Electronic edition compiled by Beatrix Färber
Proof corrections by Beatrix Färber
Funded by The HEA via PRTLI 4
1. First draft, revised and corrected.
Extent of text: 2600 words
Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: T303014
Available with prior consent of the CELT project for purposes of academic research and teaching only.
CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts
The electronic text covers pages 131134. The Irish text is available in a separate file.
Text has been proof-read twice.
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Created: The English translation is by Kuno Meyer (1889)
Beatrix Färber (ed.)
Beatrix Färber (ed.)
Beatrix Färber (text capture)
Once Diarmuid son of Donn grandson of Duibne, was
p.132in the cave of the Hill of Howth (Ben Etair), after having carried off Grainne the daughter of Cormac in elopement from Finn. An old woman was with Diarmuid at that time, watching over him wherever he would be. The old woman went out of the cave, and when she was on the top of the Hill of Howth, she saw an armed man coming towards her alone. It was Finn, the warrior-king. The old woman asked tidings of him. To woo thee I have come, said Finn, and the cause I will tell thee afterwards, and what I desire is that thou shouldst live with me as my only wife. The old woman believed the words of Finn, and promised him to do his will. But what Finn desired of her was to betray Diarmuid to him. The old bag consented to this. She dipped her cloak into the salt water and then went into the cave. Diarmuid asked why she was so wet. I confess, said she, I never saw or heard the like of it for cold and storms. For the frost has spread over the hillocks, and there is not a smooth plain in all Elga, in which there is not a long rushing river between every two ridges, said she. And no deer or raven in Erin finds shelter in a cave or in any other place, or on an island, or in a bay of Falmag. Craftily she shook her raiment across the cave, and sang these staves:
- Cold, cold!
Cold tonight is the broad plain of Lurg,
Higher the snow than the mountain-range,
The deer cannot get at their food.
- Cold till Doom!
The storm has spread over all:
A river is each furrow upon the slope,
Each ford a full pool.
- A great sea is each loch, which is full,
A full loch is each pool.
Horses do not get over Ross-ford,
No more do two feet get there.
- The fishes of Inis Fáil are a-roaming,
There is no strand that a wave does not beat
In the lands there is no house visible,
Not a bell is heard, no crane talks.
- The hounds of Cuan-wood find not
Rest nor sleep in the dwelling of hounds,
The little wren cannot find
Shelter in her nest on Lon-slope.
- On the little company of the birds has broken forth
Keen wind and cold ice,
The blackbird cannot get a lee to her liking,
Shelter at the side in Cuan-woods.
- Cosy our pot on the hook,
Crazy the hut on Lon-slope:
The snow has smoothed the wood here,
Toilsome to climb by kine-horned staves.
- Glenn Rigi's ancient bird
From the bitter wind gets grief,
p.134Great her misery and her pain,
The ice will get into her mouth.
- From flock and from down to rise
Take it to heart!were folly for thee:
Ice in heaps on every ford,
That is why I keep saying cold!
The old woman went out after that. As for Grainne, when she noticed that the old woman had gone, she put out her hand on the garment that was about her, and put it on her tongue, and found the taste of salt on her cloak. Woe, oh Diarmaid! she cried, the old woman has betrayed thee. And arise quickly and take thy warrior's dress about thee! Diarmaid did so, and went out, and Grainne with him. Then they beheld the warrior-king with the fianna around him coming towards them. Diarmaid glanced (?) aside on the sea around Erinn, and saw a skiff in the shelter of the harbour near him. He and Grainne with him went into it. One man was awaiting them in the little boat with a beautiful raiment about him, with a broad-braided golden-yellow mantle over his shoulder behind. That was Oengus of the Brug, the fosterfather of Diarmaid, who had come to rescue him from the night-watch (?) which he was in from Finn and the fianna of Erinn.