Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Muirchú's Life of Patrick (Author: Muirchú maccu Machtheni)

Chapter 9


I 10 (9). (1) In the days when this took place there was in those parts a great king, a fierce pagan, an emperor of non-Romans, with his royal seat at Tara, which was then the capital of the realm of the Irish, by name Loíguire son of Níall, a scion of the family that held the kingship of almost the entire island. (2) He had around him sages and druids, fortune-tellers and sorcerers, and the inventors of every evil craft, who, according to the custom of paganism and idolatry, were able to know and foresee everything before it happened. (3) There were two of these whom he preferred above all the others, whose names are these: Lothroch, also called Lochru, and Lucet Mael, also called Ronal; (4) and these two, by their magical art, prophesied frequently that a foreign


way of life was about to come to them, a kingdom, as it were, with an unheard-of and burdensome teaching, brought from afar over the seas, enjoined by few, received by many; it would be honoured by all, would overthrow kingdoms, kill the kings who offered resistance, seduce the crowds, destroy all their gods, banish all the works of their craft, and reign for ever. (5) They also described the man who was to bring this way of life and to win them for it, and they prophesied about him in the following words, in the form, as it were, of a poem which these men often recited, and especially during the two or three years immediately before the coming of Patrick. (6) These are the words of the poem— not very intelligible, owing to the peculiarity of their language:
    1. There shall arrive Shaven-head,
      with his stick bent in the head,
      from his house with a hole in its head
      he will chant impiety
      from his table in the front of his house;
      all his people will answer ‘Be it thus, be it thus.’
(7) In our own language all this can be expressed more clearly. ‘When all this happens’ (the druids would say) ‘our kingdom, which is a pagan one, will fall.’ And so it happened afterwards: when Patrick came the worship of idols was abolished and the catholic Christian faith spread over our whole country. Enough of this; let us return to our subject.