conversations and divine repose. This, however, is what the divine writings say: that on the day of Judgement he will be a judge over his monks and nuns, and none of them will be carried into hell except one out of a hundred, and even so he shall be a jester91 or a marauder or a son of malediction.